My aim is to make a simple Ardupilot setup on a EasyStar for strictly £400 or $650 (but shipping is expensive globally as I'm in the UK). I have the Fidi programmer and reasonable Arduino experience so thats not a problem but I want to know, for instance whether the 4Hz GPS is worth the extra $100 etc. (I already have the 32 Channel LS20031 GPS 5Hz Receiver carried by sparkfun) and a Spectrum DX5e w/ receiver.
Any mods to the EasyStar worth doing to start with? (I can get it for £80 inc. delivery)
I know that its probably covered else where but not all in one place.
Any comments would be much obliged.

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T3
Comment by Sami Finnila on November 29, 2009 at 5:36am
To be honest I don't actually even own an ArduPilot but I think that I could help with some of your questions: I don't know if you can connect the LS20031 to the ArduPilot (atleast I remember reading a post about it being no longer supported in the latest firmwares) but basically any receiver will be OK as long as you'll get them to work with the ArduPilot (and as long as they're more than 1Hz). As for the EasyStar I'd add ailerons to it and maybe a brushless kit for longer flight times but then again it'll cost you a litlle bit more. The ailerons will help you control the plane in higher winds and make the flying more enjoyable. One more thing you might want to consider is buying ArduIMU+ 2 instead of the IR-sensors. The IMU will make your setup a bit more complex and expensive but IMU is definitely the way the whole opensource AP community is headed so it's a though decision. But ofcourse if you want a more tested and true system go for the IR-sensors.

Ok, now I've pretended enough, for today, that I know about things. :) Anyway, good luck with your project!
Comment by Giles Barton-Owen on November 29, 2009 at 6:19am
What about the airspeed sensor?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 29, 2009 at 8:03am
Giles, you can use your LS20031 (ArduPilot has a NMEA parser, so you can use an NMEA GPS), but we won't be able to support it since we haven't used one ourself. The only two officially supported GPSs are the uBlox and the EM406.

As for the EasyStar, I would really recommend a brushless/Lipo upgrade. It's pretty underpowered in the stock configuration.
Comment by Paul Mather on November 29, 2009 at 8:41am
The two messages you need to make sure are enabled on your GPS are GPRMC and GPGGA. Typically you can send a $PMTK314 command to enable and disable NMEA strings.

PMTK commands can be found here:

http://www.sparkfun.com/datasheets/GPS/Modules/PMTK_Protocol

You'll probably want to use:
$PMTK314,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0*28
$PMTK313,1*2E
$PMTK301,2*2E
$PMTK220,200*2C
Comment by Giles Barton-Owen on November 29, 2009 at 11:40am
How much have people spent on their setup?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 29, 2009 at 11:46am
Given that you've already got the RC gear, your budget seems fine. All of the ArduPilot equipment, including wireless telemetry and a ground station, is less than $400. The EasyStar with the brushless upgrade is about another $100. Beyond that, your only big expenses would be any camera or video equipment you want to add.
Comment by Giles Barton-Owen on November 29, 2009 at 11:47am
And $100 for shipping. Sigh, damn the UK
Comment by Giles Barton-Owen on November 29, 2009 at 1:31pm
What should I do about the fact that the DX5e has only a single on/off toggle switch?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 29, 2009 at 1:43pm
It just means you won't be able to select multiple modes. So you'd have, for example, manual and WP, rather than manual, RTL, and WP.
Comment by Chris Roberts on November 29, 2009 at 3:17pm
Hi Giles, it will be be interested to see how you get on. I too am building a system for the same price as you and live in the UK. I have ordered everything except the XBee and GPS chip wasn't sure what to go for (uBlox or the EM406!) I have gone for the AXN cloud as to fly (its looks identical to the easystar but has ailerons - cost about £60 delivered from china - they have them on brc hobbies) - it should be here any day!
Haven't got the telemetry yet as am not completely sure on frequency restrictions in the uk as i want to stream the video aswell!
There is a UK store that sells most stuff you need - (www.coolcomponents.co.uk). I got the Ardupilot from there but it worked out cheaper to get most of it from the diydrones store - even with postage!

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