ArduCopter Manual

I have read the ArduCopter online manual and it would be really difficult to build from the available material if you had the complete kit.

For example, one picture shows the motor wiring routed in the frame, another outside. The distribution board shows the ESC's mounted one way, another shows them tie wrapped to the frame. Nothing shows exactly how they should be connected. Very small example of tons of discrepancies.

I realize it is a work in progress, yada yada yada.

What is shipping with the complete unit? If it is different why isn't it available here.

If it isn't different I pity the fool that hopes to fly.

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  • On the graphics at the top state "AC Quad Beta".
  • "If you're on a tight deadline, this not the project for you! It's in development and probably will not be in full feature release for a month or more. It's in beta now."

    If you go to the store it doesn't say that. I don't think it says beta anywhere in the wiki either.
    The store says it's DIY, but other that that you would assume that it is a production release. It doesn't say beta anywhere.

    You are still recommending the alpha 1.01 software download. Not beta either.

    The long term hardcore types understand exactly what the situation is and hack away. The amount of brilliant people working on this amazes me. The ArduCopter program is in a reasonably mature state, but still has a long way to go.

    The others, in far larger numbers, are very confused based on the posts here.

    After the first of the year I will have some time available and I will post recommendations to the manual. I don't have a problem with that.
  • Please understand, I am in no way criticizing the project. I have enjoyed every step of the journey thus far, and I am finally getting to the really fun stuff, flying! I am merely trying to help out in a small way.

    I come from a strong development and computer background. I also develop indie games on the Torque 3D engine, and I am used to searching high and low for answers to problems. My day job is as server admin for a small school district. I simply am offering comments to help improve the documentation.

    The documentation has indeed taken a large leap forward, even since I started building last Monday! The Getting Started Page is look excellent! Much, much better than it was a week ago!

    I will do my best over the next week to look over the entire start to finish, and see what, if anything I can suggest to improve the process Where would you like that posted? Here as a list, a new post, or as individual comments on the wiki pages?

    Thanks for the work everyone is putting into AC, I look forward to see where the future takes us!
  • I have heard several complaints about the lack of or conflicting information in the manuals. This started as a DIY project but in my opinion when the project moves from DIY to production then it is on the company to provide decent manuals. Otherwise, sales will fail. $500 and up is too much to spend for a kit with terrible manuals. I'm on the sidelines of this project until I get some indication that the Arducopter is worth the cost.
  • I know I am a few days late chiming in here, but here are my two cents.

    First some history. I had been following the project from August when I saw a quad-rotor on television and thought it was neat, got a hare-brained idea to try and build one, and ended up here. Ever since I flew a RC plane with Boy Scouts ages ago, I have wanted to build one. A quad rotor seemed like a logical step because it would get me both equipment I need and experience building and using the equipment. Plus I love how open the project is for expansion and improvement.

    I read everything I could find, and admittedly, sometimes it is easy to miss things. The places I find things are often a little illogical to me, but I am sure that they are logical to others.

    I found information for plugging in the esc’s to the motors on the ESC calibration page (after someone pointing it out to me on the forums), a good place for it I am sure but, I began looking for it on the frame assembly and APM pages. Calibration seems more akin to configuring to me. Something to do once everything is built and ready to go.

    I got turned around in all the documentation about how to set up and configure Arduino, the APM code loading, and the Configurator. I ended up in a mess that I created for myself, trying to test the APM and shield in Configurator with the ArduPilot code loaded. My fault, but it added some frustration to the pile.

    So far I have found ALMOST everything I needed to know, or thought I needed to know, in the documentation. It was the length that I had to goto to find it that was frustrating. I have searched and searched for a few things like the ESC to motor connection order discussion, which I had already read, just couldn’t find again. When I couldn’t find it, I had to ask on the forums.

    Overall I think people get frustrated trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, and end up on the forums asking the same question over and over again. There are quite a few people like me, that are completely new to the world of RC and UAVs and with all this information coming from every direction, it is easy to get lost. Also I hate to do anything major without checking and double checking my work. Taking a shot in the dark can be costly with this stuff. Sometimes I just want a sign I am doing something the right way before I commit to it.

    What might help, would be a road map. Something to point from A to B to C, stating simply that this is one way to go about doing it. I am not saying spoon feed the masses, just plot them a course.

    Another thing I found extremely difficult with the build was sifting through all of the outdated information on the wiki. There is a ton of stuff there that applies to the old beta frame, and is obsolete or totally changed in the production kit. Some of this is very confusing to a novice builder trying to get started. I know that there are hundred ways to do just about everything on the ArduCopter, that is the beauty of the project! But it is also a point of confusion. I also understand I got one of the first ArduCopter production kits, and the wiki is majorly a work in progress and being maintained by some busy individuals. I am not complaining, I am really just trying to do my little part to help out around here and contribute. At least as much as a novice can.

    I would say with the way everything is set up around here, the wiki build instructions should be about the production kit. I may be wrong, but if I am, it would sure be nice to have somewhere to go for a build log or instructions pertaining to just the production kit.

    I would have loved to make a detailed build log of my own, but I realized from the start that this was all new to me, and I needed to crawl a little before I tried to stand on my own two feet. I would go back and do it, but my kit is built! Tonight I start testing and attaching the props. So for the time being, I will have to just help answer some of the questions that pop up from people like me, do what I can, and if anyone needs help with something, feel free to ask.
  • Instead of writing about whats wrong, why not volunteer to help write the docs.
    my 2 cents on the subject
  • I'm also new to the site. I have had my fair share of questions, but I have done much research first. I have also missed things, but the community has pointed me in the right direction. Follow the manual. You said you read it, but it is spot on. If you have a specific question, search the forum for it and if not found make a post about it. Take some initiative first and you will gain much respect.

    I currently have APM working correctly at my desk. It wasn't that hard, most of the time spent was waiting on parts(or permission to purchase parts[the wife hehe])

    There are discrepancies on the site because it is a DIY site. There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, and some may work better than others. That's the whole idea to experiment and learn from others accomplishments. I suggest you order the kit, and start building it. If you encounter problems ask the community(after searching for the answer on the forums). If you take this approach you will end up with a fully functional UAV :).
  • All of us were nubes at one time or other. My first DIY was a fuel management system for my car. It had me in tears and I leaned on a few people till I learned enough to be dangerous :)

    We take on hobbies to learn new things, meet new people and, hopefully, have some fun. I will make mistakes I am sure, some dumber than others.
    So far I learned that you don't fly a chopper in the kitchen (this is after telling my daughter NOT to throw the ball in the house..) The long hair cat will imitate a puffer fish and the chandelier will break in little pieces.... (hehehe)
  • 3D Robotics
    Dean, fair points, and I appreciate the feedback. Please leave comments on the pages in the wiki where you find problems. It doesn't really do much good here, since the developers who are working every day on those wiki pages won't read it.

    You ask: "What is shipping with the complete unit? If it is different why isn't it available here."

    I don't know what those sentences mean. Could you try to rephrase?
  • Moderator
    We must remember that this is a DIY site, not Walmart Online.
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