Chris Anderson's Blog – January 2009 Archive (24)

Surprise! ArduPilot can do stabilization, too

We've been describing ArduPilot as a navigation-only autopilot and saying that it needs the FMA Co-Pilot to provide stabilization. But that's actually not true--we just hadn't written the stabilization code yet. ArduPilot is powerful enough to handle both functions, something that Jordi proved this week with his ArduPilot-powered… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 29, 2009 at 11:00pm — 47 Comments

Big win for Dean Goedde's AttoPilot

Big win for Dean! Purdue has been getting great press for its AttoPilot-powered UAV. Excerpt from Network World: (Slashdot coverage here:

"Researchers at Purdue will soon experiment… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 29, 2009 at 4:32pm — 10 Comments

Cool: Sparkfun wireless bootloading tutorial features ArduPilot!

Originally found… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 28, 2009 at 10:13pm — 2 Comments

ArduPilot back in stock!

Sparkfun now has 135 units ready to send out! Updated firmware, tested and good to go.


Added by Chris Anderson on January 27, 2009 at 3:40pm — 6 Comments

Update on MUX issue with first batch of ArduPilot boards

The Sparkfun guys and we diagnosed the issue today. It was our fault--we had a version control problem with the Attiny code we sent them, and the bad news is that appears to have affected a total of 60-80 boards. For those of you affected, our apologies--we'll make this right. Here are your options:

1) The fastest way, if you have an AVR programmer, is just to reflash the chip with the updated code (hex file is… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 26, 2009 at 7:00pm — 32 Comments

Simulating flight with ArduPilot

This is the first post in what I hope will be a mini-series on doing hardware-in-the-loop simulations with ArduPilot. A simulation is something you do to test your autopilot on the ground, where you won't get in trouble. It's an absolutely necessary thing when you're writing your own code or fiddling with ours and constructing a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 25, 2009 at 11:00pm — 24 Comments

New Co-Pilot from FMA

FMA just announced their new Co-Pilot. The main difference appears, along with smaller sensors and all-digital operations, is that it's now part of a wireless onboard communications system that will eventually include other components such as GPS and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 24, 2009 at 12:30pm — 4 Comments

ArduPilot (Legacy) main page



[This original ArduPilot board, now called the "Legacy ArduPilot" is no longer produced or officially supported by the DIY Drones dev team, and this page is maintained just for historic reasons. However, there are still many users of it out there and it still works fine. The user…


Added by Chris Anderson on January 21, 2009 at 6:00pm — 1063 Comments

Update on ArduPilot availability

Just got the latest from Sparkfun:

A total of 87 ArduPilots have been shipped so far. A big batch of 61 of the original rev that were backordered by customers went out on Jan 13th. We're currently have another 34 to fill from backorder.

The new revision (with the 5V power regulator) has been ordered and 300 pieces are inbound. ETA on PCBs is Jan 23rd, although it will take about a week after that to populate them with components.

I expect that by the end of the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 20, 2009 at 10:37am — 1 Comment

ArduPilot flight test 2: RTL

Well, chalk up another one to the limitations of sims. Today's return-to-launch (RTL) testing was a mixed bag. When the Superstar was heading off away from us and I enabled the autopilot, it nicely turned back, but when it got overhead it went into a death spiral and I had to disable the autopilot to recover. This happened multiple times, despite it working fine in the sim. Perhaps this was due to the wind (10-12 mph) or the airframe, but the software should be doing a better job… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 19, 2009 at 11:07pm — 21 Comments

Some guidelines on picking wireless frequencies

Wireless can be something of a black art, and there are a dizzying array of standards and choices. Here are some simple guidelines to help you pick wisely:

  • --We operate in four frequency ranges: 72Mhz (RC gear), 900 Mhz (video and telemetry), 1.3 Ghz (video) and 2.4 GHz (RC, video and telemetry), not including…

Added by Chris Anderson on January 19, 2009 at 11:30am — 12 Comments

Adding wireless telemetry to ArduPilot

You may have noticed that we had wireless telemetry in our flight testing last week. It's really easy to add.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you should use Xbee modules in a different frequency range than your RC equipment.

If you've… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 18, 2009 at 11:30pm — 105 Comments

ArduPilot flight testing--success!

Great day of flight testing ArduPilot today. Jordi and I were joined by Jack Poller, and we spent the whole day debugging code, tweaking gains and otherwise building towards the aim of the day, fully autonomous flight. Good news: ArduPilot works great in the air, we now have an officially flight-tested… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 16, 2009 at 10:00pm — 11 Comments

RC Helis used to smuggle stuff into prisons; how soon until they're UAVs?

From BoingBoing: Someone flew a payload of something into Elmley Prison in Sheerness, Kent, using a RC helicopter. Whatever it was, it's been ingested or hidden, because no one can find it.:

"A spokesman said: 'A remote control… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 16, 2009 at 8:40am — 5 Comments

ArduPilot voltage issue turns into Sparkfun tutorial!

You gotta love the guys at Sparkfun. We had a small compatibility issue with the GPS daughterboard that was caused by the polarity protection diode on ArduPilot that has the effect of dropping the 5v Rx voltage down to 4.3v on ArduPilot. Not a problem for ArduPilot, but could be a problem with voltage-sensitive add-ons. I asked Nathan at Sparkfun for advice. Not only did he solve the problem (the next production run… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 14, 2009 at 12:14am — 1 Comment

All of Sparkfun's new UAV boards sold out in a week!

Good news, bad news from Sparkfun's big UAV push: ArduPilot and Bill Premerlani's autopilot board both sold out in the first week (I think ArduPilot sold out in it's… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 13, 2009 at 10:22am — 4 Comments

DIY Drones in Unmanned Systems magazine!

Very cool: ArduPilot, BlimpDuino and the rest of DIY Drones are the subject of a three-page feature in this month's Unmanned Systems, the official magazine of AUVSI. The issue hasn't gone online yet, but here are scans (click on them for readable versions):…


Added by Chris Anderson on January 8, 2009 at 11:17pm — 7 Comments

AttoPilot's battery/motor sensor board now available

Another one from Sparkfun, which is quickly becoming a serious UAV parts supplier: the power monitoring sensor board that Dean Goedde uses for AttoPilot. If you want to add motor current and battery voltage measurement to your autopilot, this is a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 8, 2009 at 1:30pm — 29 Comments

Another Sparkfun autopilot--this one with a full IMU!

It's raining autopilots! Sparkfun has just released a new and much improved version of Bill Premerlani's original IMU-based autopilot board. The previous one was just a 5 DOF… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 7, 2009 at 10:30am — 3 Comments

ArduPilot now available to buy!

Great news! ArduPilot is now available to buy at Sparkfun. The price is $24.95 (or buy 100 at $19.96 each ;-)). Note: there is a limited number available now, but Sparkfun can make more pretty quickly so get your order in now and they'll be filled…


Added by Chris Anderson on January 6, 2009 at 10:00am — 85 Comments

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