Simple ArduPilot Plane

Hello DIY Drones community! As mentioned on my profile, I am a high school student beginning a UAV project with a couple partners. We have experience with robotic electronics, C, and RC planes, but we're all new to autonomous planes. We've decided to give it a shot, but I'd like to verify that we're thinking straight.

Here is a list of electronics I have considered, and I would like to make a purchase in the next day or two if possible.
  • ArduPilot or ArduPilot Mega - Although we are currently using a 4-channel radio, I'm leaning towards the Mega for the 2MB onboard memory (Is this correct?) and the extra channels we may need.
  • EM-406A SiRF III - Will this work with both the ArduPilot and the ArduPilot Mega? If not, which engines will?
  • IDG500 Dual 500°/s - This should be easy to interface, correct? I feel that two axes will be sufficient, so one of these should be enough.
  • FTDI Basic Breakout - 5V - I have an Arduino Duemilanove. Is it possible to program the ArduPilot using the Tx/Rx pins on the Duemilanove, or would it either be impossible or too much of a hassle?
As far as code goes, we have decided to use the ArduPilot code simply as a reference. Programming can be DIY also, and even though we may be reinventing the wheel, we believe this is how experience is gained. Is entirely reprogramming a system too much of a dream to become a reality, or is it normally done?

I would be grateful to get some advice on this! Any details would be appreciated.

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Replies

  • No problem!

    Oh, I almost forgot. You will want a copy of X-Plane for testing (29.99).

    http://www.x-plane.org/

    If nothing else you can test the firmware before putting into your plane, it will also help you get used to waypoint management and such.
    Flightsim Community for X-Plane ®
  • Howdy,

    You will need the ArduPilot Mega, and you will need the shield that is available here that has the IMU on it.

    http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/ardupilot-mega-home-page

    Read everything on that page. This is the most versatile setup that you can go with.

    The data logger is only available on the shield that goes on the Mega. The memory size is 16 Mb(it) or 2MB (case matters :))

    The FTDI is a good interface cable. Note, don't plug this cable into 3.3v parts without pulling out the power lines (think venus GPS board) you will fry the 3.3v parts if they don't have some sort of voltage regulator.

    Use the recommended GPS boards, the NMEA parser doesn't work correctly "out of the box" and most of these guys use the binary protocols for the other gps boards.
  • Developer
    You can only do a simple "turn limiter" type autopilot with a 2 axis gyro. If you plan on being able to control pitch and roll you really need a 6 axis solution. Read about DCM on this site.

    The MediaTek gps is cheaper than the EM406, and is really much better.
  • 3D Robotics
    If you spend a little more time here reading, you'll save a huge amount of dev time: Everything you need is in the tabs above. You just need to click on them!

    1) ArduPilot Mega's onboard datalog memory is 16MB. 128k Flash memory for code.
    2) APM works better with faster GPS modules, such as the uBlox and MediaTek
    3) Why?? Please check out the APM IMU shield. If you want to reinvent the wheel be designing your own IMU board with accelerometers and gyros (again: why??) please allows for at least a year of research and programming.
    4) Too much of a hassle.

    Again, all of this is already developed, working and in use--you just need to click the links to see it. I do get the DIY spirit--that is in the name of the site--but there is no sense reinventing the wheel. Why not do something that hasn't already been done?
This reply was deleted.

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