Alternative Flight Control Boards for my Hexa?

Hey All-

After weeks of frustration, I think I've had it with the APM 2.5 board/software.  It's just not a reliable, stable solution for my needs.  Every time the Hexa has any issue, it seems to have EVERY issue.  Each problem takes dozens of hours, multiple forum discussions and too many repetitive calibration/installation steps that have no effect.  I just want a reliable airframe to shoot some aerial video - I don't want to re-invent powered flight every weekend.

I am curious if anyone has experience with other alternative solutions to the APM board for flight control which may be simpler to use.  Are there brands that offer a simpler way to get flying?  Some plug-and-play options or something more thoroughly tested and reliable?  As I mentioned, I am not interested in playing with code or creating sophisticated autonomous options - I just want to fly, maybe loiter a bit, and shoot some video.

Thanks in advance,


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  • Until recently, flight controller boards from the Open Pilot boards have been somewhat difficult to access given that the project does not run on a 'supply meets demand' model. However, in the past few weeks there has been some releases / opportunities that I suspect will lead to greater availability of OP boards - particularly the CopterControl board. You could do some reading on the original CopterControl and the more recent CC3D boards at;

    Note that these boards do not provide 'sophisticated autonomous flight' with waypoint navigation functionality - but they will provide a precise stabilisation solution for your hex assuming the props are balanced etc etc.. The Ground Control System software offers a 'wizard' for set up of the machine - worked very well for me (as a radio-control noob).

    The OP forum has a 'Classifieds' section at the bottom of the page where you might find a board.


  • If you've got the money, get a Naza and try them both.  Hopefully it's not like you have to trade one in to get the other.  Test them both yourself, make your own decision on what you like, and you can probably sell the controller you decide you don't want on eBay pretty easily.

    Personally, I have 9 different types of FCs.  I like comparing and contrasting them.  Each of them has and continues to teach me something.  Naza is BY FAR the closest to plug & play.

  • I have been with DIY for nearly two years and have experienced the same frustration.  I made the mistake of expecting a $200+ product to meet my needs and that was a mistake on my part.  I have accepted the fact that a Do It Yourself program is just what it implies.  The code realistically may never be a "final" product with a high level of reliability.  It is certainly feature rich and the ground station has an interface that I personally really like.  However, the code is "feature du jour" and that in itself causes many of the reliability issues.  The code is in a constant state of modification / enhancement by many contributors from around the world.  You can get a reliably flying airframe with the DIY autopilot but it takes a fair amount of tinkering to get all the aspects of its operation in sync.  Proof of its capability can be seen in many online videos using the latest version 2.8.1.  If you need some encouragement to stay with DIY, you should watch some of Marco's recent videos.  He is one of the experts on PID tuning and also flies the DJI products as well.

    I now fly DJI-Wookong (the 50 waypoint M version).  It is more costly but it is a product that has been through formal development with comprehensive testing that is tightly integrated into the product specifications.  I have recently purchased their S800 airframe which is a unique design in that the ESCs are integrated into the motor mounts and the arms are removeable for portability.  (no ESC calibration and no "tuning" other than inputing settings from their setup table based on the DJI airframe you are using.)  The S800 was designed to incorporate the DJI autopilot which I already have installed in my own quad and hexa airframes.  My only criticism is the overall weight of the S800 and still limited flight times of 15 to 25 minutes depending on many factors.  You will also have to upgrade your batteries if you get the S800 airframe from DJI.  It REQUIRES using two 6S/22.2 Volt/5 Amp Hour bricks and I mean bricks!

    If you don't like going through props and arms like toilet paper than you should consider a more mature and reliable product - and if you do the math and add up all the crash costs you have incurred, you probably have already spent enough to have purchased at least the NAZA unit.

    This is just a personal point of view.  The DIY product has come a very long way but not knowing what your intent is, it is still not a commercial product you can reliably integrate into a sellable solution without some financial, warranty and product liability risks.


    Good luck.

  • There is no such thing.  This is all experimental hardware and software.  The closest thing to plug and play according to some, but not from my own experience, is the DJI NAZA and WOOKONG products.

  • Hi
    You may want to try /consider this option.
    I have found that if  i get things working, save the config locally.
    When ever I have an issue, which can be fairly often I just reflash the firmware, upload the settings and away we go.
    Voltage issues were causing me  agony and I had the same feelings as you.
    I have a few different boards and this process cures many illnesses, but ultimately, you still may have to discover the real cause.
    Good luck

  • My immediate thought was a Quadrino (Multiwii software). I've flown a hexacopter with one. But it also comes with some configuration effort.

    The DJI Naza would probably fit your needs, if it's pricepoint does.

    Good luck!


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