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Old Aug 07, 2012, 12:11 PM
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APM2.5 vs CRIUS aio pro

Just looking at different controller available in the market. I like to run MegaPriates on them. Here's two of them basically uses the same chip set except the APM2.5 uses a MPU6000 vs a MPU6050 in the AIO-pro. Both the MPU6000 and MPU6050 has the same gyro spec and cost the same.

How much better is the APM2.5 over the Crius board?
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Old Aug 28, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by little nellie View Post
Just looking at different controller available in the market. I like to run MegaPriates on them. Here's two of them basically uses the same chip set except the APM2.5 uses a MPU6000 vs a MPU6050 in the AIO-pro. Both the MPU6000 and MPU6050 has the same gyro spec and cost the same.

How much better is the APM2.5 over the Crius board?
------------------------------
UPDATE!!!- You can now get an APM2.5 from RCTimer for $89!!! THAT'S getting closer to what it SHOULD be priced at!

At that price my recommendation changes slightly. My modified recommendation is that the Crius AIO Pro is still the absolute best bang for the buck if you want to be able to run either Arducopter(MegaPriates version) and also the advanced features of MW (there are cheaper,just as good boards to run MW if you don't need position hold and dont plan to build an octo). No doubt in my mind. Here's the modification - If you are focused on Ardupilot only and want full 100% compatibility with the Ardupilot code so you can run it with no modification then the $89 APM2.5 board from RCTimer is it!

As a side note, The cost to build an APM2.5 is only a few bucks more than the Crius AIO Pro so RCTimer is still making a good profit here but compared to the price 3DR/DIYDrones sells them for the RCTimers offering is an amazing deal! It's HALF 3DR/DIYDrone's price for the exact same board with the exact same components. Only diff is it says "RCTimer" on the back instead of 3DR!!

Now, some say we should support the original designers of open source hardware and I believe in that as well. However I also believe one must use sorm basic common sense about it. First, while it takes some knowledge and effort to design an APM2.5 and there is some cost involved for PCB layout software, prototyping etc. it's not that much- we are talking a few hundred dollars at most. The know how required to hook up a micro ontroller with a bunch of I2C devices, properly bypass power signals, and layout the board is about what a second or third year undergrad engineering student can handle. Especially given all the app note and examples that the component manufacturers provide that show exactly how to do it. That said, I'll gladly pay a 50% or even 100% markup over the boards cost to the developer if its well designed and of decent quality. However, a 300% to 500% markup is a bit much and while I don't begrudge any developer for charging that much if there are buyers who will pay it as long as there is no deception, I won't pay it unless there absolutely is no choice and his product is so great I can't live without it. Recently I saw Chris Anderson (partner in 3DR)make a presentation to what he though was a non-knowledgable audience where he told them his products were much easier to use than others and you could just take them from the box and "just push a button" and they were ready to fly ( among other things that were sort of amazing to say). I hope no one bought any bridges that day!

So the great news is now you have a choice. The marketplace always works better when there are choices. You can buy the Crius board and run a modified version of Ardupilot as well as MW for around $55. You can pay close to $200 for a 3DR/DIYDrones APM2.5 and run unmodified Ardupilot OR you can pay $89 for an RCTimer APM2.5 and also run unmodified Ardupilot just like the 3DR/DIYDrone product!. Awesome!
------------------------

Start of original post,,,,

Hah! No offense but your question is so funny because people think that because of all the DIYDrones/3dr marketing hype (and some of it untrue) and the fact that they charge 4 times the price they are getting a better product. Most of the DIYDrones stuff is sold at very high markups. There is some value in that where they have good documentation or a more turnkey product and 6 months ago APM2.5 would have been a pretty decent product at say $100 but time has moved on and APM2.5 is old technology and there are plenty of alternatives that are better and lower cost. I have used APM2 (and APM1) in probably 10 copters. All APM2.5 is is an APM2 that they fixed some of the problems and I won't be buying one unless they reduce the price to about $60. (APM2 had a bunch of problems no the least of which is the way they did the magnetometer and GPS on the daughter card that wasn't removeable ).

Their are only so many ways you can wire up an Atmel ATMega2560 chip so the circuit design is of little difference except DIYDrones/3DR has added a few things that mostly are designed to increase the barrier to porting ArduPilot to non DIYDrones/3dr hardware. When it has happened, DIYDrones has been quick to buy them up and made announcements about "how they will now be working together" but in reality it's been a deal to prevent direct competition. megaPirates and Crius have changed that landscape. Just hope you don't see a new announcement about how megaPirates is working together with the ArduPilot team now and then all of a sudden the work that Alex was doing to make it compatible with other hardware disappears - as has happened before.

Anyhow, Cruis AIO PRO is superior to the APM2.5 for many reasons:

1. Form factor - APM2.5 uses an odd-ball board shape that's hard to mount whereas AIO Pro uses a somewhat standard square shape that's common with many other boards.

2. Connectors - AIO Pro uses standard servo type connectors for radio inputs and ESC outputs but uses standard compact modular connectors for everything else and they give all of them to you in the box so with a little wiring you have access to all the serial ports plus a bunch of other stuff. That's what allows the board to be nice and compact.

3. PPM-Sum RX inputs - AIO Pro makes it pretty easy to setup a PPM-Sum input on several different pins. APM2.5 has stuck with keeping their klunky setup where they actually have an additional processor on the board to process separate PPM but get's in the way if you wish to do PPM-SUM

4. Spectrum Satellite or SBUS - AIO Pro can easily do either of those just by reconfiguring and, in the case of SBUS buying a $10 adapter. APM2.5 requires a firmware change in the dedicated on board processor that handles the PPM which is not simple and it requires an external ATMega programmer board.

5. GPS - The APM2.5 GPS is good - it's a LEA-6 uBlox GPS with DIYDrone/3dr special carrier board but it's EXPENSIVE - like $70+. There are two "official" AIO Pro GPS' available one is an LEA-5 which is very good and is only $29 - it's plug and play. They other is a more expensive LEA-6 just like DIYDrones but it's carrier board doubles as an XBee telemetry interface AND it's the same size as the main board so you can mount it directly on top of the main board using stand-offs or you can remotely mount it (with the right cable). The antenna is the same as DIYDrones and remotely mountable. That one also costs $70 but you get way more for your money.

6. Software - AIO Pro wins hands down here. AIO Pro can run ArduPilot (the mega Pirates distribution), MultiWii, and it's very easy to get AeroQuad and others running on it. On the otherhand, DIYDrones/3dr has done things to the APM series that make it difficult to get running with other software and, unless you want to do a bunch of software tweaking APM2.5 can really only run ArduPilot off the shelf.

7 Documentation - While there are plenty of docs for APM2.0 there are considerably less for APM2.5. I originally gave Crius the edge here because when i first wrote this there was almost nothing for the APM2.5 because it was new. However, the AIO Pro.comes with absolutely zero docs from Crius. It defies me why these Chinese manufacturers can't spend an hour to issue a couple of pages of docs with their stuff even if they just use Google Translate to translate a Chinese document. The good news is several people have written up docs with sufficient info to get uou going. Ranging from pinout connections to how to properly configure the Crius GPS. As far as open source docs go 3DR/DIYDrones is pretty good and this one must go to the APM2.5 without a doubt.

8. price, Price, PRICE!!! APM2.5 is $180 WITHOUT GPS and $250 with! AIO Pro is $63 with no GPS and a GPS cost either $25 or $77 depending on which one you pick. $63 AIO Pro vs $180 APM2.5 for in some ways better hardware! Is there really a choice here?

Bottom line, APM2.5 is an APM2.0 with some of the things people didn't like fixed. If you already have an APM2 thats doing what you want there is no reason to buy an APM2.5. You'll gain no performance or capability. The best thing you could do is to buy either either the 3DRIf or the Crius implementation of the uBlox LEA6 GPS and disable the APM2.0s terrible onboard GPS. If you are in the market for an additional FC it's pretty darn hard to justify buying an APM2.5 with the Crius AIO Pro available. I just can't think of a good reason to buy one at its current price and I'm really trying to be objective here. I suppose if you are running ArduCopter code exclusively and you can't wait a few days after a new release for megaPirates to release their version that might be a reason. You'll need to be the judge to deforming if its worth $100+ difference in price though.

These are just the facts as I know them. If someone sees a correction is required please let me know and if I can verify it I'll make a change to this post.

I hope this helps people make the best decision for them.

Cheers,
Wingspinner
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Last edited by wingspinner; Oct 18, 2012 at 01:42 PM.
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 04:44 AM
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Oh hell i did not even notice the 2.5 came out i have one of the 2.0 and like it but a but to tune haha
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 06:10 AM
Mmmmmmm!
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So glad I went with the AIO Pro. Anxiously waiting for it to arrive so I can put it on one of my main multi-rotors and test the GPS and whatnot. The price was the big one for me, you get a great set of sensors capable of doing everything the APM can do for a fraction of the cost. What's not to love?
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 02:12 PM
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As someone who is trying to dump off his APM2 + MinimOSD, and as someone who just got his first Crius AIO Pro board in the mail...

... Crius
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Old Sep 19, 2012, 03:06 AM
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@p0st4L. Are you going to use an OSD on the AIO? and if so which one and why not use the MinimOSD?
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for that info and comparison Wingspanner - It would be helpful if someone could do the same comparison about MPNG vs Multiwii on AIOP. ??

HK have a new kid on the AIOP block with GPS for $62 USD - seems like good value though I have AIOP and working on getting it flying soon
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by corruptsector View Post
@p0st4L. Are you going to use an OSD on the AIO? and if so which one and why not use the MinimOSD?
Didn't know I could, until I realized they're running the same hardware. I'll look into it.
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by helidex View Post
Thanks for that info and comparison Wingspanner - It would be helpful if someone could do the same comparison about MPNG vs Multiwii on AIOP. ??

HK have a new kid on the AIOP block with GPS for $62 USD - seems like good value though I have AIOP and working on getting it flying soon
This might be a dumb question, but how hard is it to flash MPNG onto that hobbyking AIOP? or a crius aiop? Anyone have a link I can look at for the process that would be involved?
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 02:31 AM
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This might be a dumb question, but how hard is it to flash MPNG onto that hobbyking AIOP? or a crius aiop? Anyone have a link I can look at for the process that would be involved?
This link explains how to flash MPNG or MultiWii onto AIOP. and how to edit config.h. Process for the HK would be similar.

Can't help with MPNG on HK board
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 05:03 AM
Aleksey Kharlanov
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HK board doesn't supported by MPNG software. But it may work...
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Where can I buy the non HK version? Will this work in a plane as well as a multirotor?
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 04:05 PM
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this is where i got mine.

http://www.rctimer.com/index.php?gOo...wt&goodsid=765
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Old Sep 25, 2012, 03:13 AM
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Thank you Little Nellie for posting this question that many of us are wondering something similar, and also thanks to Wingspinner for such a thorough answer.

@ Wingspinner, I am very much an beginner in the FC and UAV stakes having only played around breifly with APM 1 and 2 in fixed wing and soon multi-copter, so my query here is more for my education than questioning your knowledge...

I have been increasingly interested in the CRIUS products and porting of Ardupilot as a cheaper alternative, and see that feature wise they appear very similar as you described. But I understood the main additional feature is that APMs can logg data where as the AIO can't. Is this true? and is this one of the only feature deficits of the AIO?
...still trying to pick through all the differences and similarities :-)
Cheers,
Matt
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Old Sep 25, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pheonix3 View Post
Thank you Little Nellie for posting this question that many of us are wondering something similar, and also thanks to Wingspinner for such a thorough answer.

@ Wingspinner, I am very much an beginner in the FC and UAV stakes having only played around breifly with APM 1 and 2 in fixed wing and soon multi-copter, so my query here is more for my education than questioning your knowledge...

I have been increasingly interested in the CRIUS products and porting of Ardupilot as a cheaper alternative, and see that feature wise they appear very similar as you described. But I understood the main additional feature is that APMs can logg data where as the AIO can't. Is this true? and is this one of the only feature deficits of the AIO?
...still trying to pick through all the differences and similarities :-)
Cheers,
Matt
The way I see it is that AIO has good hardware, mostly does it all except data logging, a feature I have lived without so far, and there is so much else to learn. By the time I get on top of it, there will be AIO 2 or 3, or maybe one day 32 bit etc etc.

The other aspect of AIO I like, is the Megapirates philosophy of offering an open source alternative that is independent of the corporate culture of some other hardware vendors who use open source FC software.
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