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Apr 07, 2014, 08:50 PM
AMA 697691 / FAA 13675
Thread OP

Witespy RTFhawk and mini Hawk/PX4 for APM

See post #6 for mini Hawk/PX4 information.

The Witespy RTFhawk 2.4.6 is an advanced autopilot system designed by the PX4 open-hardware project. It features advanced processor and sensor technology from ST Microelectronics® and a NuttX real-time operating system, delivering incredible performance, flexibility, and reliability for controlling any autonomous vehicle.

The benefits of the RTFhawk system include integrated multithreading, a Unix/Linux-like programming environment, completely new autopilot functions such as Lua scripting of missions and flight behavior, and a custom PX4 driver layer ensuring tight timing across all processes. These advanced capabilities ensure that there are no limitations to your autonomous vehicle. RTFhawk allows existing APM and PX4 operators to seamlessly transition to this system and lowers the barriers to entry for new users to participate in the exciting world of autonomous vehicles.

RTFhawk includes:
  • RTFhawk 2.4.6 autopilot in a case pre-solder, cleaned, and tested
  • Buzzer
  • Safety switch button
  • Extra 6-position cable to connect a GPS+Compass module
  • SD card and USB adapter
  • 3-wire servo cable
  • Hard Plastic Case

RTFhawk Updated on March 01, 2016:

The shipping RTFhawk has gotten some changes.
  • Board version is now 2.4.6
  • Stability Improvements
  • Added caps on the power line
  • Added caps on the compass
  • Better SD card reader metal cage

RTFhawk Updated on August 22, 2014:

The shipping RTFhawk has gotten some changes.
  • Board version is now 2.4.5
  • Comes with backup battery installed
  • New Case
  • Plug-n-Play GPS with cable option
  • Plug-n-Play Telemetry with cable option
  • Plug-n-Play OSD with cable option
  • 6s Power Module option
  • Extra case option
Last edited by Greg Covey; Mar 10, 2016 at 11:23 AM.
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Apr 07, 2014, 08:51 PM
AMA 697691 / FAA 13675
Thread OP
  • Advanced 32 bit ARM Cortex® M4 Processor running NuttX RTOS
  • 14 PWM/servo outputs (8 with failsafe and manual override, 6 auxiliary, high-power compatible)
  • Abundant connectivity options for additional peripherals (UART, I2C, CAN)
  • Integrated backup system for in-flight recovery and manual override with dedicated processor and stand-alone power supply
  • Backup system integrates mixing, providing consistent autopilot and manual override mixing modes
  • Redundant power supply inputs and automatic failover
  • External safety button for easy motor activation
  • Multicolor LED indicator
  • High-power, multi-tone piezo audio indicator
  • microSD card for long-time high-rate logging
Weights from Fasa:
  • RTFHawk 2.4.5 (w/plastic case & MicroSD installed) 31,9 gr
  • ublox LEA 6H w/compass & cables wo/shield-hood 34,1 gr
  • Buzzer 4,3 gr
  • Safety switch button 1,9 gr
  • 915MHz Telemetry w/cable wo/antenna 6,7 gr
  • 915MHz Dipole Antenna 8,4 gr
  • Power module w/BEC up to 6S (w/cable) 20,8 gr
  • External Led + USB (w/cable) 4,1 gr
  • IC2 distribution board (w/cable) 2,9 gr
  • minimosd (w/rightangle pins installed) 4,7 gr
  • GPS Shield-hood 15,8 gr
  • PPM Encoder board (w/cables) 7 gr
  • Extra 6 wire cable 1,7 gr
  • Extra 4 wire cable 1,2 gr
  • PPM signal servo cable 1,9 gr
Options:Useful or Interesting Links:Photos and Videos:
Last edited by Greg Covey; Jan 03, 2016 at 08:51 AM.
Apr 07, 2014, 08:54 PM
AMA 697691 / FAA 13675
Thread OP
Accessory Links:
Updating Firmware:

The OTP check only gives a warning now so you can use the normal APM Mission Planner to upload new firmware.APM Board Orientation:
If the standard orientation of the Pixhawk/APM2 is not convenient, it can be mounted in over 30 other possible orientations.
See the Alternative orientations on APM Wiki.

Compass/MAG Orientation:

When using the CN06 Plus GPS module or the Witespy uBlox 6M GPS W/ Mounting backplane and Compass, set the compass orientation in Mission Planner to ROTATION_ROLL_180 instead of ROTATION_NONE. This differs from the setting for the same orientation in an ArduFlyer. Here are a few related posts for more information and photos.GPS/GNSS/Compass Options:Arming the RTFhawk:
  • Press the safety switch
  • Listen for the "ok to arm" tone
  • Throttle down and right rudder for 5 seconds
  • The main light starts flashing blue and red
  • In a second your props will start to spin
LED Definitions:

Main LED Color Translations from FrozenPilot

Pixhawk  <>  RTFhawk
Green    <>  Red
Blue     <>  Green
Red      <>  Blue
Yellow   <>  Pink/Violet
  • Main LED Flashing red: Disarmed, GPS lock acquired (with quick double beep tone at time of disarming)
  • Main LED Solid red: Armed, GPS lock acquired (with single long tone at time of arming)
  • FMU PWR = Flight management Unit Power
  • FMU B/E = FMU Processor in Bootloader mode (flashing) or Error (Steady)
  • I/O PWR = Input/ Output Power
  • I/O B/E = I/O processor in Bootloader mode (flashing) or Error (Steady)
  • ACT = Activity (a flashing heartbeat) indicating everything is ok
  • Pixhawk Multi-color LED functions
Flashing red and blue: Initializing gyroscopes
Double flash yellow: Failing pre-arm checks
Flashing blue: Disarmed, no GPS lock found
Flashing green: Disarmed, GPS lock acquired (with quick double beep tone at time of disarming)
Solid green: Armed, GPS lock acquired (with single long tone at time of arming)
Solid blue: Armed with no GPS lock
Flashing yellow: Radio failsafe activated
Flashing yellow with quick beeping tone: Battery failsafe activated
Flashing blue and yellow with high-high-high-low tone sequence (dah-dah-dah-doh): GPS glitch or GPS failsafe activated

Safety Switch
Quick, constant blinking: performing system check. Please wait.
Intermittent blinking: system ready. Press the safety switch to enable outputs to the motors (prerequisite for arming on copters)
Solid: outputs to motors enabled (copters can now be armed)
Connectors: The RTFhawk uses Molex PicoBlades except on the SPKT/DSM port which mates with Spektrum satellite receivers.

My GPS/Compass module and Spektrum satellite receiver connections were literally plug-n-play after first binding it with a receiver.

APM: Copter Antenna Tracking

Mission Planner-based GPS Tracking

Antenna Tracker - independent of any particular GCSI'll link the Antenna Tracker posts and videos here. Using a hawk as opposed to an Arduflyer v2.x provides several advantages. The on-board compass works very well so it can be mounted directly on the pitch axis of the tracker frame. The USB port can be used at the same time as the telemetry ports so you have more options to connect to your optional Ground Control Station (GCS). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

APM with AvA FireFLY6 VTOL by BirdsEyeView Aerobotics.

FireFLY6 Thread on RCG
Hover Assist Test Video Before AvA
Alt. Hold and Loiter Mode Testing Images
Before and After AvA Images
First Forward Flight Test Video
Last edited by Greg Covey; Apr 17, 2016 at 10:37 AM.
Apr 07, 2014, 09:18 PM
2 seconds from crashing
indoorheli's Avatar
Been wanting a version of that board for a while now.

Though weird how the price is changing on it every time I look at that site.
Apr 08, 2014, 01:34 AM
Registered User
bjornthans's Avatar
one important question for me,
is the case included?
Apr 08, 2014, 07:07 AM
AMA 697691 / FAA 13675
Thread OP

mini Hawk/PX4 Information

RTFQ announces their latest project on redesigning the popular PX4 flight controller. The project aims at redesign and integration of PX4 flight controller with I/O module to a much smaller form factor to make it suitable for all kinds of vehicle sizes.

mini Hawk/PX4 at RTFQ

mini Hawk/PX4 Flight Test on FW550 frame
mini Hawk/PX4 on QAV250 frame

mini Hawk/PX4 Support Thread from MyAirbot
Solid Red LED on mini Hawk/PX4
Power Module Cable Issue

  • If you are placing the Led/USB/Mag module with LED up, one needs to indicate compass orientation as roll_180 and position the module so USB plug is on the Right side.
  • The mini M8N GPS/Compass module needed to be rotated 180 degrees on yaw when using the ROTATION_NONE setting in Mission Planner. See image #1 below.
  • The mini Hawk/PX4 comes with QuadX v3.2.1 firmware so you need to install hexacopter firmware to enable motors 5 and 6.
  • When using a GPS/Compass module, the Multifunction Module (USB/RGBLED/Compass) should either be in its "position 0" (led down, usb plug on the right) or one can adjust its orientation in APM:Copter v3.3 full parameters list (compass_orient parameter), then adjust the compass_orient parameter for the external compass separately.
  • The mini Hawk/PX4 controller is a bit fickle for most users and there are difficulties getting around its eccentricities. One is the compass direction, another is the multifunction plug-in boards, another is the bootloader issues, and another is the Vinput and Cinput swap on the Power Module connector. Anyway, you get the idea that it is not for everyone and a RTFhawk/Pixhawk is a better defined path.
  • Most of the multi-function boards are I2C so you can break them out, if desired. Paul even has a RTF Mini Safety Switch & Buzzer for Hawk/PX4 which I have but did not try yet because I like the original switch and new black buzzer on the planes.
  • The firmware is the same as the Pixhawk and can be loaded right from Mission Planner without issue. As with any of the APM releases, it may not always be best to use the latest version. For APM:Copter, I am still using v3.2.1 and v3.2.3 on APM:Plane for various reasons. Again, this it up to the user to decide what best suits their needs.
  • The mini Hawk/PX4 doesn't have any power management like the Pixhawk so you have no 5v redundancy. For this reason, many people don't like to use it on a vehicle that has servos.
Last edited by Greg Covey; Mar 23, 2016 at 07:15 AM.
Apr 08, 2014, 08:01 AM
Technical Geek
strips's Avatar

I haven't done a comparison yet. I'm wondering if it compares to the Pixhawk or is more similar the PX4. Either way it should work just fine :-) I want one!
Apr 08, 2014, 10:01 AM
Registered User
What plugs needs the telemtri modules to be ?
Apr 08, 2014, 10:25 AM
Registered User
ron-sand's Avatar
order placed
Will be nice to compare it to my APM's
Apr 08, 2014, 11:19 AM
AMA 697691 / FAA 13675
Thread OP

Although I was just kidding, the price dropped this morning to $99.


It should be the same artwork and parts as the Pixhawk. It is an open-source design.


Hopefully, it's the same as the Pixhawk. I'll know more later this week when it arrives.
Latest blog entry: Greg's Web Hangar
Apr 08, 2014, 11:26 AM
2 seconds from crashing
indoorheli's Avatar
Originally Posted by Greg Covey

Although I was just kidding, the price dropped this morning to $99.
I wasn't, that is what is started out as last night.

Been trying to get a hold of of him since last night to add one to my last order. But I don't get a reply and they dont answer their phones
Apr 08, 2014, 11:33 AM
AMA 697691 / FAA 13675
Thread OP
It looks like he moved the RTFpower module with XT60 connectors and 6-position connector cable back to an option so I updated the post above. He probably realized that many folks either already have one or don't use it so why make them pay for it.

Try calling him in the evening after 6:00.
Latest blog entry: Greg's Web Hangar
Apr 08, 2014, 11:38 AM
2 seconds from crashing
indoorheli's Avatar
Last night it was 99 bucks with the RTF power module.
Apr 08, 2014, 03:43 PM
Registered User
but what about quality?does it good?does it latest pixhawk design(like original and not a old design copy??)
could you put on more pictures to see the quality?
are you already test it and check if everything working well
Apr 08, 2014, 04:29 PM
AMA 697691 / FAA 13675
Thread OP

Let me guess, you paid $200 for yours?

I don't know what the differences are between version 2.4 and others.

We haven't received our RTFhawks so it is difficult to answer your questions. On the Multiwii boards, MEGA Pro series, Flips, etc, I have not seen quality issues. On the ReadyToFlyer 2.52, I have not seen any issues. Below is a test flight of my hexaHAL using the ReadyToFlyer 2.5.2 with APM 3.1.

(4 min 26 sec)
Latest blog entry: Greg's Web Hangar

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