Here is a Bench test of my Parallax Propeller based Autopilot. The first feature is to bring it back home.

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Comment by rad man on November 21, 2007 at 2:50pm
so could you help me build one of these only instead of a propeller i have a basic stamp! so it would be nice if you could help thanks in advance rad man
Comment by paul hubner on December 18, 2007 at 9:31am
Hi Radman,

I'm happy to assist you, but I don not know much about the basic stamps. Parallax's Propeller seems to be a great fit for this type of project and it is also the only processor that I have any experiance with. I'd suggest that you buy a Propeller demo board for about $20. It has most everything you need to get started. Bring your own soldering iron and you;ll be in good shape.

I'm slowly working on a demo board-add-on that will include a more hardened platform for developing against. I hope it will be ready by (lets' be honest...) March or so. I'll post the plans then too on my site.

Comment by Gareth Farrington on February 19, 2008 at 6:21pm
Hello, i'm an RC pilot and code monkey and I'm interested in getting in on writing some code for an autopilot.

I'm looking over the site and trying to decide what hardware to buy. I see the propeller has both GPS and 5 axis gyro module. Also on your site you show it connected to an SD card. Being able to log lots of data is going to be critical for debugging. That seems to put it out in front of the Arduino.

I'm trying to decide what hardware to buy so i can get started. I'm interested in an open source project, maybe hosted on Google Code.

How is development with the Propeller going? Have you been able to read/write to the SD card yet?
Comment by paul hubner on February 20, 2008 at 2:13pm
Hi Gareth,

I do have it reading and writing, but not all at once. It is definitely MY code at issue, as the Prop can do it with ease without the rest of my added code. The released SD module/library is on and works fine.

I unfortunately have not given the project much time in the past few months. but am making incremental headway. I'm moving to surface mount designs and collaborating with a friend on the prop contest for later in the year

On the down side, you need to write in SPIN or assembler, (which while isn't hard and is quite capable), is another thing to learn. If you can compile for the Arduino in a more familiar language that could be a benefit to you.

All in all, I think the prop demo board kits is an excellent platform and so cheap as can be way to get into micro designing for less than $50.

Comment by Gareth Farrington on February 20, 2008 at 3:45pm
I think the SD card is a must from the get go for logging and debugging. Really you want to log everything; system state, control outputs, GPS readings etc. at a high frequency. Then you have lots of data to debug with later on.

Writing in SPIN is only a downside if you run out of space on the Propeller platform and you have to port your code to something else. Then you are in for a lot of re-work.

Whats the 'prop contest'?
Comment by Gareth Farrington on February 20, 2008 at 7:53pm
Dude I think I'm in. After looking at the AttoPilot work and seeing that he is also using the Propeller chip its obvious that the chip is up to the task. I would like to shoot for something like that but Open Source.

I think your idea with PNav of having a streamlined board built around the propeller + some confined set of hardware is great. The dev board is a good way to get started but it wont make a great flight package.

A simple PCB like whats pictured here: be easy to make or get made.__I think my first step should be getting the Propeller dev board and parts. I'll tinker with it for a while and see if I cant make a flight data recorder. Log stick positions and GPS co-ordinates. Once that works we can go from there on to active control.
Comment by paul hubner on February 27, 2008 at 10:41am

Glad to help you make the jump :-)

My current code takes up about 75% of the prop memory and I still have a lot of tweaking to go.

Feel free to use it all. I'm open sourcing everything I do on PNAV to help the community do its thing.

Also, I see the propeller has a version 2 coming out - it will have 16 internal processors, more IO pins and more memory (I think..) so its an expanding platform.

Comment by Earl on March 17, 2009 at 9:39pm
Hi Paul. I have also been using your propellar code as a base for my quadrocopter project.See my post on the propellar site.
The cheap nunchuck ckt board gives a nice 3 axis accelerometer interfaced by i2c on the prop board for $15 ! Next to integrate the thing to your autopilot GPS code, that will be neat. Being retired I have the time and the lab to experiment here. Hope I can help here.
Comment by Earl on March 18, 2009 at 9:02pm
I'll send you my code (your code modified) with the wii nunchuck data gathering. How do I send it to you ?
Comment by paul hubner on March 19, 2009 at 8:55am
Hey Earl - I'm glad you are able to use my code and that's a sweet find on the IC2 accellerometer! .

You can attach files to the website in the Forums section. Head there and start a new discussion under UAV hardware or software (where ever you think it should go). There is an "Upload Files" link there.

This way more folks can benefit from the additions. I find that I make much faster progress when I have a huge neural network (that's all y'all!) working on my problems ;-)



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