3D Robotics

As most of you know, we've been in semi-public alpha with the ArduPilotMega code for the past two 2-3 months, and there has been the usual torrent of bug fixes, feature additions and architecture changes during that period as both the fixed wing and quad/heli teams test fly the board. By the time we release 1.0, this will be the most tested hardware/software configuration in DIY Drones history, which I'm really proud of.

Here are the latest updates:

1) The official public beta (as a zip file) is targeted to be released on September 30th. It will be announced here. It will have full autopilot capability and should be ready for unlimited flight testing. The new GCS may be out at the same time; if not, there is a mode by which APM can use the old GCS, which has all but the in-flight mission upload capability.

2) The APM board is now available at Sparkfun (another 233 are in stock--more than 500 have already been sold).

3) The DIY Drones factory moved to a larger industrial space yesterday with our big new Manncorp 7722-FV pick-and-place machine (our second!). This is to ramp of production of the new APM IMU Rev-H boards, which are much easier for us to produce, and anticipates the huge demand we're seeing for ArduCopter and for fixed wing once the code is out. Limited quantities of the board are available now, and stock should be replenished on a daily basis going forward.

4) Speaking of ArduCopter, Jani says he may start taking pre-orders in two weeks, and shipping full kits within the month.

5) Finally, if you've one of the brave early adopters who has been using the Alpha APM code out of the SVN, you should be aware that there have been some significant architecture and config file changes. We VERY MUCH RECOMMEND that most users wait for the public beta next week--the alpha code in the SVN is changing fast and often unstable, and we will not be able to answer questions on it from non dev-team members. But if you're an SVN expert or already knee-deep in the alpha code, you can download the latest code from the SVN and follow these instructions from code guru Michael Smith:

- After you update your Sketchbook, or ArduPilotMega folder, check that you don't have any local changes or conflicts at the top of ArduPilotMega.pde. Also make sure that you are no longer including a personalised configuration file. You should not have any local changes in this file related to your configuration.

- If you still have a copy of APM_Config.h containing options from the old version of the file, save any specific options you changed and delete the file.

- If you still have a copy of APM_PID_gains.h containing changes from the old version of the file, save any specific changes and delete the file.

- Open APM_Config.h.example in your favorite file viewer. Note that this file isn't included by anything, it's just a reference. DO NOT copy this file as a basis for your new APM_Config.h file.

- Open a new APM_Config.h file. In this file you will be saving *just* your local changes. It will never be overwritten by changes made by the developers, so you will be relatively save from conflicts related to option changes.

- Work through APM_Config.h. Note that only the REQUIRED options are, well, required. Currently that's just GPS_PROTOCOL. Here is my current APM_Config.h file in its entirety:

// Mike's local config

- Check your old saved APM_Config.h changes (if any). Note that units for many properties have changed to be more friendly (e.g. hundredths of a degree is now degrees), and many configuration options are gone (e.g. radio channel settings, etc). Defaults have not changed significantly, so if you had no changes before, you should need none now.

- Check your old saved APM_PID_gains.h changes (if any) and set options as required. Note that many of the units here have changed, but the default values are the same as before, so if you had no changes you don't need any of these to be set.

If you encounter problems with the transition that need to be fixed, please file an issue.

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  • Developer
    The gps of course. Ublox, MediaTek and EM-406. NMEA will be at least partially supported.

    The magnetometer will be at least partially supported. Not sure if we will have the library updated to deal with local magnetic variation yet.
  • VERY GOOD NEWS !!!!!
    Well the GPS and Magneto be supported in this official release?
  • Are you guys going to max produce arduino boards now ? btw thanks for the update chris..
  • nice, if I am not using any GCS on the field then I do not need to care about it for the moment ?
    I suspect that I need to do that once at home at least.
  • Developer
    We're going to make saving configs into the EEPROM an interactive process using the serial console. You'll be able to startup and hold the button on the shield to enter interactive setup mode. Then you'll be able to set up your radio, restore the configs from your personal config header, and restore your PID gains from your PID header. This will be a one time setup or anytime you change the header files. The main idea is that the GCS will write to EEPROM directly in the future.
  • Cheers,
    I have seen a truck load of activity on the svn .. nice 8) .. I will recheck all my config and small bug fixes.
    However, is there some doc about the setup.pde , it seems to be a learn and record in EEPROM ? Lots of stuff are now in EEPROM, isn't ?
    kudos for what you do
  • Developer
    Matthias - things have been in a huge state of flux, but we would appreciate some alpha testers agian. Be sure to get the latest code and look at it. Don't expect configuration to be the same as before. We are tryign to rescale lots of the user parameters to make them more friendly.

    There is a known bug with the loiter code at present that we have not found yet, so be careful with that.
  • Jason said that svn was not to be used at all lately. Has this changed now ? Can we alpha test again ?
  • Excited + 1
  • Thanks for all the work and can't wait to get my hands on the beta release (although I was already quite happy with the earlier versions). I have mentioned it elsewhere but do you dev guys think it would be possible to tag release versions in the SVN repository? That would make the life of the testers a lot easier since one would not need to rely on zip archives scattered around and "just" need to check out the release-XXX version from the repository.

    See this website here for more on that. I think every SVN GUI that is worth it's name should make tagging release sufficiently easy to do.

    Anyway.. thanks again!
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