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Old Dec 09, 2014, 11:48 AM
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United States, MN, Minneapolis
Joined Mar 2010
400 Posts
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What Autopilot did you choose and why?

I realize that looking for the perfect autopilot is like looking for the perfect plane. There isn't one that does everything (at least one a hobbyist can afford). Everything is a compromise.

What autopilot did you go with?
Why did you choose that particular one?
What else did you consider?
Are you happy with your choice?
If you were to buy one right now, which one would you go with? Why?
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Old Dec 09, 2014, 01:07 PM
A man with too many toys
United States
Joined Feb 2001
18,063 Posts
Pixhawk

I now have several Pixhawk autopilots.

I have tried most and the APM seamed like it had all the features at a reasonable price. All the options are amazing. However the APM is fairly old hardware design and can’t use all the new features.

After flying APM for a couple of years the Pixhawk came out so I decided to upgrade. It has much more capability than any thing else on the market. For airplanes it has autotune. If you like redundant sensors you are in luck. It comes with dual accelerometers and gyros. You can all dual magnetometers (electronic compass) and dual GPS modules. It has good failure management logic and it gets better with each firmware update. After flying all last summer I would not consider anything else.


If you are not familiar it has a real nice Mission Planner that runs on most computer devices. It has telemetry if you like and it even has a GPS based antenna tracker for extreme range communications. Check it out. http://plane.ardupilot.com/


Also the APM and Pixhawk can be used with almost anything: multi-rotor, airplane, conventional helicopter, car, boat, and antenna tracker.


.



I have a winter airplane project and I and going to give the Chinese version a try. It’s called the Fixhawk and should arrive before the end of the year. http://www.rctimer.com/product-1166.html



.
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Last edited by RC Man; Dec 09, 2014 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Info about Fixhawk
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Old Dec 09, 2014, 03:26 PM
Registered User
United States, MN, Minneapolis
Joined Mar 2010
400 Posts
For myself, I don't have one yet, but hope to soon.

I've been following DIYDrones for a long time and assumed that I'd get APM 2.6, now Pixhawk. My assumption was based on the limited scope of my research. I follow DIYDrones, therefore I'd go with Pixhawk...

A brief look around for other possibilities has vastly complicated my decision.

Reading the forums a bit, it seems like each setup has a group that swear by their AP and poo-poos all others. Other people take a more measured approach, acknowledging the pros and cons. For some simplicity is the most important thing, others advanced features.

The only one I am somewhat familiar with is APM
The others I've seen mentioned are:
Gluonpilot2
SmartAP
MikroKopter
MultiWii PRO Flight Controller
Arkbird
Hobby Wireless Complete
Fpvflying Complete
RVOSD AP
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Old Dec 09, 2014, 07:28 PM
A man with too many toys
United States
Joined Feb 2001
18,063 Posts
APM is open source hardware and firmware and others are not. That puts others at a huge disadvantage because they are very slow at firmware development and have to charge more money to pay the firmware developers. That’s why they are more expensive with fewer features. I have had other autopilots and it’s very frustrating when it takes 6-months + to get a firmware bug fixed. Most are designed to get you going quickly so they don’t have much flexibility They are targeted at customers with little autopilot experience.


The choice all depends on what you want and how many features you want. As for me a fun part of the hobby is experimenting with new features. If you just want to fly and just have a return home safety feature then something simple and cheap may be what you want.


.
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Old Dec 11, 2014, 09:13 PM
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Joined Apr 2013
73 Posts
Also firetailuav.com
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Old Dec 13, 2014, 06:42 PM
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Asker, Oslo, Norway
Joined Feb 2009
423 Posts
The ones I have tried is; Ardupilot, Flexipilot, APM, Gluonpilot and paparazzi; YAPA, Lisa and Krooz.

Favorites are:
1. Paparazzi (simply the best)
2. Flexipilot/Gluonpilot
3. APM
4. Ardupilot (waste of time and money)
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Old Dec 17, 2014, 11:24 PM
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Near Austin
Joined Dec 2001
5,417 Posts
This is a hobby forum, so you realiy should be speaking to cost first.

Back in the day, discussions would be centered around the cost of an IC powerplant and the R/C system you would use to control the aircraft. That day is gone. The real questions to be asked are :

How much autonomy do you want?
What is the payload you wish to fly?
What are the conditions you want to fly in?
How much time and effort are YOU willing to commit into the system?

Answer those questions, then you can start to add the "options" into the car you wish to buy. The more complex and varied the environment, then the more you should be willing to commit in both $$$ and your own time.

You will pay at one end or the other. If you wish to dabble, then you can pay in the cost of crashed aircraft and losses out of our pocketbook while you figure out what is going on. Or you can pay the money up front and purchase what is proven.

I have flown $15K Cloud Cap Picollo autopilots and $75 Eagle Tree systems, and the will do what they are designed to do .

But is that what you expected of them?

Gene
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