I'm having problems with my Attopilot 180A voltage and current sensor.
I know people had similar problems but can't find any solution.
Here is my story:
I have 1.000 mm octocopter (6S 16.000 mAh), around 50 A at hover, Pixhawk.
I've installed Attopilot 180A voltage and current sensor in order to have voltage, current, but most importantly for me, mAh reading to be as safe as possible when flying. I also have Futaba 14SG with telemetry so I'm also tracking my battery status (voltage) on the transmitter.
The problem is that Attopilot doesn't seem to have linear voltage (nor current) output under load. I've ruled out everything else because I did the following:
1. I've calibrated the voltage reading with handheld voltmeter and fully charged 6S. The voltage info on the OSD/MP is absolutely correct without load.
2. When I start to draw about 10-20 A, voltage on the OSD/MP drops too much, 0.4-0.5 V under actual value (measured with inline watt meter and handheld voltmeter)
3. Interestingly enough, when I connect 4S pack, without any load the reading is perfect. So, conclusion is that when current starts to flow shit start to happen.
4. Now, to rule out the Pixhawk, I've measured the output on the Attopilot alone and compare that to the voltmeter. Here is what I get: 24,87 V (no load) -> 1,579 V; 24,67 V (around 7A) -> 1,559 V; 24,49 V (around 10 A) -> 1,546 V; 24,41 V (around 20 A) -> 1,537 V
If you start doing the math you will see that Attopilots voltage drops too much when under load. So, if I calibrate the voltage reading with no load, then the reading will be inaccurate when under load. If I calibrate it under 10 A load, then it will be inaccurate without the load and under different load (50 A).
Since these Attopilot board are very simple devices I don't know why is this happening. Should I try to buy another Attopilot 180A board (or any alternative if something like that exists) or I can fix this somehow
Thanks a lot!!
Thank God I'm not alone in this.
In fact, I've ordered second attopilot 180 A because I thought that maybe I damaged it while soldering. I was very careful with second one when soldering and it's the same.
Yesterday something came across my mind. I'm using anti-spark 150 (AS150) connectors. Positive connector basically has 5,5 ohm resistor built in. Could this be the problem somehow (even I don't see how)? Are you using anti-spark connectors?
You are measuring the battery current and voltage going into 8-ESC which due to the switching going on in the ESC's will be far from smooth current/voltage. As you vary the speed of the ESC's so the way the current gets chopped up will vary. The output from the Atto sensor will be smoothed to try and better reflect average dc current but that smoothing could easily be different to the smoothing on your inline wattmeter. So every device that measures that chopped up dc current from the battery is likely to give a different reading. Both the current and to a lesser extent the voltage readings will be affected. And then you have other issues with how the measured current is digitised.
What can you do? Not a lot other than trying to get the same level and type of smoothing or filtering on each measuring device, which I would suggest is not easy.Accept the limitations of pulsed dc current and voltage measurement and be aware of the inaccuracies.
I don't think this can cause that big of a difference. Because I've measured current and voltage with different devices, including one in Futaba R7008SB receiver. All of them are in 0.1V the same. So, I don't really get how the Futabas R7008SB receiver which is connected basically at the same place as the attopilot can measure the voltage very precisely (same as my Hobbyking wattmeter and high quality handheld multimeter) and the attopilot board is way way off under load.
This is all very interesting because:
1.) My Futaba R7008SB telemetry reads the voltage perfectly and it's connected basically to the same place.
2.) Voltage from the attopilot is not linear so Pixhawk can't do anything about that. I would say the problem is Attopilot. But...
3.) Both brand new attopilot boards I've tried behave the same. They can't all be faulty so I think that maybe this is not Attopilot or they just can't do what they are marketed for.
Really I have no clue what to do.
In my experience, the 3DR power module does the same thing and so does the Hobby King power module. Since there is nothing I nor you can do about it, you can only take the lesser of two evils. Instead of calibrating it to be accurate on the ground, calibrate it to be accurate in the air.
I calibrate the voltage and current sensor using Mission Planner in the Pixhawk at 50-60% throttle. Most of my flying is 25-35 amps, so I bring it up to that level, measure the current and voltage on my meter, and enter those readings into Mission Planner. Now I know I have accurate readings in flight and the subsequent slightly inaccurate readings are all while sitting on the ground.
I do this by turning the propellers upside down, just like you do for the Compass Motor Calibration. That way I can spool the motors up to 30 amps on the bench and meter it.
I also think BATT_AMP_OFFSET plays a role as well. I've never been sure how to implement it though :) Like Peddals2Paddles, I too calibrate the sensor at 50-60% throttle (the practical range where I spend most of the flight). As in this video here:
Has anyone found a solution to this? I have the exact problem with Attopilot and also Hobbyking Power Module. It is unacceptable that it doesn't work reliably, since my wattmeter can measure the voltage at any load!
For the eaxct same attopilot stability issue, I decided to build my own current/voltage measurement board up to 8S...and hall effect current measurement which with the ACS758 provides more linear measurements up to 200A: