I'm new to the group and quadcopters, not new to R/C and have decent computer ability. Just a quick background. I've flown R/C for many more years than I'd care to admit. Planes, heli's, gas, electric, some gliders. Built most of my stuff but the last few years the ARF's are really hard to resist! Also an amateur (ham) radio operator, have built lot of stuff and have good soldering ability. I've done a lot of PC work and software installations too and a little bit of Arduino programming with the Uno.
This is what I'm working on now:

RCTimer APM 2.5 w/uBlox GPS V2
RCTimer DJI clone 450 quad (not built yet)
Stock motors and the SimonK ESC's
I also purchased a 900 MHz telemetry setup (I have no idea why but it was pretty cheap and looked cool)!

I installed Mission Planner on two PC's (desktop and laptop) and have it up and running powered via USB. Connected the APM board and have it talking to either PC (laptop was a PITA with comports/drivers but we whipped it into shape).


1. I assume Arducopter 2.8.1. was already loaded on the board when I received it. Looking in the 'Terminal' screen in Mission Planner it showed "init Arducopter 2.8.1". I also went to the firmware page and uploaded it for the quad configuration but I'm thinking that really wasn't necessary?

2. On the map display there is a black and an orange line. It appears the orange line is associated with a waypoint (but real waypoints are yellow?) clicking 'clear mission' shows there are no waypoints configured. The 'Flight Data' screen shows 215,000 feet to WP. What exactly is that telling me and what is the orange line?

3. There is also a black line on the map display. I believe this is ground track? Is this being generated by the tiny ground speed indication driven by the GPS wander?

4. I have a choice of two transmitters. A DX6i or a Futaba 9C The 9C has RF modules for 50 MHz (ham), 72 MHz and a Spektrum DSM2 module. What would be my best choice for the quad?

My first choice would be to use the Futaba 9C (more channels, three position switches) with the Spektrum module. The module is 8 channels so it should be flexible enough for my purposes.

The DX6i doesn't seem to be as good a choice (no 3 position switch and only 6 channels) but I'm open to any comments.

5. Before I solder the headers on the APM 2.5 board is there any reason I should choose horizontal or vertical orientation?

Sorry for the length of the post, hopefully I can get past some of these basic questions and see if I can actually fly this thing. Snowing like crazy in MA tonight, so I have time to work on this stuff!

Thanks for any help you can offer, hopefully I'll reach a point where I'll be able to contribute instead of ask :)


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