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Old Jul 24, 2011, 08:22 PM
David1
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Paparazzi build thread - Foam wing UAV

Starting a new build and thought I would share for anyone else building or considering building a Paparazzi based UAV. Basically I am going to show the reader what it take to go from parts to flying with Paparazzi.

End result goals for this wing will be an inexpensive fully autonomous from take off to landing Micro UAV. This is just for fun and since there's a general perception Paparazzi is hard to use I will leave it to the reader to decide. What's hard about Paparazzi is hard with any autopilot. Things may not work and you wonder if it's the hardware, software, wiring or ? ... that's what's hard and it's not unique to Paparazzi.

Parts used:
- Small foam wing (Swift II, two micro servos, motor + ESC)
- Xtremelink Micro Receiver
- XBee Pro 900mHz XSC RF modems
- Paparazzi Tiny Autopilot with GPS (Using Tiny13 v1.1)
- PPZUAV digital IMU

I chose the Tiny13 because it's the smallest of the ones with GPS built onboard. I want this wing to be small and light. I want to underpower it. Sacrifice takeoff and climb for long loiter time. Adding an external GPS adds weight and complexity. However if you use a TWOG/YAPA2 or Lisa/M you'll need to add a GPS (TIP: use a u-blox lea-5h or 6h based one).

The wiring is pretty basic. This is going to be a lot easier if you have a molex crimper or buy pre-crimped wires. JobyRobotics.com has them. I like to crimp my own as I can make the wires exactly the length I need.

Thinks that need power are the XBee (3.3v), the IMU (5v), the PPM Encoder and Receiver (5v). The GPS is built in so there's nothing to worry about there. Just make sure the autopilot is mounted with the GPS antenna facing up.

Plan ahead. Bench connect everything first.
WARNING ESC:
- Make sure you only connect the PPM from the ESC to the autopilot.
- If you connect the 5v wire from ESC to autopilot you will burn out the autopilot power supply.

SERVOS: Two micro servos are no problem for the autopilot to power. I will connect all 3 wires to the servos from the autopilot. I'm using Hitec HS55 micro servos.

XBEE: Connect 4 wires
3.3v to pin1
Rx to pin02 (meaning it's the XBee Tx so it goes to the Rx on the autopilot)
Tx to pin03 (It's XBee Rx so it goes on the Tx on the autopilot)
Gnd to pin10
* The serial connector on the autopilot has all 4 wires I need so I'll

GROUND STATION:
I will be using Mac OS X (Snow Leopard) on my MacBook Air. The battery life is amazing and it has 1440x900 pixels display and SSD HD. I'm using the Paparazzi integrated Ground control software that is included. Yes, I've seen everything out there and so far nothing beats the Paparazzi one. Since you can't fly based on the displayed information (too much lag) so why would I want all that useless bling (little image of my plane, big airplane looking instruments etc)? Here's more details on the paparazzi GCS: http://paparazzi.enac.fr/wiki/GCS It's a UAV ground control not a flight simulator. I want to display multiple aircrafts vital information. This will will be joined by 3 more wings in future builds.

THE BUILD:
Here's the first photos of day 1 of the build. I used a foam cutting wand to cut nice clean grooves to run the cables. I've also installed some small Red/Green/White LED on the wings and back. This is just for fun but if I do extend a flight past dusk I'll be able to easily see and tell what direction it's flying visually. You can see the cables routed nicely from the center out to the wings and to the tail.

That's about it for Day 1. It's Sunday so I'll have just nights to complete it. I'm going to try and have it ready to fly by next weekend. Also my next wing will be either a TWOG or Lisa/M. Still deciding. The Lisa/M is tiny but requires and external GPS like the TWOG. The IMU is attached but the PPZIMU is tiny and I can mount it wherever I like. So still deciding.

... Update....I couldn't resist. I got everything wired up and created an airframe file. Paparazzi compiles a new binary to upload over USB to the autopilot based on your specific configuration. The configuration is setup with 5 XML files. First is Airframe, second flight plan, third the settings, fourth Radio and last the Telemetry. When each is edited for your specifics you click "Clean" then Build, then if no errors you plug in the USB cable, power the autopilot and then click Upload.

Everything was just fine and I set the wing out in front with an open view of the sky to get a 3D fix. I launched the GCS and everything looks good. All I need to do is add the ESC motor and prop ... One day build from parts to UAV (almost).
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Last edited by bmw330i; Jul 25, 2011 at 09:10 AM. Reason: Worked some more on it today.
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Old Jul 24, 2011, 08:22 PM
David1
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USA
Joined Mar 2007
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Day 2

Day 2 updated:

I'm at 212g currently. All that is left is:
- Motor + Prop
- ESC
- Pushrod + clevis + control horn on each elevon + servo arm

Any suggestions for motor + prop for this? Primary concern is efficient and long duration. I did not and don't plan to re-enforce this wing as it's plenty rigid as is for what I want to do. If needed I may cut a slot and add a CF or spruce spar but only as a last resort.

I hope to get the control linkages setup tonight. The FAA type lighting system was impressive. Incredibly bright.

Ok, about done with Day 2. I've spent about 2 more hours. Tonight was:
- Motor (Rimfire 1380kv)
- Switch for power on/off
- ESC
- cleaning up some more wiring
- Control linkages

I see already my throws are reversed. I'll simply correct that in the airframe XML file (explain later)
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Old Jul 24, 2011, 08:23 PM
David1
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Day 3

Ok, where's to the RTF stage now as far as parts on the wing. The configuration files are setup. In MANUAL mode the surfaces react as they should using just RC. In AUTO1/AUTO2 they react as they should when the wing is moved in different orientations.

My only final things are:
- calibrate the IMU (documented on the Wiki)
- debug an issue with the I2C
- test fly in manual to set the mechanical trims for straight and level flight

I need a bit more weight in the nodes. I'm considering putting a velcro pad up front to hold one of those keychain cameras or just using a heavier battery. Maybe a 1350mAh or 1100mAh pack. The one in it now is 850mAh.
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Old Jul 24, 2011, 08:24 PM
David1
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Day 4

Success. We have a UAV. Today I flew the wing to verify the different modes. This flight is a mix of manual, quite a bit of AUTO1 (enhanced stabilization), and a little AUTO2 (Fully auto). The previous flight before this one I did more AUTO2. I didn't have long and the laptop battery was dying so I didn't have enough time to fully test out the flight plan before flying (using the simulator). So AUTO2 the motor was cutting off. It flew fine but the motor was off so it was gliding.

This wing just floats around. I'll add next a hook for bungee launching and to hold for hand launching. Not very easy to launch currently by hand.

Here's a video of the last flight
PPZUAV News July 30, 2011 (2 min 37 sec)


First 2 flights were to set the mechanical trims for flat and level at around 60% throttle. 3rd flight was to verify AUTO1/AUTO2 and make sure it behaved. 4th flight was purely a photo / movie flight and some stall and spin recovery testing. I'm impressed because all this was with an uncalibrated IMU.

I'm already starting on the 2nd of the 4 wings. This second one will have a Lisa/M autopilot from JobyRobotics.
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Old Jul 25, 2011, 05:35 AM
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Canada, NS, Halifax
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So am I understanding the pictures correctly? Is the autopilot mounted with the GPS antenna pointing to the ground? Or is it just shown this way while you lay out the connections?

And the Xbee is on the top with the antenna pointing up?

Jim H
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Old Jul 25, 2011, 09:04 AM
David1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by small_rcer View Post
So am I understanding the pictures correctly? Is the autopilot mounted with the GPS antenna pointing to the ground? Or is it just shown this way while you lay out the connections?

And the Xbee is on the top with the antenna pointing up?

Jim H
The White side is the bottom. Antenna is pointing up through about 5mm of foam.
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Old Jul 28, 2011, 05:41 PM
David1
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Quick Update

Well, I have made progress, just no time to document it yet. I did take another photos.

Everything is wired up and it's now just down to getting the configuration files right. IMU is working perfectly. I wired in an on/off switch so I don't have to unplug/plug the battery to turn everything off/on. You HAVE to do this with your builds. During this time in the build you're doing a lot of programming, making changes, reprogramming the autopilot.

Currently experiencing an issue with the GCS not loading up. Config issue. Sorting it out. I'll post all the exact details when I get a minute. Looking to fly either tomorrow (Friday) or early next week. Weekends are fun time with the family this weekend.

Cheeers,
-David
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Old Aug 07, 2011, 02:22 PM
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Hi David,

Did you figure out why the throttle was cutting out in auto2? We were having the same problem. I'm done school now and it hasn't flow since, so we haven't had a chance to figure out the problem yet.
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Old Aug 07, 2011, 04:52 PM
David1
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Originally Posted by aero_k View Post
Hi David,

Did you figure out why the throttle was cutting out in auto2? We were having the same problem. I'm done school now and it hasn't flow since, so we haven't had a chance to figure out the problem yet.
Hello, I did, sorry for not updating this. This is where having someone else to fly for you can make all the difference. A friend from work flies RC. He flew the wing for me and I watched the ground station. In the Settings tab in GCS I was looking at values. I saw the kill_throttle variable was still set to "1". So in AUTO2 it killed the throttle. I set it to 0 and it was fine. Somehow when I double clicked "takeoff" to send the takeoff command to the autopilot it was not received. That's where the value gets set to 0 from 1 (in standby it's set to 1, I think also in Geo Init block).

We had a great time. The autopilot was literally right on the circle when it was doing a circle (spiral up block of code). This without having to tune the IR gains to achieve this. Usually with IR you have to tune a few values before it follows the target paths/route. With the IMU it's right on from the start.

I have my FunJet ready now as well. I would have flown it yesterday but it was too nose heavy. I need to move somethings around or use a smaller Lipo.
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Old Aug 07, 2011, 06:37 PM
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Thanks David. I recently moved to a new city to start a job and don't have anywhere to fly nearby (no car either) so I'm grounded until I either buy a car or buy a house. I don't see either happening any time soon.

I'll probably start getting into quads or multi-rotors in the future. At least I'll be able to fly it in my backyard...
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Old Aug 07, 2011, 10:18 PM
David1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aero_k View Post
Thanks David. I recently moved to a new city to start a job and don't have anywhere to fly nearby (no car either) so I'm grounded until I either buy a car or buy a house. I don't see either happening any time soon.

I'll probably start getting into quads or multi-rotors in the future. At least I'll be able to fly it in my backyard...
That's a very sound idea. The Paparazzi quads fly well in/outdoors.
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Old Aug 08, 2011, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bmw330i View Post
That's a very sound idea. The Paparazzi quads fly well in/outdoors.
Hey did you purchase OP???
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Old Aug 08, 2011, 11:08 AM
David1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airmcn_3 View Post
Hey did you purchase OP???
OP? What's that?
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 01:18 PM
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OpenPilot?
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:59 PM
David1
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Maybe, not sure why I'd be asked if I'd bought it if he did mean OP = OpenPilot. I did support (i.e. pledged for one) the greatest thing I've seen a long time: Quadshot: http://www.suasnews.com/2011/08/6329...-and-airplane/
Talk about leaps ahead of everything else...
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