Range issues with "Ardupilot in the loop"

We have everything up and running in our fixed wing trainer but only get 40 feet away during the collapsed antenna range test before the servos go nuts. If Ardupilot is taken out of the loop, Range is over 100 ft, the plane flies fine and the Co Pilot works.I removed all avionics from the plane and set them up on a test bed for diagnostics. Here's what we've tried----1-Running Ardupilot off separate battery2-Grounded shielding of Ardupilot and input cables3-Opto isolation of Rx from Ardupilot4-Reorienting componentsI'm using a Futaba 72MHz PPM Rx and no matter what methods we've tried, the range is still cut in half. Anyone else have these issues or are my avionics possessed!?

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  • I have a Futaba 72mhz radio as well and am experiencing similiar issues. All will be fine then sudden twitching of the servos. May have to try a 2.4 to see if this solves the problem.
  • Developer
    I am using JR 7202 @ 72 mhz with no range issues.
  • Seems like this is a common issue for Futaba 72Mhz radio. I faced this problem before and I had a discussion here: http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/705844:Topic:14909

    After I switched to the Futaba 2.4GHz FAAST radio, all the problem solved. It's really worth the money to switch to the 2.4 one instead spending time on troubleshooting the 72Mhz one.
  • I still am waiting for my plane to arrive, and I do not yet have my ardupilot set up so I have to answer this question academically... However, I do know a bit about wireless communicaitons. Is there anything that changes in the environment between the two tests For example:
    Do you have xbee running at the same time?
    Are you testing this outdoors?
    When you test, are their objects around that can cause reflections of the wireless signal? At 72 MHz at 100 feet multipath is unlikely but not impossible.
    One oddball thing - when you are running ardupilot do you have a PC around? You would be amazed how easily a laptop can saturate a 2.4 GHz radio.

    Anyhow, RF can cause weird problems
  • Admin

    You mentioned the Co Pilot in your post above. Are you using the FMA Co Pilot and version 1.0 of the Ardupilot flight software? If so, you need to move up to a later version of the Ardupilot board and the Ardupilot software.

    Just a thought.

  • Hi Chris,
    Ardupilot and Rx on the same battery was our baseline arrangement but the Ardupilot power was from soldered wires to the Bat + and - on the board, then we tried variations 1-4. I'll try using using just the power from the Rx inputs (as written in the Ardupilot page) and see what happens.
  • 3D Robotics
    We use exactly the same configuration, but with ArduPilot powered by the Rx, and get range measured in miles. Why don't you try that configuration and see if it makes a difference?
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