I've been looking around for an altitude hold device for RC Helicopters using GPS for nearly a year now, and all have miserably failed.

I just joined here, and am wondering, has anyone done this yet (Heli altitude hold)?
Someone has tried it with barometric sensors, but unfortunately that didn't work out.

I need altitude hold for my AP heli

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I thought Jack Crossfire had sucess with the SCP1000 on his Vicacopter although readin later posts it looks as if he decided against it.
GPS modules from the SirfIII chipset on can all do a reasonable job of altitude measurement. We use the EM406 with ArduPilot and get about 1m resolution, and the Mediatek (Locosys) and Ublox chipsets are even better.
Thanks for the feedback guys. I've been doing a lot of reading here.
Will update after I've narrowed down all I need.

How the Ardupilot will come back in stock soon.... :)

I know there is a way to set up throttle hold at whatever throttle you are at when you flick the switch but am not sure. Neither am I sure that's what you want but its a good start. I gues to stay in one place you could put some gyros rigged up to the cyclics (turn off heading hold!). I don't know about some fancy gizmo that will do it for you but i'm sure there is one.
HI James..
Actually my aim is very very simple; I'm doing aerial photography, and all I want is the heli to simply (autonomously) reach a pre-programmed altitude and stay there.

Stabilization is handled independently via an AP2000i mixer and FMA thermophile (won't be linked to the autopilot).

The reason for wanting altitude hold is that, when I'm at 400 feet, its very difficult to maintain altitude while at the same time flying the heli and taking pictures.

All help and input is very much appreciated. :)

i really don't know anything about all this automatic UAV stuff at all, just the mechanics/electronics systems of an aircraft but as Chris said a GPS module that is rigged up to only go to a certain height is the best option.
how do you find the AP2000i for stability - i was just looking at buying one for my Hirobo Shuttle and saw you are using it - would be nice to have an independent opinion.

Maybe you could use the Ardupilot with GPS but only connect the throttle servo and input a nominal waypoint with altitude - the horizontal navigation would effectively be ignored but presumably the altitude part of the program would work as that controls the throttle on a fixed wing so you are kind of in a similar situation then? Whether you would have to modify the code I don't know - someone more familiar might comment?

Hi Permalink,
I've been using the AP2000i for over two years now and its been trouble free. I haven't had any problems even when flying over water, near buildings or when the sun is low. On my other AP heli, I'm using the Helicommand 3A. But I find the AP2000I more stable in comparison.

Thanks for the suggestion on the Alt hold. I have the same idea as you, which sounds simple enough, my search on this site gives the impression that GPS Alt feedback is unstable, so much so that filters are required.
Others have suggested Alt hold via barometers, which contradicts what others have said (in other forums).

I'm kinda stuck here at the moment.

Any input would be much appreciated.
Will look into what Chris said. Thanks.
GPS altitude accuracy has improved tremendously with the current generation of chipsets (Mediatek, Ublox, SirfIII). We filter out crazy readings (>20m from last recorded data) for safety's sake, but I don't think we've ever had to invoke that.
Hi Friend!
You mentioned of using the AP2000i on your Helis and found it better than other brands.Can you please guide me whether I could also use AP2000i for my Heli which is with fly bars, a HIROBO SCEADU?
The AP2000i can be used on any heli, with or without flybar. Go to runryder.com and do a search there.

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