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Old Jan 21, 2013, 10:51 PM
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Programmable Autopilot or Microcontroller?

I'm a software engineer that doesn't work with microcontrollers often (read: Never) and the idea of programming my own itty-bitty electric RC plane with my own flight system is very appealing. I have a few electrical engineering buddies I could hit up to broach the idea of building an entire system (read - making gyros, finding a microcontroller that would work with servo inputs, and all that jazz) but I wondered if such a thing existed already for use with languages like ADA, C, C++/etc. Does anyone know of such a thing?

If my question is a bit vague, I apologize. I don't really know anything about what is available. And most autopilots I see are already preprogrammed with very impressive software that just allows people to make their own paths or do established procedures like holds or level flight.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 02:57 AM
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United States, IN, Indianapolis
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Yes, there are many. Too many to list. Just about every one out there can have software written for it in C or a variant. Most microcontrollers have a C variant compiler, and most widely used.

If you want to develop your own software, I would buy a MultiWii board of some type and have a go.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 06:23 AM
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Joined Feb 2009
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The Paparazzi system offers a range of different boards which are in varying degree populated with sensors etc; http://paparazzi.enac.fr/wiki/Autopilots
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by KKUSA View Post
Yes, there are many. Too many to list. Just about every one out there can have software written for it in C or a variant. Most microcontrollers have a C variant compiler, and most widely used.

If you want to develop your own software, I would buy a MultiWii board of some type and have a go.
That looks like just about what I was looking for. Thank you.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 01:40 PM
Chris Anderson
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Joined Mar 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkenor View Post
I'm a software engineer that doesn't work with microcontrollers often (read: Never) and the idea of programming my own itty-bitty electric RC plane with my own flight system is very appealing. I have a few electrical engineering buddies I could hit up to broach the idea of building an entire system (read - making gyros, finding a microcontroller that would work with servo inputs, and all that jazz) but I wondered if such a thing existed already for use with languages like ADA, C, C++/etc. Does anyone know of such a thing?

If my question is a bit vague, I apologize. I don't really know anything about what is available. And most autopilots I see are already preprogrammed with very impressive software that just allows people to make their own paths or do established procedures like holds or level flight.
Most of the community doing this is over at DIY Drones (currently 34,000 members). They also created the ArduPilot autopilot platform, which is based on Arduino, which is a very easy to use development platform (C based)
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 02:09 PM
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United States, IN, Indianapolis
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Originally Posted by zlite View Post
Most of the community doing this is over at DIY Drones (currently 34,000 members). They also created the ArduPilot autopilot platform, which is based on Arduino, which is a very easy to use development platform (C based)
Yep, the ArduPilot code, and MegaPiratesNG variant are good places to start looking into how its done.

However, Full-House (gyros, accelerometers, magnetometer, baro, GPS etc.) MultiWii hardware is much cheaper and quite capable. The ArduPilot/MPNG code can even run on some of them (Mega 2560 variants).

You can get a Crius AIO Pro (excellent hardware) and slap MPNG on it, get a $30 GPS module and you have a full-house autopilot for about $80
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