Solar Falcon first attempt with ArduPilot and Nunchuck Acc

my first ground test with APv1 was full of problems. till last summer i am working on my hand made airframe. finished the plane and solar wing is connected and tested. system works well, i tested it for 55mins until my radio battery drained.
system: 35 mhz 6 ch radio (because im planning to use 900mhz x-bees for telemetry and 2.4ghz video downlink), solar wing with ailerons, planned to use APv1 on throttle and rudder. stabilization on ailerons and elevator with a hand made system consisting of a Nunchuck accelerometer connected to another Arduino clone and a working software adapted from the work of Andrea Salvatore. first attempt with a Diecimila which worked well but clumsy and heavy. next try was with a Funnel IO which is very small but connections too weak, especially battery connector disconnects often. last try was with an old Ardupilot BetaV3 board used as an Arduino clone which proved as the best alternative.
Apv1 connected, throttle on input1 rudder on input2 ctrl on ch5. APv1 software uploaded flawlessly by Arduino IDE.
when ESC connected everything looks fine. power led is on, Mux led is ok when engaged via ch5, rudder moves when toggled, GPS lock led is solid within seconds.
problem issues:
1- when AP is engaged via ch5 rudder moves and throttle is on for a few turns and then spinner stops. when disengaged, problem persists, spinner stops after few turns although stick at full throttle position... possible cause: not enough power for brushless motor?.. although the solar panels are connected to support battery with 1.2Amps... not a problem when AP board was not in the system...
2- loss of signal simulated by shutting off the radio. Mux led and status led is blinking. AP moves rudder and tries to apply some throttle, spinner is on for a few turns and stops. the elevator moves down immediately (that is weird because it is not connected to AP)... possible cause: rf intervention to receiver which has lost signal... thank god the plane is not in the air...
any suggestions and help will be appreciated... i can provide some pics and video...

Views: 427

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2009 at 6:03am
Dincer, can you confirm that your setup has passed the NorthEast code test? If it passes that, everything else will be easy to diagnose. It it doesn't respond as expected with that, you've got a wiring/setup problem.
Comment by dincer hepguler on May 1, 2009 at 6:09am
indeed i first uploaded the NE code and tested. everything seemed to work as expected. after the gps lock i engaged the AP and turned the plane and rudder moved, stayed as is, until i moved the plane again to another direction. the rudder moved again to respond to direction change but no throttle engagement seen. later i decided to upload the actual APv1 code and carry on the test.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2009 at 6:14am
Actually, the throttle is supposed to engage in NE mode. (It's trying to maintain a medium speed). It's getting altitude info from GPS. Which GPS are you using?
Comment by dincer hepguler on May 1, 2009 at 6:18am
im using em406 like everyone... im at the terrace of my apartment which is 8th floor.. making ground tests at the terrace... open air... no probs with the gps lock. it locks in a few secs...
Comment by dincer hepguler on May 1, 2009 at 6:20am
is there any settings in the code which limits the throttle power?... i cant power the throttle even when the AP is toggled off via ch5...

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2009 at 6:28am
If you can't power the throttle with the AP is off, you've got a wiring problem. Double check that the plugs are all in the right way.

Once you've got it working in manual mode, you can adjust max seetings right there at the top of the first tab:

#define max16_throttle 2100 //ESC max position, given in useconds, in my ungly servos 2100 is fine, you can try 2000..
#define min16_throttle 1000 //ESC position

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2009 at 6:30am
BTW, is that the board you're using in the picture? It's one of our earliest beta designs, never released!!! If you're still have trouble, I suggest you switch to our commercial board. We've changed a few things since that beta version, and I'm pretty sure our current code won't run right on your board.
Comment by dincer hepguler on May 1, 2009 at 6:37am
Chris, thx for your assistance.
i thought that there isnt enough power from the battery or i had a wiring problem, but the throttle is on for a few turns when engaged. it would not move at all if there was a wiring problem. the spinner stops after a few turns when throttle is applied both in AP and manual modes. this is weird, i doublechecked all the connections...
what about my other problem? the elevator moves down as soon as the signal from radio is off.. elevator is not connected to AP...
Comment by dincer hepguler on May 1, 2009 at 6:44am
im using a commercial AP board with atmega168 from Sparkfun, which is not in the pic... the board in the pic is used as an secondary Arduino clone for the Nunchuck stabilization, without even Ardupilot code on it... works fine with the accelerometer, no problems with it...

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2009 at 6:51am
Ah...thanks for the correction on the board.

On the throttle, you're saying that if it's connected straight to the Rx, it works fine, but if you connect it via the AP (channel 3 from Tx going to In 2, ESC coming from Out 2), it doesn't work, even with the AP is off (MUX led off)? That's really weird--it's a straight pass through of the signal when the AP is off. I'd suspect a soldering problem.


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