Andrew Tridgell's Blog (61)

Tuning the TechPod

I was delighted when Mark Bolt of BoltRC rang me up recently and offered to send me a TechPod to review. I'd been looking at the TechPod as a possible search aircraft for long distance search and rescue tasks, which…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on August 16, 2013 at 10:53pm — 30 Comments

Demonstration of CanberraUAV image search algorithm

The CanberraUAV Outback Challenge team has put together a package that will allow anyone to try the image recognition system we developed for our …


Added by Andrew Tridgell on June 20, 2013 at 6:43pm — 106 Comments

Mounting an APM on a Bixler2 upside down using AHRS_ORIENTATION

I've flown a lot of different planes while working on ArduPlane, but it wasn't till yesterday that I first flew what is perhaps the most popular plane for new ArduPlane users - the Bixler2.

While setting it up on Saturday evening I had a bit of a look through some Bixler build logs in the forums, and I was surprised to find that none of the suggested ways of mounting the APM were really…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on April 28, 2013 at 9:46pm — 25 Comments

Lots of changes to APM development!

Development moved to github

We moved APM development from subversion to git quite a while ago, and it was a big improvement, but we've been noticing quite a few rough edges to the git support on Meanwhile,…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on January 16, 2013 at 3:34am — 33 Comments

CanberraUAV Outback Challenge 2012 debrief

We're now settling back into life at home after some exciting times in Queensland, so its time to write up what happened. This will be a fairly detailed report, not just because some people may be interested, but also as a way to remind ourselves of what went right and what went wrong for our next trip to Kingaroy.

The …


Added by Andrew Tridgell on October 9, 2012 at 11:55pm — 34 Comments

new ArduPlane feature - geo-fencing

The dev team is delighted to give a Christmas present to ArduPlane users in the form of a new geo-fencing feature!

Geo-fencing allows you to define a GPS fence around your flying area, plus a minimum and maximum altitude. Within the fence you can fly ArduPlane normally in any mode…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on December 24, 2011 at 5:02pm — 22 Comments

First ArduPlane flights with APM2

I've been working on the ArduPlane code for the new APM2 boards for a while now, so I was delighted to watch it loitering above my local flying field today for the first time. I'd flown it once before two weeks ago, but that was a very short flight as I had the aileron controls reversed (I don't have much experience with elevon planes!), so it was quite tricky to steer. It 'landed' in a tree…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on December 3, 2011 at 5:33pm — 12 Comments

ArduPilot automatic testing system

The development team is always trying to find ways to improve our testing and the quality of our code. We've recently add a new automatic testing system that should help a lot with finding bugs and ensuring that the huge range of features that we have added (and plan to add!) to the code keep working.

If you have a look at…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on November 11, 2011 at 1:39am — 17 Comments

Fixing a magnetometer bug and how to use MAVLink to diagnose APM

While flying our Telemaster last Sunday with two APMs we noticed something very strange about LOITER mode. The above track is a small snippet from our flight path. We entered LOITER mode on the left, with a loiter radius of 25m. As you can see from the spiral path, the plane did not…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on August 13, 2011 at 6:10am — 18 Comments

Two APMs, one plane

We took our Telemaster up again today, this time with two APMs on board. There were two aims with this flight. The first was to get an idea of how much two APMs would vary in their attitude and altitude solution, and the second was to test a new experimental GPS that one of the CanberraUAV team…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on August 7, 2011 at 6:53am — 9 Comments

A Senior Telemaster as an APM test platform

The CanberraUAV team has submitted its deliverable 1 report for the outback…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on July 31, 2011 at 12:19am — 3 Comments

Getting the most out of your APM1280

Do you have an APM1280 board? Are you worried that you won't be able to use it with the latest bleeding edge APM code? Read on for some tips on how to get some life from that old board.

The current generation APM board is based on the APM2560, which has 256k of flash instead of the 128k of flash of the APM1280. As…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on July 12, 2011 at 3:49pm — 44 Comments

The importance of vibration isolation

Just how important vibration isolation is with an APM become clear to CanberraUAV this week. We were testing flying Jacks SkyRaider (a low wing sports plane with a 0.5ci engine) on Sunday, and found that we got severe gyro drift. The first minute or so of flight was OK, but the plane quickly developed severe roll and pitch drift when it…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on July 1, 2011 at 4:39am — 6 Comments

Inverted flight patch for APM

I thought it would be fun to have an 'inverted flight' switch on my transmitter. With an APM, it's easy! I just added a check for a PWM value above 1700 on channel 7 in read_control_switch(), and when it is above 1700 it sets a inverted_flight boolean. That adds 180 degrees to the nav_roll, which is the target roll for the stabiliser, and it switches the…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on June 12, 2011 at 7:30pm — 22 Comments

First flights of the SkyPanda

The CanberraUAV team did our first flights with our full onboard computer system (a pandaboard) on a SkyWalker test plane this weekend. This allows us to capture images of the IR lamp used in the outback challenge from the air, combined with the telemetry we need to start…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on May 1, 2011 at 4:33am — 10 Comments

APM flying a search pattern with a SkyWalker

After yesterdays transmitter failure, we flew the SkyWalker again today with Jacks Spektrum transmitter. This time everything went very well, and we successfully flew a search pattern over the CMAC field.

The flight we did was:

 - takeoff in fly-by-wire-A mode

 - switched to GPS loiter, worked well

 - switched to full auto, and flew a "mow the lawn" 18…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on April 26, 2011 at 3:31am — 7 Comments

Transmitter failure, but APM saves the day

I finished my SkyWalker build last night, and went out to CMAC to take it for its first flight. All the ground tests looked good (including the new 'system check' in mavproxy) so we took it for the first flight. About 60 meters into the flight I heard "MODE STABILIZE" from mavproxy, and I lost control. Jack and I watched as the…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on April 25, 2011 at 5:31am — 19 Comments

budget sunlight readable ground control station

This video shows the result of modifying a T41 Thinkpad to give a full colour sunlight readable display:


Full credit for both the idea and the modification should go to Nic Schraudolph from the Canberra MakeHackVoid group. I just supplied the old thinkpad to modify when Nic suggested that…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on April 14, 2011 at 6:30pm — 12 Comments

Crunch! Crashes are all a part of the fun :-)

My quad (recently renamed to the "flying duckling") had a bit of a mishap today

the angle on that left motor and the shape of the prop isn't just an optical illusion unfortunately! Luckily I had already ordered some spares from jdrones, so I should be flying again tomorrow.

The crash happened when I was successfully flying…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on March 25, 2011 at 11:44pm — 5 Comments

One ESC is not like the others. Why?

I've been having a lot of fun with my new ArduCopter. My initial flight was interesting - due to me switching flight modes with the throttle up it jumped off the floor and flew straight at me. I now have a nice scar on my shoulder as a memento of that first flight :-)

Since then I've been taking things a bit more carefully. The above photo shows the copter tied down to…


Added by Andrew Tridgell on March 2, 2011 at 3:30am — 31 Comments

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