Had a chance to compare the Naza M to AMP 2 this weekend and wanted to share the experience.

The comparison was done on two similarly sized custom built quads at ~24" span running the same props, motors, PDU and ESCs.  The Naza quad had a Go Pro and Fat Shark FPV 5.8Ghz Transmitter and weighted in at about 3.1 Lbs.  The APM Quad (mine) had no additional equipment besides a Sonar and it weighed about 2.75 Lbs.

In general both performed very well with a nod going to the Naza in Loiter, RTL and auto landing due to what appears to be a better GPS.  Clearly APM has auto mode and Naza does not.. for the price the APM appears to be a solid value.

Stable Mode

As expected both quads were equally stable with no real noticeable difference in stability.  The only big difference was NO TUNING on the Naza... it just worked out of the box.

Loiter

The Naza quad had a noticeable difference in loiter stability and accuracy.  Granted my quad my not be tuned perfectly but the Naza held its position more accurately and with less twitching in the wind to do so.  The Naza's corrections to the wind seemed to be invisible.. where the APM corrections were noticeable in both pitch and prop noise.

 

RTL

We did a RTL comparison taking off from the same spot and flying about 100 yards away at about 35 feet.  The Naza returned to the exact spot of take off.  APM got within 10 feet  (see below).

 

Auto Landing

Testing the auto landing during RTL..... the Naza descended from 35 feet in what appeared to be about 5 foot increments.  It was a very controlled decent.  It landed perfectly on home and shutoff.  As mentioned the APM quad hit the launch point within 10 feet.  Its decent to landing was steadily and constant.  When it touched down it then proceeded to skip around on the ground and went another 10 feet from its landing point before shutting down.

AutoPilot

The Naza has no autopilot.  I finally got all the gremlins out of my APM and flew several successful missions which was very cool.

Cost

APM is ~$200 with GPS and Autopilot

Naza is ~$240 + and additional ~$160 for GPS. = $400

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So What ??

You get functionality X for Y dollars.  A vendor has every right not to sell you functionality X+1 unless you pay Y+many dollars. It's their product, you always have the choice to buy the competitor's product.

I don't understand why you get insulted by free market competition.  A very talented vendor that creates a very good product can afford to ask as much as it wishes for it.  You always have a choice to buy another product from a more competitive vendor.

[Soapbox on]

Once upon a time, people (craftsmen if you will) produced a product. 

And that product was the finest product that craftsman could make with the materiel and skills that he had. 

Then in the 20th Century, and even more in the 21st Century, Marketing comes along and says: Wait! We can make 10x as much for our product, if we cripple it and sell it as "entry level". Then charge ridicules amounts for the "premium" version. 

My beef with this is: Is it moral and ethical?

In my heart and soul I believe this is unethical. Certainly it is legal. And it is capitalistic. I also think it is predatory on that great unaware lemming herd that is the global economy. 

I was raised to do your best, work the hardest, and you will be successful. But Increasingly, I've witnessed products being introduced with tiered licensing structures where you buy the hardware, and then you license the capability. How is it that we've allowed ourselves to be led down this path and we think that this is the norm? What happened to producing the best product?

Corporations have entire departments devoted to License Tracking, and they pay annual "Maintenance Fee's" on licenses  And what do they pay for? Hot Air. Nothing. A thought. An idea that somehow this is what we do. Pouring money into hardware they already own for features and maintenance that should been included or should have worked when it was purchased. 

Is this the future you want for Flight Controllers and Auto Pilots? Because this is the future that is obviously envisioned by DJI. They are already doing it. 

I guess your basic assumption is that s/w if free (as in "no cost") and all the cost is in the h/w.

Obviously in flight controllers most of the investment of the vendor is in the s/w.  You don't need to look to far, just take the APM as an excellent example.

So it makes sense to me to pay more for s/w that does more on the exact same h/w.

I don't see what's wrong with this?

BTW, DJI undercuts Mikrocopter (it is MUCH cheaper).  Your see, you can take the price vs. value game in both directions.

Ok. 

Lets stick with Mikrocopter. 

Hold out you hand and look at it. 

Now go here. http://www.foxtechfpv.com/wkm-5-waypoint-upgrade-p-394.html

Spend $900.

Now look in your hand. Is it empty? Yes? Lets try again. 

Go here: http://www.foxtechfpv.com/wkm-multiwaypoint-upgrade-50waypoints-p-4...

Spend $1300. 

Look in your hand. Still empty?

Was the software, in your device ACTUALLY changed? No. 

Did the development cost any less for them to sell you a crippled piece of software. No. 

Actually I would put forth that it actually costs MORE to develop a scheme of restriction than it would to just sell you a fully functional device in the first place. They actually have to go through the code and deny you access to features based on this scheme. This has NOTHING to do with "Software Development Costs" and everything to do with separating you from your money. If they are making money on a one waypoint version, then they are stealing your money on a 5 waypoint version. 

And to me this is filthy and unethical. Maybe its just they way that I was raised, but I would have produced the best software with the most features that was possible. 

Hey Drone Servent,

I have had 2 NAZA-Ms, one is in a lake :( the other in my f550 and what really upset me is the first day i tried t activate mine their servers were down, they were in Vegas so I could not even activate it.

What happened is my NAZA came in, I tried to setup my firmware, I started the dji assistant, it phoned home (or tried) and gave a dumb error message, that went on all day and I was clueless as it was my first ever naza controller.

I put a message on their Facebook page and finally got a response.

Ill try to find that stuff for you but use, the GPS things was a huge mess in the beginning and they do require you to enter the email and make a password and the DJI Assistant phones home if it can't your out of luck.  So there is no reason they should not have emailed everyone.

Ill see if I can find some old stuff on it

NAZA, Never a Ztraight Answer

There is another thing to compare... Camera Gimbal performance and configuration. I love APM and it's versatility. However, I have had issues with tuning the camera gimbal to function as I would expect.

I noticed that the Naza menus have a setting for servo max, center, and min. APM only has Max and Min. Since I have had trouble with obtaining an accurate centering, I think that maybe the addition of this center point could be helpful. Also, the standard APM gimbal channels are fixed at a 50hz frequency update. Although you can also hookup the gimbal servos to the outputs on the 490Hz output rail, it is unclear to me if the gimbal software actually utilizes a different update rate. This is essential for high speed ditigal servos and smooth gimbal operation. Naza offers an adjustable output frequency in configuration.

So, again I am a big supporter of APM. I would really like to see an increased emphasis on gimbal control so that we can accurately tune it for high-end AV application. 

1) Revisit Servo Limit / Angle Limit tuning for accurate performance

2) Adjustable output frequency for high-speed digital servos

Cheers.

@Edgar Scott  You really do have a point. Aside from all of the info they collect from you when purchasing there product, they make it a point that you as the end user HAVE to contact them to register your product, give them your email and even verify it...They obviously have taken the time to setup a system that is there just so they contact you with important info regarding your product.  So Why not use it?

Definatley 2 radically different approaches. I was looking at some of the different options, with the entry level software offering 1-5 waypoints.... they are also using additional waypoints as incentives. There data link (telemetry, $520) for instance comes with an additional waypoint unlock code.

The approach almost mimics Android and Apple, with one requiring that you setup an account before the first use. Personally I like the DIY approach. There is something to be said for assembling, soldering and wiring your equipment together vs. plug and play. You learn allot about the system even before using it, and that really helps down the road when you run into problems or have to rebuild or upgrade..

GearType,

     There have been some discussions on this non-linearity of the servo movement and what we should do about it.  It is possible to add a mid point and then do linear interpolation between min-mid and mid-max.  We do something similar for the motors actually to get rid of the non-linearity of most ESC/Motors.

     By the way - if you hitch up the gimbal servos to channel 5 ~ 8 (on the APM2) the output to the servos will happen at 490 hz (or whatever you have set the RC_SPEED to) but the gimbal repositioning software only recalculates the gimbal position at 50hz.  So basically I'm not sure if it'll improve performance or not to use the back rail but if someone finds out I'd like to hear the response!

John, how about other flight modes are they improved with 2.9?

I would like to see if the AltHold maintain position as well?

To me Position Hold description is still most like the NAZA so I would wonder if center throttle stick maintains a better altitude like the NAZA does.

Ill try it later this week just wondered if you noticed any other flight mode changes?

Edgar,

     Loiter is what you want i think.  That does alt and position hold.  We're working on extending the inertial nav to cover loiter but it's not ready yet and likely won't be ready for 2.9 (so you can look forward to 2.9.1).

-Randy

Im not so sure it is because the NAZA GPASAltHold you can land, shut off motors control altitude normal and fly normal, then when you change back its does not jump altitude change.   Its just he NAZA let go of sticks and center throttle and it always holds alt no matter what load(camera) you have on it, it knows the stick is center and fixes everything. This to me is more like position hold.

I see the zip here but did not see the hex file to try the firmware, how do I do this?

http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/downloads/list

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