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

A Lego PicoPilot!

The most basic autopilot you can buy is the UNAV PicoPilot N, which is basically just a one-axis gyro and a GPS, with an old Pic processor inbetween. It's a "turn-rate leveler", which is to say that it keeps the wings level with the gyro and uses the GPS to correct… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 30, 2009 at 10:00pm — 7 Comments

ArduPilot sensor calibration FAQ

A number of you had sensor calibration questions, so I asked Jordi, to get the answers straight from the source:

1) Are the sensors calibrated only when the bind plug is on or also with every reset?

Only when you insert the bind plug, then it will be recorded in the eeprom. If you restart you don't have to calibrate again (in short periods of 15 mins, battery change for example).

2) Does the sensor calibration happen after GPS lock or… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 27, 2009 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

Details of Sept 2 NASA Ames field trip

For those of you who signed up for the Sept 2 UAV field trip to NASA Ames and submitted your name before my comment marking the 12th person, here are the details.

1) You must PM me with your full name. You will be required… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 25, 2009 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

Current standings in the T3 contest (just one week to go!)

Here are the latest standings (just top 10) for the T3 contest. Our judge, Gary Mortimer, has added flags to inspire national rivalries and inter-Nordic competition. Paparazzi and AttoPilot are showing the power of mature navigation… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 24, 2009 at 9:05am — 3 Comments

NASA Ames UAV field trip! (Sept 2)

Chad Frost, the manager of the NASA Autonomous Systems and Robotics department, has kindly offered to give a dozen lucky DIY Drones members a tour of the UAV facilities at NASA Ames in Mountain View, CA. This is a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 19, 2009 at 8:00pm — 19 Comments

Poll: When should we have scheduled chat?

Some of you have noticed that we've added a chat app to this site. The problem is that we're all busy and scattered around the world's time zones, so it's hard to get a critical mass of people in the chat room at any one time. So I suggest a scheduled chat hour, once a week.

When? The poll is below, but I'll make my own preference clear first. I'm in California, and the only predictable free time I've got is on Sunday evenings.… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 18, 2009 at 8:00pm — 11 Comments

Surplus missile gyros!

Probably useless today, but what a cool bit of autopilot nostalgia! A mechanical gyro from a missile for $16.95. From the product listing: "These are precision rate gyros that were made for use in guidance systems of military missiles.… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 18, 2009 at 4:00pm — 10 Comments

Current standings in the T3 contest

With just two weekend still to go in the T3 Contest, here are the latest standings. Paparazzi is in the lead, but we have practically every other hobby-grade autopilot represented, including ArduPilot,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 18, 2009 at 8:11am — 2 Comments

Testing Atto and Ardu at the field--success and near disaster

I've got twin EasyStars, one with AttoPilot and one with ArduPilot. I had them both out today to begin the process of benchmarking the two autopilots against each other. Two interesting things happened, one scary, the other exhilerating:

It's quite windy at our field these days and I've been having trouble with the the current ArduPilot navigation algorithms, so I set out to try various PID settings. I put the EZ in autonomous mode and just started watching it hunt for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 16, 2009 at 8:57pm — 13 Comments

Our 5,000th member!

Congrats to Pablo Ruiz of Spain, who is our 5,000th member!

In the two years that this site has been running, it has grown to nearly 5,000 visitors a day and nearly 15,000 daily page views (see Google Analytics chart… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 15, 2009 at 8:30pm — 1 Comment

Video of new Procerus Kestrel 3 flying a tri-rotor

Demonstrating the VTOL takeoff and landing of the autopilot. More at this… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 15, 2009 at 12:09pm — 1 Comment

New products in the DIY Drones store

Jordi has added a whole bunch of new products to the DIY Drones store. Here are just a few, with product descriptions:

ServoSwitch (camera trigger) $18.90

"Open-source Servo… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 15, 2009 at 12:13am — No Comments

Creating a full hardware-in-the-loop simulator

If you want to create a full hardware-in-the-loop simulator, where a flight simulator program on your PC simulates the ArduPilot sensors and GPS while ArduPilot flies the plane in the simulator, you've got to have a pretty sophisticated bit of gear between ArduPilot and the PC. It needs to take the serial output from the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 13, 2009 at 11:00pm — 36 Comments

Cool new autopilot from Procerus

This is a little out of the hobbyist league, but at the AUVSI convention, Procerus showed off its new gear, including the awesome Kestrel 3 autopilot. Check out the features above!

Here's a link to the pdf of all their new… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 13, 2009 at 5:24pm — 6 Comments

Arduino 17 now available

Arduino 17 is now out. The main changes are an improved IDE (the serial monitor is now a separate window) and better commenting, and some upgraded libraries including the LCB and the servo lib.

Added by Chris Anderson on August 11, 2009 at 10:58pm — 1 Comment

Quadrotor control via iPhone

A little laggy, but cool all the same.(Via… Continue

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

Solid State UAVs

Just watch. All will become clear (and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 9, 2009 at 10:36pm — 5 Comments

My test platform

One of the best ways to test your sensors, servos and navigation routines is by walking around carrying the plane. But that can be cumbersome, and there's always the risk that you'll forget to unplug a wire and end up getting whacked by a spinning prop. Also, who wants to program with a plane in your lap for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 8, 2009 at 10:00pm — 6 Comments

New DIY Drones rules

To keep a bit of order here, I need to emphasize the difference between blog posts and the forums. ALL tech support issues and questions should go in the Forum. Blog posts are ONLY for information of interest to the broader DIY Drones community, such as:

-News about UAV, sensors, airframes, R/C electronics, etc.

-Successful UAV setups and flights.

-Notification of new updates for any UAV hardware/software.

Everything related to support, introductions, Ardupilot… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 8, 2009 at 9:15pm — 2 Comments

Tip for tweaking ArduPilot: start without the throttle connected

I was test flying today in anticipation of a trial for the T3 Contest entry tomorrow. The winds were pretty high, around 20-25 Mph, and the airplane was unable to make headway against them. So I reverted the throttle to manual control (plugged ESC straight into the RC) and made sure that the throttle was always high enough to make good headway. Night and day! The plane navigated great and did figure eights overhead for 15 minutes before I put it back into manual and landed it.

Once… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 8, 2009 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

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Season Two of the Trust Time Trial (T3) Contest 
A list of all T3 contests is here. The current round, the Vertical Horizontal one, is here

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