|May 23, 2013, 03:44 AM|
Unpacking Rctimer ArduFlyer 2.5 kit(s) and making it work
There is a lot of information in this lengthy blog, please read it all, possibly read it more than once, do not start to apply any of the information before you fully understand it all and it actually makes sense to you, if there is anything you are not sure about, ask first, it can save a lot of time, expense and frustration.
A lot more APM 2.5 information can be found on Page 1 at APM 2.5, ArduCopter, RC Timer ArduFlyer, Tutorials & Discussion, updated regulalrly
NOTE: for some reason Mission Planner was completely changed around June - July 2013 for no apparent good reson other than to to add further CONFUSION, some of the screen captures in this blog will show the earlier Mission Planner, you may have to GUESS how to get to the same functions in the New Mission Planner until I spend a LOT of time updating all the screen shots
I just received a couple of spare Rctimer ArduFlyer 2.5 boards, so I thought I would share some photos together with a description of what you receive and how to assemble it and make it work in a series of blogs, this is Part One WORK IN PROGRESS .
Rctimer ArduFlyer 2.5
Contents, ArduFlyer 2.5 board, 2 cables, one for GPS, the other for Rctimer 3DRadio, a packet of headers and jumpers
- Treat the ArduFlyer board gently, the MPU-6000 Accelerometer/Gyro is fragile -
Do not misunderstand what the above means, it does not mean that Rctimer ArduFlyer 2.5 is somehow more fragile than other flight controllers, it simply means that the Accelerometer/Gyro used [same one used in nearly all current flight controllers] is fragile and susceptible to damage by high G forces which can easily be applied unintentionally when you just have that small light board in your hand and you drop it even a few inches onto a hard surface or bump it against a hard surface.
Until you have mounted ArduFlyer 2.5 onto a frame with more MASS treat it with care and avoid any kind of rough handling
Ideally while you are doing initial bench testing have it on a soft Ant-Static surface, such as the soft pink Anti-Static material you see in my photos.
Inversense documentation http://www.cdiweb.com/datasheets/inv...-MPU-6000A.pdf on MPU6000 carries this warning
When we have an accelerometer soldered to a small light PCB like the System board from a Lenovo or an ArduFlyer that board before it is mounted onto something with more mass can easily be subjected to large g-forces in excess of its maximum ratings.
This could happen at any time it is being handled, including during manufacture, testing, shipping, when we are testing and installing it in a frame and later if we heavily crash it.
Because the Accelerometer/Gyro could be damaged during shipping the first thing you need to do is test the accelerometer/Gyro, that way you know it was working when you received it and if it later should stop working you know for sure it was something you did, leaving no doubt in your mind.
Protecting your PC or Laptop USB Ports
To safeguard your PC or Laptop when connecting your ArduFlyer 2.5 to your PC or Laptop via a USB cable, use a USB Hub with a wall wart which supplies power to the USB Hub.
Reason is IF you should be unlucky enough to short out the 5V USB supply or WORSE if you somehow manage to connect Lipo voltage to USB lines you will damage the mother board inside your PC or Laptop, a USB Hub has a chance of saving you from damaging your PC or Laptop as well as the wall wart feeding power to the USB Hub is usually a cleaner power supply than what comes out of a PC or Laptop.
Think of it as inexpensive Insurance, I use a Logitech 4 Port USB HUB
Installing Mission Planner
Do NOT connect ArduFlyer 2.5 to your Laptop or PC USB port before you install Mission Planner as windows may install the wrong drivers and you will waste a lot of time trying to correct that.
Mission Planner can be downloaded from here
When you run the Mission Planner install, agree to all the usual stuff and make sure that you allow the drivers to be installed
Do not proceed if the drivers did not install correctly else you are wasting your time.
When the install has successfully completed, tick the Launch Mission Planner box and click on Finish, there will be a lengthy delay the first time Mission Planner runs.
Windows and your Virus checker may display cautions, just agree and make it happen
Now you can connect ArduFlyer 2.5 to your PC or Laptop USB Port
CAUTION: The USB connector on ArduFlyer 2.5 [in fact ANY USB connector] before it has ever had a USB cable plugged into it is rather tight, use a high quality USB cable that fits the socket on the board correctly, if it will not fit DO NOT FORCE it or you will break the connector of the board and that cannot be repaired.
When inserting the USB cable hold the board's USB socket [not the board], your thumb on top of the USB socket, a finger under the board below the USB socket.
That way the force required to plug the USB cable the first time [when it will be stiffer than later] is transferred to your fingers rather than stress the solder joint holding the USB socket to the board with the strong risk of ripping the USB socket right off the board.
Take care with the USB cable so that you don't get caught up in it and accidentally rip the USB socket off the board.
Hold the USB socket the same way between thumb and finger when you go to disconnect the USB cable, walk the USB cable out rather than using one straight strong pull.
Follow these simple precautions and you will not be posting little white lies in forums about how the USB socket or some other socket "just fell off all by itself" they never fall off all by themselves it always required careless human intervention.
The first time you connect ArdUflyer 2.5 it will appear to do NOTHING with only a single green LED lit for about 30 seconds and then blue and red LEDS will start blinking and it should end up with the Red "A" LED slowly blinking with the green LED lit.
If after 60 seconds the LEDS haven't done their boot up flash dance, something is wrong, try a different USB port or try a different USB cable until it works.
For some strange reason, installing Mission Planner does NOT install anything on the Start Menu nor create a Desktop Shortcut, so you will have to do it yourself
Run Windows Explorer and Navigate to where Mission Planner is installed C: Program Files (x86) APM Planner
Reduce the size of the Windows Explore window so that you can see a part of your desktop behind the Windows Explorer window, Right Click on ArdupilotMegaplannerxx.exe and drag it onto anywhere on your desktop, then release the right mouse button and select Create shortcuts here, that will place a shortcut for Mission Planner on your desktop. click twice on that Shortcut to start Mission Planner.
In Mission Planner top right of screen next to the word AUTO there is a drop down list, click on it and wait for it to find all the connected devices.
click on the line that contains COMx Arduino Mega 2560 (COMx) [COMx is COM8 in my case]
Comx will replace Auto above the drop down list, if it doesn't then type in your COM number in the box.
Make sure 115200 is selected for baud rate
On the top right click on Connect, you should see a slow list of parameters being read as it is connecting
then you should see the artificial horizon, compass and altimeter all working
Remember, the white arrow on the board labelled Front points to the front of the board [the nose of the craft], the USB cable is on the left side of the board
Raise the left side, the side the USB cable is on and your Artificial Horizon should look like this
Many people initially think that the Artificial Horizon is wrong [leaning the wrong way] because they are not used to it, think of it this way, the line between Green [the ground] and Blue [Sky] is the horizon. When we lift the left side of our craft, assuming it is an aeroplane, the right wing will dip down and get closer to the ground which is exactly what the Artificial Horizon is CORRECTLY depicting. The 2 horizontal red lines are the aeroplane wings in this case the right side red line [the right wing] is getting closer to the ground.
You can turn the board and observe the compass moving, do not expect the compass to be correct as it has not yet been calibrated.
If you place the board level, the artificial horizon may not be level, again it has not been calibrated yet.
Calibrating and testing the Accelerometer
In mission planner on the top bar click on Configuration
On the left click on ArduCopter Level
Click on Calibrate Accel, instructions will be displayed to place the board level then press any key, another message will appear, perform all those placements, when it tells you to do the left side the USB cable is the way, so place the board GENTLY on the edge of a table so the cable is down over the edge and press any key.
When you have done all the positions you should see this message Calibration Successful confirming your Accelerometer is OK, if it fails carefully do the calibration again, if it continues to fail you may have a damaged Accelerometer.
- Back to the board itself cables headers etc -
If you also purchased the Rctimer CN-06 V2 GPS and the Rctimer 3Dradio they would be connected like this using the 2 cables supplied with Rctimer ArduFlyer 2.5
I am drawing attention to the 2 cables supplied with Rctimer ArduFlyer 2.5 because when you purchase Rctimer CN-06 V2 and 3DRadio, they come in a packet with a 4 pin 0.1" cable that does NOT fit ArduFlyer 2.5 at all, hence the confusion some people experience which leads them to incorrectly believe they received the wrong cables.
The purpose of those [spare] 4 pin 0.1" cable is for use with OTHER Mega Flight controllers, you have a spare cable which you can use to make up a nice cable if you need to connect an FTDI cable to change setting and parameters in either the GPS or 3Dradio, the one cable fits both GPS and 3Dradio, nice.
FTDI cable adapter for Rctimer GPS and 3DRadio Air Module
You receive 2 sets of headers for input and output header locations, one straight and one right angled, one set ends up being a spare set.
It is your choice as to which headers best suit the way you wish to mount the board in your particular flying gizmo, there is no right or wrong way, it is simply a personal choice. You will need to solder the headers in place later.
Headers and one jumper plug arranged around the board
Straight headers in place ready to solder
Right angled headers BE CAREFUL TO MOUNT THEM CORRECTLY
NOT LIKE THIS - THIS IS WRONG -
Right angled headers in place ready to solder
-- Before Soldering those headers, there is one more thing to consider --
The long straight header along the top of the board also includes 6 SPI Programming pins on the right which are ONLY EVER required in case you need to program the Atmega2560, that should not be required unless you are unlucky enough to somehow corrupt the boot loader.
Because there is no silkscreen visible on the top of the board all the labelling for the Axx pins is underneath the board, once the board is mounted and you are trying to connect servos or LEDs you will be counting pins and you will forget those 6 extra pins on the end.
I suggest you cut the last 6 pins off and put them aside for use if you ever need to program the ATmega2560 or ATmega32U2, note the 6 pin header does NOT need to be soldered in place, as it can be held in place with some sideways pressure while programming if you ever need to.
Take care, watch your fingers, do not have your finger under the blade.
start cutting slightly into both the sides by rocking the blade
then with your fingers out the way and ready to have to find the flying 6 pins complete the cut
-- Soldering the headers --
Before soldering the headers, use a clean microfiber cloth to clean off any finger marks oil etc from the underside of the board where headers will be soldered.
I use a Flux Pen intended for use with electronic components, NOT Plumbers flux!
Use the flux pen to apply flux to all the pads on the board that will be soldered, this will assist the soldering process making it a LOT easier.
I use a wedge shaped tip on my soldering iron, NOT a really pointy long narrow tip as that does NOT conduct heat well to the components being soldered.
I installed the headers at both ends first, I then placed the board upside down on a wooden table so that the pins when heated don't simply fall out of the hot plastic frame holding them together which would mean the pins end up at different heights. This also means that the board is horizontal and all the headers are nicely aligned to the board surface.
Next I cleaned the tip of my soldering iron by wiping it on a wet sponge, I applied some solder to it, I know it is clean when a tiny bit of solder will wet the tip.
That tiny bit of solder wetting the tip is IMPORTANT,
that tiny bit of solder wetting the tip is used to transfer heat to one side of the pin to be soldered and also to the pad.
then I touch my thin cored solder from the OTHER SIDE OF THE PIN, the iron on one side heats the pin and the pad so that solder touching the other side of the pin melts and is drawn to ward the hot iron covering the pin and pad all around.
Once the solder starts melting I feed in a little bit of solder until a pool of about the right size forms on the pad around the pin.
I withdraw the solder, leaving the soldering iron in place to heat the pin and flow the solder nicely for about 6 seconds.
Then I withdraw the soldering iron, if the result doesn't look right I do it again.
Every now and then you need to repeat cleaning the soldering iron tip and applying a tiny blob of solder to the tip before soldering more pins.
I solder one corner pin of each header FIRST, stop, turn the board over and make sure the headers are aligned correctly, If they are not aligned I can re heat that corner pin and ensure the whole header is flush against the board. Then I turn it over and solder the rest of the pins.
An excellent video explaining how to solder correctly is here
-- Clean all the flux off the board
When all the headers have been soldered, thoroughly Clean all the flux off the board
This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, some of the I/O pins you are soldering headers to are very high impedance, which means that to the processor the slightest bit of moisture trapped in the flux or some other ever so slightly conductive material that barely registers when measured with an Ohm Meter to the processor looks like a short circuit caused by a solid piece of copper wire.
If you skip thoroughly cleaning all the flux off the board, YOU WILL REGRET IT, you risk all sorts of weird problems later on which can be very difficult to track down.
Flux is mildly acidic, over time it can cause corrosion, so thoroughly clean all the flux off the board straight after you finish soldering the header pins.
I use a small short stiff brush dipped in Isopropyl Alcohol 70% Untinted to loosen the flux left behind by the solder then I soak up and wipe away the liquified flux using a microfiber cloth and then thoroughly inspect it.
Don't blast the board with a spray can.
You do NOT want alcohol or any other liquid to enter the 2 holes in the barometer !!!!!
You do need to control where the alcohol carries the liquefied flux so that you can mop it up, you do not want it carrying the flux under some chips where you can never mop it up.
Work on one small area at a time
Do not soak or drown the entire board in alcohol.
Do not use a toothbrush
I use a small stiff brush, with short bristles to LIMIT SPLASHING ALCOHOL mixed with dirt and flux into places from which it cannot be mopped up.
I dip the end of the brush in alcohol. a small amount of alcohol adhering to the brush
I use that SMALL amount of alcohol on the stiff brush to loosen dirt and flux.
Avoid spreading alcohol over holes that have not been soldered where it can flow to the other side, or quickly mop up the other side first.
I them mop up that liquefied flux before the alcohol evaporates - this is the main reason for doing one small area at a time -.
If it looks dirty, I do it again.
Inspect the header pins, particularly near the edges of the board, if there is any flux that has dripped around the edge of the board or splashed onto the header pins, clean of all flux from header pins using a piece of cloth with a small amount of alcohol, wipe the alcohol onto the pins, then follow up with a dry cloth to mop it up..
-- Inspect your soldering for Solder bridges between the pins you soldered
You will need good strong lighting as well as a magnifying glass to closely examine all your solder joints to ensure there are no solder bridges between any of the pins you soldered.
The above is very Important, do not skip cleaning all the flux off and inspecting for solder bridges.
3 spare headers I did not use and 1 jumper plug.
-- Shielding the Barometer from wind draughts and light --
You do NOT want alcohol or any other liquid or Hot Glue to enter the 2 holes in the barometer !!!!!
The Pink Foam supplied by 3DR in their APM cases DOES NOT adequately shield the barometer from light
Chris Anderson from 3DR in posts exchanged with me right here on RCG last year was made aware of the problem with using 3DR Pink Foam, Nothing happened, you need to do it yourself. Failing to do so will come back and bite you with twitching in Loiter and other obscure issues which can costs you damage to your frame and lots of time wasted.
You have been warned.
You do need to find some black coloured foam and test it to ensure the barometer is indeed shielded from light as described below.
The ArduFlyer 2.5 barometer has 2 small holes
Those 2 small holes need to be shielded from wind draughts and light.
Either wind draughts or varying intensity light, more so light can have a HUGE impact on the barometer readings.
You will be relying on the barometer to maintain a steady altitude so you MUST take steps to protect it from sudden FALSE changes.
CAUTION: whatever method you decide to use, the covering material must allow air pressure to get into those 2 holes, in other words do not completely obstruct it else it will not work.
Do not allow any hot glue to get into those 2 holes.
Some sites advice covering the barometer with a cotton ball, or Pink Foam supplied with 3DR APM 2.5 cases, RIDICULOUS, that will not prevent light entering the barometer.
The foam needs to be opaque, you will end up trying all sorts of foam until you find one that does NOT allow light through and it will be black colour, not grey, white or pink.
You probably doubt that Light seriously affects the barometer, well this is a good time to convince yourself.
With the board connected to your PC, run Mission Planner, select the correct COM port, make sure Baud rate is set to 115200 and click Connect [how to do all that was covered earlier in this blog]
Wait fro Mission Planner to Connect, then click on Gauges.
While observing the VSI in the Gauges window, alternatively shade the Barometer or allow a strong light such as Sunshine to shine on it an watch the VSI [Vertical Speed Indicator] and also the altitude go berserk.
The board is NOT REALLY moving up and down at all , however the Flight controller thinks it is jumping up and down by huge distances because of the incorrect barometer readings it is getting caused by the effect Light has on the barometer.
Convinced the barometer needs shielding from light ?
Now you know how to test to see how effective any shielding you decide to apply is.
Best way to shield the barometer is by using black coloured foam.
Be aware that some black foam can be conductive measuring about 5000 Ohms, you do not want to use black foam that is conductive.
Test for conductivity of the foam by using a Multimeter on Ohms with the probes close to each other [not touching each other] pushing into the foam, it should not register anything even on the Highest Mega Ohm ranges
Test how opaque it is by holding it up to the light and also by placing it over the barometer and performing the light test using a BRIGHT light or better outside in the sun, after all you will be flying outside with sun beating down on the barometer.
I cut a piece of black open foam that allows almost no light through yet allows air pressure to pass unimpeded, I attach it to the board using hot glue at 2 ends of the piece of foam, making sure NO HOT GLUE CAN GET INTO THE 2 BAROMETER HOLES
This is my black foam held in place by 2 dabs of hot glue, the hot glue dabs well away from the 2 barometer holes.
NOTE: Make sure you do not cover the RX and TX LEDs for 2 reasons,
1./ - you want to be able to see them,
2./- you do NOT want the foam over them as that will disperse the flashing BRIGHT LEDs light into the foam and inside the barometer holes.
Test to make sure the foam protecting the barometer from light is effective, the altimeter or VSI should not move at all with a bright light or direct Sunlight shining onto the foam intermittently
Next test for wind draught, blow across the foam to simulate a wind draught, you will notice that the altimeter and VSI will in fact move, not as badly as with no protection at all.
You will never be able to fix that completely by using only foam except with a ridiculously HUGE piece of foam.
You will need to protect the board from wind draughts by having some kind of an enclosure around it, inside a dome in your frame or inside a food container. DO NOT completely enclose the board, if mounted in a food container drill some small holes on the top and bottom edges of the food container so air pressure can get to the barometer AND so that the container does NOT become pressurised when for example the frame makes a fast descent or ascent or moves sideways fast.
You can also use neoprene foam rubber - full details are in this post http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=111
Because of limitations on the number of links and photos in one blog, this blog is continued in PART 2 here http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...0#post25100936
|May 23, 2013, 09:14 AM|
|May 23, 2013, 07:46 PM|
|May 24, 2013, 02:56 AM|
Joined Feb 2008
Nice work Joe!...good step by step...A side note on cleaning flux...you can also use CRC electronic parts cleaner in a spray can form...it is fast and easy...dries fast and no resi doo doo
|May 25, 2013, 07:17 AM|
Australia, VIC, Melton
Joined Jun 2009
Not picking but you did ask us to point out if we think you missed anything.
When you plugged the board in you all of a sudden had arducopter up. Please put in there how to get to the firmware screen and load the appropriate firmware for what you want i.e.. arducopter, arduplane ect. and how to backdate firmware if need be.
Cheers, Great wright up.
|May 25, 2013, 09:28 AM|
|May 25, 2013, 09:38 AM|
After initially volunteering to keep it updated LONG TERM, we had to BEG him for over 2 months to fix up links on the first page, personally I am very very disappointed with Mochaboy.
Which is why, fortunately I had posted early on in that thread and I have been updating post #6 in that thread with updated links to useful posts
My post #6 with up to date links for APM 2.5/ArduFlyer 2.5 is here
I am considering starting yet another APM 2.5/Arduflyer 2.5 thread to get around the mess Mochaboy left behind.
I have PM Mochaboy many times, absolutely no response from him, very disappointing.
|May 25, 2013, 01:07 PM|
Don't know if its any help but I'd be happy to assist with that task? I own and run a large web forum (350k+ users) and so am at my desk most of the time!
Let me know if I can help, least I can do in return for the superb guides you provide here.
|May 25, 2013, 01:34 PM|
|May 26, 2013, 08:22 PM|
Joined Jan 2013
Great instructions jabram..
Another useful video for beginners too, that covers soldering to connecting RC system: http://dronemission.com/diy-apm25.htm
We found that one of the biggest challenge is reducing vibration, so I think that is one important topic. I am interested to know what other brilliant ideas and best practices to reduce vibration around APM; from the frame design to where you place and support the apm board. I have read some discussions at diydrones and someone had recommended this free iphone app iSeismometer by ObjectGraph LLC to measure vibration after each change.
|May 26, 2013, 08:51 PM|
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