I developed my own autopilot (more an enanched fly by wire actually,still developing) with an arduino pro because the first ardupilot just used few channels. Now I wish to use the APM as harware board for my project and make it fuse with APM firmware so we both gain something (I have some features that are not implemented in apm like motor efficency finder and managment, orthogonal control with non-pure 3axis airplanes, ecc) but...

can I make the 328 an arduino so I can program it with arduino ide? (are serial txrx pins easily available)
So sad I need to buy another programmer to upload code on 328. also I was hoping for 328 programmability trough the mega via usb, is it possible with the correct code?

how the 2 mcu are connected together in hw an sw? scheme and how are the information about servos and operation mode managed are not so clear to me.

from what I understand the mega and 328 talks via ppm protocol, this is a problem to me because it introduces unwanted latency to the servo controls. Can I use serial communications, i2c or something that has no protocol latency?

Actually what refresh rate is able to reach the apm with the latest firmware?

I actually use a ppm out from my receiver, is the code inside the 328 able to use full raw ppm instead of using lot of cables to read all channels? direct ppm is far better because lot of receivers filter the ppm signal and I want to skip this.

last question...how much cpu time is eat for the imu calculations in apm? I was hoping that in this new hw imu has is own mcu, can I ask the reason for this choice? in my mind the best imu connection is serial or i2c outputting raw, filtered and calculated data.

I hope all this are thing that I can solve so I can work on a bigger project with more people.

Thanks to everybody, this site is a good way to use the too many time I have (I broke my elbow, forced to stay home)

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