Arducopter versus Mikrokopter

After 3 years of using 4 x Mikrokopter Hexa's for aerial photography, I purchased 3 APM 2.5 boards and attempted to use Ardupilot instead just because the english was so much easier to understand and the telemetry system seems to be much better and they use the full receiver and satellite not just the satellite receiver like MK.

All the new Hexa's fly well but just dont seem to be as steady in the air as Mikrokopter, all my MK Hexa's had IS2c to PWM converters which allowed normal ESC's, some had MK motors, others hobbyking motors and all were extremely steady in the air which is important for AP. But after spending weeks adjusting all the different PID settings and tuning the Dave C way on the new Ardupilot Hexa's they just seem to wobble or twitch more in wind than MK, there has got to be something I am doing wrong,  Anyone experienced this before ?

Paul Cremin

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  • Good to know Luc. I was always blown away by this MK video ( from Simon Jardine.Two years ago! (Wonder what Simon thinks these days ... :)  Around that  time I was torn between mk and budding DJI, ultimately went for a DJI wkm . (I had  several APMs also) Today from my perspective wkm and apm 3.1.2 is a wash stability wise, good to know it's also the case with mk.

    Of course its not a wash when it comes to the rest, Mission planner, python scripts, mavproxy, sitl, hil, log post inspection and debugging, etc, etc  ... All *reall* open source. Not to mention boards like Vrbrain,  and upcoming auav-x1,  Beaglebone port, Revo APM port, Drotek pixhawk. And with the new EKF in 3.2, it's only going to get better ... Cheers ...

    • Thanks John,

      MK is still the leader. Of course i have been with them from the start so i am biased.

      However this is also what i do for a living, I love APM and the new Pixhawk, I have a PX4 which i still fly.

      For lifting $100,000 dollars worth of equipment and to have piece of mind, it's Mikrokopter :-)

      DJI wasn't going to get a mention, but it's getting good. It's very possible that DJI could take the lead next year, not in sales that's already happened. I am taking about reliability, service and support.

      So Ardu - vs- MK, It would be hard to just compare them. Overall MK is just better it always has been.

      The question really could be, how long will MK stay on top?

      At the this rate..... probably not that long.

      However again saying that, the recent MK firmware is incredible. The new 6s ESC's have some pretty fancy features and make a HUGE difference to flying dynamics.

      Here is a video i shot on the beach 2 days ago, using a MK (small) Hexacopter and brushless GoPro mount.


      I still have plenty of Ardu-copters :-) and planes, and I love em.



  • I defy any xaircraft, MK or DJI board to beat this loiter stability on a breezy night:

  • Thanks for this information and your views. If you had to compare the stability  of  perfectly calibrated APM and MK hex, how would you say they compare?  Wash, or one a bit better than the other?

    • John, I would say that the stablity of Mk and Arducopter 2.5 is the same. 
      Mk is very reliable but had only recently close the gap with other platforms adding an high speed accellometer to Z axis and  an external compass. The point is that Mk is still on 8 bit microcontroller even with his new board while the  3DR Pixhawk have a  32 bit micro. I have not test yet the Pixhawk on my multirotors but I believe that the Pixhawk have all the power needed to extend inertial calculations to improve stability.
      Arducopter and Pixhawk have  great log features that allows a more easy debug  when problems arise this  is an important point.

    • It's best observed in strong wind - MK has a ridiculous bungee effect, you ask for postion hold (Loiter) , then wind takes it back 10 meters before the I term builds up enough, (sure you can tune it, but then it gets very twichy at any small GPS hop)  then you command a little in any direction, just tuch the stick, and it resets from current position, so you are again blown back by another 10 meters.

      In strong wind, to move a MK in Loiter, you need to give a lot of input to manually fight the wind, or you will travel with wind anyway.

      Arducopter code is just great, it stands it's ground and moves as if you had no wind.

    • one thing is real better:

      arducopter code  move on rapidly

  • I have build and sell over the last 5 years over 50 hexa or okto multirotors with MK , I am a MK partner shop.

    In the last 2 years I use APM  and my customers that do aerial photos are very happy with APM. 

    A part MK Esc I use the same frame , motors and hardware so I can compare well the two platforms .

    My hexas have been build for maximum efficiency , so with 1 kg of payload , they can fly up to 30 minutes with a good battery.  This means large propellers and disk motors, more critical to tune.

    The main difference between MK and APM is the fact that MK with stock parameters fly well in any hardware configuration and is very much LESS sensitive to non perfect calibrations of devices while APM is much more sensible to bad calibrations or bad  components location. Note that I always fly with both with almost standard pids.

    For APM my suggestion is to have the compass to work at 100% so do a perfect calibration of it and avoid interferences checking out with compasmot what happens to compass during flight.

    With APM I found out that with proper propellers it can hold position even with 30 km/h winds

  • T3

    For what its worth: I switched from Mikrokopter to Arducopter about 2 years ago because MK was so narrowly focused (no airplanes) and IMO difficult to use. The speed controllers were also especially unreliable (at least back then I wasn't good enough to properly construct them, I realize now it is possible to use off the shelf components). Mission Planner alone is enough reason to use ArduCopter. The telemetry features of APM are light years ahead of MK as well (at least when I stopped using MK). MK has range limits on its Navi Board. The "stack" is large and unsuitable for smaller craft.

    However, all that being said, I have noticed that MK always was a little more stable in flight. Not significantly so, it just looked a little more dialed in.  


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