3D Robotics

That's Nathan Siedle, CEO of Sparkfun, handing me the very first ArduPilot Mega board to come off the Sparkfun production line. We were at an Arduino planning meeting in NYC; that's Massimo Banzi of the Arduino project in the back.

Here's a closeup photo of the board. It looks great! The only thing that's not quite right is the GPS connector is supposed to be sideways, so it doesn't rip off in a crash, but we'll fix that in the next batch. It doesn't really matter, because nobody will use that connector; they'll be using the GPS connector on the IMU shield instead.



I don't have an ETA on when they'll go on sale, but it's not long now!

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  • Any updates?
  • I see a few changes from the beta APM board. Anything that is incompatible with aerial survival?


  • Oh yeah I never really thought about using extra channels with the ardupilot. Putting the pan and tilt through the ardupilot for the stabilization is a good idea! K now I starting to get the differances between the two.
  • Developer
    Some planes require more channels. I for one will be building a gimbal camera mount with stabilization. That's two extra channels right there. Also think of the Outback challenge. I think they have to drop a water bottle onto a hiker during a rescue. Another servo channel.
    The current Ardupilot was not designed for 2-way comm. it can be done, but it's not easy to support and can't be done when reading the GPS or IMU. There are some workarounds but they require soldering components to the board and we just can't offer that level of custom support. But if you are adventurous, have at it.

    The Mega, on the other hand, supports 2way com out of the box because the 1280 chip has multiple hardware uarts. It will be really easy to support this config with a newly design ground station.
  • oilpan is base board with additional options on which mega will sit
  • Daniel, could you share what was said?
  • Oh ok. Thanks for filling me in. It makes a bit more sense but I guess I'll just have to wait like the rest of us to get the full scope. I can't wait to see it and hope to hear more about it soon!
  • Oh that sounds cool. Thanks. Why would more channels be required if the plane is only a 4 channel? Wait didn't the ardupilot already contain two way telemetry with the xbee addition. Or does the mega just come with it as a standard. Aslo what is oil pan and what would more I/Os do. Sorry I'm asking so many questions I'm just really curious what all these additions are used for because I thought the ardupilot was pretty good and expandable. So would you say the ardupilot mega is just a beefed up and pre-upgraded version of the original ardupilot.
  • 3D Robotics
    Daniel, Morli's laid out the basic, but we're just giving previews of a product in development (it's the open source way!). When we're ready to release it will give a full list of features and a side-by-side comparison. The simple answer is that both ArduPilot and ArduPilot Mega are full-featured autopilots, but Mega is built around an IMU from the ground up and ArduPilot can handle either thermopiles or an IMU with a slightly less neat installation and no dymamic (in-air) mission planning.
  • Daniel,
    number of channels, more memory for future upgrade,faster processor(!?), more I/Os , 2way telemetry, new oil pan with additional sensors etc to start with should make you happy, cheers
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