Surprise! ArduPilot can do stabilization, too

We've been describing ArduPilot as a navigation-only autopilot and saying that it needs the FMA Co-Pilot to provide stabilization. But that's actually not true--we just hadn't written the stabilization code yet. ArduPilot is powerful enough to handle both functions, something that Jordi proved this week with his ArduPilot-powered FunJet.

The above picture shows all the elements (click for a larger version): A FMA X-Y sensor is connected to two of ArduPilot's analog inputs. The four wires in the FMA sensor cable are, in order, roll, pitch, 5v, gnd. Connect roll to ArduPilot's analog 0 port and pitch to analog 1.

This is an example of how flexible the basic ArduPilot hardware is. It's the exact same board, but with different code and sensors added on the analog ports. We're going to add an airspeed sensor, too, and other goodies over time. You can do a lot with this little board!

Here is the alpha code, which is just so you can see the basics of how he did it. It's got the GPS stuff stripped out, but Jordi also has a working version with a 5Hz UBlox GPS.

For the public beta, we'll use a 3-channel EasyStar, rather than the FunJet, and the standard 1Hz EM406 GPS. The FunJet is, well, fun, but hard to fly (Jordi crashed it three times this week alone!) and not for everyone, and we want to stick with the simplest, easiest to use equipment for our main releases. Stay tuned.

Views: 2374

Comment by Noth666 on January 30, 2009 at 12:41am
awesome! what kind of airspeed sensor could be used for this easily?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 30, 2009 at 8:07am
We're going to try one that Fakhre Alam very kindly made and sent us.
Comment by HugePanic on January 30, 2009 at 8:38am
do i understand you right:

you are using only the fma sensors, connected to the ardupilot, without the fma-controller board???

sounds good

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 30, 2009 at 8:43am
That's correct. No FMA controller board. We've integrated the stabilization function entirely within ArduPilot. Full control!

Comment by Brian on January 30, 2009 at 9:08am
I was under the impression w/the other code that Delta configs were not possible due to the mixing. Is that incorrect? If that's true this code gives us a use for those old Stryker bodies stored on the back shelf.
Comment by NorthSweden on January 30, 2009 at 9:17am
Nice work.

I will order one soon:P
Comment by Noth666 on January 30, 2009 at 9:32am
Now all we need is a way to buy the thermopile head without the control logic :) perhaps D. Goedde will release his designs for the AttoPilot as a separate product.. *wishing* :) The all SMD is niiice.

Comment by Jordi Muñoz on January 30, 2009 at 9:36am
The stabilization works perfectly!!, The ardupilot was who crashed my Funjet, not me =P.
Comment by Jhon on January 30, 2009 at 1:01pm
long life to diydrones!

any link to see that "ublox gps" specs?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 30, 2009 at 1:06pm
I've updated the post with the link to the u-blox module we used.


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