As many of you have seen from my postings I am struggling to get my aircraft to fly in auto mode.  Many of you have helped me chase down suspected problems with compass and various other suspected problems. I have yet to get the aircraft / APM to actually fly successfully in automatic.  It has flown well inManual,  FBW-A, Loiter, RTL, Circle etc.  

Today I discovered a problem with my APM / Mission controller that may help us identify the real problem.  I have three modes on the channel that I switch between Manual, RTL and AUTO.  I confirmed on the "Flight Data Screen" of the Mission Planner that when switch the mode switch that the display on the HUD display changes when I changed the switch.  HOWEVER - I learned today that there is no difference in the APM's actions between RTL and AUTO, even though the HUD display changes.  Please see the attached Tlogs and waypoints for verification.  I am sure there is something that I don't have set correctly, but this has been a challenge.  I frankly found this by accident today when I was switching between RTL and AUTO and noticed the airplane continued to circle above the RTL site.

  • I am using APM 2.5
  • Today I upgraded the APM firmware to V.2.7 in the APM, but the same thing happened in V 2.69
  • I am using a Hitec Aurora 9 with an Optma reciver
  • After discovering the fact that the APM did not change even though the mode was changed, I re-calibrated the radio a couple times with no joy.

Below is a narration of the actives today that I sent to a friend who has been trying to help me it may contain a clue:

I learned something very interesting.  I had changed one of the three remote actions to RTL (return to launch).  In addition I still had manual and automatic where it is to fly the way points.    I flew it out manually a ways and switched to RTL.  It came back over the launch site and perfectly held altitude and circled above me 400 feet.  It was so solid that I walked over to the truck and messed with the computer while it was flying!  Then, flew back out a ways and switched it to "automatic".  Instead of heading out  to the way point it turned and headed back toward me.  So a couple times I switched it back to manual and flew it back out but each time it came back to me, holing a nice altitude.  So I just let it go to see where and what it was going to do.  It circled around me and held a perfect altitude and around and around it went - just like the RTL.  So, while it was flying over me I switched it back and forth between automatic and RTL, but it kept circling above me.  I walked back over to the computer to verify that the HUD data on flight data on the mission planner displayed "RTL" when I had the switch in that position and "Auto" when I had the switch in that position.  Sure enough, the switch had no effect.

If any of you can can give me some direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

Bret C

2013-03-02 16-59-06.tlog

Airport 3 points.txt

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  • Moderator


    Or anyone else who knows the answer! Would it be possible (or acceptable) in ArduPlane to use the same Channel as both the 'Reset Mission' and the 'Reset after Breach switch for GeoFence' to the same channel? I am currently using all 8 input channels as follows:

    1) Aileron

    2) Elevator

    3) Throttle

    4) Rudder

    5) GeoFence Enable

    6) Reset GeoFence after Breach (RTL)

    7) MinimOSD panel select

    8) Flight Mode

    So what would happen if I set CH6 as both the Mission Reset Switch and as the Reset GeoFence after Breach channel to monitor if say I had GeoFence enabled (CH5 above 1750 us) and CH8 mode set to AUTO? What might I expext to see happen in this case? Would this be possible?



    Nathaniel ~KD2DEY

  • Guys:

    I just returned from the airport conducting several test flights.  

    My first test flight was GREAT!  The aircraft flew in MANUAL, FBW-A and AUTO, yes it even flew the way points!  (First time after weeks of attempts) I thought that we had this figured out!  I landed, changed the modes from MANUAL, FBW-A and AUTO to MANUAL, RTL and AUTO.  I wrote the change to the APM and tried it again.  The next flight took me right back to where we started where AUTO was not recognized but the only two modes I could get to work was MANUAL and RTL.  (AUTO functioned as RTL)  In an attempt to recreate my first mission, I turned everything off; transmitter, unplugged the APM/aircraft batteries, turned off the computer etc.  The next flight was just like the second, where AUTO operated as RTL.  So through a series of turning things on and off, uploading the mission again to the aircraft, reading the way points, re writing them etc. I was finally able to get it to fly AUTO mode correctly two more times. But several other flights were flown where AUTO still functioned as RTL in the process.  (BTW - I changed the three modes back to MANUAL, FBW-A and AUTO thinking that this could have been the problem - but this had no effect)

    So the fact of the matter is that I am not 100% sure how I was able to periodically get the APM where the AUTO mode was able to function correctly but it had something to do with unplugging the APM/computer and uploading the mission again.

    I think Doug W in this thread nailed the problem which is the mission I uploaded had a problem.  Although that may have been the problem (no way of knowing), the bigger problem is the fact that there is no way to know if the mission has a problem when it is uploaded.  To further this problem, while in flight when you switch to AUTO mode and the aircraft comes back to RTL, the HUD display still shows AUTO.  The lack of this basic diagnostic indicator costed me days of research and experimenting.   Although I learned a lot - I sure wish I had all that time back!

    On a similar note, after one of the successful AUTO flights today, I landed, pressed "restart mission" on the Flight Data tab of the Mission Planner.  (I am not sure if this is the correct way to restart the mission)  The aircraft started the mission, then headed for a way point on the ground.  I aborted and landed.

    So, guys - I appreciate everyones help.  We thought the problems I have been encountering were caused by a bad or incorrectly calibrated compass and various other things.  If others encounter similar problems, where the APM will not follow waypoints and you don't know what it is trying to do - it is probably returning to launch! (RTL)

    Based on my experiences, it does not appear that the Ardrupilot will be a good solution for our applications.  We will continue testing with the Adrupilot, but we will also evaluate other systems as well.

    If I happen to figure out what sequence of turning on equipment and uploading way points that creates a successful AUTO mode flight, I will post my findings to this thread in an effort to help others in the future.

    Bret C

  • Developer

    Bret, you may have a problem with loading the mission to APM.  If you switch to Auto and there are no valid navigation commands in the mission in APM, then it will switch to RTL.  Load a mission and then clear the mission in Planner and download it from APM via telemetry to verify it is correctly being saved by APM.

  • Bret, have you verified that the APM actually engages the auto mode when you have the switches in the "auto" position? It may have something to do with the way you set up the interaction between the switches controlling different modes. The way I have my switches set, it is not possible to engage Auto mode while the RTL switch is in the "on" position. Could you have a similar setup on the Aurora 9?
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