Moderator

### EastBay RC Guide to PID Controllers

PID loops can be pretty confusing when you're first getting started with autopilots.

Here's my attempt at explaining them "intuitively", i.e. with no math.

I'm working on plugging in a physics engine into the demo. Two more videos in this series are planned:

- Understanding the math behind PID controllers.

- Tuning PIDs (using the physics engine as a testbed)

Anyways, this is my first go at this.  I'll probably make a second attempt in the future, so any feedback is appreciated!

(update) thanks for all the feedback! I'm getting ready to start part 2 which will decipher the math and show the basic simplicity of PID loop programming.

•  I am teaching a high school STEM UAV 101 class and I may show the class this video tomorrow as an intro into the PID / control loop discussion.  We have our FW450's almost ready to fly and need to get prepared for tuning.

Not to derail the thread but would you have a curriculum to share or at least the gist of one? I teach in the STEM program, as well, and am furiously learning this stuff in anticipation of adding it to our course list in the fall.

Any and all guidance is appreciated.

And to stay focused, Sir, your videos are the first I found when I was first doing research. Very handy tools. Did you ever finish the sim you were working on? I see many a physics/electronics/STEM teacher wanting such a tool to explain such difficult stuff.

Thanks for what you do.

Robert

• Very good and simple explanation for P.I.D's Hopefully You will allow us to see the Math behind all of this.

I have taken 3 or 4 calculus courses so I would definitely be interested.

• I approached a STEM teacher where my wife works about using quad-rotors in the aviation portion of her curriculum. Unfortunately that discussion went no where. Congratulations on doing this. I think it is a fantastic way to engage young minds.

-=Doug

• Would like to see part 2.  I am teaching a high school STEM UAV 101 class and I may show the class this video tomorrow as an intro into the PID / control loop discussion.  We have our FW450's almost ready to fly and need to get prepared for tuning.

Good job.

• Well done Mark! Keeping the discussion to one axis helps a great deal. I took control systems theory for my degree so being able to explain this without the math and calculus should help many in our community.

It reminds me of the old lunar lander games of the late 70's.

 Click to Run

-=Doug

• Super!

• Hi Mark,

This is a really great little intro to understanding PIDs and I have included it in the APMCopter tuning section of the Wiki here:

http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/tuning/#Understanding_PIDs

If you want it removed or you want any changes made, please let me know and I will be happy to accomodate.

This should probably also go in the Plane and Rover wikis as well, but not quite sure where yet.

And I am looking forward to including a link to your physics engine animation when it is available.

This is a topic not very well understood, often even by engineers and which is critical and central to our Autopilot.

Best Regards,

Gary

• I knew I saw it somewhere...  THIS entertaining explanation from a DIYD member in Portugal. Includes subtitles in English and Russian. More for the next mix!

• Moderator

@Mark,

Good explanation! If you're planning on doing an interactive version, perhaps doing something like Jason Shorts Flash demo for Cross Track error would be good. For those who aren't familiar with it, it can be found here.

Keep up the great work Mark!

Regards,

Nathaniel ~KD2DEY

CrossTrack2
• Thanks Mark! Looking forward to the next video. A link to this blog post can now be found here, and will be updated as more videos on this important topic are available.