Bart's Posts (5)

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Quadcopter FPV in the Canadian North.

After a few rough landings (cough crashes) and subsequent repairs, I got the feel for flying FPV. Canadian thanksgiving was this weekend, and there were still some nice colours in the trees. Just thought i'd share.

  • I'm flying a Quadcopter running ArduCopter 2.0.45 with a Nikon Coolpix onboard for the video (want to get a goPro, but I had this lying around).
  • 2.4 Ghz Radio
  • 1280mhz video link
  • 900mhz telemetry



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Copter-GCS with Mission Support and more

3689419020?profile=originalHello all,

Hope no-one object to another update. For those who use this, I've set up a mail list at so that bug notifications and updates can be sent to users.


Now for the updates:

I've finally gotten mission support on Copter-GCS working. Load from the copter, edit, drag the waypoints on the map and add new ones by touching the map for a second.


3689419040?profile=originalEditing the waypoints is also fully supported. More specific menus is pushed back to a later version. You can reorder the waypoints by dragging them around in the list. I'm hoping to improve this for a future version though.


I've fixed a few potential use error with the transmitter calibration, and added mode switch setup:

3689418648?profile=originalThe current mode is shown in yellow, and selecting any drop-down menu shows the various options. As soon as you select it, the mode is stored.


3689418942?profile=originalHardware setup is now also available. Once done, just hit save, and you should be good to go.


Finally, the PID view is now auto-generated based on the MAVLink parameters. This means that APM users will be able to have better use of the system now.


Check out for more details/images.

As usual, comments/bug reports/feature requests are more than welcome.



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Copter-GCS now supports MAVLink


At long last, I finally beat MAVLink into Java submission. I wasn't able to find any MAVLink bindings for Java (needed by android), so I ended up using JNI and wrote a MAVLink wrapper. It works nicely and makes using MAVLink very easy. Its available for download here. I've included both the "common" and the "pixhawk" messages.


As you see above, I've added a HUD mode.


I've uploaded the new copy of the GCS for easy download or through the Android Market (search copter-gcs). Of course the source is available through SVN

I am focused on Copters, as that is what I fly, but with MAVLink support, the copter-gcs is now also useful for ArduPilotMega. I loaded the APM code on my quad (minus the props :-) ), and was able to see / tune track just fine with it. The only thing missing is that the PID tuning widgets I have are currently only setup for the copter. The next version I expect will have the APM pids added in. For now you can just use the Parameters view to set anything you like:


3689415780?profile=originalWhen you make a change, just hit the button next to is to save it.

That's about the news for now. I will be working on Mission Planning and some clean-up next.


If anyone has any problems, let me know. Same thing if there is a feature missing (no promises though).

So far USB host mode for tablets (connect XBee directly) and Wifi links have been requested, although i'm not sure when/if they will make it in.

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Copter-GCS: Android ground station for ArduCopter

GPSSample.png?width=420Hello all,

After some field testing, i'm finally ready to release a copy of the Android based, bluetooth GCS for ArduCopter into the wild.

For all the details go to the site.

Its available in 3 ways:

  • Install from Android Market ($5, largely to offset publishing costs/support development) Copter-GCS
  • Install the APK from the download section (Free)
  • Build from source, following these instuctions.

The reason for the market version is for those who would like to just install in the easiest way possible / receive automatic updates or would like to support development costs (thanks you) such as the fee required to publish on the market.



















Current features:

  • GPS plotting of phone and GPS, quad path rendering and logging of the track to the SD card.
  • Sensor graphing
  • Status display, such as current mode and GPS state
  • Setup
    • PID Tuning
    • Accelerometer Offsets, both traditional and using the drift direction
    • Transmitter Calibration

Let me know how it works for those that try :)



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Android based GCS with Bluetooth <-> XBee bridge

img20110426235731.jpg?width=600Hello all,

When I started with my copter, I thought of making a Linux based GCS, as I don't run Windows. However, I decided that trying to duplicate all the work on the Windows GCS was counter productive. On top of that, my laptop is dying, so in the field it would be less than useful anyway.

I recently got an Android phone, in part for its programmability. Linking it up to a quad (or hexa etc.) seemed like it would be useful. Therefore, I've been working on an Android based GCS, and although by no means done, I thought I would share and maybe get some feedback on desired features.

The phone really only has WIFI and Bluetooth for connectivity, and my quad has neither of those as options. Finding a 802.11 link for on the quad proved tough, and the range on Bluetooth is not good enough for what I am looking for. To solve that I made a Bluetooth <-> XBee link: its small and just stays in my gear case while letting me use the phone at long range from the quad. When using my laptop, I can just use it's bluetooth connection and still use the standard configurator.

I needed a place for code, so if interested, its hosted at Copter-GCS Wiki. There are screenshots there showing features, but in a nutshell:

-Configure PIDs
-Calibrate Offsets and Transmitter
-Sensor graph for current outputs
-Map the quad GPS position, as well as the phone's



Like I said, its not done, and has some things to work out. Once I do I will make the code available (if there is interest). There are a bunch of things I want to try with this, like GPS following etc, but this seemed useful for in the field calibration/testing. When Arducopter 2.0 comes out, I will update so that the MAVLink protocol is compatible.



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