Hi there! It has been almost a year since we re-opened our DIY store and I can report a lot is going on inside mRo as I write this. Our mission to be the best drone component manufacturer in the USA (World?) is no easy task!
In January, our sales increased more than we have anticipated, rather than compromise on our mission, I decided to stay quiet and not promote anything until we had stabilized our production line, sadly that was not possible (duh!). I was afraid that if we continued to grow that fast, we would start having problems and... I was right, we did. We have been able to iron out all those issues. Luckily, one of our first steps was a proper ERP/MRP system, which helped us keep production details very accurate and we added several new automated inspection machines.
I would like to thanks all our customers who supported us and gave us the chance to correct all our initial mistakes. We will not let you down, we never did!
I also wanted to share my gratitude to all mRo staff who have done unbelievable things to keep everything running smoothly and help implement all the foundations needed in our quest to be a World Class, NASA grade company.


Important news...

I'm glad to announce the merging of AUAV and mRo.
After working together with Phillip Kocmoud & Nick Arsov, we realized we had numerous "parallel" projects, so it didn't make sense to compete and work double. On the other side mRo didn't have the bandwidth to layout a new autopilot (at the moment), and AUAV already had cool autopilots that when combined with mRo manufacturing capabilities in California will allow us both to have such fantastic systems available sooner and with constant high quality supply (& support). That means more and better DIY options for everyone. ;-) AUAV continues to focus on research and development as well as outsourced custom flight controller designs, if your hobby needs become more serious. This can cut a design solution time-frame to just a fraction.
With this merging, mRo will become one of the most experienced DIY Drone companies in the world (Sounds cool huh?).
Putting under our belts the experience of creating/debugging products like Ardupilot 1, APM1, APM2.5, ArduIMU 1&2, PX4 Autopilot, PixHawk 1, The Solo Cube, Solo Link, AUAV3 (UAV Dev Board. Hi Bill we love you and your DCM!), PixRacer, AUAV X2, X2, X2.1, AUAV X3, AUAV X4, Pixhawk Pro (The FMUv4 Standard). Among other innovative products (at their time) like the MinimOSD, optimized PPM encoder, uBlox GPS to the masses, differential I2C and the first budget power module with hall sensor. Just to mention a few. =P


Clarification: In most of those projects we were involved 100% and when I say we, I mean AUAV team and ex-3DR employees that now some of them work for mRo, not just designing, but also in the complex production lines, from ex-Tijuana factory and China (when fabricated Solo).

[Picture for sizing reference, plus a few Easter eggs, except for PH2 or PixHawk Mini, we've made everything else]


Here comes the "meat," our new products for you:

-uGPS, uBlox SAM8. The tiniest GPS+Glonass GPS out there, it also has a built-in magnetometer. uBlox entirely designed the antenna+RF and we trust them with our lives! Well, the life of our Drones.
-ACSP7 is ready! First micro (17mm x 17mm) power module with hall sensor, no more invasive, noisy readings (especially below 5-8 Amperes).
-Next generation AirSpeed sensor. MS5525, Temperature compensated. Wuju!
-FTDI to JST-GH. Easily attach your ports or GPSs for debugging. 
-Military grade Shielding for your GPS.

-Don't forget our list of Fantastic Cables and where to find them

Coming soon:
-X2.1 Rev B. Which is a redux version of the robust and popular PixHawk1, but with newer/better sensors, and some standard JST-GH connections and incredibly flexible when building your drone. We are not adopting any known names like PixHawk 4000 or Ardupilot 7000; sadly there are a lot of politics and interests everywhere right now that can potentially delay our products. We just want to focus on designing good electronics and make them available to you as soon as possible, so you can get the work done or get fun.

Note: Pins can be either right angle, straight or both. 

The X2.1 has a few advantages, with ArduPilot 3.5, dampening is no longer required, which reduces price and removes failing points. I can tell you a lot of the issues I saw on the Cube used on Solo (We have the official Solo repair center in the same roof, Current UAS). Is not that bad, you can easily fix most of those issues, for example, a common problem the cube has is the foam getting stuck, with X2.1 you don't have to worry about this.
Besides, the dampening was calibrated just for SOLO so that it won't be as useful in other vehicles with a substantial difference in vibrating frequencies. We proposed sorting the cubes in different colors, so each had a different damping frequency range. For this and other reasons, as 3DR, we decided not to make our own version of the Cube and rather give an actual DIY attribute to X2.1.

So, X2.1 is the most DIY friendly and capable Autopilot we have made so far. You can adapt and solder your custom shields with ease in just minutes, or you can get fancy and layout your PCB to populate all you want on board, no complex, difficult to align connectors required. If you are not interested in that, you can just use standard 0.1" pins/cables to plug into your system. Every pin, almost every signal is the same as PixHawk 1, expect an excellent integration with your "actual" drone.


-Lastly but not least, our Solo Link, now mRo Link, based on the i.MX6.
Believe it or not, we are still working on this project as I mentioned here. Now that 3DR has officially open sourced the SOLO; we feel more comfortable than ever to put full weight on this project. We already have everything working; we just need to remove what is not required and make it "smaller." Check our picture up here with all of the boards. You might see it. 
We are bringing a top engineer from the other side of the world to dedicate to this project during August 2017 fully. So expect more news early September 2017. BTW we know that somebody else already released something (Fox), which we fully support and that is precisely what we love about open source. We hope to work together in the future.

Enjoy my wife's lazy cat: 

Views: 3308

Comment by Olivier on August 3, 2017 at 9:02pm

Great news, Jordi!

Rob, spot on with "DJI figured this out long ago". Out of curiosity I cracked open a Phantom 3 Pro a while back, the IMU is inside a fairly large plastic cubic plastic case, about  2” sides iirc. Inside is fully foamed, with at the center  2 hollow ½ blocks of aluminium about ½”x1/2”x1/4 screwed together. The IMU and circuitry is inside that. They definitely  thought very seriously  about damping.

FWIW, pics of the main board, (plastic case is in the middle), aluminium ½ block, and close up of IMU (MP65xx?).

Comment by JB on August 3, 2017 at 9:30pm

Hi Jordi.

Your product range is looking good and growing every day!

I'm particularly interested in the Solo Link/Mro link wifi setup for a range of projects that operate LOS. Do you have a rough estimate when it will become available, and if by including a iMX6 processor will it gain a CSI connector to run some basic imaging out of the box with a CSI based camera as well? The HDMI will work, but seems to be a fairly large and clunky solution that is expensive seeing it needs a an external dedicated camera, and larger gimbal. It's also more orientated towards video and not stills, or basic CV operations.

I think a longer range (even if a bit high latency) wifi based FPV setup would be ideal provided it does the whole range of telemetry and companion computer type communications as well for the FC. Maybe the HDMI in can be optional instead? 

Lastly what is the expected range on the link?

Regards

Comment by Cala on August 4, 2017 at 9:50am

Perhaps that explain why my 270 racer with a Pixracer flies nice without dampening :D ; I don´t have enought space for any dampening thing so I hard-mounted to give a try and was surprised how well hold altitude.

Comment by Marc Dornan on August 4, 2017 at 11:14am

Just want to share one anecdote. I used the mRo store for the first time last week. I needed some DF13 4-pin cables and the cupboard was bare. In two seconds I ordered them from mRo. Went off to get a refreshing beverage and had not even finished it when I got the email saying they had shipped. Arrived 2 days later. Brilliant.

It may be a small thing but remember: 3DR NEVER managed to get this level of service. Their store was, and likely still is, a joke. AUAV -- great people but the store was not a strong point.

I have been trying these past 2 weeks to get a new Dragon Link V3 High Power RX. Do not get me started....

So mRo will be my go-to place for good equipment and hopefully continuing brilliant service. Waiting for that x2.1 to be released.


Developer
Comment by Jordi Muñoz on August 4, 2017 at 1:15pm

Hello Oliver, 

Thanks for sharing. Is well known that dampening is needed in many cases. I also had the opportunity to open a DJI Naza, it also had dampers, but the sensors were covered with epoxy. Remember DJI background, they started with big RC helicopters so they needed this kind of isolation, also many of the first autopilots IMUs had complex dampening systems. With that said, technology has come a long way, as well as algorithms and complex digital filter s -combined with an increase in processing power- has significantly improved the damping requirements. 

Now consider our market, we sell to system integrators who use PixHawks1 and others systems not just for multi-copters, they also use it in airplanes or gliders (with lower vibrations), rovers, boards and even ROVs. So, compared to DJI or PH2, they are aimed at DIY/maker people who can evaluate the need of extra dampening (if required). 


Developer
Comment by Jordi Muñoz on August 4, 2017 at 1:27pm

Cala, Yes! We used it in many small drones and you can get away without dampening and with 3.5 things should be even better. 


Developer
Comment by Jordi Muñoz on August 4, 2017 at 1:29pm

Marc, Thanks for the feedback! Well, when I was the CEO of 3DR (from 2008 to 2012), we had the same policy of same day shipping. We will start adding more 3rd party accessories, so we can offer the same products but with fast shipping. ;-)


Developer
Comment by Jordi Muñoz on August 4, 2017 at 1:45pm

Rob, 

I think we are very careful when saying dampening is not required. We have built hundreds of drones and almost all of them got away without dampening and 3.5 seems to reduce the tolerances even further. I totally get that there is setups with high vibration issues and yes, we have to something about. I've been experimenting with different "adjustable" and optional dampening solutions to overcome these problems. I'm actually playing and getting a lot of fun with active dampening (I should patent this), by using a liquid that changes its viscosity -and therefore the dampening frequency- when you apply a magnetic field, which can be increased or reduced with voltage variations (or PWM). The problem is isolating it, so it doesn't affect the magnetos.  

Also discussing with Phil K. proper ways to isolate vibration, we talked about maybe offering an external IMU, that allows users to adjust their mass and foam material (springs) to set it up based on your real needs, not just offering a generic foam, as we all do right now. Then, we also discussed the creation of a little tool build inside the code, that compares the vibration between the damped and not damped accelerometer, and see how effective your filter is. The same tool can be used to control the PWM that control the viscosity of the liquid for the active dampening. The liquid is also known as Smart Fluid (Magnetorheological), you can buy a bottle in your nearest Ferrari dealership. Is currently used in high-performance shock absorbers and even washing machines to actively reduce vibrations when the clothes are weighing on one side. 

Comment by Ravi on August 4, 2017 at 8:31pm

this was needed. a source for reliable component with support. after the removal of most components from the 3DR store there was a vacuum. where to buy a 'reliable' part? try taking support from a Chinese online shop. it's very frustrating  and none of them maintains the real quality all of them see the same product with different brand names. Also it's time to support the 'Made in USA' campaign. it's really needed. well done. I will definitely place an order next week. I admit pixhawk 1 is very reliable. I never lost a drone fitted with pixhawk. but Please........ replace the JST plugs on pixhawk with better quality which come off easily. please do make  pixhawk in USA even if costs slightly more. believe professional droener would still buy it from USA.

Comment by Ravi on August 4, 2017 at 8:35pm

@jordi, how to PM you?

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