Jordi Muñoz's Posts (87)

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Announcing Blimpduino 2.0

Almost 10 years ago with the community help, we released an open source robotic blimp platform based on Arduino and we named it Blimpduino. It was a really cool project, despite the limitations back then..........

And by back then I mean that we lacked cheap WiFi modules, 3D printers, and all sorts of fancy sensors! This leads us to use pieces of wood, repurposed legos parts, expensive R/C tech, bulky/heavy motors, and even a huge 2-cell lipo battery that required a charger with a balancer. Did I mention smartphone? I think iPhone 1 was not even released yet.

Now I'm very glad to announce the developer release of Blimpduino 2, a joined collaboration between mRo and JJRobots (One of the founders is Jose Julio, remember him? He created one of the first codes for quadcopters using Ardupilot 1 hardware). Well, Blimpduino 2 is nothing compared to what we released 10 years ago, here are the main improvements/features:

-Powered by a fast 3.3V ARM Cortex M0 (Arduino M0 compatible).
-A tiny laser sensor used as an altimeter (Time-of-Flight ST VL53L1).
-Efficient, powerful and ultra-light motors (Used normally on microdrones).
-The possibility to control 4 motors and 2 servos.
-WiFi ESP8266. This opens many development possibilities. Like Web-based control station (Anyone?).
-Smartphone App.
-A few I2C and Serial ports available.
-3 axis gyroscopes, accelerometer, and magnetometer (MPU9250). Currently used for control assistance. Create your own Fly by Wire!
-A pressure sensor with Temperature. Could be used as an altimeter for higher altitudes.
-Easy to find, single cell lithium battery.
-Build-in Lipo Charger (via USB).
-3D printed open source gondola. Modify it or create your own!
-Open sourced Arduino code.
-Colorful and detailed documentation powered by JJrobots!

Blimpduino 2 was created with two main goals in mind:
1.-A fun platform that you can build in no-time for short-term gratification.
2.-A fully hackable, repurposable and customizable platform. Aimed to quickly entertain experienced engineers/scientist by allowing them to tweak the platform quickly, but most importantly is the perfect platform to teach young minds and expose them to programming, microcontrollers, UDP, PWM, simple PIDs and/or more advanced hardware/software technologies. 

For more information and buying info please click here. =)

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mRo mid 2017 updates


Hi there! It has been almost a year since we re-opened our DIY store and I can report a lot is going on inside mRo as I write this. Our mission to be the best drone component manufacturer in the USA (World?) is no easy task!
In January, our sales increased more than we have anticipated, rather than compromise on our mission, I decided to stay quiet and not promote anything until we had stabilized our production line, sadly that was not possible (duh!). I was afraid that if we continued to grow that fast, we would start having problems and... I was right, we did. We have been able to iron out all those issues. Luckily, one of our first steps was a proper ERP/MRP system, which helped us keep production details very accurate and we added several new automated inspection machines.
I would like to thanks all our customers who supported us and gave us the chance to correct all our initial mistakes. We will not let you down, we never did!
I also wanted to share my gratitude to all mRo staff who have done unbelievable things to keep everything running smoothly and help implement all the foundations needed in our quest to be a World Class, NASA grade company.

Important news...

I'm glad to announce the merging of AUAV and mRo.
After working together with Phillip Kocmoud & Nick Arsov, we realized we had numerous "parallel" projects, so it didn't make sense to compete and work double. On the other side mRo didn't have the bandwidth to layout a new autopilot (at the moment), and AUAV already had cool autopilots that when combined with mRo manufacturing capabilities in California will allow us both to have such fantastic systems available sooner and with constant high quality supply (& support). That means more and better DIY options for everyone. ;-) AUAV continues to focus on research and development as well as outsourced custom flight controller designs, if your hobby needs become more serious. This can cut a design solution time-frame to just a fraction.
With this merging, mRo will become one of the most experienced DIY Drone companies in the world (Sounds cool huh?).
Putting under our belts the experience of creating/debugging products like Ardupilot 1, APM1, APM2.5, ArduIMU 1&2, PX4 Autopilot, PixHawk 1, The Solo Cube, Solo Link, AUAV3 (UAV Dev Board. Hi Bill we love you and your DCM!), PixRacer, AUAV X2, X2, X2.1, AUAV X3, AUAV X4, Pixhawk Pro (The FMUv4 Standard). Among other innovative products (at their time) like the MinimOSD, optimized PPM encoder, uBlox GPS to the masses, differential I2C and the first budget power module with hall sensor. Just to mention a few. =P

Clarification: In most of those projects we were involved 100% and when I say we, I mean AUAV team and ex-3DR employees that now some of them work for mRo, not just designing, but also in the complex production lines, from ex-Tijuana factory and China (when fabricated Solo).


[Picture for sizing reference, plus a few Easter eggs, except for PH2 or PixHawk Mini, we've made everything else]

Here comes the "meat," our new products for you:

-uGPS, uBlox SAM8. The tiniest GPS+Glonass GPS out there, it also has a built-in magnetometer. uBlox entirely designed the antenna+RF and we trust them with our lives! Well, the life of our Drones.
-ACSP7 is ready! First micro (17mm x 17mm) power module with hall sensor, no more invasive, noisy readings (especially below 5-8 Amperes).
-Next generation AirSpeed sensor. MS5525, Temperature compensated. Wuju!
-FTDI to JST-GH. Easily attach your ports or GPSs for debugging. 
-Military grade Shielding for your GPS.

-Don't forget our list of Fantastic Cables and where to find them

Coming soon:
-X2.1 Rev B. Which is a redux version of the robust and popular PixHawk1, but with newer/better sensors, and some standard JST-GH connections and incredibly flexible when building your drone. We are not adopting any known names like PixHawk 4000 or Ardupilot 7000; sadly there are a lot of politics and interests everywhere right now that can potentially delay our products. We just want to focus on designing good electronics and make them available to you as soon as possible, so you can get the work done or get fun.


Note: Pins can be either right angle, straight or both. 

The X2.1 has a few advantages, with ArduPilot 3.5, dampening is no longer required, which reduces price and removes failing points. I can tell you a lot of the issues I saw on the Cube used on Solo (We have the official Solo repair center in the same roof, Current UAS). Is not that bad, you can easily fix most of those issues, for example, a common problem the cube has is the foam getting stuck, with X2.1 you don't have to worry about this.
Besides, the dampening was calibrated just for SOLO so that it won't be as useful in other vehicles with a substantial difference in vibrating frequencies. We proposed sorting the cubes in different colors, so each had a different damping frequency range. For this and other reasons, as 3DR, we decided not to make our own version of the Cube and rather give an actual DIY attribute to X2.1.

So, X2.1 is the most DIY friendly and capable Autopilot we have made so far. You can adapt and solder your custom shields with ease in just minutes, or you can get fancy and layout your PCB to populate all you want on board, no complex, difficult to align connectors required. If you are not interested in that, you can just use standard 0.1" pins/cables to plug into your system. Every pin, almost every signal is the same as PixHawk 1, expect an excellent integration with your "actual" drone.


-Lastly but not least, our Solo Link, now mRo Link, based on the i.MX6.
Believe it or not, we are still working on this project as I mentioned here. Now that 3DR has officially open sourced the SOLO; we feel more comfortable than ever to put full weight on this project. We already have everything working; we just need to remove what is not required and make it "smaller." Check our picture up here with all of the boards. You might see it. 
We are bringing a top engineer from the other side of the world to dedicate to this project during August 2017 fully. So expect more news early September 2017. BTW we know that somebody else already released something (Fox), which we fully support and that is precisely what we love about open source. We hope to work together in the future.

Enjoy my wife's lazy cat: 


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[mRo] The new DIY store

Hello everyone, we are back!


Let me introduce myself, some of you might remember me as the cofounder of 3D Robotics/3DR. Since then, a particular and well-selected team of people from 3DR San Diego and 3DR TJ and I are pleased to announce we are continuing to develop legacy & new products for you.

Be patient with us, we are just engaging in this new startup, managing to bring out the best of us and to offer the best service and products. But, we do promise great things, and if everything goes as planned, you will see all this soon.


(Actual 3DR in 2008)

Our history in the tech industry precedes us, some of that history includes Ardupilot, APM1, APM 2.5, the re-introduction of the PPM encoder (originally developed by Paparazzi), Introduction of u-Blox to the masses (when it was impossible to get, we created a special adapter), ArduOSD, Power module with Battery sensing, Economy Airspeed sensor, Solo Link and blah, blah. 


(First ArduCopter back in 2007)

And we are now pleased to welcome you to our new home in technology “” where we are working hard to continue the development of our most distinguished products in 3DR for the DIY community.

As proud as we are of being the ones who created and developed all of this hardware, it is an honor to witness how much we can Inspire others to follow our lead and suddenly realize our products are being copied and reproduced all over the world, it is a great sign for us. It means we're doing something in the right way.

Even though some of these projects were on pause by 3DR since 2012, we are already working on improving them, with the sole purpose of providing solutions and the best service for the engineers, geeks out there or anyone in that is interested in playing with technology in their garage for entertainment or hobby as well as for small, medium and large businesses.

mRo is focused on offering the best! Same as when I cofounded 3DR, we are always trying to outdo ourselves on product quality and service. Right now, we are beating our own shipping prices. Not only do we ship worldwide, but also our average price, to almost everywhere is around just $15 US DLLS via FedEx, this way we can be at everyone’s reach. And of course, we are still shipping the same day of purchase, guaranteeing a fast delivery, thanks to our one vertical strategy.

As mentioned, is formed in ”Vertical Integration” arrangement, this way we can avoid any hold-up problems. While we design and create our products, manufacture them in house (San Diego, California), and sell them ourselves we gain lower transaction costs, lower uncertainty and we will be able to offer better prices for the quality and service you will be receiving. Overall, this gives us the opportunity for faster and better innovations.

Right now, we have developed the new “GPS for SOLO, and we are very proud of it. Don't hold back, visit us at and take a look at our reviews; it has made us, and a lot of people, really happy with its upgrades.

We are also bringing back the legendary PixHawk1, now available as barebones (full kit version with case and JST-GH version will be available soon), and we are officially manufacturing and distributing PixRacer (California made), PixRacer in my opinion, is the best PixHawk out there in terms of simplicity and reliability. Also, we will be stocking PixHawk 2 after the supply is more stable. Making our way on positioning ourselves as the store that distributes all the genuine “PX” hardware. At the same time, we are supporting the “Ardupilot” group. With each purchase, we will be offering donations to the “Ardupilot fund”, and I'm still working out a way we can help this Fund at a greater scale.

It gives me much joy and brings back great memories from when I was the first one to be in charge of the Ardupilot. I have great respect and admiration for those who are in charge now, without them, all this won’t be possible. I still remember seven years ago, when I started coding, and to be honest, it was a very modest and not the best quality, but it still worked, for being just the start of it. It has come a really long way and has evolved into a much better and interesting platform. The magic of open source.

Be sure to join us at and follow us on our Facebook page, and come along on this new Adventure, on our journey to create amazing products. Not only will we be continuing with the drones, but also robotics in general.

Don`t forget to catch us on the Arduino platform. I really like this platform especially what it represents for education, and I feel the responsibility not to only provide professional products, but to develop Educational Systems for future generations to be inspired and allow those who are just starting with coding and technology to easy develop new ideas and products. After all, they are the future of technology...

What about an easy to use Mavlink library for Arduino? With a few easy to understand lines, you will be able to tap into the telemetry line and send simple commands to your drone! 

Bonus: Have you met B-BOT? (Balance Bot) let me know what you think!

Keep tuned for our new GPS+I2C total isolator with range extender (physical isolated GPS module and I2C for those noisy drones) and I’m glad to be the first or one of the first to introduce the new Differential I2C from NXP (Qualcomm), which has all the noise immune benefits of CAN, but with the simplicity of I2C and is compatible with all the current I2C devices out there with an adapter, it even allows you to have multiple masters! Check out how it works:


How beautiful differential signals looks like: 


We know you have a lot of options to buy from, we hope you will remember to support innovation! ;-)

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Last week we implemented a fancy ticketing system that will enable us to properly track issues among customers and be able to supervise the time response of our representatives but at the same time give them access to a set of tools that will help them be a lot more efficient.

Unfortunately the systems blow up last Friday (the 20th) so we were receiving emails from customers but any of our responses made it out, they were probably sent to the

The system has been shut down today, so we can catch up as quickly as possible. We are deeply sorry about this incident.

We are aiming to answer everybody between today and tomorrow (Yes Saturday).

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Announcing APM 2.5!


I’m pleased to announce the new APM 2.0 revision, better known as APM2.5!

But before you start screaming that you just got an APM 2.0, let me explain that there’s NO difference in performance at all between the two, the board is still the same in terms of functionally and it runs exactly the same code as APM 2.0. We just took the liberty of throwing in a few new universal connectors in there (so accessories can be cross compatible with the new PX4 and protect the user from connecting the cable in the wrong direction), some production improvements that will allows to manufacture it faster and finally we added some protection features to protect it from those reverse polarity/short circuit lovers.

Here goes the full list of changes (you already know all its features):

  • No more shield/daughterboard: magnetometer and dataflash were moved to the main board, making it easier to assemble, repair and hack. 
  • No more on-board GPS, but we added a new 6-pins DF13 connector for our new GPS cable standard (PX4) and kept the old but reliable Molex (EM-406) connector for old GPS compatibility. 
  • The old radio-modem connector is gone and now is being replaced by our new 6-pins DF13 connector (like the GPS, because both are UART’s. Got it?), this will make it compatible with PX4 and prevents users from blowing up the UART mux. 
  • We added a second protection fuse and diode (you are no longer required to solder it yourself) for extra reverse polarity and short circuit protection. 
  • The old I2C connector is gone and has been replaced by our new 4-pins DF13 connector (yeah PX4 compatible. Oh wait correction… None of both (PX4 & APM2.5) are compatible with each other, we created this standard together as a team, but I have to give the average of the credits to PX4). 
  • Added a “mystery” 6-pin DF13 Connector that will be used later. I know you like surprises so please stay tuned. No big deal but is really cool and will save you some soldering here and there. 
  • Added “Magnetometer Jumper” that allows you to disable the on-board magnetometer, so you can attach an external one. 
  • Added extra LED attached to the PPM encoder (Atmega32-U2) on pin PC7. This will allows us later to use it as PPM status indication and leave those poor TX/RX LED’s do their intended job.


Those who ordered the APM2.0 and are still waiting for it (only if is not shipped yet) will have the option to upgrade to the new APM2.5, but you will be required to wait an extra couple of weeks for production to begin. For upgrades please send us an email to 

If you want to order one now you can get the assembled version here and the unassembled version here (for those who want their choice of RC connector: straight or right-angled). They will begin shipping in a week or so, but if there is a huge flood of orders, the backlog for any individual order may grow to 2-4 weeks. We're making them at the new Tijuana facility, so we hope that we'll be able to keep up with demand much better than we have in the past. We're committed to shrinking all delays, and our investment in the Tijuana facility is just one sign of this.

The APM 2.0 enclosures will not fit this new board, so new enclosures are on their way. If you buy an APM 2.5 now, you will get a $4.99 credit for a free enclosure with your next order (the enclosures should be in in about a month).  Also, APM 2.5 will ship with an adapter cable for the 3DR/Xbee radios, converting from the APM 2.5 DF13 connector to the radios' conventional 6-pin connectors.  Eagle files for the boards will be posted in the next few days.

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Please welcome ArduPilotMega 2.0!

3689434949?profile=original APM 2.0 is the culmination of almost a year of hard work. We wanted to make it perfect and we finally have it, we are pushing the limits of AVR and Arduino. I’m sure you will love it, and it’s designed to cover all the DIY community expectations (including those that are not so DIY and are only interested for something that doesn’t require soldering skills). 

Check the product listing for availability status!

Main Features

  • Three processors--a triple-core autopilot!
  • All new state-of-the-art sensors; the first autopilot to use the Invensense 6DoF MPU-6000
  • Smaller, lighter, cheaper than APM 1.0--just $199 ready to fly, with GPS, magnetometer and dataflash included.
  • Like APM 1.0, this is the world's only Universal Autopilot. The same hardware can autonomously control planes, multicopters, regular helicopters, rovers, even boats, with just a one-click firmware change--no programming required! Best-of-breed mission planning and two-way telemetry, and soon with advanced scripting with Python for robot acrobatics and more.
  • Twice as much dataflash memory, with SD card slot
  • No soldering required
  • When using the internal sensor fusion processor of the MPU-6000, more than half of the Atmega2560 processing capacity is free for new advanced features.
  • Native USB, with all new PPM encoder software



New sensors

The big advance in APM 2.0 is the introduction of the Invensense MPU-6000 sensors, which have an internal Digital Motion Processor (DMP) that does advanced sensor fusion. We’ve tested it for months, including lots of flying, and it significantly outperforms the DCM used in APM 1.0. It’s your choice whether you want to  use the MPU-6000 internal sensor fusion or do it yourself in the main processor, but if you choose the DMP it frees up nearly 40% of the processing power in the Atmega 2560. This is a digital chip, so we were able to eliminate the ADC chip used in APM 1.0, lowering chip count along with cost and size.

We’ve also upgraded the barometric pressure sensor to the MEAS MS5011, which has a resolution of 10cm! This is at least twice as accurate as the pressure sensor on APM 1.0 and should give ArduCopter best-of-class altitude hold capability. Here are some of our side by side tests conducted by Jose Julio (Spain):

We joke about the color of APM 2.0, we say that is the fusion of ArduPilotMega V1.x (Red board) and the Oilpan/Sensor Shield (Blue board) and resulted to be a purple board. Well this might not be the real reason of the purple color, in fact the APM 2.0 fuses the APM 1.0 and the Oilpan/Sensor board into one, in order to save space and make it cheaper.

Micro daughterboard

But why does it have a small daughterboard with an SD slot, GPS and the magnetometer on top? Aha! The big dilemma I had for months! I was very concerned about leaving the GPS and the Compass stacked on the main board. What will happen to the compass if the board is placed near to big electromagnetic fields like a brushless motor? What will happen if the board is inside a carbon fiber frame and GPS reception is blocked? But what happen if none of those issues matters to you and you want a small board with everything on it? What can I do to solve the necessities of everybody?

So I developed a small shield that can be mounted inside the boundaries of the pins and has special connectors to keep a very low profile of the system, so if you want a small board then you have it! But this shield is optional, so you can still attach your old GPS by using the standard APM V1.0 GPS connector or the classic compass port. But because I promised no soldering I have created a special I2C port (similar to the GPS) that allows you to attach an official APM 2.0 Compass board by just plugging it (yeah just plug and play). The SD slot is there because I had no other place with easy access (underneath the main board was messy and you will be obligated to dismount and flip the entire board to remove the card, you don’t want that right?). In the other hand the daughter board will come in four flavors: GPS+MAG+SD, GPS+SD, MAG+SD and SD. For example if you want to attach only the magnetometer (Compass) externally you just buy the option GPS+SD.

SD card dataflash

The SD slot can read regular SD cards. But for the moment we don’t use them in ArduPlane or Arducopter code because writing regular FAT tables is very slow and can screw up the main loop refresh rate (We’re not using a RTOS yet, and won’t until we migrate to ARM in Q1 next year). There’s why I have created a custom SD card with dataflash on it (twice the capacity of the one in APM 1.0), plus it has the advantage of being removable so you can have multiple logs or you can easily replace it when you exceed the life of the chip. But in case you are planning to use APM 2.0 in something that doesn’t require a 200Hz loops (like a very powerful data logger or weather station) you can interface with a regular SD cards and write text files on them. The possibilities are endless!

The board itself is our first four-layer design and is smaller than APM 1.0 (believe it or not it’s just 2.6 x 1.6 inches, even smaller than the UDB) and this includes four mounting holes and rounded edges to give a nicer look and feel! Of course it’s lead free and ROHS complaint.

New PPM encoder and USB interface

Along with the Atmega2560, there is an Atmega32-U2 that works as the USB (FTDI) serial programmer (Arduino Compatible) and PPM Encoder. This setup allowed us to save even more space and reduce prices by eliminating the FTDI chip in the APM 1.0 board. Best of all, you can update the Atmega32-U2 firmware without buying a SPI programmer; you can easily update via USB!

The Atmega32-U2 also features something called “Serial0 Auto Switch”. This function automatically toggles the serial port 0 from the Atmega2560 from the USB Serial programmer and the modem/OSD port. When you are about to upload a new code through the mission planner or Arduino the Atmega32-U2 will auto-route the Serial0 to the USB Com port and load the code, when is done it will automatically switch it back to the Modem or OSD port. This maximize the usage of this serial port that before was wasted the average of the time (not used while flying). On the APM 1.0 the modem won’t work when is programming and you don’t program anything while you are flying so theirs is virtually no downsides in normal operations. Anyway in case you want a dedicated UART for each you can still switch back to the old APM 1.0 configuration with some solder jumpers.



More I/O

APM 2.0 is also packed with 12 analog pins that can be used as digital I/O pins and three of them can be “solder jumpered” to add extra PWM output channels (for gimbal operations). Each analog/digital pins can be used to read or control special devices like current, RPM, voltage and ultrasonic sensors and output devices like cameras and relay’s. The mission planner will allow you to define in which pins you have connected a device and a drop box will give you the options to select pre-defined sensors or declare a new one (Something similar to Remzibi OSD). This sensors or output devices can be later used in missions and do actions when certain conditions are met (Not implemented yet).

APM 2.0 features 8 PWM outputs (and can be increased to 11 if you give up 3 of your 12 analogs) and 8 PWM inputs. You can also bypass one of the pins with a solder jumper to insert your own PPM signal, still you can use the other PWM inputs left to control something else (so you can have more than 8 inputs).

The +5V servo power is optionally separated from the rest of the board, you can join both powers by insert a regular jumpers. This saves us a lot of problem in some setups. It also features a protection diode to protect the board from reverse polarities.  Reset pins are left exposed with ground, so you can add an external reset switch if you wish.


Thanks to the incredible work of the DIY Drones Dev Team, the ArduPlane and ArduCopter code will support the APM 2.0 board when it ships. Special thanks to Pat Hickey, an embedded programmer rock-star, who led the team who ported the code to the new board. Others who worked tirelessly on this include Jose Julio, Andrew Tridgell, Doug Weibel., Randy MacKay, Jason Short, John Arne Birkeland, Olivier Adler, Sandro Benigno, Max Levine the 3DRobotics team and scores of others. It was a huge job!

Special thanks to Chris Anderson for making this possible.

The new code is already in the repository and supports both APM 1.0 and APM 2.0.  The Mission Planner will autodetect your board and load the appropriate code (Note: the official 3D Robotics APM 2.0 board has a unique signature and the MP will look for that. Other people can make their own APM 2.0 boards, but the official MP will probably not support them). But if you want to do it manually in Arduino just change this line in Config.h from APM1 to APM2: # define CONFIG_APM_HARDWARE APM_HARDWARE_APM1



APM 1.0 (back) vs APM 2.0 (front)


As you can see the board is more than great! But when you discover the prices you will be double amazed:

APM 2.0 + Daughter board (with all sensors) + 1 x dataflash Card for datalogging + USB micro cable + All pre-soldered and tested for just $399… But we have a special DIYDrones promotion; if you buy it within the next 100 years you only will pay $199.95 (yeah you read it right $199 US Dollars). =P

Seriously. $199 for everything, for everyone, always.

Important note: The board is already available and tested, but with this incredible price you can expect a very high demand (even before formal announcement) so the only way you will be able to get one board soon is by pre-order at the link below. The expected waiting time is from 1 to 6 weeks. First come, first served. We expect to end this delay by February when the shortage of some sensors is over. (We’re going to limit the first batches of board to users; unfortunately we can’t allow distributor sales until customer pre-orders are filled)




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3689432775?profile=originalHi there! Finally you can pre-order the ArduIMU V3 here.. You can find more info abut it in my last post here

The final version of the board for full production is here, I'm expecting to start shipping them this Friday or Monday. 

We are still working on documentation and giving the final cosmetic touches to the example code to have it ready before you have one in your hands and at the same time we are shipping samples to developers to do a full DCM integration.


From now on our new color will purple! All our new products will feature a Lilypad style look! 


(Note: this is a stand-alone IMU, and is not designed to be a replacement for the "Oilpan" IMU shield of ArduPilot Mega.)

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ArduIMU V3 is finally here!


Long time since my last post!

I'm glad to announce the new ArduIMU V3 that will take the place of the very successful ArduIMU v2 (flat version). We called it flat version because ArduIMU V2 was created in a time where 3 axis and even 2 axis gyros were not so common and we had to place some of the gyros vertically. Good times... 


ArduIMU v2 was the first low cost IMU that had gyros that allowed me to keep it flat, but they were bulky and expensive. I had to use two gyro chips for the XYZ axis, another for the three axis acceleration and you had to place the magnetometer externally. Another "disadvantage" was that all the sensors (but the mag) were analog, by default limited to 10-bits and required all the analog inputs in order to read them and you were also limited by the default filtering configuration and other noisy issues. 


All the limitation we had with ArduIMU V2 are all gone with the V3. ArduIMU V3 features the new MPU-6000, that includes 3 axis gyros & accells built-in and process everything internally that is some kind of dual core power (24-bits ADC sampling and sensor fusion is handled inside the MPU), the latest 3 axis I2C magnetometer HMC-5883L and the classic but very robust Arduino Atmega328 running at 16Mhz... 




MPU-6000 uses SPI for max performance. Did I say user configurable low pass filtering and scale range? Hell yeah... and here are some of the other specs:

  • Digital-output of 6 or 9-axis MotionFusion data in rotation matrix, quaternion, Euler Angle, or raw data format
  • Tri-Axis angular rate sensor (gyro) with a sensitivity up to 131 LSBs/dps and a full-scale range of ±250, ±500, ±1000, and ±2000dps
  • Tri-Axis accelerometer with a programmable full scale range of ±2g, ±4g, ±8g and ±16g
  • Reduced settling effects and sensor drift by elimination of board-level cross-axis alignment errors between accelerometers and gyroscopes
  • Digital Motion Processing™ (DMP™) engine offloads complex MotionFusion, sensor timing synchronization and gesture detection
  • MotionApps™ Platform support for Android, Linux, and Windows, with Windows Phone platforms on the roadmap
  • Digital-output temperature sensor
  • Digital input on FSYNC pin to support video Electronic Image Stabilization and GPS
  • Programmable interrupt supports gesture recognition, panning, zooming, scrolling, free fall interrupt, high-G interrupt, zero-motion detection, tap detection, and shake detection
  • Full Chip Idle Mode Supply Current: 5µA
  • On-chip timing generator with ±1% frequency variation over full temperature range
  • User self test
  • 10,000g shock tolerant


Other ArduIMU V3 features:

  • Pin compatible with ArduIMU V2.
  • Breadboard compatible (ArduIMU V2 was not!).
  • Cheaper price (around $60 $78dlls, not confirmed).. 
  • Smaller size (1.5" x 1.0").
  • Atmega CPU has more % available for other tasks.  
  • The 6 analog pins are now available!
  • Arduino compatible and open source.
  • 3 status LED's (RGB).
  • I2c port with 3.3V translation.   
  • GPS port with FTDI autoswitch. 
  • This device is suitable for ANY application from rockets to simple movement detection.




The release date is estimated to be in two-three weeks. We are waiting for the final big batch and finish some code. We will take pre-orders soon.   


We also cooking BIG new goodies that will be announced also this month... =) 


[UPDATE 11/15/2011]: You can buy it now check this post:


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Early Christmas for DIYDrones store!


Finally our new MC-385 arrived! We are lucky to have Manncorp just a few miles away, they have been very supportive with us. Thanks Manncorp!

This little machine is similar to the Sparkfun one (MC-384) but ours has dual head! This is another step forward to fully automatize the assembly process, increase our quality and keep up with the demand!

Check the picture next to our old Japanese pick place the 7722VP (the one to the left), that is exactly the same machine Adafruit has.. The MC-385 (right side) is huge and weights around 1000 pounds, thanks to the super solid metal frame.

3689413658?profile=originalThe original manufacturer of this machine is Autotronik, based on Germany (yeap this machines came straight from Amberg,  Germany) and this baby including all the accessories cost us a little bit more than 100,000.00 USD, we practically pay it in cash (so no credits so far!).. The main feature of this machine are the smart feeders, that will allow us to program several design's into the machine without the need to reprogram every feeder every time we switch the parts to be placed, the machine can automatically detect what component you inserted into it and will go pick the part and place it where it suppose to be, no questions asked!


The machine is incredibly fast but unfortunately I won't be able to post a video now because we need to setup a 220V power line, the good news are that it's already scheduled for tomorrow. Keep tuned!


Even the company pet Aye-Aye loves it. =)



BTW, if you want to get a sneak peak of cool stuff coming from 3D Robotics (the commercial side of DIY Drones), you can follow its Twitter feed here.

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DIYDrones Magnetometer issue resolution



It's a long story that I will try to summarize. The latest revision of the magnetometer that had some design improvements including making it easier to manufacture to boost production using the pick and place machine, but that also came with a weird issue. 

When I was developing the APM Oilpan we had some noise issues on the 3.3V line caused by a missing 200K resistor on the Voltage Reference pin on the 5V side of the I2C translator (obviously this board never saw the light), if you don't populate this resistor it will introduce terrible noise on the line and cause the analog sensors to fail, this bug was found by Jose Julio (Thanks!). 


A curious thing is that the first version of the magnetometer didn't have this resistor (it worked fine anyway), in the second revision i tried to do the right thing and follow what the datasheet suggested so I added the 200K resistor (same that caused terrible issues on the Oilpan because we didn't use it), expecting some improvement. 


When the boards arrived from the fab, we assemble some and they appeared to be fine, Cindy (our testing lady) added the observation that the sensors were slightly noisier, but we didn't listen (Sorry Cindy!). For the pressure of months of long waits we just released the boards. In just matter of days we received tons of complains.   


After days trying to solve the problem we finally discover that the 200K was the issue. The 2nd issue we have discovered but is not critical is that the voltage regulator will not perform well if you don't suck enough current from it, the magnetometer uses very, very low power and the best practice to solve this is to add a 200 ohms resistor from the 3.3V to GND to add enough load to it (Thanks to Nathan Siedle for this trick), we are not doing this right now, so you will see a power supply output of 3.7V, but the performance is perfect. 


All new boards have this fix, but for those who already got affected boards I would like to give a sincere apology to all our custumers and I would like to offer two resolutions to this problem:

1.- Send it back and we will repair it for you. We will cover all the shipping expenses. Please contact custumer support for more info: help[@] 


2.-Repair it yourself (DIY) quickly and safely by following the following instructions.


NOTE: Before you repair your board, check if your board has a resistor marked "204". This means it has not been fixed (see the first two photos of the repair steps for reference), and if you see instead a resistor marked "0" your board is fine.

If you choose to repair it yourself and something gets messed up, you cannot then return the board. If you are unwilling to take this risk or are feeling a little uncertain about your soldering ability, do not do this. Just return the board for replacement.























1- Locate the 200k resistor, it is marked with "204."























2- With a soldering iron, heat either of the resistor's solder points
and wait a few seconds for the heat to reach both solder points. Weak solder irons may not work very well. 
























3- Without applying too much force as no not damage the pads, gently
nudge the resistor with the tip of the soldering iron. 
























4-The resistor

should stick to the tip, so just lift the tip off the board to remove
the resistor.























5- Make sure you the pad are still there. 























6- To create the solder bridge place the tip of the soldering iron
over both pads and apply enough solder to brigde the pads.
















































7- If the solder ball is touching both pads then your are done. 


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Help wanted for top secret project

Happy new year folks!


DIYdrones hardware development team needs some help, if you think you can contribute in something please PM, our requirements are:

-Any microcontroller capable to handle a little web server can be used.

-The hardware must have WiFi access (behave as an access point).

-The hardware must have SD card slot (where you can store html files).

-Must be cheap (< $100).


The system must be capable to read a HTML file stored on the SD card (including pictures) and create a web server accessible via WiFi (acting as an access point). When the user is connected to the Wifi device-must type any direction like "" and be able to load the HTML files stored on the SD. Something similar to a home router.


The HTML files must be able to read/write to the IO, analog and UART pins of the same microcontroller....


What we need from you are suggestions of the right hardware, software contributions and connections to anybody capable to help us.


Anyone? ;-)


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APM Oilpan Rev. H, Version 1.0 now in production!

The new ArduPilotMega Shield "Hotel' Version 1.0 has finally replaced our old and problematic Foxtrap 2.2, many of the changes are just to accelerate the assembly process and reduce production failure rates, working in conjunction with the very supportive Invensense Team (Thanks guys!).

Note: if you are a user with the current boards, they're fine. The problems were in the production process, which required us to go through extra steps to ensure they passed QA. The new board is more for our sake than yours!

Manufacture changes:
-Improved gyro pads.
-The boards now came with Lead-Free Silver Immersion for an even surface (Turns goldy when baked).
-Added one 0603 resistor pad on voltage divider for automatic machine placement. I should have added it to all the resistors. =/

User Experience:
-Now that is easy to assemble, boards availability will be improved.
-Solder jumpers to optionally enable/disable gyro low pass filters.
-Added labels that suggest where the female headers should be placed.

Bugs fixed:
-Reset button now works under any condition.
-Analog supply for the pressure sensor is now attached to the analog 3.3 voltage regulator.

By the time I wrote this post I still had some Oilpan in stock, please hurry because we are moving to a new warehouse and we may be out for around one week again, just in time to start production with our new Japanese made Manncorp 7722V. Many thanks to the Mancorp team that is also located next to us in San Diego,CA!

Eagle Files:



Also many thanks to Star Wars (TM)!
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This a long, long story but let's go to the point: We are now offering FedEx again and they offered us unbelievable "negotiated rates" compared with UPS. Thanks to Chris Anderson and Fred Smith! (And Paul the octopus!)

This what one our loyal development member said:
"Fedex is much more interesting for me here (Brazil). Awesome news!
I simulate here to see the difference on buying an ArduIMU V2 board:
FedEx International Priority $26.06
UPS Wordwide Expedited $54.93 (more than double)
Thank you for change it, man!"

Asian country's including Australia and Europe will be also affected (in a good way!). This will allow us to dramatically expand our boundaries and we are now more capable to compete in term of low prices!

Also domestic shipments will have a good discount, maybe no so noticeable but now you can even have Next-Day for just $15 in some areas ($9 for 2nd day), and we are considering using the new "FedEx Smart Post" that will costs around $4.95 to ship all over the country and is a combination of FedEX and USPS, is really cheap, you can fully track you package and takes from 2 to 8 days to arrive, check more here:

Also "FedEx Home Delivery" and "SmartPost" have free Saturday delivery!!! That's totally awesome for me. ;-)

This is one of the main reasons why UPS is doing this :

Other news:
-A new design for the store front is under development, just to look more "professional".
-We dropped PayPal Merchant solutions and now we are using a proper Gateway system to accept VISA,MasterCard, AMEX and Discover. (We still continue accepting normal PayPal payments). The difference is that I can capture after I prepare a shipment, so I can do last minute order changes without problems.
-We are now moving to a dedicated server cluster because we exceed our shared server by 5gb!! ;-)
-I bought QuickBooks and I don't know how to use it. LOL.

I been really busy on the store and I been unable to continue making posts and other development stuff (sorry!). We are not a garage company anymore. I'm looking to move into a big office with the proper utilities and hire more people to improve our services (maybe get a second pick and place machine). ;-)

If you want to know little details and changes on the store please fallow us on twitter:

Thank you guys for all your support!
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For those who don't want to be waiting for it, here's your your best option: Order it and be one of the firsts to receive it (As always FIFO service).

Go for it here:

It will be released during the next week (Sorry for the long delay!).

BTW the pictures is just for display purposes, the final color you will receive is blue and has the latest improvements. ;-)
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Is not ready yet, has tiny mistakes, but the tweaked boards is under the last hardware performance test's , as soon as i get an answer, I will start the mass production... ETA two weeks! (Maybe sooner).

The shield can be bottom placed (oil pan) or in the top (Shield). I would suggest the bottom side so you protect the IC's and have a lower profile!

Poll: Do you prefer the Shield in Red or Blue?

See ya!

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With my endless effort to keep everything cheap and I'm just starting (I just got a pick and place machine!). If you want a cheap GPS here is the best deal you can get, pretty good actually:

Click Here!

-Basedon MediaTek Single Chip Architecture.
-Supply from 3.3V to 5V!
-Dimension:16mm x 16mm x 6mm
-L1Frequency, C/A code, 66 channels
-High Sensitivity:Up to -165dBmtracking, superior urban performances
-Position Accuracy:< 3m CEP(50%) without SA (horizontal)
-Cold Start is under 35 seconds(Typical)
-Warm Start is under 34 seconds (Typical)
-Hot Start isunder 1 second (Typical)
-Low Power Consumption:48mA @ acquisition,37mA @ tracking
-Low shut-down current consumption:15uA, typical
-DGPS(WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS) support (optional by firmware)
-USB/UART Interface
-SupportAGPS function

You can watch it in action here, i got 9 satellites during fly, taking in consideration a 1.3Ghz@1Watt video transmitter very near to it:

The heading and the altitude is not that bad! Soon i will release an easy to solder interface board with EM-406 "like" port.
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A few batches of the GS407 (uBlox) modules came defective. This problem includes units sold by SparkFun and DIYDrones Store ... The problem seems to be around the antenna solder joins, they are weak and break easily, so any little crash may break it. You can try to solder them by removing the hard glue, but is not recommended because you will void the warranty.

If you carefully check the picture you will see three tiny gold pins, those pins support all the stress and weight of the whole antenna. The big solder balls you see are mine, not from factory...

The uBlox chipsets are intact and fully functional but they are unable to catch satellites.

If you are a victim of this situation, please send it back to me and i will chip them out to the factory for a FREE repair!

Don't send me the remains of your module if you hard crash it, your burn it or something else is not related to this issue. Only units ordered from DIYDrones Store in good conditions will be accepted.
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ArduPilot Mega Updates, updates!

I have several stuff i would like to explain! Let's enumerate them:

1.-The first batch of ArduPilot Mega's may be released this Wednesday 28.

2.- The lasted shield is ready (codename: Foxtrap) and has many advantages compared to the last board, including the Invensense gyros (cheaper and better against vibration), smaller board size, can be used on the top or in the bottom, build-in absolute pressure sensor (Bosch) and i removed the differential pressure sensor, but you can still add it as an optional expansion board.

The price still the same.... ;-)

Facts you already know about the shield:
-3.3V Regulator.
-Relay switch for cameras, lights or payloads.
-12-bit ADC.
-Build-in Data Logger (The Black Box).
-Piano DIP switch for servo reverse.
-Build-in FTDI, serial to USB.
-Dedicated Modem/OSD port.
-I2C Port for Magnetometer.
-Two buttons (one momentary, second slide).
-Expansion analogs ports and more.

You can give a look to the Eagle Files here:

Latest boards:

About the development names I use: Alpha1 never made it, Bravo1 is the one i sent to Julio (private release), Charlie1 luckily arrived late, Delta1 was canceled because i decided to remove the differential pressure sensor and add the absolute pressure sensor. Eco1 was also canceled because i switched the Gyros from ST to Invensense. Current released candidate is the Foxtrap1..

Check the new logo:

I will order the first batch this Monday, i hope they arrived fast to test and release!

I have many other stuff going on! I have to leave so you will see later.. ;-)

BTW, Thanks to Scott Plunkett for the Bosch absolute pressure sensor and Bill Premerlani for the Invensense gyros explanation!
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