apm 2.8 features and equipment

I have a ardupilot 2.8 and want to install several features for this quad.

My intent is to build my own topographical surveying drone.

The copter has, or Im attempting to install:

3dr telemetry set with Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 attached to the transmitter

5.8ghz fpv system, with minimOSD

arducopter 2.8 with external gps antenna

ultrasonic height sensor

optical flow sensor

2 axis camera (standard servos) gimbal with Canon SX260hs geotagging camera using CHDK

FAA regulation aircraft lighting system (off, flight, flight+landing, Airshow)

retractable landing gear.

However, Im finding out I have a problem with getting everyting connected to the APM. It appears that some of these components require the same pins, or require modification to the boards jumpers that would make the other item(s) not useable.

Can anyone help me get all this stuff connected up? Perhaps reassign the gimbal to another set of channel pins or something?

Thank in advance...

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  • Your list of items is asking a lot for this old 8 bit micro-controller working very hard these days. If you do plan to use this for mapping you may want to forgo the optical flow and the ultrasonic height sensor. These are great for low height indoor flying or where you don't have a gps reception. However, for flying outside at a height of at least 40 meters these will not give you reliable results. I would also consider a separate board for the gimbal or ditching a gimbal all together. When you plan your survey grid make sure you get plenty of overlap and use a fast shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second. The gimbals are nice when you do aerial photography so you can control the oblique angle. For mapping you want straight down.

    I would also reconsider adding a video downlink. If you want OSD data then use Telemetry with you tablet to inform you. I use my Samsung Note 4 with verbal warnings. I also made a simple Bluetooth bridge using a cheap bluetooth module, a 3DR Clone radio and a 4.8 volt 4 cell NIMH receiver pack. Now I don't have any cables running to my tablet.

    On my mapping/aerial photography hexacopter I do have a gimbal but just point straight down for mapping. I only use the video tx without osd for aerial photography and not for mapping. No sense adding more wires and weight when I can get the data through telemetry.

    Which transmitter and reciever do you plan on using? Depending on which one then I'll recommend a way to connect your lights and landing gear.

    • I have the Radiolink AT9 9 channel transmitter and receiver. The lights are set to channel 8 (LS1), and the landing gear is set for channel 9 currently.

  • Basically its a Chinese clone, so for the most part these guy will not help you.

    But I have to ask, If you went for the optical flow sensor and everything why not spend the $120 on a pixhawk knockoff? They almost always work, and fly a quad much better. In fact you cant even load anything over 3.2 on an APM anyways. Personally I am using my APM's for planes and Pixhawk for multirotors. There are so many corrections needed that a pixhawks extra HP just does a better job. And now that any of the software after 3.2 wont work anyways....Well you get my drift.

    However if you can take a pick of what you have including the terminal ends and send them to me at wbarfels@hushmail.com then maybe we can set up skype and I will walk you through what you need to know. OR if you have a webcam that could things much easier. Ive set doezens of the up so...... 

    • Thats unfortunate to hear. I kind of hoped to find a welcoming community of enthusiasts, not an elitest group pining over each others wallet.

      Ill shoot you and email here in a second.


    • I wouldnt go that far, and all the info you need is here.....(Just under APM 2. or 2.7 or whatever the last one they made was.

      I mean It's kind of Ironic because 3DR followed the Maker format in which you create a community based on open source hardware and the community does most of the programming. And 3DR did there due diligence by creating  a store separate from the drone community. 

      But since it was open source it was easy to clone (and perfectly legal)  Some did this better then others. The 3DR does tend to have a little more quality control. But compare the 3 and usually the only difference is the logo on the board. Some feel a kind of "loyalty" to 3DR and well flat out just tell you "Should have bought a 3DR" Rather then an answer.

      What there missing is 3DR knew thiere would be clones from the get go. Which means more usrs, more feedback, and better software (Because a Clone runs the same COD


    • I can understandthat.

      However, without any guide on how to start looking for what I needed to build the drone I wanted, there is not much in the way of assistance around for the newbie in this community of RC drones. Often one finds out the hard way, or after the fact.

      If I read an article in multirotor magazine talking about the 3DR radio set, or the Arducopter system, I have no way to know what is what, when I start looking for it. China makes both high quality and low quality stuff. So knowing which is which comes with experience. Experience, I gaining quickly. The set I ordered had the 3DR logo printed on them, so I woulod have no way to know whats real or memorex as they used to say.

      I found the comment upsetting only in the context that I would essentially be ignored because I bought cheap chinese stuff. Ive run into other communities that were like that (but for other reasons).

      My main concern was not being able to find information to resolve the pinning conflict I found between the optical flow sensor, and the camera gimbal. Not even including the CHDK system and wire to trigger the camera.

      So I didnt mean to offend, Im here trying to learn, build my own drone, practice with it, and hopefully get licesned to fly them professionally when the rules come out finally.

      Forgive the typos....

    • The issue is not so much about whether or not 3DR made your board, and how people feel about clones...

      It has a lot more to do with the lack of support these Chinese clones offer.

      For example, what is an APM2.8?  It doesn't really exist.  I guess it's some sort of modification of the APM2.6 design.  But what changes were done?  Is an APM2.8 from supplier A the same as an APM2.8 from supplier B?  Where are the board schematics?  I could probably spend all day trying to sort this out. And probably not succeed.

    • APM 2.8 Features:
      - The interface is changed from 1.0mm 6P SM06B GPS to DF13-4P I2C external compass interface, put DF13- 5P GPS interface with external compass interface
      - The I2C interface has been changed to multifunctional MUX interface, users can configurate the interface  like UARTO, UART2, I2C, OSD, default OSD interface
      - 2.8 ADOPTS LP2985-3.3, the voltage reaches 16V,increase the reliability, reduce the voltage problem probability of Bad Gyro health
      - 2.8 uses jumper cap to choose, find the MAG pins on board, pluging in jumper cap is built in compass, taking off jumper cap is external compass
      - v2.5 just  added gigh frequency component of the filter circuit which made of 0.1uF to filter the high frequency interference,the board does not have a large capacity of capacitor use to filter the low frequency component of the ripple,2.8 Added a 47 uf tantalum capacitor, improve APM on-board chip, the stability of the power supply.

    • As I understand it the 2.8 is simply a side pinned version of the 2.6. My boards case says 2.6 on it. But the item listing said 2.8.

      I do understand the issue about lack of support. Hell there isnt even any support from hobbyking, and everyone seems to shop there.

      I guess my issue with it all was, there is no guide for a newbie. Especially for the person who doesnt necessary want <$100 toy. So what do they do? Find a hobby shop, and ask questions. Those answers may or may not be correct. They buy some magazines, and do some internet searching. Finally they make the jump and buy their setup. Then they fnd out they will be shunned because they bought cheap chinese knockoffs? How would they know? Especially when the 3DR, or NAZA logo is printed right on the thing? LOL

      Its not a pleasant introduction to the community.

      I can understand, both sides of the equation here, but the newbie to the community doesnt deserve it. Im sure they like many others will upgrade this or that as they go along. Even the top dollar components end up in a pile now and then too.

      And yes, the jedi didnt care much for the clones either...

    • The best guide out there would be the APM wiki copter.ardupilot.com. There's tons of info there about getting a drone set up and working, and it's relatively easy to understand.

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