By Gary Mortimer

From SUAS News

Not just flying, but driving and floating as well. Pixhawk 2.1 running Ardupilot software can be used to command all types of autonomous vehicle.

Shipping has started from Australia and distributors around the world.pixhawk2-1

Designed by Philip Rowse of ProfiCNC the Pixhawk 2.1 is a tale of two halves.

A cube contains an isolated and dampened IMU that is heated by a thermal resistor. This allows for consistent operations across a wide temperature range. It is particularly important in cold weather conditions.

The IMU solution is triple redundant, having.

3 Accelerometers

3 Gyroscopes

3 Magnetometers

2 Barometers

The cube essentially is the part that will keep your flying platform the right way up. It connects to a carrier board that provides the inputs and outputs to flying controls/motors and command and control (C2) links.

Cube and carrier board are sold as a combined kit for $238 or individually.

This allows end users to have the power of a triple redundant heated IMU in their own carrier boards for specialist applications.

The standard carrier board has a built in Intel Edison port to easily add a powerful companion computer. It has standard radio control in and out along with SBUS support.

You can connect two GPS for that extra sense of in-flight security, better still they can be RTK GPS.

Very unusual in this space, the Pixhawk 2.1 has two power inputs. Allowing you redundancy in case of one power system going down.

The Pixhawk 2 Suite comes as standard with.

  1. The Cube…. the brains behind the operation.
  2. A full carrier board.
  3. 1 Power Brick (two power bricks can be filtered for redundant power.)
  4. Cable set that allows you to connect to your old Telemetry module, GPS, and sensors

I was lucky enough to receive an alpha unit, and quite honestly lost my mind over the new connectors. A vast improvement over Pixhawk 1

Views: 8608

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on November 4, 2016 at 10:13am

A big hand to Philip Rowse and Team!!



Comment by Marc Dornan on November 4, 2016 at 10:16am
The real deal. 3DR's red-headed step child! A flight controller optimized to run Ardupilot! Mine is already on it's way.
Comment by Jerry Giant on November 4, 2016 at 10:16am

great work. I think people will begin to ask me for custom main board very soon

Comment by Marc Dornan on November 4, 2016 at 10:17am
And Congrats to Phillip Rowse.
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 4, 2016 at 10:20am

Awesome work Philip and team!

Can't believe it's been about 3 years since I first held a Pixhawk2 prototype with the much-desired internal vibration isolation, eliminating the need for janky external vibration isolation in most cases.  Really too bad that 3DR decided not to sell this.  But no matter, we have it now!

Comment by Cool Dude on November 4, 2016 at 10:46am

Hi Rob,

  I successfully build 3 traditional heli using pixhawk with great success just with foam. Not I am trying to build one using Nitro engine and foam is not enough for vibration isolation. I have to use elastic rope setup. Do you think the system In Pixhawk 2 is good enough for nitro/gas heli? I don't have one yet, so I cannot try it.

Comment by Cool Dude on November 4, 2016 at 11:24am

Hi Thomas,

  I think this is Pixhawk 2 why have you labelled 2.1. Is it an improvement, perhaps the next generation ST ARM chip.

Comment by RC on November 4, 2016 at 11:28am

@Cool Dude: Pixhawk 2 is in the 3DR Solo. It was never meant to be sold separately.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 4, 2016 at 11:33am

The 2.1 has a few improvement over the 2.0 in the Solo.

Cool Dude, I can't say for sure yet.  Haven't tested it.  I think there's a good chance, that on a well made electric helicopter, and with some improvements to the digital filtering, it will be possible to run a Pixhawk2 with no external isolation.  Won't know until I try it.

But on a piston engine, I think that it will always be required to run external isolation.  Even if only for the physical protection of the electronics.  I soft mount everything, including the GPS, radios, etc.

Comment by Luis Vale Gonçalves on November 4, 2016 at 12:13pm

Big step up on both the hobby grade and pro level flight controllers.

Some unusual feature on this price range like the temperature control, and the amazing capabilities that the modular approach enables, and last but not least the easy integration with a companion computer. 

Can't wait to see how some manufacturers will take the opportunity to expand with new carrier boards.

Good work, Philip.


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