Hey guys, my group is interested in using a multirotor aircraft for near surface remote sensing (earth science applications). We'd like to have the most flexible and versatile platform. For us, this means high payload capacity, reliability, and versatility with respect to configuration. The ArduCopter stuff is particularly appealing to us as it offers the greatest flexibility for mission planning, development, etc.
We are interested in building a CineStar 8 but using ArduCopter electronics (APM 2.5). From my forum searches I see that many people have done similar things, so I know this should be possible.
I'd appreciate some guidance on several things (my background is not in RC electronics):
* What motor/prop/ESC/lipo configurations will give us the best payload capacity/flight time balance? I've used the eCalc online tool, but most of this goes way over my head (I know that I will need to grasp it fully before we continue, but I don't know where to start!)
* How to expand the APM 2.5 outputs so that all 8 motors can be controlled in addition to stabilizing a camera gimbal? Is there another way to stabilize/control the gimbal without expanding the outputs?
* Assuming that we have an airframe, is my checklist here close to complete for the whole build?
- 1x APM 2.5+ w/ GPS and Power Module
- 8x motors w/ prop mounts
- 8x ESC
- 8x props
- Rx/Tx pair (Graupner MX12 or similar)
- Power distribution solution (like the homemade Deans rings)
- Misc. items? additional cables, hardware, etc
And for adding on a controllable 3-axis gimbal
- 1x 3-axis gimbal (FreeFly or similar)
- Rx/Tx pair for Gimbal
- Lipo for gimbal power
- Camera/sensor triggering solution
The ESCs are a particular mystery to me. I played around with the eCalc tool and couldn't figure out the proper ESC to use for the AXI 2828/12 motors (for example). I kept getting errors indicating that the max current was greater than the battery could supply. So, any additional information on how to select batteries/motors/ESCs would be very much appreciated (including just pointing me to the relevant literature).
One more question: Can the gimbal/shutter controls be integrated into a flight plan from the Mission Planner? It appears that they can, but I don't know what is involved to get that capability.
Thanks in advance!