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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Thank you for the reply, Hein. That makes sense now. 

Now another question. How would I run X Plane for the simulation? 

That's called hardware in line, and I have zero experience with it, but I think it's only really useful when you're modifying the APM code.

Alright, so I'd like to simulate what I've already set-up without having to test the APM in real life. I've also noticed X Plane is not the only simulator to use. Which one out of the four (X Plane, FlightGear, AeroSimRC, and JSBSim) are free to use and are the easiest to use? Are there any other simulators?

I just want to be uber safe/ cautious  that I've set this up properly.

the hardware sim stuff from where ive used it seemed semi useless comparing it to a real frame setup.. It was VERY useful for learning how to use MP while not having to worry about smashing a real plane into the ground.. I got pretty good at flying a C172 around using only mission planner and a joystick attached, not using any "RC" control. Also gives you a way to play around on a rainy day, or to test out ArduPilot, or another GCS (but thats a whole different story, stick to basics for now).. 

X-Plane was the only one I could get working, the others were soo close, and it was probably something I had missed.. One thing I noticed on the Simulator tab, leave the APM settings at default and adjust the gains so they can move the control surfaces with some authority.. The default gains seemed too high, and I had to lower them down to get some decent control from the APM to the SIM.. Once this was going decently I started playing with the APM gains... One thing to remember is with two sets of gains, its hard to compare to a real plane.. Hopefully someone with more experience on this can chime in as well... 

APM is sending data to MP, MP Sends to Xplane, and receives physics/gps data back. MP then sends this to APM.. (or so thats my understanding ;D)

To get the sim going, (if all on one PC, it works fine, if not you need to adjust the IP addresses)., 

1: Start Xplane and adjust the data sections, if you have the demo do all this first, so your not burning up your 15 min.. (Demo only takes joystick input for 15 min, technically you can use longer, but the nag screen kinda kills the fun, and its only like 39 bucks)..

2: Load HITL Firmware (Located near the lower left side on the firmware screen, remember this overwrites any settings, so back those up if you had to make any config changes). HITL firmware has an option (Disabled by default?) to move the actual control surfaces which should match the sim, make sure your ESC is disconnected or propless, this might be a non issue now (i havent tested in a few months)..

3: Connect MP to the "HITL" APM, should load up but not show any location data yet, because the Xplane to MP link isnt running. In SIMULATOR tab in Mission planner, check the Xplane box, and XPlane10 box (ifusing XP10). Press START button in the SIM tab

4: Start Xplane, and things should start syncing up as far as Xplane GPS to MP and HUD.. 

5: Once your here, press B to release brakes, and go to town.  The default Xplane c172 seems pretty decent, once you get better at adjusting pids, try the 777 on for size.. ;D

This also possibly works for standard helis, but I have never done this.. 

Ill be back home tomorrow and i can grab some screen shots off my sim box if that helps..

Thank you for the in depth write up, Greg. As of now, my friend and I are awaiting X Plane's arrival in the mail (Tuesday ETA).

But, today we bit the bullet and tried a test flight with 1 WP and set it to "Loiter" then "RTL". That was a catastrophic failure to say the least. Thankfully we had "Manual" override set-up correctly. Fast forward 2 hours and we thought we had those bugs fixed. Now our dilemma is that when we load (write) our flight plan and click Disconnect, the telemetry module signal fails thus causing the APM to toggle Failsafe. Our Horizon Indicator locks up too. 

Ah HA! Brainfart spark.... Our USB was plugged into COM port 5 which is what the TM uses... I think we've got it.

regardign your prior post of the motor coming on all of the sudden...

this happened to me and what i did was decrease the min throttle under arduplane PIDs? to 0.  

it does RTH and everything, tho i've never checked to see if it will do so with the radio turned off.

Hi Jim,

I did the same thing with my PID's as well. The more I'm messing with param's, the more I'm getting used to the APM/MP. 

Question for all...
This may be a crap shoot question, but is there a way to see all the settings I've done in the Terminal (i.e. - Stand./Adv. Params's, Calibration, Flight Planner)? I see that there is a "Show Settings" tab under the Terminal Port but nothing happens when clicked (I am connected). Will this show all settings in script? I ask this because the APM is reading in meters instead of feet, although changed to feet. Just wondering if I can override this setting. And possibly others down the road.

It looks like xplane is $59, not $39. Did the price go up or am I looking at the wrong version?


Get the usb key. You can simulate all around the KSEA area from the demo.

My business partner and I went for the full disc version. Maybe it's not needed, but I'm sure we'll be toying with it when the APM makes us drool. ;)

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