Hello all,

This is my first post on DIYDrones and I'm at a point of complete frustration and at a loss with setting up my APM 2.6. I've been researching and digging through posts on here and codes.google.- for programming and getting this thing up and running on, I guess, a "standard" set-up. What I mean by "standard" is to get my plane up and running on the basics of APM. Now I'm thinking there's no such thing as basic.My head is congested with minimOSD flashing, Advanced Params, etc. Blah... 

Enough with the babble. My question is, is there a standard set-up guide, step-by-step manual for getting this thing programmed? Where to start? Not gonna lie, but I may need some hand holding..

I am not at all new to flying RC aircraft nor FPV. Only new to APM and component flashing. My background is not in software programming and in fact, I feel like an idiot when it comes to this stuff. Please, do not post a link to "Newbies Guide to UAV's"...

The APM is in a Penguin FPV plank. I have the uBlox GPS sensor, APM 2.6, MinimOSD, 915mHz Telemetry modules, Y-splitter to the OSD and on board Telem module. Tx is a Hitec Aurora 9 running an Optic 7 Rx.

Lets assume I have my components hooked up where they need to go and the MP loaded onto my computer (Win7).

Now what?

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If you read the instructions on http://plane.ardupilot.com/ carefully and thoroughly, you'll get there without a problem.

Let me know if you're stuck at a specific point.

I've gotten to a point where I've loaded the Plane firmware onto the APM. I've calibrated the APM sensors on all of its axis. Also calibrated stick movements on my Tx. After that (when reading what to do next) my motor randomly turned on (prop off). I guess that's where I got side-tracked. - How to make it so that is does not come on without a Tx input.

Basically, just read down the list under "Instructions"?

Also one thing that helps, break it down into stages:

Plank first, trim and confirm it flies.

AutoPilot, working stab and navigations (Ignore fpv and osd for now) deal with tuning and making it reliable (Rth, etc)..

OSD/FPV, Get the OSD going and fpv transmitting, and fly around.. enjoy..

this helped me with the "overwhelm" factor, as there was fewer issues to deal with at a time.. Remember its a wiki so it changes often, so it sometimes helps to re-read everything a few times, then read while trying to do something..

hope this helps a bit, and good luck.. if your stuck on a specific area let us know, we can fix it!

Yes, be patient and thorough. We are now fortunate to have great instructions where in the past the product was developing so quickly there was little documentation on many aspects.

If your motor comes on, check the APM planner under radio and see if you have any throttle input from your receiver. Check the graph on the flight info screen to see if the APM is for some reason outputting throttle, etc.

Greg O has great advice - I'm assuming you've setup the Penguin so that you're sure it's trimmed out and flies well without the APM?

Yes, I've flown the Penguin and is trimmed.

Hi Greg,

Thank you for your reply! 

That's what I'm trying to get at - the Autopilot (APM). I've got the OSD/ FPV working; not focused on that as of now. The APM in itself is the overwhelming part. lol

The plank has been flown and is trimmed. 

I feel as if I've gone too far in the MP and have made some changes without knowing/ fully understanding what those changes may have caused. Is there a way to reset the APM/MP and start over?

I would take the FPV gear out and start with just the APM on board an aircraft that has flown (sounds like you are there for that)

Well done for having your prop off for the tests! Now follow the wiki steps as have been suggested. I am sure this is a matter of ensuring that the radio setup is correct.

FPV gear has been out. I'm at a point where I've disconnected all servo inputs/ outputs, OSD, Telem, GPS, and the Power Module. Only thing I have connected is the APM to comp via USB. Now, what key components will I need connected to the APM to configure this properly? 

I've had many close calls with static set-ups over the years. 

Yup there is.. 

In the CLI (Use the "Terminal" tab) this gives you the console for the APM (As long as you have flashed something on it, Either ArduPlane, copter, or rover). 

Enter the "erase" command and it will clear out the EEprom (this is where config is stored)..

also if going between ArduCopter/Arduplane you usually want to do this before setting up in MP as it gives some sane values to start with..

so some highlevel points from the wiki to get started:

1: Flash a firmware - Loading the brain onto the APM

2: Calibrate Radio - Telling the APM about your radio

3: Calibrate Accel/Compass

4: Setup flightmode(s) - Usually a 3 way switch, with a "Manual" "Auto" "RTH" or similar arrangement..

5: Fly and tune (Usually start with the defaults, and change one item at a time, its kinda PITA, but can be done via telemetry wireless).

I also would recommend replacing the FPV equipment with static weight, in case something bad happens.. once things fly good, put FPV gear back.. 

Other then that, good luck and keep us posted..

PS: If you havent loaded a firmware yet, the "CLI" wont work. 

More info on the ArduPilot CLI 


Hi Greg O,

I erased and started from scratch last night. Now, I'm at a point where I think I can test fly with the APM. Or I should say next is fine tuning. I have a dilemma though. On the MP under the Flight Data tab, the GPS lock shows that my aircraft is pointing NNE when in actuality, it's pointing W. How do I calibrate true heading?

{Edit} I'm showing 3D FIX and the aircraft on the screen is showing NNW. It seems to be searching for true direction. Do I let figure it out on its own? Or does this need to be calibrated?

It would determine the direction once its moving based on the gps updates. Arduplane does not use the internal compass. No calibration in that sense!

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