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Old Dec 02, 2010, 11:22 AM
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TriWiiCopter Configuration and Settings

( !!NOTE - this is still a work in progress!! Please let me know if any errors or have suggestions to improve)

At this point you should have your TriWiiCopter assembled and all connected up correctly as per diagrams. Also the Arduino sketch modified for a TriCopter and uploaded successfully.

I strongly recommend removing your props for the setting up. This should be considered mandatory even if you are not an experienced Tri builder.
You can also use the GUI with the ESC / motors's disabled to visualise instead.

************************************************** ****************

Programming the TX for a TriWiiCopter - Starting point


An Aero model on the tx with default settings. Yes that's right - set this up as an plane and not a heli like gyro based Tri.

1 Set theTx endpoints on yaw/throttle/pitch/roll to +/-125% as a starting point. Others can remain on 100%
- This will almost certainly be needed for the Arduino to recognise correct low throttle / yaw from the tx and hence to enable the throttle control and allow the motors to spin up.
- I would recommend setting expo of +30% on the pitch and roll to start with.

2 Throttle configuration.
- Throttle curve not needed initially
- For much smoother controllability, check out the detail in the Advance Settings for much smoother / more controllable flyiing

************************************************** ****************

Setting up and calibrating the TriWiiiCopter controls


1 Set theTx endpoints on yaw/throttle/pitch/roll to +/-125% as a starting point. Others can remain on 100%
- This will almost certainly be needed for the Arduino to recognise correct low throttle / yaw from the tx and hence to enable the throttle control and allow the motors to spin up.
- I would recommend setting expo of +30% on the pitch and roll to start with.
- I would recommend setting RCrate on the GUI to 50% to start with. Unless you are an existing competent rotor flier


2 Power up and wait 10 secs for the Arduino to initialise and stabilise.
- The Arduino pro red power light should be on and mini green led should be off. It will flash a few times during boot up.

3 Now if you move the throttle to minimum and yaw to the right the green LED should come on.
- This means the throttle control is live.
- The motors may or may not spin up at this point.
- If the LED doesn't come on, try reversing the throttle channel.
- If it still doesn't come on, try increasing the endpoints even further.

4 Moving the throttle to minimum and yaw to left / right should toggle the throttle enable (and LED on / off).
- If not, you need to check your setup again.

5 Enable the motors by moving throttle to minimum and yaw to the right.

6 Now open the throttle up to max.
- All three motors should spin up and increase speed according to the amount of throttle applied.
- Don't worry if one or two spin up slightly before the others at this point.
- Ensure all motors are spinning in the correct direction for the propellers you are using.
- See ESC Notes below.....

7 At low throttle, all three motors should just be spinning. If not, increase or decrease the #MinThrottle setting in the sketch and re-upload.
- It is not critical to do this for steady flying, but for aerobatics where you might hit zero throttle in loops it will be very beneficial.

8 Check yaw gyro control is correct
- Rotate the Tri around it's centre point quick enough so that the direction the rear motor tilts can be established.
- Might need to do this a few times to see it.
- The Motor should tilt away from the direction in which it is being moved.
- If it moves in the wrong direction, change the Yaw_Direction in the Arduino sketch and re-upload.

9 Check pitch/roll controls are correct
- Moving pitch stick forward should decrease speed to front two motors and increase the rear. Opposite for rear pitch stick input.
- Moving roll stick left should decrease speed to left motor and increase the right one. Opposite for right pitch stick input.
- If incorrect, change direction on TX

10 Check yaw control is correct
- Moving the yaw stick left should tilt the rear motor right (when viewed from rear). Opposite for right yaw stick input.
- If incorrect, change direction on TX

11 Check ESC gyro actions
- Throttle up slightly. All three motors should be spinning.
- Tip each boom down in turn.
- When the boom is tipped, the motor should speed up.
- When the boom is raised, the motor speed should drop off.
- If the wrong motor changes speed, the gyro is mis-aligned - or ESC connected to incorrect pin on Arduino

12 Now all these changes have been made, recheck all motor and yaw control directions. Also re-check motor and Yaw gyro directions are correct.

************************************************** ****************

Setting up and calibrating the TriWiiiCopter controls - with NC / accelerometer enabled


This same calibration procedure is used for WMP and WMP/NC setups.
I find that the time taken to calibrate for WMP/NC is much longer. Sometimes takes 30 secs.
NOTE - this must be completed at least one for NC enabled TriWiiCopter.

0 This is where having the GUI is quite usefull.
- Firstly, make sure your propellers are dynamically balanced for minimum vibrations.
- Ensure the NC is orientated correctly and as close to horizontal as possible when the Tri is level position.

1 Calibrate the Gyro/Accelerometers
- Power up and Verify Nunchuck=present on the GUI
- Note the ACC and GYRO readings on the GUI. They are probably fluctuating - especially the ACC .
- Also note the pitch / roll indicator / arrow positions on the RHS.
- Tilt the yaw stick left, tilt the pitch stick down while having the throttle stick in minimal position and keep it there.
- Watch the Gyro readings on the GUI graph. At some point you should see them stop for a short period and restart quickly.
- Your Gyros and accelerometers *should* now be calibrated for level. Pitch / roll indicator / arrow positions on the RHS should be perfectly level.
- ACC_ROLL/PITCH should average 0. ACC_Z should average 200 on the GUI
- The three GYRO readings should be about 0

************************************************** ****************

Balancing the props for a TriWiiCopter


1 Balance props ( the quick and easy way to achieve dynamic balance....)
- DON'T MISS THIS STEP OUT- it makes a big difference to stability of a TriCopter. Especially for videos/ photos.
- Disconnect two of the ESC controller leads, leaving one still connected.
- Hold the boom carefully and power up the motor. Note how much vibration there is.
- Add a small piece of electricians tape near outer edge of the prop. Try adding a piece say 0.5*0.25"
- Spin up the prop and see if vibrations are better or worse. Try on the opposite arm of the prop if worse.
- Once you know which side needed extra weight, keep adding tape this until the vibrations are as low as can be. Typically 1 - 5 pieces needed on one side.
- After a few attempts, this is actually a very quick process and takes only a couple of minutes per prop max.
- Repeat for each prop.

************************************************** ****************

Trimming a TriWiiCopter - basic controls


1 Pitch and Roll sensitivity
- Setup endpoints, rates and exponential on the TX to your liking for the pitch and roll channels
- NOTE ! Be aware that if you reduce endpoints or use rates, you may not be able to activate throttle on/off - or calibrate for level
- Recommend using +/-125% endpoints on tx and adjusting the RC rate value instead.This is preferred method.

2 Yaw centre point
- Turn off stabilisation if NC is present
- Apply left yaw with throttle off and pitch in down position.
- Allow yaw servo to centre fully without any gyro input.
- Disconnect the yaw servo.
- Spin motors up and apply power until just about to take off. Note direction in which Tri wants to spin.
- Adjust yaw mount mechanically until the spin is very slow or holds steady.
- You may have to reconnect Yaw servo and repeat several times.
- The aim is to get the yaw servo centred as best as is practical to minimise the gyro effort required to maintain heading.

3 Yaw Sensitivity
- Setup endpoints, rates and exponential on the TX to your liking for the Yaw sensitivity you want.
- NOTE ! Be aware that if you reduce endpoints or use rates, you may not be able to activate throttle on/off - or calibrate for level
- Recommend using +/-125% endpoints on tx and adjusting the servo travel manually and/or using expo.


************************************************** ****************
Advanced Settings / fine tuning once you can fly:


Throttle curve mix
Remember from above that this is used to control the speed of the props and the intention here is:
- enable hover point of tri to be approximately the center point of the throttle stick.
- enable widest possible stick movement to control the ascent / descent of the tri (at least half of the stick movement). Makes the Tri easier to control
- enable the gyros to have enough additional power for corrections - even if the pilot is applying full throttle available to him

This is how to set it up.... (this is for the more common 5 point curve):
- first point - leave at zero.
- third (mid) point - set the value to that which it takes to hover the Tri
- last point - leave at 100% (TBC)
- 2nd and 4th points should now be about 10% under and over the third point.


************************************************** ****************
Trimming a TriWiiCopter - PID / GUI configuration for flight characteristics:


Note - this is for v1.5 of the software. Earlier versions may have different options

RC Rate
The design of the MulitWiiCopter requires the tx rates for the 2 main control channels to be at a high setting.
This means that if you need to reduce control throws it is not possible easily on some tx.
To address this, use RC rate to apply a global rate reduction to the Pitch / Roll controls. It works very well
e.g. Starting point - Beginner/FPV =0.30-0.50, Advanced 1.00

RC expo
This is a global expo setting for Pitch / Roll.
Can use this if your tx does not support expo
1.00 is no expo,
e.g. Starting point - 0.70 (less sensitive around centre)

Pitch/Roll Rate
This setting affects the amount of PID stabilisation as you move sticks away from centre points.
Needed for aerobatic fliers who need more manoeuvrability. Helps prevent oscillations / overcorrections in extreme manoeuvrers
e.g. Starting point - 0 for gentle fliers / FPV. Around 0.5 for aerobatic fliers

Yaw Rate
This setting affects the amount of PID stabilisation as you move sticks away from centre points.
Needed for aerobatic fliers who need more manoeuvrability. Helps prevent oscillations / overcorrections in extreme manoeuvrers
e.g. Starting point - 0 for gentle fliers / FPV. Around 0.5 for aerobatic fliers

Throttle Rate PID
This setting affects the amount of PID stabilisation as you increase throttle over 50%
Less stabilisation is needed at higher throttle rates. Helps prevent oscillations / overcorrections in high throttle situations
e.g. Starting point - 0

---------------------------------------------

Pitch/Roll/Yaw PID (Prime impact items for stability)

Most concise description of PID I have seen from Spagoziak. An excellent starting point before you read up PID fully...

P: Stubbornness to say in place
I: Heading hold, or lenience regarding gradual shifts
D: Speed, aggression to make corrections.

By default, at the first configuration, the tricopter is initialized with the following values:
P: 4
I: 0.035
D: -15

Firstly, every Tri is different, but for same weight / motors / props, an known good config may well get you in the ball park.
Your style of flying will influence your PID settings. e.g FPV/AP need stability, but no oscillations. Others will accept small oscillations for more stability, faster response.
You are unlikely to get it perfect - it is a balance of settings.
Your Tri MUST be be balanced and as vibration free as possible before tuning.

Setting start point Pitch/Roll PID:
P at the default setting (4)
I at zero
D at zero


Set PID to the designers default recommended settings
Hold the MulitiRotor securely and safely in the air
Increase throttle to the hover point where it starts to feel light
Try to lean the MultiRotor down onto each motor axis
You should feel a reaction against your pressure for each axis.
Change P until it is difficult to move against the reaction. Without stabilisation you will feel it allow you to move over a period of time. That is OK
Now try rocking the MultiRotor. Increase P until it starts to oscillate and then reduce a touch.
Rrepeat for Yaw Axis.

Your settings should now be suitable for flight tuning.


Hold the carefully and and increase throttle util the Tri becomes light - near hover point.
Try to lean the Tri down onto each motor axis
You should feel a stiff reaction against your pressure for each axis. If not you have a config issue.

Understand the feel of the Tri by rocking in pitch / roll axis a few times
Increase / decrease P until it you just start to get oscillations as you rock it.
Reduce P slightly until oscillations stop

Setting Yaw PID:
Much easier and simpler. Also generally less critical to flight performance.
Start with Yaw centred correctly as mentioned elsewhere
Follow the same process as for Pitch/Roll, but in the Yaw axis

High Throttle PID
Now get a feel for responsiveness in fast forward flight and power climbs
Gradually increase Throttle PID until you find a value which gives you the best level of control vs oscillations.

If you predominantly use Stabilisation, you may also get a more preferable result by reducing PID values slightly

You should now be able to fly your Tri and carry out advanced final PID tweaking

Please go here for the PID tuning theory and configuration guide for MultiRotorCraft
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1375728

************************************************** ****************
Example PID configurations[/B]

Stick with defaults to start with or check Spagoziaks database. I have add link...


************************************************** ****************

Using the GUI - what you should expect to see....
(note test with motor/ESC disconnected!!)

---------------------------------------------
Connecting up:

Select the right com port.
If not sure which one, disconnect your USB interface, wait 10 secs and start the GUI. Note the ports available.
Plug in the USB interface, wait until it's registered and active (usually an indication bubble in windows).
Load the Gui again and note any new com ports that have appeared.
If more than one, try them one at a time.
---------------------------------------------
TX controls window (upper RHS on the GUI):

These should move in sync with the tx controls with very little lag.

To enable motor off/on control:
The throttle value must go below 1100 on minimum throttle
The yaw value must go below 1100 on full left stick
The yaw value must go above 1900 on full right stick

To enable gyro / accelerometer calibration:
The pitch value must go below 1100 on full back stick

To enable configuration by LCD:
The pitch value must go above 1900 on full back stick
---------------------------------------------
Motor / ESC controls window (Upper mid right):

With throttle off, full left yaw, you should seen no activity on any of the motor value bars
With throttle off and full right yaw, you should see all bars showing a value approx equal to the value you set for #define MINTHROTTLE
As you increase throttle, all values should rise.
As you move pitch/roll you should see value change in line with what you would expect from the motors
If you tilt and hold the tri, you should see the icons reflect it's rest position
--------------------------------------------
User parameters window (Upper left) :

All these are parameters that are stored in the Arduino and can be used to change flying characteristics
The correct com port must be selected and start button pressed to initiate connection
To view settings in the Arduino click read
To change setting on the display, click the box to change and drag mouse left/right to change
To save updated settings, click write
--------------------------------------------
Roll / Pitch orientation (Lower Right)

In no Nunchuck fitted, pitch and roll icons should be horizontal.
If a Nunchuck is fitted and the Tri is horizontal then the pitch and roll icons should be horizontal when the Tri is. If not, follow the calibration instructions.
(zero throttle, full back pitch, full right yaw and hold until you see the graphs stop for a short period and restart - or you see the Green LED flash)
--------------------------------------------
Gyro /Accelerometer data window (Lower left) :

The correct com port must be selected and start button pressed to initiate connection.
The values should be varying at least once a second.
Cycle times should be around 3000 for a WMP only and 6000 for a WMP/NC setup.
Accelerometer values displayed should average Roll:0, Pitch:0, Z:200
Gyro values displayed should average Roll:0, Pitch:0, Yaw:0
Baro value displayed should average 0
If not, carry out the calibration routines for Gyro and Accelerometer.
The Scale value allows you to visually see fluctuations better on the screen when there is minimal noise / vibration showing.

Static values:
With the Scale set to 1.00, all motors off, the Tri horizontal and picking up no movements / vibrations...
The graph should look very flat for all lines.
Variations in gyro values should read only +/- xx (suggest 2) for a good WMP.
Variations in accelerometer values should read +/- xx (suggest 3) for a good NunChuck.

Dynamic values:
With the Scale set to 1.00, motors at near takeoff / hover point... (hold it down well!)
The graph should look noisy.
Variations in gyro values should read a minimum of +/- yy (suggestions) for a good WMP / stable tri setup
Variations in accelerometer values should read +/- xx (suggestions needed) for a good NunChuck / stable tri setup

Misc:
If you pick up the Tri and move it around in all angles, you should see each line of the accelerometer and Nunchuck move.
There should not be any horizontal lines on the graph when you move the Tri

If moving in ALL angles/directions, you should roughly see the same sorts of variations for values of the same type - i.e all gyro values should show similar looking "waveforms" on the GUI. If one is showing near flat or crazy values compared to the others then there likely is a problem.

Gyros should return back to very near zero value after xx time
Accelerometer values should return to what they were when placed level again.

Note: Gyro values are known to creep. A small amount is acceptable. Letting the Tri acclimatise for a while (and under power) will minimise the impact of this.

************************************************** ***************
Calibrating the ESC's (for HK SS models)

It's really usefull to have Tr ESC's powered via a method that allows them to be powered up independently. Many use a deans connector with a loop that can be unpiugged.
For some ESC, may have to set TX to full throttle before powering up the ESC to make sure they all have their endpoints set the same (CAUTION - justy in case, hold down Tri when doing this!). On some this only needs to be done once.
Set throttle trims to center
Power up the Tri.
Enable the throttle on the Tri (no throttle, yaw right)
Put throttle to full
Power up the ESC.
Immediately after all the ESC's beep, turn the throttle down to zero. You should hear more beeps. Its done!

Tip for MultiWii users ! Remember, when you turn throttle down to zero, you must put it straight to motor off (no throttle, yaw left) or you may lose the functionality of the motors turning at low rpm when the stick is at minimum point.

************************************************** ****************
Using LCD Configuration:


Note - this is for v1.5 of the software. Other versions may have different options

Wit this, you can change PID for pitch/roll, but the same PID settings on the display will be used for both. Only GUI can set them separately.
You can also change P for Yaw

Connect up to the same pins that you program to the arduino with
Rx1 on the Arduino connects to rx on the LCD. Will also need gnd and +5v

With the motors disabled, start the LCD configuration mode
Tilt the yaw stick right + tilt the pitch stick up.
This initializes the LCD if present, the LED flashes and the parameter P is then ready to be configured.

Parameter selection
In setup mode, tilt the pitch stick down.
The selected parameter then changed sequentially and the number of blinking LED indicates which parameter is pointed.
1 blink = parameter P
2 blinks = parameter I
3 blinks = parameter D
The choice of parameter is indicated on the LCD by a highlighted character.

Change the value of one parameter:
In setup mode, tilt the roll stick right (increment) or left (decrement).
For the P parameter: the variation is in steps of 0.1, with a minimum value set to 0.
For the I parameter: the variation is in steps of 0.005, with a minimum value set to 0.
For the D parameter: the variation is in steps of 1, with a maximum value set to 0.
At each change the LED blinks

End of configuration mode
Tilt the yaw stick left + tilt the pitch stick up.
The LED blinks again and tricopter returns in a state ready to fly

************************************************** ****************

Other tips:


Vibration is your single biggest enemy to controllability and performance - kill it!
- Ensure WMP/NC is well isolated. Use foam/geltape/do what it takes
- Ensure motor/props are balanced
Make sure the Tri is physically balanced around centre point every flight.
Mount the Gyros on acrylic foam tape (gel tape)
When setting up the YAW, adjust it mechanically for a stable directional hover. Make sure all digital trims are centered. Shouldn't need to adjust trims if Yaw trim and COG is set right.
For some motors, constant flexing of the yaw pivot breaks the wire. Cable tie it so the flexing is on a flexible part!!
For those that use Towerpro type bell motors retained by grub srews, use a dab of cyano or threadlock on them to stop vibrating loose.
For those that use Towerpro type bell motors, cut excess spindle off - reduces likelyhood of bending in a crash.
For those that use Towerpro type bell motors, make sure that if needed a blind hole is partly drilleed into into the mounting to ensure the motor shaft does not bind on the mounting. This will kill a motor quickly and cause a tri to keep dropping an arm.
If using a seperate BEC (required for some controllers), ensure the power lead from all three ESC's are disconnected (cut - or centre pin pulled and insulated).
If using ESC BEC, only one should be connected to provide power. Ensure the power lead from all except one ESC's are disconnected (cut - or centre pin pulled and insulated).

Put a dab of very light oil on the bearings every few flights using a precision oiler

************************************************** ****************
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Last edited by Shikra; Jan 21, 2011 at 07:08 AM. Reason: Added more info!
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Interesting, Thanks
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 12:29 PM
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wow wish i had this over the weekend!!! good job.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 02:35 PM
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Good work!
Will link it from my blog for Tri fans.

Thx,

Norbert
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 07:48 PM
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Great! Thanks a lot for all this info.
It will help me a lot when I start to build my Wii quad in the next few days.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 09:56 PM
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Great guide!!

You may wish to approach prop balancing this way, instead. It's more accurate, but it does require removal of the props.

How to balance a plastic Prop (3 min 44 sec)
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 03:49 AM
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Hi Spagoziak. Nice pussy!!
I really liked your simple PID explanation. The way you put such a complex situation such as simple and relatively accurate way. Brilliant
I'll add that in to the notes above. Hope you don't mind!?.


For sure - proper balancing of the prop (and motors) is what we should do!! Especially on Multirotors with gyros / accelerometers.
It should be a mandatory item on any multirotor.

So I had my props perfectly balanced using a proper magnetic balancer . And then someone showed me the above method on my already balanced props. I could feel the difference in less than a minute....
After 15 years of balancing props on electrics I changed my view. Balancing on the plane is so much quicker and easier than I thought. (also handy at the field if you have to replace a prop or bend your motor shaft a little - happens to us all!)

Also very overlooked are the balance of motors - especially outrunners. And if you use bell types they are simply awfull. You can see in some of the videos where the whole plane moves up/down at lower revs. Drives me nuts to see that for the sake of 60 secs and a piece of tape.
I use the cable tie method around the motor to find the point with least vibration then mark it up. Either try to balance statically, or line up the prop with it and use the dynamic balancing method. Never tried the taking it apart method. that's a bit hardcore and time consuming for me

So yes I still balance them statically, but follow it up with a dynamic check too.
It's not the perfect method, but simple and quick - good enough for most fliers.
Try it - you might be surprised! I was.


Should add that where you really want this spot on is flying FPV or using a gopro recorder or similar.
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 03:49 AM
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And thanks to the others for kind comments. !
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 05:57 AM
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More added today.

BUT - A big bit is missing - How to Trim the PID settings

Here's why...
Although why Tri is pretty stable I know it can be better - particularly in the forward flight where mine is not so good.
I haven't really had time to set it up properly. Just made a few quick changes to get it in the ballpark.

I think it would be good to create a formula/method. i.e. step by step procedure that anyone can follow

I really want to fully spend some time configuring the PID on the Tri before documenting as it's all very well writing it in theory, but so often when you do these things in reality, some bits stand out more than others.

If anyone has done this already - let me know - I have no issues with plagiarism !!!
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 09:50 AM
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some really great notes here. do you think a quad or a tri is better for fpv / av?

im going to try to balance the motors / props as noted above. getting very bad oscillations on my onboard HD camera. My little fpv camera seems to handle the vibs a lot better.
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 04:56 PM
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RC expo
This is a global expo setting for Pitch / Roll / Yaw.
Can use this if your tx does not support expo
1.00 is no expo,
e.g. Starting point - 0.70 (less sensitive around centre)

Are you sure that it is correct ?
0.00 should be no expo and 0.30 seens a good starting point
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cid156 View Post
RC expo
This is a global expo setting for Pitch / Roll / Yaw.
Can use this if your tx does not support expo
1.00 is no expo,
e.g. Starting point - 0.70 (less sensitive around centre)

Are you sure that it is correct ?
0.00 should be no expo and 0.30 seens a good starting point
I really need some clarity on this Expo, my transmitter do not have expo and I have the PID working pretty good now but when I give the copter any stick, it over react. I have my endpoints set to 50% in the transmitter but that is not enough. Please share. Thank you.
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 07:00 PM
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my t6a radio has no expo and im using all default config and mine is pretty tame. maybe reset the config back to defaults?
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captaingeek View Post
my t6a radio has no expo and im using all default config and mine is pretty tame. maybe reset the config back to defaults?
I think if you see this video, you will understand what I mean.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=214
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 03:37 AM
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I believe that is correct. I will have to double check that one though because I did end up turning it off totally. Preferred a linear feel with no expo and educed the rates even further.

I recall Alex changed the way some settings worked. This might be one of them - this is for 1.5 code. I'll put a comment in about that up front. just in case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cid156 View Post
RC expo
This is a global expo setting for Pitch / Roll / Yaw.
Can use this if your tx does not support expo
1.00 is no expo,
e.g. Starting point - 0.70 (less sensitive around centre)

Are you sure that it is correct ?
0.00 should be no expo and 0.30 seens a good starting point
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