Heino R. Pull's Posts (5)

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I've been working on the Ardustation 2 software since August 2011 and I've finally gotten around to adding a feature that has been asked for more than once: a buzzer warning when the received Mavlink aircraft battery voltage has dropped at or below a set value.  The buzzer is sounded  ( at LCD screen updates - 1 Hz) when the voltage is at or below the set warning value while the "flight data" screen is displayed (see below). 



Switching to another screen will silence the buzzer until the flight data screen is brought back up. I wanted a way to silence the buzzer if necessary and this mechanism turned out to be the simplest way to implement it - given the need for an interrupt driven buzzer timer. All other features of version 2.0.17 are intact (antenna tracking, parameter update). 


I had a chance to test fly 2.9.1 on my Arducopter over the Easter weekend and this worked pretty well to keep my 4000 mah 3S Lipos from exceeding  the use of 80%  of the batteries capacity. Using a HobbyKing 3S voltage warning was killing the life of my batteries. After 12 flights trying to slowly increase the flight times vs battery remaining capacity, I settled at a  warning at 10.6 volts (my quad's current drawn is about 20 amps at a hover) and that is the default in the software. I have another 2 minutes of flight time to land after the buzzer continously sounds and I'm happy that I'm not puffing my Lipos anymore.  This can be easily changed to other values in the source code before loading into the Ardustation. 


My Ardustation has served me well over the last 2 years and I don't anticipate adding any other features since RAM and screen real estate is very tight. Thanks to everyone who has downloaded the software and provided feature requests and comments and to the code contributors who have worked on Ardustation 2.  

As always, the software is available at this link. Be sure to test this with your aircraft on the ground to verify that you understand the behavior and its limitation. I've only tested the voltage monitor with my quad - although it should work with airplanes also.

Compile this code only with the library contained within the zip file. The libraries provided with APM or ACM source code have changes that will cause compilation errors. This code can be compiled with Arduino 1.0.1 or 1.0.3.

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Update 10/22/2012 - For those few who may be interested, I'm now using this software on my personal quad with ACM 2.7.3 and 2.8. This software now compiles with Arduino 1.0.1 and works with Mavlink 1.0 or 0.9. The wiring and hardware requirements has not changed. You can download the software from my personal website at this link.

Original Post:

Since I purchased my Arducopter last November, I've wanted to use my NTSC video camera, Remzibi OSD, and 1.280 Ghz video transmitter with my quad and experimented with different ways to do it. It was easier with Arucopter NG RC2 since Mavlink was not in use and I could generate my own serial stream to the OSD. With the release of Arducopter 2.0.x and Mavlink it was a little harder.  I really wanted to have Mavlink up and running to my Ardustation tilt/pan antenna and notebook while using the on board OSD. 


My solution was to add an Arduino Pro mini to my quad configuration and modify some Mavlink Ardustation software from phillip.anthony.smith to create the serial stream that the Remzibi OSD likes. The details of this mod and link to the my Mavlink to Remzi converter software is available here:

Mavlink to Remzibi Converter

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I'm the secretary for our local St. Louis rocket club: St. Louis Rocketry Association and decided to bring out my Jdrones frame/APM 1 to the launch to do some 2.5.3 testing and at the same time shoot video of some rockets with a GoPro Hero 2. I'm using the Jdrones stabilized camera mount - although I'm still adjusting the camera mount gains and dealing with jello video. The GoPro video was also sent to the ground with Remzibi OSD overlayed flight data for pointing the camera. I had 6 flights during the day on ACM 2.5.3 with good results in stabilize, simple mode, and altitude hold. Loiter was having I term runaway and I didn't have a chance to tune in the field.

We have an FAA waiver at Elsberry and had to call in an altitude window to Lambert field  St. Louis for the 11k ft altitude so I had to loiter 5 minutes or so until the launch actually happened. Luckily the batteries held out and I edited out the wait. 

This video is our last launch of the day - SLRA Dan Welling's  M powered rocket flying at the St Louis Rocketry's Association Elsberrry Launch on 3/31/2012. Dan calls the rocket Bits 'n' Pieces and is 6" dia x 9 ft tall. The motor was a CTI M1790 skidmark (with "sparky" pyrotechnics)  motor (98mm 4 grain) and reached an altitude of 11,140 ft AGL. Dan achieved his Tripoli level 3 certification on this rocket previously.

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This is an update from the original blog post in October 2011:

I've updated the Ardustation 2  source code to allow compilation with Arduino 1.0 Relax and the latest libraries for ACM 2.5.3 and APM 2.3.0. This update also includes a modification of parameter names for PID editing that match ACM and APM. The updated version is 2.0.12.

The download zip file also includes the libraries used to verify compilation of the software. The software has been lightly tested with ACM and 2.5.3 and has not been tested with APM 2.3.0.  If you find any issues feel free to comment here or post an issue at the Ardustation 2 Google 

The software is available here:


Download 2.0.12 for ACM 2.5.3 or APM 2.3.0 - compile with Arduino 1.0 Relax

Download 2.0.11 for ACM 2.0.48 or APM 2.24 - compile with Arduino 0022 Relax

Heino R. Pull

The original 10/2011 info follows:

With the help of Jeff E and Hai Tran, I've updated the Ardustation 2 Antenna tracker code to support the detection of the UAV platform from the Mavlink heartbeat. Parameter download and editing is automatically configured for ArduPilot 2.24 or ArduCopter 2.0.48 when Mavlink connects. The key parameters available for editing is modifiable in the source code with the  PID gains set as the default for both platforms. A number of bug fixes have been made to previous versions of Ardustation 2 including a more standard Mavlink interface for the latest libraries distributed with APM 2.24 and ACM 2.0.48. 


This version has been ground tested with APM 2.24 and ACM 2.0.48 with parameter editing, but testing is still needed to verify that the appropriate parameters are changed correctly. Please be cautious if you try this software out and verify the parameter changes with the Mission Planner.  I don't have a fixed wing setup to test APM in the air, but I plan to test ACM 2.0.48 while tuning my loiter values on my quad this week. I've included the libraries used to compile the code in the zip file.

A video describing the original antenna tracking functionality is available here: Original Ardustation 2 Antenna Tracker Post and Video

The updated code is available here: Ardustation 2 ACM/APM Version 2.0.11


This software is based on Phillip Anthony Smith's Mavlink Ardustation. Thanks also to Jeff E and Hai Tran for their code additions and suggestions.

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3689417928?profile=originalI've modified Phillip Anthony Smith's Mavlink Ardustation to support an inexpensive tilt/pan antenna platform. RAM is very tight in the software so this is not a laptop/ground station replacement and the original software was oriented towards APM. However, I've been flying many flights with Arducopter 2.0.x and this antenna and have gotten pretty good video performance with much less multipath interference. I still use a second Xbee on a notebook with the Mission Planner and that seems to work pretty well with the Ardustation. This link gives some more details, a demo video of the software with some explanation of the added screens, and the software itself for others to play with. The software is a little rough since it was developed quickly before the 4th of July weekend, but it is fun to watch the antenna follow the quad and I wanted to give a little back to the Arducopter community.

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