Hello everyone, Im new around here but I hope one day I can contribute to trad heli :)

Ive been flying helis for around a year. Ive got a 450 stretch (480 with 6s and 350mm asym blades) which I'm working on for the last few weeks. Currently I run an MSH brain FBL unit, but I wanna try ArduCopter!! Before I get carried away, Ive got a few questions I hope you could please answer..

1. Can anyone give me their experiences flying with the newest code? I aim to have a solid flying heli that will fly similar to an MSH Brain, but with the added benefit of arducopter (self level etc)

2. I'll soon be running a fixed pitch tail to elimiate the tail servo and torque tube. The tail will be directly driven by a brushless motor with a 6" prop and an ESC hanging off the tail channel. I know that a good FBL unit can be set to run this quite easily. Can ArduCopter do the same?

3. How reliable is the self-levelling currently? I know that the MSH Brain I run is very finnicky to set up, but my experience with MultiWii proves it can be very easy



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Hi, I'll try to answer your questions but I think you may be coming at this from the wrong direction.

Currently, Arducopter is a UAV controller, not a FBL controller.  You ask if it "can" do self level, when in fact it really only does self-level.  The currently released code, 2.7.3 will only fly a heli in Stabilize mode, which means maximum of 45° pitch and roll.  There is no acrobatic ability in the controller at all.

We should be releasing 2.9 soon, which makes the stabilization even better, and also allows limited acrobatics.  The controls are in the earth frame, not body frame, so it may field weird to a person who can fly acrobatics.  We soon hope to get body frame acro mode working which would then make this a proper acrobatic FBL controller.

I don't see any reason why the system could not control a direct drive tail, subject to the usual problems with these which is more mechanic/aerodynamic in nature.

Hey thanks for the reply!

This system is looking more and more appealing to me because of the developments you guys are doing on FBL capability especially with body frame control in the future. At this stage Im looking at running arducopter similar to how I set flymentor to run with FBL in this thread on HF http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=440814 so that arducopter is an auxiliary stabilization unit. When the FBL code becomes more mature, I'll be throwing out the FBL unit :)

The tail rotor wont be as responsive as a variable pitch tail, but 3D really isnt of any interest to me. The goal here is to have as simple a tail mechanically as possible, so balancing is simplified and vibration can be eliminated.

Is it possible to run tradheli on a crius multiwii board? ive seen stuff on how to port it, but thats only with older versions.


I think that running Arducopter , with the output going to a FBL unit is potentially a very bad idea.  There's no telling how the two systems would interact.

Are you doing flips and rolls?

Based on your vids, I think Arducopter will fly just fine for you all by itself.  You aren't asking it to do anything difficult.  It can control flybarless helis just fine, it just can't do flips.

I'm occasionally doing flips and rolls but I really only fly big open circuits at high speed (think FPV). My vids are pretty bad to go off because that small park is enclosed by buildings. I'll post some of my flying when I get this next build flying :)

That was the consensus with flymentor and FBL until I tried it (flymentor is not intended for FBL helis). Actually the two systems really work well together, it works better than it does with flybarred. You just have to dial the gain wayyy down. I think its because of the robotic way FBL behaves, being the reason why the stabilization unit has an easier time levelling the heli. 

There is one major disadvantage being that the amount of wiring is ridiculous. Another minor issue with that system is that once you hit 90 degrees flymentor tries to invert the heli rather than levelling it. It can get scary during hard turns but hey, thats why I'm upgrading to APM right? ;)


Well, the thing is, the Flymentor is a completely different system. (I had one).  The APM is far more intelligent and works differently.  I'm not sure you'll be able to get it working without hacking the code.  What you want to do is completely outside the stream of what we're trying to do and I don't have time to support the effort.

My suggestion is to just go with the APM as-intended, and try it out.  I think you'll be satisfied.  Chances are we'll have body-frame acrobatics working by the time you figure out how to get it working with the FBL controller.

Thanks Rob, I'm looking forward to seeing how tradheli develops in the next few months :)


I think with 2.9, it's a great controller and lots of fun to do everything other than acrobatics.

107 km/h on a 450, can't be too bad! ;)

hey mate, I'm about to pull the trigger on APM 2.5+ but I have a couple of Q's before I go ahead (sorry i couldn't find the answers in this labyrinth of info lol)

1. Is cyclic/pitch pre-comp currently implemented in Arducopter? I really need this for my FP tail to work at all

2. Is the issue with 2.9 filter resolved? I couldn't work out if it had been fixed with 2.9.1 or if there was still a warning out for this build

So far my 450's top speed is 113km/h out of a dive in still air, but typical cruise speed is 85km/h :) I hope to help test body frame control when the time comes

also, to add to the list of questions, can I mount the APM on its side? How well suited is it for FBL? Thanks :)

1. Yes

2. 2.9 didn't have a filter issue, I suspected one did with 2.9.1, but I have confirmed it does not.  I'm flying it now.

I've done... what was it, 114 km/h straight line no dive with my 450.  No problem.

3. Supposedly you can mount it on it's side and fix this with a setting, but I haven't tried it yet, and haven't seen anybody else do it.

4. Yes, flies FBL great, just no acrobatics.

Thanks for that rob :)

I'm in, now to buy that gear..

Hey guys, I have my APM 2.5 finally :)

Half way through setting it up, I have all the servos moving correctly and have the electronics functioning well. But there are some things that are concerning. 

The servos go to random positions and stay there during init. Sometimes they do hectic binding that forces me to unplug the heli so it doesnt burn out the expensive servos.

Another thing, the unit wont initialize unless my radio is turned off. Then I have to turn the radio on after init is complete or it just sits there blinking. This is the opposite to what I'm used to (normally tx goes on first right?)

Occasionally during moving the sticks I can see the collective does an extremely quick small pitch pump (+/-3 deg in 0.1seconds) that seems bad, is this normal?

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