I have read the arducopter manual and also reviewed some of the earlier forum posts and initially moved my sonar sensor (recommended Maxbotix) 3" away from the main electronics but still see too much noise for the sonar to work in Alt Hold properly, So I did some more research and think the following may be of interest to the group. I certainly hope it allows me to keep the sonar closer to the centre of my copter rather than out on an extended arm and nearer to the motors and props.
I found a simple solution from Maxbotix, that should eliminate the effects of excessive supply noise which can impact the Sonar sensor operation. Placing a 100 Ohm resistor in series with the V+ line along with a 100uF Electrolytic capacitor (6.3V +/- 20% tolerance) to ground, you create an effective filter for the sensor. This ensures that almost any noise introduced onto the line is captured and only clean stable power is supplied to the sensor. See the photo schematic below:
This combined with perhaps a shielded cable as described here may eliminate the need to place the sensor out on a long plastic arm as I have seen mentioned in another forum post and in the Arducopter manual.
The only concern I have is extending the ground plane to the sensor board and whether this may introduce other issues. For example, normally the signal receiving end ground plane would be tied to earth, But in the arducopter this is not possible being a flying platform.
Anyone care to discuss / comment the possible side effects of a floating ground between the APM and sensor acting as an antenna of some sorts if both ends are connected? In other words would connecting the signal wire shield to the GND on both the APM and Sonar (As described in the Maxbotics article) be ok? Note the postive, negative and Analogue signal would be inside the shield.
I plan to do some experimenting over the next few days and report back my findings.
One other quick question. How many people run with sensor filters enabled on the IMU shield (3 in total)? What are the cons if you use the filters? e.g some sensitivity loss in the detector / sensor?