Jordi Muñoz's Posts (87)

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If you want get your own SparkFun building for practicing well jsut fallow the next steps:

1.-Download SparkFun Model from here
2.-Open Goggle Earth and click on the Tab Add>Model or just press Ctrl+Shift+M.
3.-In the next window click on "browse" and select the model you just downloaded with extension ".dae".
4.-Drag the building to any position you want and VOILA!!

Your own SparkFun building!

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When testing my airplane on the flying field i have two main problems:

1.-I can't see anything on my laptop under the sun. SOLVED!
2.-Battery life less than 3 hours. SOLVED!

The way i did to solve this problem was actually pretty simple and now i can get more than 12 hours of battery life when testing and at full screen illumination! This very, very convenient specially when you can park your car near to you.

My super top secret is my new Duracell PowerPak 600. It has build in power inverter, AM/FM Radio (LOL!), Lamp, 12V car socket and car cable to start it up (just in case).

There's a few considerations you must take care of, in case you want to maximize the performance of this portable battery: You must use a 12V laptop power adapter, is more efficient than using the internal 120V inverter. I was able to find one for my Dell Studio, but not for my ThinkPad (so bad), but the ThinkPad works like a charm under the sun! Even better than the iPhone screen!

Talking about the iPhone I'm just waiting to end my contract and get the new Nexus from Google, it allows you to have internet access from your laptop (tethering for free!) by just using the normal USB, so i can stay connected without paying extra $50 bucks monthly (or just jailbreak your iPhone). ;-)

In other hand the Beta version (not alpha) of the ArduPilot Shield is about to arrive in one week, i hope is ready soon!

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APM Oil Pan!

Is 2:22AM (when i started writing this) and i can't sleep, so i decided to write this post.

I been working "hard" and the fastest i can to finish this thing, theres only one step remaining in order to start the "mass" production of this board.

This is how the last step will be done:
-A unique assembled board will be shipped from California to Spain.
-Then Jose Julio in Spain will open his "Surprise Board" and make us the great favor to all of us of checking the board integrity and the harmony of all the components on it (thanks in advance JJ).
-That includes checking some new components i can't mention right now.
-If Jose Julio says 'Si", then i will start the mass production.

By now SparkFun is straggling trying to supply all the components and test bed for APM. It will be released soon.

The board is kinda of big right now. This board will be called the "huge" version. When the code becomes very mature i will create a an smaller version of the APM and APM Oil Pan without the multiplexor on the APM and without the bulky FTDI chip on the APM Oil Pan, so i can save 30% of the size. This one will be called ArduPilotMega "In my way" version. ;-)

Oil pan stands for the old shield name. The difference is that the shield goes into the bottom of the ArduPilotMega board.

I decided to let the community guess the rest of the specs for ArduPilotMega Oil Pan, because write stuff in English make me drowsy. The best guesser will receive a $50 certificate. ;-)

Come 2:56AM!!

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Store Updates!

Remember you have to start saving now, so your wife (or mom) can't tell that you bought an ArduPilotMega with all the gear included!

-I have the honor to announce the last and missing sensor of our mini UAV store. Yeah the easy to use i2c absolute pressure sensor for just $169.90 dlls! Just kidding. Check the price here.

I been playing with it a lot and i didn't know how good it is (of course i will not tell you is a piece of crap when I'm trying to sell it, but believe me is more than perfect for our applications).
I'm also trying to write a nice code to auto calibrate the actual sea level pressure, but the Arduino environment only have a crappy power function (pow()) that eats up some important bits, so i will try to figure out that issue later when i have time, in the mean time i have an Arduino example code that was mainly developed by Jose Julio (thank you!).
You only need an Arduino mini 8Mhz, wire up the 3.3V and Ground signals and the I2c port (AN4 to SDA and AN5 to SCL), load this code here and you should see temperature, pressure in pascals and the approximated altitude. Remember that you need to define at the beginning of the code your current altitude, you can find that information with Google Earth, the definition looks like this: "#define ALT_ADJ 217", where the value "217" is 217 meters above the sea level.

-About Remzibi OSD's, he sent me about 50 units on January 26 and i still waiting for them, probably the box get lost on the mail. :S

-China came back from vacation (Happy Tiger's year!!) so the ArduPilotMega shield development is back on tracks with a few other halted project are on the move.

-New uBlox GPS modules (GS-407) will arrive in 1 week.

-I will have new products soon... ;-)

-ArduPilot Mega is about to be released, they are building a very complicated test bed with one LED for every pin of the At1280, i hope have some pictures soon.

Bad news:
On March 4 i will leave for a HUGE family reunion. We will get lost on the paradise beach of my own country (Mexico). That means no internet connection, no development's, no school, no nothing and yes sun, yes sea food and yes real vacations. I will fly back on a Boeing 737-500 (my favorite part of a trip) on March 16. ;-) See ya!
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New ArduIMU+ Firmware & Ground Station revision

Hello dear community! I'm pleased to announce a new polished version of the ArduIMU+ Ground Station based on LabView and firmware.

Whats new on the GS:
-Better Look.
-Simple, lightweight, functional and funny virtual horizon (VHLOL).
-Number of satellites used indicator for the GPS.
-Three needle altimeter (in meters).
-Vertical Speed (m/s).
-Compass indicator.
-And more but i don't remember.

What's new on the Firmware:
-Few bugs solved. (Thanks to Doug Weibel and Jose Julio)
-Now supports uBlox NAV-SOL data stream (needed for SVNumber and Vertical Speed).
-Compatible with the new GS.
-Coming soon: magnetometer support.

Note: You need to reconfigure your Ublox GPS in order to enable the NAV-SOL data stream, you can also disable NAV-STATUS because is not needed anymore. If you can't reconfigure your GPS don't worry you can still use the Ground station and the firmware but the vertical speed and the satellites indicator will not work.

Exanple of how ArduPilot uBlox configuration used to be or V1:

Exanple of how ArduPilot uBlox configuration V2 is:

Note that ArduPilot Code V2.5 and up will also support configuration V2, but you can still use ArduPIlot uBlox Configuration V1, no problem.

ArduPilot Mega will support uBlox configuration V2 only. So you better switch soon. All brand new ArduPilot Ready uBlox modules from the DIYdrones store will have configuration V2 from now.

Because i would like to help everybody switch to V2, If you can't reconfigure your uBlox GPS by yourself i can do it for you (free), you only need to pay for shipping (less than $15 for a round trip with insurance). I also need the email address you used to buy the uBlox GPS from DIYdrones store (Just to verify you buy it from me) and the unit has to be shipped to the same address used when you bought unit. If you got you unit from somebody else i will charge a $5 dlls fee for the service. Please PM me for more information.

If somebody outside the US, would like to help a community member from you area, please leave a comment plus your requirements. If somebody near you contact me i will forward him to you.

All the files including LabView source and ArduIMU+ firmware can be downloaded from here and from the repertory as well.

Best Regards.
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New 3-Axis MagnetoMeter Available (HMC5843)

Yes you got me, i love to make boards. ;-)The new magnetometer is pretty flexible, it will let you (through a solder jumper) select 5V or 3.3V mode, it has a 3.3V voltage regulator and an I2C translator (translate the I2C signals to 3.3V to void damage to the unit), so you are free to use it with any microcontroller (normally you don't suppose to connect it to a micro-controller that uses 5V signals). In other words is the smallest, cheapest, 5V and 3.3V, 3-axis magnetometer on the market (yet).

Another feature is that you can remove the screw holes sides in order to keep the minimum size. If you don't care about the size but you care about holding it very well then just leave as is. My recommendation for ArduIMU+ and other projects is to place it as far as you can from the any magnetic interference, you can solder a long wire all way down to the magneto board, don't worry about the noise because the i2c protocol is digital (not analog) and also the "I2C translator" acts like as a signal booster. Do you want more?

For ArduIMU+ and future ArduPilotMega Shield owners the magneto board will be pin compatible, so you can just place it on top (as the upper picture indicates), without compromising the low profile of the board:

All this for just $49.90, the same price as the SparkFun board but with more feactures. Also it works under any circumstances, thanks to its bigger tantalum capacitor (33uF).You can get yours here: you mix it with the ArduIMU+ it will cost $25 more than the 9DoF Razor board, but just remember that ArduIMU+ runs at 16MHz, has GPS port and you can easily place the magnetometer away from the board in case you have noisy magnetic fields close to that board that normally don't affect the accelerometers and the gyros, also the 9DoF board has I2C accelerometer that i doubt is better than the analog one we have.The advantages of 9DoF Razor is that you have Lithium Battery port, ON&OFF switch, fixed mounting holes, is $25 cheaper and soon will support our DCM code. So is up to you! ;-)Thanks for all your support!
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Do you want an ArduPilotMega board? (Limited)

I know some of you want to help and also for those that can't wait to put their hand's on the ArduPilotMega board here is your opportunity: You can be a Beta tester!The final version of the board will almost the same, just some small corrections like an extra set of resistors pads i added just in case that will be removed in the final version, right now are just bypassed.The requirements for being a beta tester are:-Have and know how to use an AVR ISCP Programmer (i recommend the AVRISP MKII), to upload new HEX's just in case we decide to change the PPM encoder firmware.-Windows XP/Vista/7.-Have a FTDI cable programmer.-Know how to use Arduino Environment and some basic programming skills.-Have a clue what digital electronics means (If you are a regular user or a certified noob, i don't recommend this board to you right now).-Willing to share your experience!-Have $38.90 dlls $44.90, i'm giving the board almost to the production cost (for low quantity's). The final version may cost up to $65 dlls!If you are ok with all this, you are welcome to get one board right now: boards come with firmware (for AT328) and bootloader (for AT1280).I will be posting news&updates on the comments.I have a basic firmware that reads and decodes the PPM signal and display the 8ch PWM's into the terminal:APM_demo.zipThe folder "PPM_Decoder_AT1280" is located the code for Arduino IDE. On the folder "PPM_Enconder_AT328" is the firmware for the PPM enconder, if you have Windows and the AVRISP MKII just double click on the .bat file and press any key and it will upload the hex to the board, make sure to connect your programmer on the "AT328 port".PPM Encoder configuration:-MUX is controlled by input CH5.-Throttle FailSafe is input CH3 (Futaba).The Eagle Files of the Board are here:ArduPilotMega_v10.brdArduPilotMega_v10.sch
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JR/Spektrum 9Ch for only $249 dlls?!

If you want the most reliable technology with the possibility to add a 2.4Ghz signal booster for long distance missions well... That will cost you around $600 dlls plus shipping and tax!! (without the booster). But.. You can get the same by buying this Turnigy 2.4Ghz that is COMPATIBLE WITH JR MODULES for $69.99. Yes that right! You can just buy the Spektrum module for JR and you are done! You will have 9CH plus the possibility to mod it for long distance range and the best 2.4Ghz technology on the market .If you only need 7CH just buy the Spektrum version that includes the 7CH receiver (cheaper), all for just $179 dlls.Also exist many other super cheap options for the 2.4Ghz (you only care about the wireless technology no the radio itself, the transmitter box is just a bunch of potentiometers and switches converted to PPM, except in helis) just to mention some other cheap options like the Corona 2.4Ghz with 8Ch's or the X8. In both scenarios you can still plug the booster.Important Note: Spektrum and JR are the same company, you can use Spektrum receivers with the JR 2.4Ghz transmitters and vise versa. I heard that Spektrum is just the test bed for new technology's (like 2.4Ghz they were the firsts), when the product or technology become really mature they switch it to JR brand.
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Community Help: Magnetometer Board Design

I have dumb and obvious question (this is the cover my ass step) but i would like to hear the opinion of everybody. I really need it.This is the picture of new magnetometer for ArduIMU V1 and Flat version or any platform. It uses the HMC5843 and i2c translator that make it compatible with 3.3V and 5V uControllers (jumper selectable), that also works as a booster in case you are planing to mount it far, far away from the main board like the tip of your wing (for disturbing magnetic field reasons). It also has build in power regulator (only used in 5V applications) and my new invention: breakaway holes (yellow arrows). Can be also soldered directly to the ArduIMU Flat in case you want an small design. The next picture is an example of the breakaway holes:

The new ArduIMU flat batch will have this breakaway holes too!My PROBLEM is:If you look into the first picture you will see a huge 100uF capacitor (red arrow) next to the magnetometer (blue arrow). Do you think it will have a big impact on the magneto? I know that you have to calibrate the magneto to get it used to the ferro "i don't what" around it, that would be enough?Another angle:Luckily capacitors don't work like inductors LOL.Any help will be much appreciated (PLEASE!!). ;-)
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I love my Spektrum Dx7 and my 2.4Ghz JR XPS9303 and i refused to trade its solid rock performance by a 72mhz radio just to increase range of my FPV/UAV. So in collaboration with my friend JB we find out the cheapest and secure way to amplify the signal, it even works in some Futabas and virtually with any 2.4Ghz radio, but some modifications are required. Lets see some options:-Spektrum Dx7 this is the cheapest solution for a very reliable 2.4Ghz radio, i used it for about a year and i never had any signal glitch (unless i fly beyond 2000 feet). The problem with this one is that you have to modify it, you need a SMD to U.FL adapter, drill a hole in the side of your radio and just connect and screw the adapter, no soldering required. If you have more than 5 hours of experience with Legos your qualified to do this job. Then you just need to connect the booster. The one in the picture (middle) is already modified.-If you have the awesome JR radio but is 72Mhz you can buy the Spektrum 2.4Ghz module and just insert it in the back of your TX, personally this is my favorite setup. It's a good deal because includes a $99 dlls receiver for free! Note that JR TX alone cost around $600 dlls, but you can get it for less, i got mine for 300 bucks with Spektrum Module included on R/C Groups =P. Remember you are looking for the JR XPS9303.If you have one of the fallowing Futaba radios:7U Series Radios8U Series Radios8J Series Radios9C Series Radios9Z Series RadiosFN Series RadiosYou can just go and buy the Spektrum 2.4Ghz module, easy and with no hassles. It's also a good deal because includes a $99 dlls receiver for free!

One of the advantages of the Spektrum receivers is the build in diversity system, you can even buy one with 4 satellites like this one, or buy a super tiny, tiny setup like this one, or the traditional one.The diversity is crucial to have a reliable link when you are flying far away, also Spektrum has a receiver for Carbon Fiber airplanes (Carbon Fiber blocks RF signals).The idea is to have the best reliable hardware with an SMA connector and the SMA extension cable, after that you are ready for the final step: Get an amplifier. But we are talking about a few hundred dollars here, if you get the weakest one of 100mW it will cost you around $150 dlls. This is not pocket friendly in my point of view. So again our Asians friends come to the rescue, after making some research around the net I've found on eBay and a home Wireless Amplifier, so i decided to give it a chance and i bought it for 60 bucks including shipping! Wow that's a good deal! The one i got is this one.Note that the amplifier needs 6Volts to work, you can get a cheap 6V power regulator from here and just make the adapter. A 3 Cell LIPO is enough to supply it for a long time.

After receiving the AMP i did some tests, here are my results:Before using the amplifier, i was able to fly around 3000 feet away (~1 km) using a 900Mhz@500mW Video transmitter. I never lost the video signal, only the radio link...Using a 1.3Ghz@1Watt Video transmitter i was unable to fly more than 2000 feet away (~600meters). So the 1.3Ghz Video transmitter reduces my 2.4Ghz Spektrum range...Then i got my cheap Asian amplifier and using a 2.4Ghz Patch Antenna i was able to fly around 2.6 miles (4.18Km) away without a single glitch, but i was unable to continue because now my video was causing me problems, hehe!Not bad at all! Honestly i don't need more than 2 miles of coverage, is really a long way for an EasyStar. In conclusion the maximum range for my setup still unknown, but the range achieved is more that 2.6 miles and the +2 extra miles of coverage gained for less than $100 dlls is really a good deal for me!

Now just remember this:-The range will be different in other setups.-Never turn on your radio without antenna.-Never turn on the Amplifier without antenna.-Note that in some country's this amplifier may be illegal.Thanks for watching!
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Some details you must remember:-Your solder skills must be advance or medium-advance to attempt this.-If you try to do it with your razor remember that you will void your warranty with SparkFun.-The same with ArduIMU, if you can't do it i will for you (free of charge).-Not all the ArduIMU's flats have high pass filters, please double check. Check if the HP resistors are already gone.To remove the capacitors and the resistors is pretty easy. First try to set the highest temp possible in your iron, then just apply heat in any of the side of the capacitor/resistors, the heat will spread in both ends melting the soldering in both sides, then just push it carefully. Try not to apply to much pressure or you may blow away the pad. I recommend to practice with the resistors first (the black ones), because if you blow away the pad it really doesn't matter (are not needed anyway), then try later with the capacitors (the brown ones), very, very carefully.Now you must make a bridge in the capacitor pads. There's many ways to it, use any wire or piece of metal to make the bridge and apply soldering to keep it there. I used breadboard cable.The next hi-res pictures indicates which components you must remove, the red arrows are the resistors and the yellow/green arrows are the capacitors. Good luck!

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For some reason my left index finger hurts me, so i can't type very well. ;-)I'm setting up ArduIMU and ArduPilot SVN repertory, in conjunction with Google code. In that way you will be able to track all the changes made to the code and spot the differences between revisions with the possibility to comment (or complain) about it.Lets do an interesting example, if you go to google code repertory for ardupilot and you click in the tab "source" and then in the option "Changes", or just click here: You will see a list of all the revisions of the codes, any change we do to the code will be displayed as a new revision.Now click on revision 5 "r5", over there you will see the log message (i forgot to say something) and the "Affected files". The affected files tells you if i have made a modification, addition, etc. to the specified source file.Now lets go to the point, if you want to see the changes made to the file "/trunk/GPS_UBLOX.pde" in r5 just click on the "diff" link. In the next page you will see a comparation from r1 and r5 files, scroll down and you will find a tiny correction in the checksum verification for the uBlox parser in red (old one) and green (for the new one), spotted and correct by Jason (hehe, my bad). This is what you should see:

***************************************************************************************Now for the store i have include a new and improved 2ch optocoupler:

Its pretty small (in the picture looks huge) but in reality is very tiny. Can be use as single or dual channels. Not to mention that has less components (smaller and cheaper) and more convenient for ucontrollers, because you don't need to supply 5V to power the board in the input side, you can just connect the 3.3V or 5V PWM signal output from your system or receiver (with ground) and you are done!-You can get the stand alone board from here.-Or the assembled version from here.***************************************************************************************For ArduIMu flat version, seems that the High Pass filter on the board is causing problems for some applications, so this the solution:-I will not populate the 1 Mohms resistors anymore.-The 4.7uF capacitor will be replaced by a zero ohms resistor, just to make a bridge, click here.You can see here the difference between the original board and the new board.And whalaa!! Problem solved. If you want me to remove your HP, just mail it to me and i will do it for free.***************************************************************************************-UPS shipping problem!! For some reason the store page is displaying the full prices (and no the prices with discount) for international shipments. If you want to use UPS for international but the displayed price is very expensive just email me and i will give you the real price and i will refund it.Best regards
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ArduIMU+ V2 (Flat) now available for preorder..

The new and flat version is now available for pre-order for just $129, the estimated shipping date should be Tuesday and you can get it here. I also have big discounts for dealers and high quantity orders.

Why "+" in the name? Because it's an Inertial Measure Unit (sensors and hardware filter circuitry) plus an Arduino-compatible processor that can run our Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) code, based on Bill Premerlani's DCM algorithm. This hardware consists of a 3 axis accelerometer and three gyro sensors, dual power regulator (3.3v and 5v), GPS port, an Atmega328@16mhz and a lot of status LED's. It's the cheapest IMU-AHRS on the market!Note: this IMU is not designed to work with ArduPilot as is, and is not a replacement for ArduPilot's thermopile sensors. We may in the future release versions that do work with ArduPilot, but this version is designed as a stand-alone IMU/AHRS, for use with your own projects.Includes the pin headers and all the sensors needed, some assembly is required.Features:-Flat Desing.-Low cost.-3 Axis Accelerometer.-3 Axis Gyroscope-Arduino Compatible.-Source Code included and Open Source!-Power LED (Green).-Status LEDs (Red, Blue, Yellow).-1 SPI port.-1 I2C port (possible expansion shield with magnetometers).-Two PWM outputs (for servos).-GPS port (uBlox ready!).-Protection diode.-Serial port output with servo standard connector for easy interface with any device (Ground, 5V, TX-OUT).-Latest Firmware-Board-Schematics-XY gyro LPR530AL-Z gyro LY530ALH-XYZ 3g Accel. ADXL335
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ArduIMU V13 Officially Released!

Hi there, finally is here and includes many improvements thanks to Doug Weibel. Try it out! here.-Coordinate system has been corrected.-The gyros are now in order X,Y and Z.-Extra LED status, including no yaw correction (Yellow), GPS fix (Blue) and Gyro saturation (Red).-Improved Ground Station, with Labview 8.5 files and executable for windows.I also add some boards to the stock here. I have to increase a little bit the price because i'm really getting nothing. Also the demand is so high that i can't keep them stocked (more demand = higher price)...Thank you a lot for your support!
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New Ground Station idea....

Hi there,I been thinking about create a simple and relative ground station to display information in a more useful way.Here is my idea:-Simple reference map, with actual position, distance and heading of the airplane relative to home.-Display waypoints relative to home.-Display information more like an OSD.-In the future click and drag waypoints with real time update (for ardupilot mega).-Overlay photos for offline use.-Multiple Aircrafts?-I would like to create two or three small airplane indicators for pitch, roll and yaw angle in a easy way to read, something like this:

But with real time rotating images,In the meantime you can download and play with the experiment i just did, is in labview 8.2 and 8.6 and also i compiled for
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ArduPilot 2.4 Officially Released!

You can download ArduPilot 2.4 + Ground Station Beta 2 from here.I didn't get feedback from the community in the unofficial release, so that means that maybe is working fine.. Please tell me if you spot any bug. ;-)What's new:-Altitude hold improved for my EasyStar.-Free running analogs for better performance.-Now compatible with ArduPilot Shield V2.-Minor bugs.- And more...Todo:-Cross Track Error-More testing.-New GroundStation.........Regards.
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Store Updates!

UPS is now available as shipping method and we also have something called "negotiated rates", in other words i have to punch in the face a few UPS guys in order to get cheaper shipping prices (like SparkFun!). Before this ship something to Japan via UPS Expedited used to cost 60 bucks! and now is around $30 dlls!! (you save 50%). In hope in the future costumers will start using more UPS for large and expensive shipments, is more secure, is a lot faster, every package is insured, has live tracking number and they have funny brown trucks.Schematics and diagrams are now available for all products (i guess)....We carry new stuff and i re-organized the products, so please come and visit us!:!
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