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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:26 AM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
Laposte EU/US/ASIA asks a signature but only for non EU countries. (This is changed since 3 days)
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:29 AM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
For EU countries,
1, Laposte EU/US/ASIA without signature
2, Colissimo, trackable but a little more expensive
3, Chronopost, trackable and ultra fast but very expensive
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 01:12 PM
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RTRyder's Avatar
Boston, MA
Joined Jul 2010
1,005 Posts
My board set finally found its way out of customs and to my front door.

Last night I setup a DJI F450 frame and installed the board on the lower deck with the GPS module at the center of the top plate. Hooked up the Multiwii 2.1 config program and verified everything looked good and that the TX switches I want to use for autolevel, altitude hold, and GPS functions are correctly assigned and functioning.

Today was time for a first test flight. Out to the backyard, connect battery, arm the motors, and liftoff. OK, two channels are backwards, when I yaw it goes opposite direction from where I want it to as does the aileron, not a problem land and reverse the channels in the TX, takeoff again and now the controls work correctly.

I left all the settings at default for the initial test flights and other than a very minor amount of oscillation when making quick moves it looks very steady, first time I've put a Multiwii borad on a frame and had it behave this well with default settings. The fact that I'm using a frame and motor set that flew well with a DJI Naza doesn't hurt, I know how it should/did fly before the Naza got moved to TBS Discovery frame.

Now that manual flight mode is looking good it's time to try some of the advanced functions. Click the switch to put it in autolevel and watch to see what happens. No drama at all it definitely firmed up the stability but didn't try to do anything nasty like a hard dash to the left rear like my Quadrino advanced board did when I first tried autolevel on that. It could probably be trimmed a tiny bit but overall it works much better than any other Multiwii autolevel I've used so far. Not quite up to the standard of the DJI Naza that it replaces but I wasn't expecting it to be, it works without the need to do anything beyond setup the switch and maybe trim it out a little to see if the current state can be improved on.

Time to take it a step further, climb to an altitude of about 4 meters to get out of any ground effect from the props and click the switch to position three to engage altiutude hold along with autolevel. I have to say I'm very impressed with this boards ability to hold an altitude, that's one area where the other Multiwii boards I've flown completely fell apart, they couldn't hold an altitude no matter what I did.

So now we have two functions that work without needing major tweaking, now for the big test, lets try the GPS and see if it can hold a position. I engaged GPS position hold and while it tried to stay within maybe a 10 meter area it didn't hold very well at all. By now the battery was getting low so I came back in and swapped the pack then hooked up the laptop and redid the ACC and MAG calibrations. Backout to the yard and off the ground again, turn on A/L, A/H, and the GPS. Holds better but still not even close to wanting to stay put, looks like it wants to toilet bowl in a fairly large circle which could be either the calibration still isn't quite right or it needs the magnetic declination set for my home location as either one or both of those things will cause the T/B effect with GPS position hold.

Just for a point of reference, I have a couple Mikrokopters, a Wookong-M, three DJI Naza, and a YS-X6 flight controller system all with GPS. The DJI can hold a position in the air like the multi is hanging from a rope, the YS and MK aren't far behind so I know how they can work and also how to make them work when they're being a bit cranky. All of the DJI units have the GPS/Compass module offset 15 degrees to the left to account for the declination here, prior to doing that they all did the T/B, now all of them are rock steady, so I suspect the issue with the Multiwii is something similar. The fact that it even tries to hold a position means that the code is working, there's just some parameter somewhere that needs to be tweaked to steady it out.

So far only two flights and both with default settings. Overall Impression is good, the board works extremely well in manual mode, the base advanced functions all work, and I suspect the GPS will work as well once I figure out what it needs to stabilize it. Now to start the tuning and tweaking process, I hope to eventually use this board on one of my FPV quads, replacing a DJI Naza. For that to happen the GPS has to work reliably enough to know that if it loses radio signal or I engage RTH it's going to work 100% and return to where it took off from. Once I get to that point I may well replace all of the Naza with one of these, if not then I've got a pretty good flight controller for a sport quad.

Ken
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 02:07 PM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTRyder View Post
Just for a point of reference, I have a couple Mikrokopters, a Wookong-M, three DJI Naza, and a YS-X6 flight controller system all with GPS. The DJI can hold a position in the air like the multi is hanging from a rope, the YS and MK aren't far behind so I know how they can work and also how to make them work when they're being a bit cranky. All of the DJI units have the GPS/Compass module offset 15 degrees to the left to account for the declination here, prior to doing that they all did the T/B, now all of them are rock steady, so I suspect the issue with the Multiwii is something similar. The fact that it even tries to hold a position means that the code is working, there's just some parameter somewhere that needs to be tweaked to steady it out.
Hi Ken,

Thank you for your post, it's very interesting for future users of MultiWii Mega.

But I don't share your point of view on GPS function. I'm sure DJI works better immediately out of box. MultiWii is an open-source software which you can personalize many things. So the PID settings are important at this point because it gives more possibility to user and of course it becomes a little complex. DJI's software is made for their components while MultiWii has to consider different sensors, different GPS module to make sure all of them work correctly.

We can give you some opinion to improve your quad stability, especially the GPS function if you could give us a video about your quad and a screen capture of your PID settings. Video perhaps is a little complex for you. So a photo of your quad mount (to show your frame, motors, etc.) and a screen capture of your PID settings will be ok for the first step.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 04:17 PM
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RTRyder's Avatar
Boston, MA
Joined Jul 2010
1,005 Posts
I think I found the problem, there is a place in the code to define magentic declination, I just have to put the correct value in then compile and uplaod the new sketch to the board, hopefully that will fix it but I don't know if I'll have enough time to do it before it gets dark here.

Ken
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:44 PM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
Keep us informed.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 09:28 PM
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Boston, MA
Joined Jul 2010
1,005 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.lille View Post
Keep us informed.
It's been a while since I used the Arduino tool and played around in the Multiwii code (v1.7 if I recall) so it took me a while to figure out all the bits of the raw Multiwii 2.1 code that needed to be set or changed for this board. On the first try I wound up with no GPS after I uploaded the new file, the code didn't have GPS back in V1.7 so I had to go in and figure out what was missing to get it to recognize the GPS board. In the GPS section of config.h you have to set the serial port for the GPS which I hadn't done, so making that change got everything functioning again.

Having no documentation on the GPS functions I was pretty much guessing on setup but owning, tuning, and flying other flight controllers with GPS gave me enough clues to figure it out. Once I set the declination to the required -14.54 along with the correct settings to the raw code and uploaded it to the board I was able to get it to hold position to within the area of my front yard and when it did drift off it leisurely circled back to where it should be. Not the most precise position hold yet but much, much, much better than the first flight or two where it wanted to head for Greenwich in the UK or wherever the GPS parameters defaulted to...

Since all of the testing I did after my last post was by street light in the front yard I didn't get an opportunity to do any real tuning so that comes next. I think if I get the PID settings right and figure out how to fine tune the GPS I can get it to hold much better. The fact that it works as good as it does now makes me think that it will get better and it's certainly as good or better than some other flight controller/gps combos currently for sale for a LOT more $. Since I've been spoiled by MK and DJI I want to get the Mega GPS to work as close to those as I can but I think even if I can only get it a little tighter than it is now I can live with that, the big test will be RTH, and for that I have to wait until I can get to the big flying field where there's plenty of flat open space to test in.

I should have some time to get a few more flights in tomorrow and make some PID changes.

Ken
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 02:53 PM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
Thanks for clients from all over the world. We got the new stock yesterday night and today they've leaved Lille.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 03:34 PM
Registered User
Hegra, Norway
Joined Feb 2007
140 Posts
And mine was one of those :-)
Now I really need to start building a copter for it..

Lars


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Thanks for clients from all over the world. We got the new stock yesterday night and today they've leaved Lille.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 07:39 PM
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Boston, MA
Joined Jul 2010
1,005 Posts
So I spent the better part of today working on the board setup and I have to say I'm a bit disappointed at this stage. Setting the magnetic declination stopped the quad from trying to fly away when engaging position hold but only to the point that it now wants to circle the hold point at roughly 5 to 10 meters out from where it should be sitting in the air. I've checked and rechecked settings, redone calibrations, reloaded the sketch and started over from scratch, plus waited to make sure the GPS had acquired at least 7 satellites before trying to use it, nothing has made it any better.

On top of that the altitude hold that appeared to work so well on the couple test hops I was able to do late yesterday has now gone sour as well. Turning on altitude hold results in an ever increasing rise/fall routine occasionally broken by a sudden burst of power straight up. Turning on position hold with altitude hold on causes it to either drop to the ground or climb with a rate that varies from moderate to near full throttle.

All this is occurring with the config at default settings so the only conclusion I can come to is either the Multiwii code V2.1 isn't all that much better than the V1.7 I last used or the GPS code needs a lot of work still and the problems are spilling over into other areas of the board. There's also a possibility that the board I have has a defective barometer, I've never seen a board do what this one does in altitude hold and that includes my Quadrino board with the BMP085 baro. There was a slight bit of breeze blowing off and on today but if that tiny amount of wind has that kind of effect on the altitude hold then this isn't the board for me, any of the others I have flying with altitude hold wouldn't even notice the wind today.

Not sure where it's going to go from here, possibly the board will wind up in the box with a few others that never quite lived up to expectations. I will say it flys really well in manual mode and pretty decent in autolevel but the main reason I was interested was for the GPS capability and if that isn't going to work right then it's essentially useless to me. It doesn't appear to be the GPS unit itself, I can easily get 5 sats with it sitting on my desk in the house hooked up to the computer, so the data is there, the board just doesn't quite know what to do with it I guess.

Ken

P.S. I've had the quad sitting here on the desk connected to WinGUI and watching the GPS map, strange things I'm seeing especially considering it hasn't moved an inch in a half hour. Looks like the Multiwii code, specifically the GPS section has some issues as I suspected. When I have time I'm going to load MegapirateNG for comparison, far more complex firmware and a lot more involved to setup so this is going on the shelf until I have more time to play around with it. The good news is the sensor data looks pretty solid so I doubt there's anything wrong with the hardware, mainly software issues making it act up. I knew it wasn't going to be as easy or simple as setting up a DJI system but I hoped it wouldn't be this complex to get it working reasonably well, now I remember why my Quadrino board isn't attached to a frame...
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 01:32 AM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
Hi RTRyder,

Did you put a foam or something to hide your baro behind? The wind can change the data reading. Keep the mag far from the power cables and power distribution board. Use your Altitude hold default settings to start and change one parameter per time.

For us, even with the default settings, it holds an altitude in 1 meter's range vertically.

Which ESC do you use? On which mode, that can change the performance.

And do you mind share a video or some photos with me. I'd really like to help you out for the GPS function as I did for other clients.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 05:22 PM
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Boston, MA
Joined Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John.lille View Post
Hi RTRyder,

Did you put a foam or something to hide your baro behind? The wind can change the data reading. Keep the mag far from the power cables and power distribution board. Use your Altitude hold default settings to start and change one parameter per time.

For us, even with the default settings, it holds an altitude in 1 meter's range vertically.

Which ESC do you use? On which mode, that can change the performance.

And do you mind share a video or some photos with me. I'd really like to help you out for the GPS function as I did for other clients.
I tried some foam over the baro when I got home from work, seemed to help quite a bit.

Keeping the mag away from the power distribution board is going to be a hard thing to do the board is mounted between the upper and lower centerplates on a DJI F450 frame, the entire lower plate being a power distribution board. I have the GPS connected via cable and it's up on top of the upper plate but that doesn't help the mag.

The frame I had planned to use it on also has power distribution built into the lower centerplate, that is really becoming a common practice now so if the mag has problems working right in it's current mounting position that will likely be a problem for a lot of other people as well. That said with it powered up and connected to the GUI on my laptop it points in the correct compass direction and it moves slowly and smoothly as I move the quad so it doesn't look like where the board is mounted is a problem for it unless a lot of noise is generated from the PDB once the motors start.

The ESCs are Hobbyking Blue Series/Maytech V1 30 amp (they are identical hardware and firmware) with a fairly standard multicopter setup, nicad battery, no govenor, high timing, etc., and set for a 16kHz update rate to the motors. Power is from a 3S 5000 Turnigy lipo mounted under the bottom frame plate.

I've flown this same frame, motors, and ESCs with Naza, Wookong-M, Hoverfly Sport, Naze32, and KK V2.0, it has worked pretty much the same with all of them, I use it as my testbed for new flight controllers and occasionally as an FPV quad when its flying well.

I'll get some video as soon as I have a chance, that may not be for a few days as there's a hurricane moving up the east coast of the USA and potentially headed for a direct hit where I live, I'll be busy preparing for extreme weather for the next day or two...

Ken
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:45 AM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
Have some good days at home.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTRyder View Post
I tried some foam over the baro when I got home from work, seemed to help quite a bit.

Keeping the mag away from the power distribution board is going to be a hard thing to do the board is mounted between the upper and lower centerplates on a DJI F450 frame, the entire lower plate being a power distribution board. I have the GPS connected via cable and it's up on top of the upper plate but that doesn't help the mag.

The frame I had planned to use it on also has power distribution built into the lower centerplate, that is really becoming a common practice now so if the mag has problems working right in it's current mounting position that will likely be a problem for a lot of other people as well. That said with it powered up and connected to the GUI on my laptop it points in the correct compass direction and it moves slowly and smoothly as I move the quad so it doesn't look like where the board is mounted is a problem for it unless a lot of noise is generated from the PDB once the motors start.

Ken
Hi, Ken
If you just arm the motor but the motor not spin, the curren may not influence the mag cause the current is low, but with the prop, push the throtlle, the motor will drop huge current from the battery, if the battery cable close to the mag, the current will cause the mag data drift. May be you can take a pic show your quad and the FC board.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 11:17 AM
Multicopters in Lille, France
France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lille
Joined Mar 2012
167 Posts
We didn't predict enough stock this time. All the stock has been expedited to clients. The next expedition will be on the Nov. 5 2012.

Thanks very much for MultiWii users. We hope helping everyone to realize his drone correctly. Please feel free to contact us for any technic question concerning your drone.

Write directly to diymulticopter@gmail.com for faster answer.
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