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Old Jul 21, 2011, 06:29 PM
David1
bmw330i's Avatar
USA
Joined Mar 2007
1,478 Posts
+Paparazzi
Pro:
Proven, wins or places top 3 in any contest it's entered in, first open source (read you get to open and read the code to learn more if you wish). Open Design (read you can have them made yourself or modify the design to suit your needs). Constant improvements, multi-uav capability, checksums used to protect groundstation to UAV communications, supports multi ground stations, list goes on. Autopilot + IMU < 300.00.

Cons:
Not as widely used so you'll get more advice from the "experts", who have never used one, on forums telling you what it does or doesn't do. Not much to not like when you read the manual and fly with it. Runs on Mac OS X, Linux and soon Windows (almost there).

Suggest: Weigh the source of the advice against the advice. If someone hardly or never used one consider that with the advice. Opposite is true, If they have one (autopilot) and used it extensively that's good advice to listen to.
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Old Jul 21, 2011, 07:57 PM
Registered User
Vermont
Joined Dec 2003
954 Posts
Well diydrones.com charges 250 bucks for their "kit", it includes a usb to mini cable for 10 dollars, then in their search window when you type "usb cable" on comes up at 5 dollars, starting to have second thoughts about ordering from diydrones.com
I will be soldering her up in the next few days and programming her, give some feedback in a bit. Seems like some nice boards well done except for getting over charged, kinda manipulative if you ask me.
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Old Jul 21, 2011, 08:24 PM
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United States, AK, Wasilla
Joined Nov 2001
661 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw330i View Post
+Paparazzi
Pro:
Proven, wins or places top 3 in any contest it's entered in, first open source (read you get to open and read the code to learn more if you wish). Open Design (read you can have them made yourself or modify the design to suit your needs). Constant improvements, multi-uav capability, checksums used to protect groundstation to UAV communications, supports multi ground stations, list goes on. Autopilot + IMU < 300.00.

Cons:
Not as widely used so you'll get more advice from the "experts", who have never used one, on forums telling you what it does or doesn't do. Not much to not like when you read the manual and fly with it. Runs on Mac OS X, Linux and soon Windows (almost there).

Suggest: Weigh the source of the advice against the advice. If someone hardly or never used one consider that with the advice. Opposite is true, If they have one (autopilot) and used it extensively that's good advice to listen to.
Do you sell them RTF?
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Old Jul 23, 2011, 08:52 PM
David1
bmw330i's Avatar
USA
Joined Mar 2007
1,478 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbyboy View Post
Do you sell them RTF?
Could, I'm building some wings that will be RTF. It's slow process. I'll take photos and post on here.

-David
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Old Jul 25, 2011, 07:39 PM
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Brunswick, OH
Joined Nov 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw330i View Post
Suggest: Weigh the source of the advice against the advice. If someone hardly or never used one consider that with the advice. Opposite is true, If they have one (autopilot) and used it extensively that's good advice to listen to.
I'm not sure if that was driected at me or not. It's true. I do not own a Paparazzi. I have no plans on purchasing one either. I do not own a Mac or a computer that runs Unix...so take my advice for what it's worth....and that worth is for you (the reader) to determine....but I don't really see how someone who has only used one auto-pilot is well suited to tell you how good one system is vs another....which I think was the question posed in the OP.
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Old Aug 22, 2011, 12:45 PM
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United States, OK, Broken Arrow
Joined Jan 2006
338 Posts
Here is a flight done with the robota uav yesterday. Also included a screen shot of the interface. Enjoy

Robota Autopilot System (2 min 42 sec)
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 09:27 AM
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United States, OH, Archbold
Joined Nov 2008
32 Posts
I would recommend Ardupilot Mega Autopilot, as you can fly fixed wing, and helicopters with it, there are others that have same features, but I like ardupilot because it has plenty of developers and constantly getting better.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 11:50 AM
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Having spent months working on a commercial plane application (with a budget) and investing in several Micropilots, I would say that most of the opensource solutions are better.

We had 1 fly away loosing a $50,000 plane and equipment ($20K just in a Micropilot investment). It was clear that when we did our analysis of the failure, that Micropilot has loaded the wrong code in the wrong device. Then, they failed to even take any responsibility. It seems that don't have the resources to do much quality control.

We are now going to actually test some of the 'hobby grade' devices and see if the reliability and predictability is better.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:32 PM
David1
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USA
Joined Mar 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by va3mw View Post
Having spent months working on a commercial plane application (with a budget) and investing in several Micropilots, I would say that most of the opensource solutions are better.

We had 1 fly away loosing a $50,000 plane and equipment ($20K just in a Micropilot investment). It was clear that when we did our analysis of the failure, that Micropilot has loaded the wrong code in the wrong device. Then, they failed to even take any responsibility. It seems that don't have the resources to do much quality control.

We are now going to actually test some of the 'hobby grade' devices and see if the reliability and predictability is better.
Do your research there. Lots of Ardupilot flyaways there. Search the forums on DIY and here's a video of some guys who followed every instruction to the letter but still have issues:
Episode 78 - We Lost the Shrike Again! (14 min 8 sec)


That said however, there are people who do get Ardupilot to work. Those few are very seasoned UAV developers and have fed the code back into the project. So I do expect someday Ardupilot will get there. I have no doubt. Maybe you want to be one of the developers?

Paparazzi just works. Has been flying since 2002. When new hardware is released it does not obsolete what you already have. People are flying with boards that are years old and many versions old just fine (I am one of them). Paparazzi has a very robust failsafe. I would really like to hear of someone who's every had a flyaway with it. I haven't.

You set a radius and if the aircraft goes outside of it the thing will either return to home. It's user configurable to be whatever you want really. When you lose RC signal (cause of most flyoffs) Paparazzi just goes into AUTO2 mode so initially until you are really comfortable just set the radius small and set it to fly home. It really can't fly outside the radius you set without switching to return to home or whatever you want it to do.

I've recently met with a scientist who's flown many UAVs. He was telling me as I was showing him the different features in Paparazzi how the other expensive closed source autopilots don't do that. Also how often they crash. He's moving to Paparazzi now with some very exciting new research.

Paparazzi flies research all around the world. Ignore those complaining here that it doesn't run on Windows. It is true, Paparazzi is not after market share. ENAC the French University that started it all isn't even allowed to make money from it. They are focused on results, features and making it the best thing for research not how many they could sell if it ran on Windows.

As someone considering it do you care how much market share something has? I've been blasted on other forums for saying about 1-2pct of another open source autopilots sold actually fly autonomous missions. They sell thousands and a handful of people fly. That's ok with them. Market share and marketing is everything. So just a caution about what's out there. It's really more about what you want to do and can the one you want do it.

Go to the Paparazzi WIki and have a look: http://paparazzi.enac.fr/wiki if it seems overwhelming that's ok. Everyone on that email list who's active is a researcher, student or someone who flies with it who's glad to help you. Answers and emails are minutes away 7/24 because it's a Worldwide project. I alway say anyone who doesn't fly with Paparazzi just stops trying and isn't asking for help. Keep trying and ask for help and you will get flying. Everyone will see to that.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 04:24 PM
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United States, FL, Melbourne
Joined Mar 2012
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About Ardupilot.... I plugged it in, leveled it, walked outside and flew it.
That's how hard it is to " get it working".
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 07:16 PM
A man with too many toys
United States
Joined Feb 2001
18,060 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by IKE1 View Post
Hi people,

my new UAV arrived today so I will be putting her together in the comming week, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on top autopilots for her.

the key things for me are:

waypoints, even if out of radio range
auto landing when power critical

*maybe camera controls to*

I would just like to set her up on the ground, programme the waypoints in and let her go then have her finish her flight, land and for me to put the images/video taken from the mounted camra onto my laptop for flight logs.

if anyone can think of a camera system that would allow me to have real time video from the drone while she flies, even out or radio range this would be great.

thanks in advance
IKE
The new APM2.5 would give you all the features at a reasonable price. They have really made big improvements this summer. I have two APM2 and am thinking of getting the APM2.5 soon.

.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Asker, Oslo, Norway
Joined Feb 2009
423 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbillp View Post
About Ardupilot.... I plugged it in, leveled it, walked outside and flew it.
That's how hard it is to " get it working".
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC Man View Post
The new APM2.5 would give you all the features at a reasonable price. They have really made big improvements this summer.
.
I can pretty much agree to this. I do have all the versions of ardupilot, first to last. In my opinion it is fairly easy to install and configure. What I do however not like is, the code never seems to be stable or reliable. Strange things happens all the time, and code fixes more often then not seems to introduce new bugs.

So, for my part, I have (at least for the time being) left the ardupilot to dust in the shelf. Then turned to;
- gluonpilot, for its simplicity, better reliability, and even simpler integration into airframes. And to;
- paparazzi, for its far better maturity, stability and integration with external equipment. (But, also more complex).

To me, they appears to be better choices, for my needs.

PS. Would be nice to have views from others who have experience from more then one ap as well.
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 01:32 PM
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United States, CA, San Diego
Joined Jan 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbillp View Post
About Ardupilot.... I plugged it in, leveled it, walked outside and flew it.
That's how hard it is to " get it working".
+2 to this. I plugged it in to my Skywalker, downloaded the parameter file... Took it to the field and tossed it in the air. I was so happy with the first one that I bought a second one. I placed it on a home built quad copter and started working with it. About 48 hours later I have a quad copter I can fly and I don't even know how to fly helicopters!
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 10:57 PM
David1
bmw330i's Avatar
USA
Joined Mar 2007
1,478 Posts
Well, as I said a few people seem to magically just open a box and fly. This guy sure could use your help as this is what I'm speaking to: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...91&postcount=1
Ardupilot seems to be magic or mystery. That's really odd. The people who struggle detail very clearly their issues in their pleas for help. Those that have the magic experience can explain in 1 or 2 sentences their whole build and flying process as it by magic it just worked. I really don't believe in magic. Flying a UAV in an autonomous controlled safe way is not magic. It's not that easy. No one should make it out to be as it just misleads everyone.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 10:37 AM
Project Tormentor is flying!
United States, WA, White Salmon
Joined Nov 2005
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I suspect that those that quickly got the Ardupilot working were VERY closely following a proven, existing setup. So all the bugs were worked out by others already, setup and so on was already done, and so on.

ALSO, I believe those that did such were also experienced RC fliers, who knew how to correctly trim and CG their planes BEFORE trying autonomous flight. Which seems like its obvious but I know there are those who have bought various OSDs with RTH feature (essentially a very simple autopilot, in one sense) and tried to set up the RTH feature...without truly first getting their plane trimmed and balanced right!

As you can imagine, this resulted in crashes, flyaways and other heartache. Can this be blamed on the OSD? NO! It doesn't matter which autopilot or OSD you're trying to fly, if you are going down your own created path (unusual airframe or power system and so on) and you don't take the time to get it flying correctly WITHOUT an OSD or autopilot, you WILL have heartache and disaster. Its that simple.
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