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. Features: --Airspeed sensor --Battery voltage sensor --3.3v power regulator to support 5Hz GPS modules --Allows programming of ArduPilot without removing GPS --Easy attachment of other sensors and wireless modems If you've got an ArduPilot, either 168 or 328, you totally need this. Flying with an airspeed sensor is 100% better!
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  • 3D Robotics
    Not yet...look for it around the end of the year.
  • Hi Chris,

    Have you posted any details or list of sensors for the ArduPilot Mega? I haven't heard of it before.


  • 3D Robotics

    ArduPilot is a general purpose autopilot board, which is to say it can do cars and boats, too. They have no need for airspeed sensors. We also wanted to keep the price as low as possible, so people could get started for just $25.

    For the "pro" version of ArduPilot, the ArduPilot Mega, which will be just for aircraft, we'll be adding a lot more stuff on the main board, including pressure sensors and an IMU.
  • Hi Jordi,

    I haven't been following the ardupilot development too closely, but some of the functionality intrigues me since I'm trying to stitch together a pretty sophisticated IMU based system out of off the shelf components (running MicroGear)

    This will probably sound like a stupid question, but is there a reason you did the ardupilot as a main board + a separate daughter board? Is that to seperate out the additional functionality/cost for those that don't need it?

    Have you ever considered a single board that has all the functionality built in? Have you considered adding a second pressure sensor for altitude? I know GPS altitude is highly regarded around here, but I'm not sure if anyone here has carefully plotted gps altitude against pressure altitude and factored that into their opinion. Also, for those that claim that gps returns an error of 1m elevation, I'd love to see your altitude before flight, then return the aircraft to the same spot after the flight and record the gps altitude. How close is it to before the flight? Still within 1m?

    I'm sure you get tons of requests that are all over the map but I do think that both airspeed and pressure altitude are really useful to have. In my code I've developed a module that keeps a running average of the difference between gps altitude and pressure altitude and yields an absolute altitude that responds with all the subtle and instantaneous variation that a pressure sensor is capable of. This yields a closer match between starting and ending [reported] altitude when starting and finishing at the same spot, compared to gps alone, or pressure sensor alone.

    Perhaps you could design a single board that supported all this, but you could sell versions populated with different subsets of components for those that don't need the entire sensor suite?
  • Moderator
    My shields and accessories arrived today as well here in Canada...thank you Jordi.

    I see the shipment had been repackaged into a plastic bag due to an inspection at Customs... whether it was Canadian or US Customs, I don't know.

    I'm always nervous ordering UAV stuff over the border ever since the AUVSI teams travelling to Calgary several years ago were stopped when US Customs realized the UAVs were restricted... almost ruined the whole competion!

    Amazingly my original ArduPilot orders made it across even though Sparkfun listed them on the declaration as autopilots!

    I don't know why they decided to tear the box apart and snoop this time though (?).
  • Just thought I'd add a clarification to Chris' comment regarding leaving the lower nipple of the airspeed sensor disconnected in order to read the ambient pressure inside the cockpit - that doesn't hold true for all airplanes. The Telemaster I have has holes cut in the firewall for cooling but no air exits. Therefore when you throttle up, the airflow from the propeller will pressurize the cockpit area. I discovered this when testing my pitot-static setup on the ground (with the wing off) everything seemed to work perfectly but when in flight, I'd always read zero airspeed. I'd get it on the ground, remove the wing, and it would start working again. It took a little while to figure out what was going on. I finally ran some fuel tubing from the lower pressure fitting to a hole in the side of the aircraft. Now it seems to work very well. It is possible I could have gotten a good reading by adding vents to the fuselage but directly venting the sensor itself seemed a sure bet.

    FYI - I'm using the v1.x version of ArduPilot and I'm not doing anything with the airspeed other than sending the raw A/D data from the sensor via an Xbee modem to my handheld receiver . I convert the pressure data to airspeed on the handheld unit and just display it there. The code I've uploaded there doesn't include the pressure to airspeed conversion but I'll try to add that soon.
  • I commented about this on the orgiinal DIYdrones store post.
    "One strange thing I noticed is that postage for one Shield to Western Australia is $11.20 using USPS first class international but when ordering two postage drops to $3.94!?"
    I'm not complaining though, I ordered 2 :P
    BTW Jordi, the shields i ordered arrived today. Thanks very much.
  • On the Sparkfun Website items are shipped to me via USPS First Class Mail International Package on my latest box to arrive, 1 lb First Class international was $10.76. Endicia.com was also on the label which seems to be some form of online label printing service which may offer postage discounts ?

    Hope that helps Jordi
  • Developer
    Thanks i will check it as soon is possible. ;-)
  • Developer
    I have no idea. But as a normal regular costumer of USPS i can't get better price. Maybe they have an special service. Do you know the name of the services? USPS priority? Express? ???
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