MAking Headway with a Gasser Traditional helicopter Arducopter (APM1) Camera Ship.

The test hop was short due to having spit balled the throttle and pitch curves to come out with a head speed of ~1300rpm and a motor speed of ~1-,500rpm

The vibration dampening seems to be more than adequate for both the redundant system and the arducopter itself, however on setting up for the maiden Arducopter control flight I have found that I could not establish mavlink telemetry due to one XBee mount kicking the bucket, this being a $24 part I will have a replacement ordered tomorrow.

Everything is running smoothly for a gasser, and I expect to be making good progress at long last. I am looking at the 3-Axis camera mount code and will be making up the hardware side over the next couple of days, and it is good to know I have a spare APM one I can use as an inertial measurement and stabilization system for the camera mount - I hope to look at creating its own autonomous control where I can set waypoints in the mission planner which will be read as "ground lock targets" for the camera to stay pointing at, while the UAV flies its mission. Another way to start bringing in Hi Res 3D ground mapping.

Here are some pics of the ship and the hardware mounting.


THe video was flown on the 3X-1000 FBL stab system, which is being used as a redundant backup I can switch to for control while tuning the APM1.


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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 14, 2012 at 6:18pm

Can you please enable embedding on your video so it can be properly displayed here?

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on August 14, 2012 at 6:35pm

Holy crap...  please don't do that.  What were you doing, checking the tracking?  If you've seen the system do the things I've seen it do...  and what those blades can do...  I've got 24" long, 4" deep gashes in the dirt from when it just tipped over on spool-up due to "leans".

I do my blade tracking with it strapped to a workbench, hiding behind a steel door, peering through the opening facing the direction against the direction the blades are going (ie: blades are going away from the opening.  Maybe overkill, but lying down on the ground a couple feet from a huge heli like that...

Anyway, good to see you have it going again. I remember your heli from the huge heli thread.  That's quite the setup you have there.  I like the O-ring mounting.  Better than what I've done, I wish I had more room like you have.

Comment by Ben Carson on August 14, 2012 at 7:58pm

Hi Lefebvrem,

I realize it looks quite dangerous checking the tracking in such a way, but I have done this countless times before, and I truly belive that complacency comes from statements like the one I just made, so let me assure you that I had done a lot of work setting up the fallback options and evaluating the systems control and risk.

Will look at embedding this vid, Kinda published before I had that worked out :)


Comment by Jack Crossfire on August 15, 2012 at 12:25am

Blast from the past.  Those things are good at photographing smoke.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on August 15, 2012 at 4:42am

Ben, just don't do it with Arducopter running the show.  No amount of preparation will make that safe.  I've had it spooled up on the ground, everything looks good for almost a minute, look down at the laptop for a second and... it's tipped over.

Comment by Yusuf Onajobi on August 15, 2012 at 2:55pm

Good work, hope u'll go all the way according to your plans.

If you don't mind please, i have a few questions----

1) What type of engine is that (petrol/nitro, 2 stroke/4 stroke, size(20 cc, 30cc, 55cc, etc))?

2) What is the RPM of the main rotor and that of the tail rotor?

3) What is the length of the main rotor blade and also the diameter of the main rotor, Ditto for the tail rotor?

4)I have a 55cc 2 stroke petrol engine but i've not been able to test how much fuel it consumes in an hour so if you know your's, please don't hesitate to indicate it also.

Well done once again, anticipating your reply.


Comment by Ben Carson on August 15, 2012 at 5:23pm

Hi Guys,

R-Lefebvre, what do you mean exactly, is the ACM1 prone to glitches or the inertial stab not up to par?


1~ The engine is a Gasoline 2 stroke 26cc  Zenoah G260puh(Helicopter edition) that has had the Hansen mod done to it (Balanced, blueprinted and such) So smoke wont be an issue, neither flight time. Although you have to be vigilant and extremely accurate when mounting the clutch and fan to the engine, and try and try and try to eliminate vibrations on the frame and camera mount, the payoff is much longer flight times and no oily residue to cover your expensive AV equipment.


2~ Main rotor RPM is on the low side due to me being unable to find pinions that fit an old JSR260 heli kit, and I am thinking about putting a multi blade head on it to compensate, which would allow me to take advantage of semi symmetrical blades.

Engine RPM = 10,500  Rotor RPM= 1,300 Tail Rotor RPM= Approx 5,138

3~ Measuring roughly, by adding 710mmX2 to the distance between the bolt holes on the main rotor grips (180mm) that would give me a diameter of approx 1600mm.

The Tail blades are (from mounting hole to tip) are 97mm, with the tailrotor hub hole spacing being 70mm which would give a diameter of 264mm for the tail rotor.

4~I dont know the fuel consumption for the g26, I have a PDF about running in the G series engines - message me and Ill give you the pdf.



Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on August 15, 2012 at 7:14pm

Ben, I don't know the exact cause yet, but yes, it's prone to problems with the IMU, and I've had mine tip over on the ground.  It's not fun.

Comment by Yusuf Onajobi on August 15, 2012 at 7:49pm

Thanks BEN, most appreciated

Comment by Ben Carson on August 16, 2012 at 2:33am

Thanks for the heads up R_Lefebvre,

The problem I can see being hard to ignore stems from the fact that although I have 2 inputs to the Servos that I can switch between, One being the control signals from the APM and the other being the control signals from the Flybarless System - the problem being if I am running from one and not the other for extended periods will an error build up in that time so when I switch back all of a sudden I may find that the errors built up in the selected control system causes the heli to crash.

Seeing as simply switching one or the other off until needed is not an option due to the vital initialisation period they both requre before being flown I have though about ways to mitigate this, such as making a curcuit that will just give middle PWM signals to the device not being used so that when I switch to it, it has not been following the whole machines control trajectory and will be simply starting from scratch.

Or perhaps some kind of diode setup on the signal wire so that each control system doesnt see the other which could potentially be another way around the issue.


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