May 2009 Blog Posts (113)

Crossing the Atlantic

I saw this on the Web and found it interesting:

Do you think it was all programed into the GPS, or did it have some direct communication to correct its course in flight?

Added by Bill R on May 31, 2009 at 6:54am — 13 Comments

3D Robotics
Day one of Maker Faire

Massive day at Maker Faire yesterday, with Jordi manning the booth in the Maker Shed and me bouncing around with kids between that and the GeekDad booth (shown above), which is my other hat here. We gave a UAV talk on the main stage at 6:00 and then did a photo shoot outside for next month's Make Magazine.

Child… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 31, 2009 at 6:49am — 3 Comments


I bought a BlimpDuino today at the maker faire. I hope to have it made by the time I go to the borg meeting.

Added by elworks on May 30, 2009 at 11:00pm — 2 Comments

My UAV helicopter (which can't fly)

What can it do:

the atmega 128 can control all the servos and the engine speed. It can communicate with my Windows PC via the xbee so I can send it commands (like inc/dec engine speed, tail rotor servo, etc). It know's it's pitch, roll and heading using the sparkfun 6DOF + the compass (combined using kalman filters).

What can't it do?

well, first off it can't fly (yet). it can't even control it's horizontal direction using… Continue

Added by Randy on May 30, 2009 at 10:49pm — 15 Comments

3D Robotics
Other things you'll need to complete your BlimpDuino kit

Your Blimpduino kit comes with most of what you need to compete the blimp, and all the hard-to-find and unique parts. Here's what else you'll need:

  • A soldering iron and solder
  • A FTDI cable (DIY Drones cable recommended) to program the board.
  • Helium (Available in the balloon kits available for $18 at Target, or a…

Added by Chris Anderson on May 30, 2009 at 10:30pm — 21 Comments

3D Robotics
Loading the Blimpduino code

Here's how to load the Arduino code on Blimduino:

First, you need to download and install the latest Arduino IDE.

Then, download the latest Blimpduino code from the code repository.

Unzip the file. You should have a directory that looks like this:…


Added by Chris Anderson on May 30, 2009 at 12:00am — 5 Comments

UAV DevBoard is back in stock

The UAV Devboard is back in stock at SparkFun, with a new design.

The reason for the design change is that Analog Devices no longer makes the gyro that we were using on the previous board, so we have switched the design to the LISY300AL. Paul Bizard and I have thoroughly tested the new board on fixed-wing aircraft, the LISY300ALs work just great with DCM.

We have modified all of our existing firmware to be able to run on either… Continue

Added by William Premerlani on May 29, 2009 at 8:20am — 51 Comments

New InvenSense IMU-on-a-chip

Press Release

"The world's first 6-axis MEMS-based motion processing solution delivering the smallest, most robust inertial measurement unit (IMU) for CE applications. This solution includes two 4x5x1.2 mm packages for the gyroscopes and one 3x3x0.9 mm package for the accelerometer, providing a small 7x7mm equivalent footprint with 10,000 g-shock… Continue

Added by Mitch on May 29, 2009 at 12:30am — 13 Comments

3D Robotics
FMA no longer carrying Z sensors

I'm sorry to report that FMA is no longer carrying Z sensors. They ran out of existing stock and because their basic Co-Pilot doesn't require them, they won't be making any more. They will continue to make XY sensors, which the Co-Pilot does use, and those should be back in stock in a few days.

We're currently exploring alternative sources for the Z sensors, but in the meantime, I suggest you buy them from Dean Goedde for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 28, 2009 at 8:30am — 44 Comments

3D Robotics
ArduPilot Shield now even cheaper: $32.50!

Jordi figured out how to make the ArduPilot shield $5 cheaper--now it's just $32.50 with the differential pressure sensor.


--Airspeed sensor

--Battery voltage sensor

--3.3v power regulator to support 5Hz… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 27, 2009 at 7:53pm — 25 Comments

Wiring up uBlox! (Only for PRO's)

Hello again! I'm not so good making intros, so imagine you just read a long and well redacted introduction of why uBlox (the best GPS ever) is so difficult to find and interface with (Specially the SparkFun version). So let's go to the point. ;-)

If you are beginner please don't try to make this.

Fallow this pictures in order to make… Continue

Added by Jordi Muñoz on May 27, 2009 at 1:00pm — 64 Comments

ArduPilot1. with EEPROM function.

It would seem I’m not the only one using ArduPilot1 code so I fiddled with the code and took some extracts from

Ardupilot 2.1 and used it to save the home alt in the EEPROM.

When the autopilot resets it self during flight or is reset by the user (quick 5 times toggle of AP switch) the home position (WP 0) would reset and for that given position during the flight the alt. will be “0”.

If you descend the alt would read something silly like 65000 subsequently with AP armed… Continue

Added by Gagarien on May 27, 2009 at 3:47am — 3 Comments

Phase 1 - Define the goals of your UAV project


-I want my UAV to be able to go from point A to point B, take a picture, go back to point A and then land safely.

-My UAV should be built using the cheapest commercial available products and the total cost should not exceed 1000$.

-I'm giving myself no more than a year to complete this project.

List of my skills:

Update: 2009-05-27: Thanks to David for pointing out the excellent article of… Continue

Added by xn2001 on May 26, 2009 at 9:30pm — 9 Comments

Picoc notes or "don't use assert in autopilots"

Integrated picoc as a runtime thread in VicaCopter. The current version locks up, it doesn't do floating point, it crashes your entire autopilot when it encounters an internal error, but after working around all the problems, managed to get some nifty flights out of it.

It's like turtle graphics with a very very expensive turtle. U can build up incredibly complex flights out of reusable maneuvers. U can repeat maneuvers. U can nest maneuvers in maneuvers.

Ironically, picoc… Continue

Added by Jack Crossfire on May 26, 2009 at 10:30am — 17 Comments

Accurate 3D CAD model of the Multiplex Easy Star

Do you know if there is a publicly available 3D CAD model file of the Multiplex Easy Star (preferably an accurate)?

Added by MC on May 26, 2009 at 7:59am — 3 Comments

PicPilot + Ardupilot Ground Station

I got the Radio Interface running today and am talking thru the XBee radio to the Ardupilot ground station. I'm not sending all the data yet, but most of it. That's my house down there!

That just leaves the SD card as the last bit of hardware to validate. I'll probably wait a bit on that and focus on getting the magnetometer integrated with the attitude estimator. Then I think… Continue

Added by Brian Wolfe on May 25, 2009 at 10:21pm — 4 Comments

Pic32 Autopilot Progress.

Got the Altitude sensor working (BMP085). This graph shows the responds from holding the autopilot near the roof then lowering it to the floor, then back again. All in all about 8 ft. A little noisy, but not too bad. I haven't attempted any filtering of the data yet.

This graph shows the accelerometer data as I hand held it and did several rotations about the roll and pitch… Continue

Added by Brian Wolfe on May 25, 2009 at 12:00am — 18 Comments

3D Robotics
A better failsafe: one fifth the size, one fifth the price

The more we get into the RC world, the more we're shocked by how overpriced and underpowered a lot of RC equipment is. Most of the specialty electronics, from ESCs to servo amplifiers, are just cheap PIC chips with a few support components. The parts cost a few dollars, but the completed boards often sell for as much as ten… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 24, 2009 at 11:00pm — 27 Comments

Unofficial ArduPilot 2.2 Release

This version has many additions, including the support for three different GPS protocols (SIRF, NMEA and UBX) and can be added as many are possible.

Has the well integration of the pressure sensor and battery level conversion with an offset for the ADC voltage to increase accuracy in the conversions.

Has been debugged using the ArduPilot… Continue

Added by Jordi Muñoz on May 23, 2009 at 8:30pm — 31 Comments

3D Robotics
Delivering Blimpduinos to Maker Shed warehouse

Blimpduino boxes at the Maker Shed loading dock, at the O'Reilly campus in Sebastopol. Around the corner there were loads of trucks being packed up for next weekend's Maker Faire. (Sorry for the iPhone quality.)

Added by Chris Anderson on May 23, 2009 at 5:17pm — No Comments

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