Well, no replies but I have made a ton of progress! I wrote a simple app that allows me to send data over serial and it is working beautifully! Next step is to figure out how to send commands over the xbee to the ArduPilot
Sounds good. I'd like to use my iPad for a ground station some day. It makes more sense than a laptop. I'll just need to wrestle it back off my kids.....
How are you planning on communicating with the xbee? The only way I can think of is through the serial pins of the iPhone and that requires root level access. You said that you were planning on publishing through iTunes, did you find another way to communicate with the xbee?
Anyways, I plan on buying an xbee pair within a few weeks and making sure I can communicate between the two. Then in a couple months when I get out for the summer and start my job i'll have enough money to buy the ardupilot and throw it in my rc plane.
This is my very simple application to send serial over the iPhone's 12 and 13 pins. The advantage of this method is that it would not require a separate microprocessor to send the serial data, instead the iPhone would do all the calculations and could even power the xbee.
Also, since i don't have the ardupilot yet, i'm still fuzzy on how to xbee communication works. I know its serial but is there like a list of commands?
I did find this though:
Assuming you will use the Mission Planner, all of the mavlink commands that are passed to and from the APM over xbee are dealt with behind the scenes.It's all point and click.
my bad, i should haver read the initial post more attentively. There is a full list of mavlink protocol commands somewhere in the wiki: http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/
Kinda, but i had to write the "drivers" for the iPhone so that it can handle the UART serial data.
As you can see, I connect the "tx/rx" cables to the iPhone pinout along with the 3.3v and gnd. this allows me to communicate and power the arduino. I will eventually switch it for an xbee.
Also, have you gotten MAVlink to work on the arduino? I don't really understand the protocol at all.