Marco Robustini's Posts (16)

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"Ardupilot:Copter V3.6.0" has been released!

Copter-3.6.0 has been released as the default version for Multicopters and Traditional Helicopters.
The release announcement is here and includes the large number of changes:
Thanks very much to the developers and beta testers who contributed to this release! We have put a lot of effort into testing this release and we hope that it will go smoothly but if you find issues, please report them in the support forums here and we will try and address them asap:


(Ardupilot Dev Team)

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I'm proud to present you a preview of
"Rescue FC", an integrated safety system suitable for unmanned aerial vechles, developed by "Marcopter" and "MRN-Electronic".
The main features of "Rescue FC" are:

• Dual flight control system redundancy management
• Single or Dual RX systems for full redundancy
• Manual or automatic switchover between flight control units
• Integrated flight termination capabilities with automatic parachute management
• Flight control units can be different from each other, or identical (for example two "Pixhawk" with a different firmware version, "Pixhawk" as primary fcu and "DJI" as secondary or viceversa, the combinations are endless)
• SBUS/CPPM R/C compatibility
• Mavlink communication if available on flight control units
• System arming detection with PWM or Mavlink feedback for secure switch
• The flight termination function can be controlled with SBUS/CPPM channels, single or double PWM external signal, dry auxiliary contact
• Self diagnostic functions
• Double power supply channels from 7.4 to 50.4V to increase availability
• Simple and quick configuration with the integrated 0.96” OLED display. No external systems or PC are needed on the field
• Visual and sound alarm of the FC status
• Firmware upgradeable

Hardware for this tests:

• FCU-Primary: "VRBrain V5.1" with "Ardupilot:Copter V3.5.5"
• FCU-Secondary: "CC3D" with "LibrePilot V16.09 R777"

Soon more details, its price will amaze you!

Marco - "Marcopter"
(Ardupilot Dev Team)

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Unfortunately these things can happen, and you've to know how to best manage, not to be caught unprepared.
This test was performed with the aid of a wireless termination system on main power, so if the drone was out of control I had a chance to get it to fall in the area  permitted for this operation in my country (70 meters high , 200 of radius).
As specified in the video don't try this thing if you don't know with absolute certainty that you're doing!
Turn off the TX when the drone is flying it's not recommended in any case
This video is in italian language, but subtitles in english are available.
If you want to create subtitles in your own language or simply correct my "maccheronic english" click this link:



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This is my endurance record at the time, but I think I can do better.
The test was performed on a day with strong winds, shall be equal and over to the navigation speed (11 m/s), it's indeed very curious to see how it behaves my "Mini Talon," sometimes flies backward (at 14.00% in the log), with the groundspeed around "0 m/s".
In a previous flight I did over 114 km, but flying "only" 02:52:00.
The battery pack is Li-Ion 4S3P 10.500 mAh "Sanyo 18650GA", with max of 30A discharge.
Unfortunately the "3DR Power Modules" current sensor is very inaccurate, so the trend of current in the log is not reliable, but the voltage is quite true.

This image shows the flight data after the land, "tempo di volo" in italian is the "flight time":

And here the residue of the battery pack, this shows that I was thoroughly conservative:

In a previous flight i reached 114 Km, but flying "only" 2 hours ad 52 mins.

X-UAV MiniTalon
ParkZone 15-Size Brushless Motor (720 Kv)
Aeronaut folding propeller 10x6
E-Flite Pro  30A ESC
Pixhawk with "APM:Plane" V3.6.0
Analog Airspeed Sensor
Home made Li-Ion battery pack 4S3P 10.500 mAh "Sanyo 18650GA"
1619gr AUW

Flight data:
Total travel: 93,4 Km
Total flight time: 3hours 11mins
Battery used: 8300 mAh (residual: over 20%)
Flight alt: 100mt
Max wind speed: 13 m/s (average: 8 m/s)
Battery failsafe voltage: 12.8V

Here the telemetry log about this endurance test:

Thanks to all the "ArduPilot Dev Team"!


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In this video you can see a full automatic mission with the "PX4 VTOL" firmware, installed on a single Pixhawk.
The current code is now fairly stable, and if the system is properly calibrated can perform missions more complex.
Thanks to Lorenz Meier, Roman Babst and Andreas Antener (PX4 Development Team) for the excellent work they're doing, and for implemented some features that i suggested after my tests.


("APM:Copter" Lead Tester)

For information and details:

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During the first flight of this big hexa one of the six motors rotated about by 90° for a faulty clamp, really bad situation for the attitude, here's how the code and the pilot handle this emergency, with a perfect landing.
Although the drone had been higher i'm sure that the flight attitude would remain good, under control.
This result shows that the efforts of the development team were awarded the reliability.
Special thanks to the whole "APM:Copter Dev Team" for this reliable code, and to Lorenzo Franco (the cam operator).

Marco Robustini

("APM:Copter" Lead Tester)

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During the alpha testing phase with the "APM Copter V3" code
i immediately reported to the Dev Team that the Loiter mode was very accurate but is not allowed to fly normally, like with other system as DJI and Mikrokopter, Zero-UAV, etc.
We preferred to make the Loiter mode that would serve to accurately reposition the multirotor, and to help beginners to fly slowly and safely.
An italian friend and developer, Sandro Tognana, collected my challenge and started to develop a flight mode as I wanted, in line with the other famous flight control board.
Another awesome programmer, Julien Dubois, has joined our team and has worked actively to implement the complicated wind compensation.
After several months of development and testing are pleased to present the "Hybrid flight mode", in two words a "flyable Loiter" with wind compensation, the code virtually switches from "Loiter" to "Alt-Hold" and viceversa when you exit and enter a sticks deadband (configurable), considering of course the compensation of the wind, therefore complies with the tuning of your multirotor.
You can configure some parameters but already with the default works perfectly, my video speaks for itself.

This new mode is currently being debugged (in alpha phase), it is therefore not available to the public, of course, will have to go into the hands of APM Copter Dev Team who will decide whether to adopt it in an upcoming release.
The results in my video are great, sorry but the audio is bad because it was very windy today, however, is clearly seen as a "Hybrid" works, is almost perfect.
In the second video by Julien you can see the Hybrid in action vs a "DJI Phantom 2" quad with "Naza 2" inside, imho Hybrid work better than the "GPS Position Hold" of DJI, especially on braking.
The tests were carried out on APM and VR Brain, but of course will work on any board that installs "APM Copter" as PX4 and Pixhawk.
I will keep you updated on the "Hybrid" developments, i'll open a discussion about this with other APM Copter developers to assess any changes in the code.

I want to say thanks to Sandro and Julien for their great work!

Bests, Marco

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This is my first public video with the new Pixhawk board revision 2.4 and for "par condicio" a new one with VR Brain, both install "APM Copter V3.1" code.
After intensive testing the stability of the system is impressive, with this release the APM Copter Developer Team has achieved equal result, if not superior, to the companies that produce closed systems like DJI.
We have so much still to be improved, a small italian team is studying now a new flight mode called "Hybrid Loiter" that allow you to fly more smoothly as "DJI Position Hold", same feeling of flying with "Alt-Hold" mode, just wish we could have something ready i'll post a video with the final result.
I often read of unwanted crash or fly-away, personally with the V3.x code i've hundreds hours of flight without ever having had a single crash, if the hardware is well-balanced/assembled, and the tuning is done as it should be "APM Copter" provides excellent stability and security.

My special thanks to the whole APM Copter Team for having opened the new year with this milestone release, and to 3DRobotics and Virtual Robotix Italia.

Enjoy your flying and fly safe!

Bests, Marco

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Today I did a lot of testing and tuning with the new unreleased beta version of ArduCopter code, known as "2.9.2ß" (V3 i think for the official exit), quad with APM V2.5 and U-Blox GPS by 3DRobotics.
The inertial control developed by Leonard and Randy, with the support of Jason, is finally giving the results that for over a year all we are waiting.
To be perfectly sure I've repeated this test at least 10 times in three different flight, with the same great performance.
As you can see from this image and video the max radius in Loiter is now not over one meter in windless/gusty winds and max two meters in strong crosswind, near the position hold performance of the best commercial product, DJI Wookong-M.
We are trying to improve the waypoint navigation but now we're here, the next release will be really a milestone.
We still have to solve a few problems related to the inertial control x/y/z, but I am sure that the excellent results achieved so far are to mean that we are on the right track.
I attach the telemetry log.
DJI, here we come...


-= AC Dev Team =-

EDIT: in my video you can see the version "3" of the code, nothing secret of course, is the current master branch on GitHub called at the moment "2.9.1b-DEV".
Jason Short on the dev list has proposed to move version from 2.9.1 to 3.x for the massive changes inside the code (ap_hal, PX4 support and other), and following its proposal I have appointed as such in my videos, that's all.


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This video shows the accuracy of the IMU, is the demonstration that the ArduCopter code has achieved a great stability.
The bottles simulate huge variations in weight and trim, quad always tries to maintain his seat during the flight but also in changes in weight when cut with scissors each bottle (at the end).
I had already tried before with four bottles in one of my quad and I was quite sure what I was doing, but it's always interesting to add items to these challenges.
The specifications of this quad are in the video description.
Please note that these experiments can be many dangerous, multicopter is not a toy, i know i'm crazy (in a good way), anyway don'
t try to emulate me!


-= AC Dev Team =-

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The evolution of the code, the improvements made by the development team and the passion that we are putting in all this public project is bearing fruits that much hoped for.
ArduCopter is reaching commercial products, offers even more potential at an affordable cost.
Roberto Navoni and Emile Castelnuovo by "Virtualrobotix Italia" was the pionieer of ARM platform for ArduCopter code with the powerfull “VR Brain” (in this video), the new “PX4” now ranks at the same level but delayed on the roadmap, although we are almost ready for the first official stable release, i will start my hard test this week.
This blog post is dedicated to people, like me, using heart and mind for this passion, and this video to Leonard for making Acro mode much better!
Just to say thanks to whole “ArduCopter Dev Team”, DIY Drone community, “3DRobotics”, “Virtualrobotix Italia” and all those who like me are following this project with the right spirit, that of fun and sharing experience… enjoy with ArduCopter!

Bests... Marco
-= ArduCopter Dev Team =-

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Hi all! In this video the first test of my new heavy CamLifter OktoKopter.
The specs:

- CamLifter Heavy OktoKopter - Carbon frame and landing gear by Klaus Peters (
- Battery holder by Alessandro Parisi (AleBS)
- AltiGator A3536-LE Motors
- APC-E 13x6.5 Props
- HobbyKing 30A ESC (F30A) reflashed with "SimonK Firmware"
- AfroI2C converter
- Mikrokopter flight board
- 3DR Radio 900 MHz telemetry
- FC "hot swap adapter" by Marco Robustini
- 4S 5000 mhA 30C LiPo (x 2)

Using my "hot swap" adapter" I can remove the Mikrokopter board and install ArduCopter APM2 in just two minutes, without remove a single cable.


-= Marco =-
(AC Dev Team)

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Flight Control board "hot swap" adapter

Hi all! In the quad that I use to work i've a Mikrokopter "tower" (all board), I created an "hot swap" adapter that allows me to move all the board/receiver from a quad to another in just a minute.
In the photos I had not yet entered the base for the receiver (now is between the GPS and the NC), but now even that is connected to PPM Sum with Flight Control, all in a single "tower".
For safety reasons all the contacts are redundant on more pins, this is the list of contacts used for any "signal or power":

8 / - LiPo
8 / + LiPo
6 / C I2C
6 / D I2C
4 / + Buzzer
4 / - Buzzer
2 / pwm signal for each servo
2 / -5V for each servo
2 / +5V for each servo
2 / + Led Strip front
2 / + Led Strip rear
4 / + 5V Aux
4 / - 5V Aux
10 / Telemetry Port

This system is of course usable for any type of flight card, even for ArduCopter APM1/APM2, just obviously adapt the cards and the strips.
Certainly this adapter is used on heavy quad, since the bulk and weight (46g) would be ridiculous to install it on little quad.
In the photos are missing the four 10 mm spacer that fasten the two boards of the adapter with 4 plastic screws.
Obviously after each swap is necessary to load the appropriate tab setting flight and motors matrix table, simple and quick.

Marco Robustini
(AC Dev Team)


Tower ready to go, full Mikrokopter electornics with "3DR Radio" telemetry and rx s-bus, "all in one" installed in the "hot swap adapter".
Yeah, the new 3DR Radio work fine also with Mikrokopter boards! :-)
In the "male" base adapter there's the two pnp transistor and two resistor for the "led strip".


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