Paparazzi: The Plug and Play autopilot..?

I just recently moved over from NXT to Paparazzi and I must admit I'm amazed. Excluding some problems with my radio equipment it was really easy to get flying fully autonomously; just earlier today I got everything plugged in. As the airframe I used one of my EasyGliders. It has AuW of 1,4kg and about 400W brushless setup. With it I'm using a 2.4GHz radio which is plugged to the Paparazzi through the PPM encoder; so no need for a PPM radio. Installing the Paparazzi in place included little soldering (10 wires total including the wires to the datamodem) and cluing all the parts in place.So earlier today I finally got to flying with the PPZ and was hoping for some testing with the so called AUTO1 (i.e. "fly by wire" -mode) but this is what happened; once I had the A/C at a safe altitude I engaged AUTO1 and flew with it some 10 minutes; I worked like a dream right from the start and I hadn't changed a single parameter up to that point (granted, I was using a configuration file that had been made for EasyGlider by another user and I had to make a configuration file for my 2.4GHz radio but still!). Then I engaged AUTO2 and... well... It worked as it's supposed to. I.e. I was flying fully autonomously during my first flight with the Paparazzi. If that's not PnP in the world of RC then what is? (Ok ok.. I had a 35sec flight before this; That flight ended in a crash due to bad 35MHz PCM radio but that's nothing related to the Paparazzi anyways...)Ok, I have to admit that PPZ with all it's features isn't as simple as ArduPilot, for example, but, still, I wouldn't consider it much harder to use once you get the hang of it. Besides once you get into it you'll get to like all the features that already exist in PPZ code repositories; there's, for example, code for a stabilized camera mount, gyros, additional sensor etc. readily available.IMHO the PPZ is nowadays much more of a PnP autopilot than people tend to think. One important thing is that all the needed parts are readily available and assembled. As for the price I paid for my PPZ+PPM encoder+Datamodems about 460$ (CheBuzz PPZ). It's much more than you'd pay for ArduPilot but then again the PPZ is also somewhat more cabable and has much more features although the amount of the features may not suit everyone's taste in terms of conveniency and ease of use.Oh and one more thing; as you may know the PPZ ground station and pretty much all the software made for PPZ is made for Linux, or Ubuntu to be more precise, and this may sound a little sacry BUT Ubuntu these days is probably one of the easiest and intuitive OSes to use AND install. Especially the installing of the Ubuntu is SO much easier than it is for windows, for example; you can even install Ubuntu while you're still using Windows Vista or XP or whatever and you don't need to format your hard drive or any partitions as Ubuntu will make a new partition for you on the fly which isn't possible with Windows and after installing Ubuntu you'll be able to use either operating system as needed. And if you don't want to install Ubuntu onto your laptop that's fine too: a LIVE CD for PPZ has been made which makes it possible to simply burn the CD and put it into your laptop, restart and you're done. As a side note I want to point out that I actually moved over from Windows to Ubuntu permanently once I had first tried the LIVE CD.PS. Now that I reread this post I realised that it really sounds like a 2nd class PPZ advert and there's a reason for it too; IMO many people don't really know how easy it is to use PPZ and this can be seen on many discussions on RC Groups, for example. It seems that especially the Linux part is a very powerfull deterrent for many people. But the fact is that using Linux (Ubuntu) these days is so much easier and convenient than it used to be that in my honest opinnion it's actually much better and easier to use than Windows and in many ways much like Mac.Sami F.
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  • Hi 

    since I have 2 servo and a motor connected to my receiver

    does this mean to connect from my receiver to the PPM encoder

    I will need to cut my servo wires to extract the power, gnd and signal?

  • I love the tiny 2.11 - PNP for sure. PPZUAV Rocks....great service, already burned when you get it and great support. I love the paparazzi, its so advanced....very capable....
  • T3
    Yes, I too bought my PPZ from CheBuzz and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it and it still works just like it's supposed to; I just tried to be fair to both Davids (but it seems that I failed miserably) so that I don't have to worry about any drones stalking me.. :)
  • I can vouch for buzz as I have received a working auto-pilot. The service was prompt and any questions you may have Dave is always quick to answer.
  • David Conger (I also am David C (=, my nickname is Buzz) has them assembled in China whereas I assemble them myself. I did this because 1) to keep the costs as low as possible for paparazzi users and 2) I wanted to learn SMD soldering. I had issues with the very fine pitch on the first couple of batches, but I have the trick down now. I am also working on a comprehensive test suite, which I will publish once finished. This will verify that all functionalities are actually functional. I'm hoping this will help catch not only bad solder joints, but bad hardware as well.
  • T3
    @Caleb M: you don't have to pay for your PPZ that much: CheBuzz PPZ And because I know that David C. is going read this I'll have to say in the name of fairness that everything CheBuzz does is hand made so the quality of the products made by PPZUAV might be somewhat higher.
  • I in all intents plan to go with PPZ, but for now under budget i will be using Ardupilot. Linux is easy, i am behind a cost barrier. $695 for their current packages. that's over 2x of Ardupilot. but it has features that ardupilot lacks. So one day maybe next summer.
  • He Jano got the same error last week after a upgrade of the paparazzi software.
    I will test it this weekend. I will let you know later
  • Good day,

    I'm playing around on the paparazzi center and getting to know how everything works. I got my lat and long decimal degrees and put them in the flight plan file. I then built and ran the simulator and tried to fill the map with google tiles but everytime i get the following message in the paparazzi center:

    Connecting to khm.google.com||:80... failed: Connection refused.

    Any suggestions on how i can get it to work?

    Also, the airframe i'm using only has a rudder and elevator with electronic speed control on the motor. I am totally lost on how to modify the airframe file to get it working with my airframe. Can someone please help with how i should go about doing this.

    Thank you,
  • T3
    Teemu: It just so happens that I live in Finland as well and I know for a fact that the limit for spread specturm devices like FHSS and DSSS is 100mW in the 2.4GHz band. And even if you go over the limit a couple of mW nobody cares. There's really no way you could get caught of it unless you go and actually confess it to the Ficora. I even know a "friend" who uses 900MHz 200mW tranceivers on his autopilot (which overlaps with the finnish GSM operators' and army's frequencies): with a FHSS and encryption your transmission will simply appear as background noise and it's nearly impossible or atleast very hard to trace it even if somebody gave a sh*t (which they don't anyways). And even if you went ahead and confessed to the Ficora the horrible crime that you commited (or if you somehow magically would get caught) they'd probably just give you a pat in the back and tell you not to do it again; this friend of mine also uses a 500mW 2.4GHz video transmitter, too, and it's 50 times over the legal limit (which for non-spread spectrum transmission is 10mW like you said).

    Anyways if you can get your hands on a Xbee 868 I'd go for it because of it's awesome range (although the data rate is also somwhat lower).

    As for the PPM encoder; the PPZ takes in the conventional RC commands in PPM. Only the older 35MHz and 40MHz PPM receivers output PPM so if you want to use a 2.4GHz RC radio equipment with your PPZ you'll have to use the PPM encoder between your receiver and the autopilot. You just basically connect every channel from your receiver to the PPM encoder and the connect ground, power and PPM line from the PPM encoder to the autopilot.

    You'd probably also want to note that I had some previous experience with autopilots and actually programming one which certainly made the whole process of getting to fly with the PPZ easier for me than it'd probably be for an average Joe.
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