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Old Sep 03, 2004, 05:49 PM
RCAPA #14
Myron's Avatar
United States, TX, Wimberley
Joined Mar 2004
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Auto Pilots ,GPS and Telemetry Systems

Hey guys,

As some of you know, Gene "CentexFlyer" and myself are palying around with some duration flights and testing the limits of ZagnutZ flying wings as AP/V platforms.... We have been shopping for a bit for a autopilot GPS and telemetry system and there are lots of things to consider. I originally had my heart set(and money ready) for the ADP50 from UAV FLight... they recently shot me down on a purchase becuase now they want you to spend an additional 4500.00 to fly to their facility to learn how to use it... I dont exactly have 9950.00 to throw into tools for R&D so now were looking at other options... what we want is an autopilot that has elevon flight mixing, telemetry, an GPS navigation that is rolled into a neat, light weight package that is somewhat modular and cost effective.... Here are some links to what we are looking at right now... Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated....

http://www.eagletreesystems.com/Seagull/seagull.html Complete $500.00 but no autopilot or GPS so this one is Telemetry Only

http://www.auav.net/ezi-nav.htm complete 4200.00 but not sure on the Telemetry systems included just yet..

http://www.u-nav.com/picopilot.htm complete 1300.00 but NO ELEVON mixing or Telemetry

http://www.uavflight.com complete 4400.00 BUT YOU GOTTA SPEND ANOTHER 4500.00 to go there and learn how to use it...

http://www.rcatsystems.com/rc/telemetry.php Complete 969.00 but no Autopilot or GPS.. so basically its telemetry only....

What would be real nice is a modular system that has 3 sub systems.. that would run in any combination of

Autopilot System
GPS Waypoint/Maping System
Telemetry System

Myron
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 06:03 PM
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Houston, TX
Joined Aug 2004
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Myron,

I'm not sure but I think if you use the UNAV PicoPilot with the FMA Co-Pilot, the Co-Pilot can take care of the elevon mixing.

Pete
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 06:06 PM
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Don't know if this will do you any good www.micropilot.com
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 06:08 PM
RCAPA #14
Myron's Avatar
United States, TX, Wimberley
Joined Mar 2004
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Pete,
True but the FMA is not the best system because it needs a smooth horizon, It supposedly doesnt like mountains or buildings... It also doenst have any telemetry data...

Myron
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 07:59 PM
RCAPA #14
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United States, TX, Wimberley
Joined Mar 2004
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The Micro Pilot is sweet, but just a bit over budget.... I originally planned for 5K but after I got shot down on the 4400 ADP 50, I went another route and spent someof the budget on other gear like motor/batteries/ect.ect.... I have about 3800.00 left

Myron
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 08:19 PM
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Houston, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myron
Pete,
True but the FMA is not the best system because it needs a smooth horizon, It supposedly doesnt like mountains or buildings... It also doenst have any telemetry data...

Myron
Not sure about the Co-Pilot yet. I just got one. From what I can tell it uses differences in IR signature to determine the horizon. I've seen an RC helicopter use a Co-Pilot in a parking lot that had a building on one side. It seemed to work.

The PicoPilot does have options for video overlay and/or moving map telemetry.

These systems may not be perfect but they do well for the price. There are several on this forum that have used the earlier autopilot gear from UNAV (PDC10) in conjunction with the Co-Pilot successfully.
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 08:57 PM
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Near Austin
Joined Dec 2001
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TexasPete,

Having owned an FMA CoPilot in the past, I can assure you.... you do NOT want to fly in hazy overcast conditions or around any tall trees. If so, you had best be ready on the sticks because your aircraft can become demon possesed without notice!

CTF
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 09:03 PM
RCAPA #14
Myron's Avatar
United States, TX, Wimberley
Joined Mar 2004
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Pete,

I am hearing mixed reports on the FMA and that is why I am a little hesitant. Even Futabas version states very clear on thier website that you should not fly when it is overcast, or the horizon is obstructed... The major problem with the PicoPilot is that it was designed for a conventional model... It will not control elevons for a flying wing. It doesnt have a telemetry system either. The Micropilot is perfect, but a little out ofmy price range and to a certain extent it is overkill for what we want to do... I wish there are some guys close to us that use this stuff, but I dont know of anyone...
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 10:14 PM
pfm
Patrick Mahoney
Fort Collins, CO
Joined Sep 2002
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For the kit inclined, there's ones starting at $149 here.

They are kits to be used in conjunction with the DIY UAV project at the this Sourceforge website. They are at Alpha 3 stage - which is pretty preliminary, so it is likely to be a bit more DIY than most are likely to prefer.

At first glance it might seem like it's for helicopters - and that does seem to be the primary focus - but there are discussions about how to change it for use in "fixed-wing systems".
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 10:36 PM
Design, Build, and Fly
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Pleasant Grove, Utah
Joined Nov 2001
382 Posts
You might be interested in this:

http://magicctech.com/

Steve
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Old Sep 03, 2004, 11:08 PM
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CARMICHAEL, CALIFORNIA USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myron
Pete,

I am hearing mixed reports on the FMA and that is why I am a little hesitant. Even Futabas version states very clear on thier website that you should not fly when it is overcast, or the horizon is obstructed... The major problem with the PicoPilot is that it was designed for a conventional model... It will not control elevons for a flying wing. It doesnt have a telemetry system either. The Micropilot is perfect, but a little out ofmy price range and to a certain extent it is overkill for what we want to do... I wish there are some guys close to us that use this stuff, but I dont know of anyone...

Autopilot systems will work with elevons/ruddervators as long as the mixer is in the aircraft. GWS has a very small and light mixer.
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Old Sep 04, 2004, 12:06 AM
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Houston, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CenTexFlyer
TexasPete,

Having owned an FMA CoPilot in the past, I can assure you.... you do NOT want to fly in hazy overcast conditions or around any tall trees. If so, you had best be ready on the sticks because your aircraft can become demon possesed without notice!

CTF
CTF
Thanks for the heads up. You may have just saved me an airframe and some expensive equipment.
Pete
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Old Sep 04, 2004, 12:55 AM
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Houston, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myron
Pete,

I am hearing mixed reports on the FMA and that is why I am a little hesitant. Even Futabas version states very clear on thier website that you should not fly when it is overcast, or the horizon is obstructed... The major problem with the PicoPilot is that it was designed for a conventional model... It will not control elevons for a flying wing. It doesnt have a telemetry system either. The Micropilot is perfect, but a little out ofmy price range and to a certain extent it is overkill for what we want to do... I wish there are some guys close to us that use this stuff, but I dont know of anyone...
Thanks Myron!

Since the CoPilot and Futaba are IR based it makes sense that overcast, fog, rain, irregular terrain, obstructions or un-natural heat sources would cause problems with it. From what I can tell it's basically an attitude leveler, not an autopilot because you cannot set a fixed heading or altitude. If it were used on a very stable plane with low frequency dynamics like a big polywing glider these anomalies might be useful in passive terrain and obstruction avoidance. But I can see on a flying wing, the control responses are probably far too fast.

When you say telemetry system do you mean more than lat, long, alt, hdg and ground speed? The OSD-GPS module can overlay your video with that info off the onboard gps. But nothing more and there is no uplink.

I agree, that someone with experience in these guidance systems would sure be helpful. Maybe one will chime in before too long.

Pete
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Old Sep 04, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Near Austin
Joined Dec 2001
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TexasPete,

The OSD-GPS is part of the puzzle for sure. The other telemetry we are interested in are airspeed, altitude, flight battery condition, drive battery condition, etc.....

Gene
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Old Sep 04, 2004, 09:56 AM
pfm
Patrick Mahoney
Fort Collins, CO
Joined Sep 2002
1,070 Posts
Battery condition would be really nice too. I hadn't thought of that.
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