Just wanted to let you know that after what seems like ages playing with wires and getting things working, it looks like we are about to take to the air for the first time with the Ardupilot and ArduIMU installed and active. 'We' are a team of three from the UK ( Jim, Paul and Iestyn) who have decided to get into UAVs for the engineering challenge. Iestyn and Paul (but not me!) have solid RC plane experience, while I'm bringing the Arduino and software experience. If the weather is in our favour, we hope to fly some time next week. Progress has been tortuously slow, as we are only able to work on this and fly during lunch hours at work!
The plan is to fly on manual with all the systems installed and wired up, so that we can make sure we are comfortable with the weight load, power and COG. If we are happy we will flick it over to stabilisation mode and see how the gains look and feel. Before flying we'll do a full test of the systems on the ground, including checking for servo reversing.
I don't think there are any questions right now that haven't been answered in the forums or the on-line docs, but I would like to just check a couple of things. We are going to be using a DX6i radio to fly with, but it only has a two position switch (I'm planning on using the 'gear up/down') for the (mode) control line. I don't think this will be a problem will it? (other than only having one AP option to fly with!). When the switch is toggled, which mode will be active? (Stabilisation or Fly-By-Wire? (I've not changed the defaults)).
Has anyone got any useful advice for our first flight? Perhaps things they know now which would have been useful back then. What can we expect to see in an airframe running in stabilisation mode that is running with stock settings for the gains, big oscillations?
I'm planning on trying to capture telemetry via the laptop through a pair of Xbee's. They are the low power versions so I they will be dropping in and out of range quite often. I haven't got my head around the various Ground Station projects yet, in fact I plan on writing my own (yet another half baked GS). Is there a link to the autopilot telemetry protocol, and perhaps a recommended existing GS project? (I'm sorry, I've not done any research here, I should be able to find these myself).
I'm keeping a project wiki for this, you can see it here if you are interested. I'll post back with results good or otherwise...
Wish us luck and light winds!