William Premerlani's Comments

Comment Wall (79 comments)

At 7:57am on February 28, 2008,
3D Robotics
Chris Anderson
said…
William,

Welcome! Your board and especially your documentation are VERY impressive. Would you like to do another one of our Q&A interviews here to explain to everyone your thinking behind developing the board and some of the things people have done with it?

Best,

Chris
At 4:24pm on January 7, 2009, Nathan said…
Bill, I'm interested in using your older 2-axis board for an application. Do you know of any discussions dedicated to it? Awesome documentation, BTW. Having thought myself for long hours on how to do all of that in PIC assembly, I know what a monumental task it must have been.Thanks.
At 11:06am on April 27, 2009, Tom Yochum said…
Hi Bill,
I am very impressed with the work you have accomplished. My own project is in many ways an effort to duplicate your results (cheap IMU as an AHRS for micro-UAV control). I am currently tackling the problem of initial alignment of the AHRS. I have skimmed through the DCM paper and did not see anything there. I haven't looked through your code yet either. Could you give me a quick idea of how you did the initial alignment?
Thanks.

Tom
At 6:13pm on July 29, 2009, Roy Brewer said…
Thanks for getting back to me with this. This would be great news if it pans out. Let me know.

BTW, would that be 6 HW PWM outputs, or would some of those be in s/w?

- Roy
At 6:52pm on September 21, 2009, Justin said…
Hi Bill,

My apologies...this has been my fault all along. I assumed I had the wires connected to the board correctly becaues I was measuring a positive voltage between the outside pin and the middle pin. I didn't think I would be able to detect a voltage from the signal.

In your previous comment when you said that I should measure a voltage with respect to ground for the signal I went back and did some futher testing and realized I simply had them plugged in backward.

The RollPitchYaw demo is working great now! I'll load up John's heli code and give that a test as well with the receiver properly connected and I bet it will work just fine.

Thanks again!

Justin
At 7:41pm on September 28, 2009, Frank Hermes said…
Hi Bill,

No I do not mind (publishing), but I appreciate your asking - as you can tell, I am very ignorant in this area, and humbled when i read through all the guys out there that are so knowledgeable, but doing my best to learn...I appreciate your patience...

You know, I thought after reading your paper on DCM that I was right back to where I was in regards to the gravity thing and the accelerometers, but since you addressed that aspect regarding using them anyway to correct the gyro drift that maybe I once again just didn't understand - I thought somehow since you were collecting continuous data that you were able to integrate the accelerometer only (no appreciable gravity influence) data into the gyro data - yikes, WRONG, again!

I would appreciate any thoughts from you or readers...this thing is really starting to bug me for a solution (reasonable one!) and I am willing to invest as long as I know there is some chance of success, particularly in regards to the COS since all I need there is data output - obviously the "canarderon" thing will take some mechanical magic as well...

I really do appreciate your time and thoughts, Frank
At 11:39am on September 30, 2009, Frank Hermes said…

Hi Bill...
I have a graph taken from one of the simulation programs we use to design the rockets (RockSim); it represents a typical rocket flight from liftoff to apogee...thought it might help you get a sense of the forces involved...

Curious as to your thinking that the GPS velocity may be useful in some way - my understanding of the accuracy of the GPS position would not lend itself to a rocket which is changing its postion so quickly, but you indicate it might do quite well - is the designed-in inaccuracy of the GPS signals their absolute position, but the position change is quite accurate? Accurate enough to track something going 1.5+ mach?

It seems as though, based upon what I have learned so far, and your coments, that none of the typically available sensors are free from the need to reference/sensing gravity except the IR, and maybe the magnetometers?

Could we use a magnetometer for the basic reference? Model rockets typically do not utilize a lot of ferrous material, and other than their time sitting on a big metal launch pad/rail, their environment is pretty metal free...could calibrate away from the pad for the baseline, then once it leaves, it is "free" once again...

How do the "big boys" get around the gravity issue?

Thanks, Frank
At 5:07pm on October 3, 2009, automatik said…
Hi Bill,
I am re-reading your paper "Direction Cosine Matrix IMU" ([pdf] Draft 5/17/2009). I think there is a typo in Eqn. 20 (or there is a chance that I am not getting something). Vector notation, for Z row of the matrix, is represented as follows [rxx, rxy,rxz], and I think that it's a typo as Z row , as I understand it, should be [rzx,rzy,rzz]. What do you think?
At 4:54pm on October 5, 2009, Frank Hermes said…
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the further thoughts...I follow you until you get to the magnetometer and the issue of the single vector availability...so even though you have two or three magnetometers available you still only get one real ref - I guess that is due to the resolution capability of the sensors...

I ran across a guy who told me about a project at Utah State that if you have not seen you might be interested in as it relates to the rocket thing:
https://chimaera.usu.edu/

If you go to the documentation page, there are some papers descibing their work (see Attitude Control, p.95 in the Flight Readiness paper)...they used a MicroStrain commercial IMU for attitude reference - no GPS...one excerpt from the Navigation section particularly interests me:
A SINS (strap-down INS) works by measuring the accelerations and angular rotation rates of the rocket using an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), and integrating these measurements directly to find the velocity and position of the rocket. The IMU measures the sum of all specific surface forces applied to the rocket, including motor thrust and drag, but cannot measure the gravitational force. To account for this, the equations of motion for the rocket
must include the gravitational force before the SINS can integrate and find the rocket velocity and position. SINS is a particularly good measurement device for the thrusting phase of the rocket’s flight, when the motor thrust
varies unpredictably.

A Kalman filter is a mathematically optimal state estimator. It takes multiple measurements, along with their statistical characteristics, and outputs the most probable state of the rocket and its statistical variance. It is unique, in that it is a time-domain filter that requires no system to store previous state data. These qualities make it ideal for inclusion in the navigational algorithm, so that the rocket state is not dependent on a single measurement device.


Sounds to me they just use an estimate for gravity? Thoughts...

Regards, Frank
At 12:49pm on October 6, 2009, Frank Hermes said…
Hi Bill…

The initial goal is to provide a signal (based upon degrees of tilt of rocket tip from vertical) to either inhibit, or possibly trigger, second-stage (sustainer) motor ignition after burnout of the first-stage (booster) motor. The effort is to maximize the coast period between burns. [I attached a flight simulation graph to an earlier email to you to help paint the picture, but I think it may have been reduced to useless by your blog program. If there is a direct email address you can release to me I can resend that graph.]

During booster burn, we expect acceleration along the rocket’s vertical axis to range between 0 and <18 g. After burnout, during coast, deceleration along the rocket’s axis will range from about negative 1.5 g to about 0 g. All other accelerations (both linear and angular) are likely to be quite small since rocket the does not spin much and tips over very slowly.

Booster (first-stage) burn would be between 4 and 12 seconds. The coast period may be from 10-15 seconds. Therefore, the total duration of the sustainer upward flight prior to ignition is less than 15-25 seconds, so indeed long term drift of the sensors may be a minor concern.

In regards to using a magnetometer, the launch rail is typically 10-14’ high and made of steel. I suppose you could calibrate the sensor(s) away from the pad, then mount the rocket, then launch it – once away, there are negligible iron effects. The lull between placing the rocket on the rail and launch could be up to 10 minutes or more.

Further use might include adaptation of the IMU into a vertical-trajectory/vertical-stabilization system to control flight all the way to apogee, which could be as much as one minute flight time.

Regards, Frank
At 12:58pm on October 6, 2009, Frank Hermes said…
Oh yeah, Bill, this is a link to the AHRS they used...

http://www.microstrain.com/3dm-gx2.aspx
At 4:09pm on October 6, 2009, Frank Hermes said…
Thanks Bill - your response (re the time frame of flight and need to correct) is what my partner-in-crime here suspected...I appreciate your offer to help...I was hoping to find something more off-the-shelf since there is no way I would be able to program the thing from scratch (at best be able to hack)...there are devices out there, but they are too expensive a starting point - e.g., that MicroStrain device, even if it can support the g, is $1700! and I am not sure what else I would have to invest to get where I want to go...

The first thing, the "tilt" meter, is a tough thing to spend that kind of money - maybe I just head towards the vertical-stabilization problem first as emotional rationale to spend that kind of cash! The tilt thing just falls out of that...

I did see that VectorNav has an IMU for $500 that may work - not sure about the g load though - I will check that out...
( https://www.vectornav.com/products/74-vn-100 )

I will keep you informed as I continue to pursue things and I really do appreciate your help and offer of more! You've given me the answers I need to continue the quest...

Regards, Frank
At 12:56am on October 7, 2009, automatik said…
Hi Bill,
in airplane, is your physical orientation of sensors (gyros and accelerometers) such that, say, gyro Y points through the nose of the airplane and Gyro X through the wing? I ask because I have trouble understanding assignment of angles in antisymmetric matrix for small corrections - i.e how direction cosine matrix is updated in Eqn. 17. I worked out math few times and drew vector diagrams and I always end up with following "recipe":

1 | -dThetaZ | dThetaX
dThetaZ | 1 | -dThetaY
-dThetaX | dThetaY | 1

Note "swapped" locations of delta Theta Xs and Ys, in comparison to Egn. 17 of "Direction Cosine Matrix IMU: Theory" (p.15).
At 7:27pm on October 15, 2009, sid said…
Hi Bill,
It was an opprtunity for me and pleasure too. Will love to continue flight testing for future firmwares too.
Regards
SID
At 2:38pm on October 20, 2009, Frank Hermes said…
Hi Bill...

Been looking into the gyro thing and boiled it down to the AD ADIS16360 (http://www.analog.com/en/sensors/inertial-sensors/adis16360/products/product.html) since it seems to have all the required ingredients, including a rating up to +/-18 g.

Then, I went back and looked at the new Invensense stuff and think that the IDG-500 may suffice (http://www.invensense.com/products/idg_500.html) - they say that there is "no" g operating restriction, which seems a bit tough to accept, but I queried their support guys and they say that's true...

The AD device is ~$500, and the Invensense one is ~$150 for the eval boards ($9 for the raw IDG-500)...can you look over the specs of the IDG-500 and see what you think?

I have an analog input port on one of the flight computers that I think I can use as a data logger to see how it responds to a flight, but don't want to spend the $150 if you think there's no chance it could work...

Heard you on the podcast last week and thought the show was a great one - thanks for sharing!

Regards, Frank
At 3:01pm on October 20, 2009, Frank Hermes said…
Excellent...thanks, Frank
At 7:25am on November 7, 2009,
T3
Vassilis
said…
Bill,

The only other gyro I have used is the IDG-500 and it was sensitive to vibration to the extend that at high throttle the bias would drift.

Vassilis
At 1:32pm on November 8, 2009, automatik said…
Hi Bill,
I measured influence of Xbee on Razor board gyros and posted some data. It boils down that lower the Xbee power and / or greater separation distance there is less effect on Razor/Arduin. At 200mW XBee power level and 9" separation distance (similar what you found I think) there is no noticeable impact. More info in the post:

http://diydrones.com/profiles/blog/show?id=705844%3ABlogPost%3A118388&page=2#comment-705844_Comment_119086
At 7:30pm on November 8, 2009, Rana said…
Thank you Billu Bhaiya !

I shall wait for that !

Thanks & Best Regards

Rana
At 6:31pm on November 16, 2009, Khalid Saeed said…
Bill,

The archived compiler is a .Tar file. I'm not sure how to compile it and then install it. At any rate, I'm going to see what Microchip has to say...

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