Jordi and I are preparing the final production version of the ArduPilot board, which involves the usual debugging and last-minute feature adding. The problems we've found are largely in power and noise management--we've needed to isolate the servos from the processor parts, so high current draws don't introduce voltage dips. You'll notice a couple extra diodes and capacitors on the board to handle that.

As for features, here's what's new:

  • All four RC-in channels (plus the autopilot on/off channel) can now be read by the CPU. This allows the autopilot to read the initial throttle and rudder position when you switch to autonomous mode, so it can maintain speed and heading. The other two channels can be used for whatever you want, such as triggering a camera sequence or dropping an object. (Remember that the aileron and elevator channels are seperately controlled by the FMA Co-Pilot)
  • There are now status LEDs for the failsafe (on/off) and the GPS (satellite lock).
  • There is now a trim pot on the board so you can adjust the autopilot on/off position to suit your particular RC system.
Here's the schematic, in Eagle 5 format.

I'm not including the PCB file yet because we're working with our commercial manufacturing/retail partner on that, and I don't want to reveal those details until we're ready to release. But rest assured that we'll make both the schematic and PCB files available here when the final product is available.

For those who don't have Eagle, here are the schematics in png form (they're shown as two pages, but it's pretty easy to see which wires connect across the pages):


Views: 1486

Comment by Wyliest on August 19, 2008 at 11:19pm
Looks great!
But why not have the aileron and elevator channels go though the CPU also?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 20, 2008 at 7:21am
Because they're independently controlled by the FMA co-pilot in this case (that's not the case for ArduPilot Pro, which has a different board). There's no reason to put aileron and elevator through the autopilot. Here's a picture that shows how everything should be hooked up:

Comment by Tom in NOVA on August 20, 2008 at 7:29am
Looking good. What are the parameters? For example: GPS based altimeter's resolution and error?

What about expandability? For example I want to add the SCP1000 for potentially higher altimeter resolutions? (if you can give an idea just in general terms not in great details)

Thanks...

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 20, 2008 at 7:44am
The board has a breakout header for 8 analog inputs, which you can use for an analog pressure sensor. You can also use the spare two RC channel inputs for digital I/O.

As for benchmarking the SCP1000 vs GPS, I'm still writing the code to do that on the Adafruit GPS logger Arduino shield. For some reason I'm having trouble getting my shield to work reliably, and between the SD-card logging code, the SPI code (for the SCP1000) and the analog sensor code, it's a beast of a software project.
Comment by Ron Jacobs on August 20, 2008 at 10:46am
Hey,

Looking good. I have a question though. I'm making some headway with my Predator build and have decided an autopilot would be a great idea for safety if for no other reason.

I actually started ordering parts for the ArduPilot last night, but seeing this post now, I wonder if I should have waited. I even wonder if I should have waited for the Ardupilot Pro.

I have ordered this board

http://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/70842312?profile=original

Is this still a valid part for the ArduPilot?

Is it possible to get a complete list of everything I need to build and use the Ardupilot through hole version? Do I need a programmer or can it be done from a computer?

Thanks

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 20, 2008 at 10:54am
In general, the safest option is to wait until we release the commercial board (probably late September). The boards we've posted on before then are probably best thought of as development boards, to learn how to solder parts, use Arduino on a custom board and test your code.

The commercial boards will have the bootloader and ATtiny firmware pre-loaded, so all you'll need is a FTDI cable. But if you're rolling your own, you'll need an AVR programmer. More details are in this post.
Comment by Aristotle on August 21, 2008 at 11:05am
looking good Chris. Are the cpd-4 and adupilot enabled by the same receiver channel?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 21, 2008 at 11:17am
Aristotle:

No: the FMA co-pilot (AKA cpd-4) should be activated by a channel that has a proportional knob, so you can dial in the right amount of stabalization. The autopilot is simple on/off. So you need at least a 6 channel, ideally with at least one of the aux channels having proportional control. I use a Futaba 7C
Comment by Ron Jacobs on August 21, 2008 at 4:43pm
What if you don't have a proportional channel?

Do you just preset and test the cpd-4 in flight for the amount of stabilization?

Obviously a proportional channel is better.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 21, 2008 at 5:10pm
Ron,

Yes, but I'd refer you to the FMA site and documentation for more on that--it's not related to ArduPilot.

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