3D Robotics

Top Five UAV N00b Questions (and answers)

Having run this site for a few years now, I'm all too expert on the first reaction of newbies. Some of them I understand, some continue to mystify me. Here are the top five:

1) I want a helicopter to fly by itself! Can you help? We get this one daily. I don't really understand why. Perhaps it's because helis are so hard to fly manually? At any rate, most of these folks don't stay long. As the regulars here know, helis are the hardest autonomy challenge there is, between vibration, lack of forward motion for GPS yaw correction and generally fiddlyness. It sounds easy ("can't I just use a gyro or something?"), perhaps because heading-hold gyros are so common in RC helis, but it's not.

2) Where can I buy a UAV ready to go? Do you have one for less than $100? This is pretty understandable, and maybe someday you will be able to buy UAVs at Target. But not yet. And this is, after all, DIY Drones.

3) I've got a tilt sensor/heli gyro/Wii controller/iPhone. Can it fly a plane? This is the reason we have the FAQ about the need to fuse data from three gyros and three accelerometers to create a full attitude solution right on the front page. Again, unless you know about gyro drift and accelerometer noise, you don't understand the need for both. Hopefully a little reading here will help explain all.

4) I want 2 build a UAV drone! Can u help me please sir! Sigh. This is invariably from college students from a certain country I won't name. No, we won't do your homework for you. Please do us the favor of reading the information on this site for just a minute before you ask people to repeat what's already here.

5) How do I do [X]? (where X is something linked right on the front page). This is probably our fault as much as newcomers', but there is an incredible volume of information on this site if people would take the trouble to look for it. We've tried to anticipate most needs with tabs, a search box, forums organized by categories and a newbie guide ("I'm new to this. Where do I start?") right at the top of the front page. As we move the documentation to the Google Code wikis, we'll have even more organizational features at our disposal. I suspect this is a job that's never done, but if you all have any suggestions on how to do it better, please leave them in the comments.
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  • Thanks Chris for a nice post :)
  • Yeah Doug, true. But I'd print once anyway. Then keep in touch with changes.Reprint if necessary. A good check list worked through saves asking too many questions of you gurus. I've solved most of my problems by reading and rereading the notes
  • Developer
    Are you sure you want to print it?  The manual changes almost daily....
  • Been out of the 'world' for some months. Now to catch up with all that you have been doing.

    Suggestion: I can't see an easy way to download the whole manual from Wiki in one hit. Is there a way?

    If not, could it be set up? You guys are moving quickly and a manual I can download and, yes, print would help.

  • nitros are awesome
  • and <$200
  • Everyone has ben trying to add AP to the t-rex 450 which is a highly acrobatic heli. Why not try it with a more stable heli first.(larger one), or maybe a blade SR(built for stability for newbes) which is what i will be attempting.
  • first sentence "should be using a Hh gyro"
  • I am the heli guy.. and yes, HH gyros are used in most heli's now days. I think that one could(should) be used in an AP for a heli starting out because that's less things to worry about. I would be fine with no controlling the tail with AP starting out, and even elevation.(which is a big things that should be controlled[not that the tail shouldnt]).

    Also, a coaxial heli could be done without a tail using the rpm of each of the two rotors.
  • very true ill read before i ask .. thanks
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