OK, I've spent every free hour I"ve had for the past few weeks Reading as much content on this site as I could and now I'm ready to jump! I can't wait any longer to order the APM 2.5!! Very excited at all the possibilities with a UAV! So my background is in security intergration eletronics mostly Industrial and Commercial and hospitals.  I have been flying (and repairing, LOL) RC for several years. I currently have a .50 nitro heli Raptor Titan, and a Raidian Pro elec. glider, and have been eyeing the new Quads and Hex"s.    I also have a go pro Hero2.  Soooooo......

My plan is to start off using and learning with the APM 2.5 in my Raidian Pro and build from there.  I want to do FPV, HD Rec, telemerty, OSD , and switch over equip to a Quad or Hex when I can afford it and once I get very comfy with the software.  

Being the current lightness of my pockets, I can't get everything all at once so I'm looking for advise based off of what u guys have already done! I have this equipment currently

DX7 tx (original)

Raidian Pro (flight ready)

Raptor Titan(flight ready but he's up for sale to help fund this project)

Go Pro Hero2 and all accy

PC's Windows

Samsung Galaxy S3 (droid)

In order of importance of componets for the APM 2.5 for use in a Raidian Pro such as GPS. Does it make a big difference for a plane to use the older mediatek vs the ublox. Airspeed sensor? Will it fly ok without it or is a must have. then to the 3DR radio, I think i have to have this for the in flight options thats a really interesting part for me! Hopefully my Raptor will magically turn into some great FPV equpiment, when it does, Im unclear if the APM and 3DR radio will do my OSD or am I looking for another piece of equipment

Thanks!!! Can't wait to be a part of DiyDrones

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Replies to This Discussion

From my personal experience, the mediatek GPS works fine as long as you keep it away from the other electronics, especially cameras. I have mine about 10cm out on one wing and never have any problems.

Airspeed sensor is nice, but I find that having it sticking out of the nose of the plane is quite annoying for transport. I'm considering putting it on the other wing to match the GPS or removing it entirely. It's certainly not a must have item.

I don't have a 3DR radio, so again it's not necessary, but it does open up some very interesting possibilities. So I can see why you would want one.

For FPV (and OSD) you need minimOSD for the OSD part and a video transmitter/receiver set for the FPV part. I'd suggest the generic/foxtech style 5.8G set. You can get the set from HobbyKing for under $60 (+ postage). You'll also need Circularly Polarized antennas. They are cheap, but a pain, to make yourself, or you can buy them with little plastic protective covers on them. The protective covers are quite handy so I'd look at buying a set.

Oh, don't forget to buy an FPV camera too. A wide dynamic range CCD camera is the best option. Unless you want to use the video out from your GoPro.

I am just starting out in the APM world as well.  I bought the kit with 3DR radios and the Mediatek GPS.  I also bought the Airspeed Sensor.

I consider the Telemetry essential as otherwise you are flying blind.  It is not hard to setup as it is basically plug and play.  My GPS has not played up however I do not have a camera yet.  Will let you know when I first fly with a camera.  It will fly without an airspeed sensor however it will fly better with one.

You can use Andropilot as the ground station however you will still need Mission Planner to set it all up.

Get the telemetry and use the Mediatek GPS.

The biggest piece of advice is make sure you have clean power to the APM.  Use the 3DR power module and ONLY put the APM, RX, GPS and Telemetry on it and NOTHING else.  Power your camera with a seperate power supply.  Take out JP1 and power your servos with the ESC or a seperate UBEC and make sure it has enough power to run all your servos including pan-tilt.  If you have digital servos consider upgrading your UBEC or ESC power capability.

I think clean power is the secret to successful a APM.  If you have that you can do all the rest.  Without it you will have nothing but problems.

The ublox is very nice, but get the mediated for now. Budget money in the next few months for a new GPS. Don't get the ublox just yet, wait about two or three months.

Get the 3dr radio if you can afford it.

Hold off a couple of months on the OSD. Just get things flying for now. Start visual, sort out the core electronics and AP system before adding in video transmitters, OSD.

When you do go FPV, I prefer to add the OSD downstream, not onboard. Consider:
-when on the plane, the OSD adds complexity and chews more power.
-when video goes fuzzy, you lose IFR.
-if you inject OSD on the ground, using telemetry, which is needed for OSD anyways to unit the data to the OSD (ground or airborne) then you keep IFR if you have telemetry, and if you lose telemetry, but have video, then you have a chance at least. So by assembling the OSD overlay on the ground, you can lose video and still have attitude and location, and fly IFR.

And you are flying lighter, by a few grams, less complex wiring, fewer cables to go bad, less power draw. Just a few ideas.

Welcome. Come on in, the water is great.

Skip the airspeed sensor for now.
Don't fly with your cameras for a few flights. Get your aircraft running well under autopilot, add a mock up block with the same weight, don't risk your camera on test flights.

When you go to fly, SLOWDOWN! I know you want to make magic happen, but don't skip steps. Check everything out. Step by step. Expect problems. Read the details on first flights. Know what can go wrong. Be prepared to recover, and be prepared for crashes. You are the flight engineer. And your aircraft has never flown before, when you rewire it, even if there are hundreds of thousands of flights on the APM, this is a first flight for you and your APM.

Great info guys! It sounds like the APM 2.5 + Mediatek GPS + 933Mhz 3DR telemerty kit is a perfect start!  Placing order on Monday! 

If you take the telemetry kit, you definitely need also an OTG cable for your SGS3! Better to have one with 90 deg angle.

It is great fun (and usefull too) to listen altitude warnings etc. shouted from your phone, and it collects flight data too.

APM 2.5 arrived today and total confusion has set in.  Let's start with power, I ordered the  APM, PM, 933 Telemerty, Mediatek GPS. Has the PM replaced the need for a BEC? I don't want to take any chances of poor power setup and i bought a switchable BEC, and a larger battery than the stock one. Forums are great but alot of info, many ver. of software, and new componets make it a lil hard to follow. All of this equipent is headed for my Radian Pro.  More questions are sure to follow


Everything you have ever wanted to know about powering the APM2.x: http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/APM25Power



Hi Mike, I am interested in having OSD on the ground, your arguments did convinced me.

Do you have any schematic for connection at the gound?

I have telemetry (xBee) and minimOSD but I would like to try OSD on the ground. Tx.

I could use some help on TX/mode switching with the DX7 and my set up. I have things mostly setup correct but need a lil tweaking help with my Radian pro.  Any chance anyone with a good understanding of the DX7 as it applies to this airframe and APM 2.5 wanna maybe try helping me over Skype or something similar?


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