One of the best ways to test your sensors, servos and navigation routines is by walking around carrying the plane. But that can be cumbersome, and there's always the risk that you'll forget to unplug a wire and end up getting whacked by a spinning prop. Also, who wants to program with a plane in your lap for testing?

So I knocked together this little UAV simulator. It's just a strip of thin plywood with a little toy elevator and rudder so you can see what's going on. This one has all the equipment necessary for a fully-functional UAV, so I can not only test navigation but also stabilzation, watching the Xbee-transmitted data in realtime with a handheld ArduStation. It's perfect for walking around and testing waypoints without looking like a total dork for carrying around a model airplane (although it's not much less dorky to carry around a slab of electronics and wires).

Anyway, if you want to know how the DIY Drones sausage gets made, there you go!

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Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 9, 2009 at 8:50am
Chris,

Nice set up. I was planning on building such a test set up for my Ardupilots and now you have encouraged me to get it done with your fine example.

Regards,
TCIII
Comment by Bryan Cuervo on August 9, 2009 at 12:16pm
I like the toy elevator and rudder. That makes it a lot easier to see if the navigation and stabilization outputs are correct. It can get confusing trying to figure out if a servo is turning the right way in response to translation/rotation of the "plane".
Comment by Not Sure on August 9, 2009 at 3:05pm
Ironically that's more streamlined than some of the models at my local club :D I like it
Comment by Vikram on August 9, 2009 at 8:59pm
nice thought quite same setup im using but on the cardboard it is assembled.
Comment by Mogly (Umesh Tharanath) on August 10, 2009 at 11:32am
Can someone tell me how to use MaxStreem 9Xtend (Range41miles) insteat of Xbee Module ?

is ArduPilot supports Camera as payload ?

Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on August 10, 2009 at 1:09pm
That design looks familiar, Here's my walk around from a couple of years ago.

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