Hello everyone - love the site, been lurking for some time now as I prepare to build my first drone.
Speaking of which - I have a simple goal in mind - I want to build a drone based on the Multiplex EasyStar Powered Glider, which is highly recommended throughout this sight.
Requirements are simple - collect imagery along a flight path that I program into ArduPilot and then return with those images and a log of the GPS positions which I will use to calculate (estimate) footprints for each image based on the sensor parameters and the time each image was shot to make KML ImageOverlays for Google Earth.
So, I have tried to follow some of the guides here to order all of the parts I will need, and to start programing my ArduPilot.
I appreciate this sight greatly, but honestly, it seems geared towards folks that have been RC Pilots for years, and have a ton of this equipment lying around, and are well versed in things like how to charge a LiPo battery!
Here are the Posts which I believe lay out how you should proceed with building an EasyStar based Drone:
How to Mode A Multiplex EasyStar
Turning an EasyStar into a Proper Camera Platform
The ArduPilot Homepage
The ArduPilot 2.0 Post
Based on these posts, and recommendations from Chris Anderson throughout this site, here is what I have purchased for this project:
You'll notice that in the spreadsheet, I do not have
Here is as far as I was able to get today because I did not have all the necessary equipment to continue building.
I did not find any instructions / suggestions to buy these very important parts!
1. The FMA Interconnector Cable (If you follow the ArduPilot 2.0 Post, it says you can just buy the XY sensor - however, new purchasers need to also buy the Interconnector cable so that they can actually connect something to the sensor (it comes with the FMA CoPilot full kit so I guess that's what Chris already had))
2. W.S. Deans Connectors to solder on to the Electronic Speed Controller and connect to the LiPo.
3. A Battery Charger - I knew nothing about these, so I bought a charger that HobbyWorks told me would work with LiPo Batteries.
However, the battery Chris recommends, the ElectriFly 3S LiPo @ 24000mAh , requires a "balancer" about $35 extra from Tower Hobbies.
So now I have this SuperBrain 989 Charger, and will need to wait for the LiPo balancer to come in before I can charge my LiPo and power anything.
I would suggest others look at getting the ElectriFly charger that has a built in balancer which should be easier and a little cheaper than the route I ended up taking.
Ok, so whining aside about what I didn't order - I now think I have all the header pins soldered on to my ArduPilot that I will need to load on the 2.0 Software. Plus the 2 optional Battery pins.
I have 2 questions:
1. Where are the instructions on where the FTDI cable connects to load on the software?
I think it connects on the pins right along side of the GPS port but I am not certain.
2. The ArduPilot 1.0 connected to the ESC and appears to have controlled the throttle.
However, the diagram for 2.0 does not look like it connects to the ESC at all.
So, what happens when Autopilot mode is engaged?
Are you supposed to manually control the throttle?
This is not ideal - what if it goes out of range?