Paparazzi, the RTF Autopilot? - Page 4 - RC Groups
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May 16, 2008, 01:06 AM
Registered User
I think that after the tiny 2.11 becomes available many people will try Paparazzi.
and it will evolve more rapidly.
I was looking for an autopilot for about two years now but those prices even made me want to make my own (simpler not like Paparazzi) but i have almost no time available since i have to work at two jobs in order to raise enough money (just got married).
From what i have seen so far paparazzi has the potential to become a very good autopilot
or a safety (return and circle home) device very valuable especially to 4K Euro and up jets.
I also want to thank you all for your valuable information and help
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May 17, 2008, 02:06 PM
UAV Driver
IAD's Avatar
Quick question... I'm sourcing out bits and pieces of a Tiny setup, and I'm stuck... Can I use the Xtend cased USB modem for the groundstation, or do I need to get the serial version, and THEN use an serial-->USB adapter?

I'm guessing I can go straight USB, but...


May 17, 2008, 06:20 PM
Registered User
the USB version has an USB to serial adapter in it. I dont think its FTDI I think its another brand. But it essensially does the same thing you would do with a serial modem.

May 21, 2008, 07:27 PM
bmw330i's Avatar


I owe this thread an update.

Have two working Tiny2.11 ready to program for my two aircraft. One is an EasyStar the other a FunJet.

EasyStar: Still in the box

FunJet: Airframe is together, servos in the wing, pushrods installed. Motor Mount on, have the layout I wish for the autopilot, IR sensor (Dual Only), XBee Pro OEM 2.4ghz module, battery...have the Picoblade connectors on the Receiver, servos, IR sensor (Dual) and ESC ... big note here...remove the power wire from the ESC. You don't need it to be powering the Tiny as well. I forgot and the ESC got really hot. I'm suprised I did not burn it up or the Tiny. I think I caught it in time.

Time now to:
- Get everything wired up and to the Tiny2.11 (Gyro, IR, ESC, Rx, Servos, Barometer etc)
- Mount everything so Tiny2.11 can be powered on/off and programmed without removing it or having to do any disassembly (i.e. remove parts from the plane).
- Need to set the neutrals for the IR sensors...basically the stuff on the Wiki about tuning the airframe:

I am also investigating SunMicrosystems (SunSpots) as a possible autopilot. They have built-in wireless, connector for external sensors and best of all run a Java VM on a pretty speedy chip. The NetBeans IDE is free as is much of the source for code that would work for an autopilot. My partner JB is very good with Java so maybe we can get some traction with that and look into that. To be honest I'm concerned about ivy-ocaml and the other bits that seem only to be used in Paparazzi. Now ocaml I have heard of so I'm staying open minded. That's why the SunSpot solution would be parallel not replacing Paparazzi "Tiny" based solutions. Not yet.

Well that's my update. If we go the SunSpot direction I'll start a new thread on that progress to keep this thread on the topic of Paparazzi Project build info.

I can say at this point I really have a good understanding of the Hardware, how to program the boot code, the USB programming and the interaction with the GPS using the tunnel. Next will be getting familiar with the other bits and flying. And learning enough about the XML to add sensors not found in the default aircraft files given as samples in the source.

May 22, 2008, 02:07 AM
Registered User
This SunSpots look very promising indeed.
I think it will do the job but some heavy programming is needed.
If you succeed in this i will be the first to buy/try one.
Btw i find very difficult to understand the way flight plans are written.
I can understand the statements etc but there is something that my brain hates but i can't pin point it.
It looks to me that there is too much room for errors using the way the xml
is created.
May 23, 2008, 07:45 AM
Registered User

Paparazzi vs Sunspots

Good Day:

I appreciate the possible interest in the Sunspots platform. However I appreciate even more the detail which you have presented in this build log. I have watched and read the Paparazzi web site for some many months and always felt that a lot of the details were left for the individual to discover on their own. You have found this and I thank you for the details you have provided.

It appears that the Sunspots has some challenges for our applications. It is larger than would easily fit in smaller planes. It is not very light. And by crackey it is a bit expensive at $750.00 US for a starter kit. When you add what would be needed to make it a possible airborne platform, you could be spending more than what a dedicated autopilot, readily available, and with a working history and software stack, cost off the shelf. And you still would have the weight and size to deal with.

So if you could continue on with the Paparazzi project to conclusive and satisfactory flight reports, I for one would certainly appreciate it a lot. You seem to be close. I have concerns that a distraction by Sunspots would leave those of us following this with interest, hanging like a season finale, but with no new season to look forward to.

Again thanks for the hard work you have done, and the detail and information you have provided.

Jim H
May 23, 2008, 12:04 PM
Registered User
I am following this thread, and find it very interesting.
I was just wondering if you managed to get the LEA-5H working properly on the tiny?
May 23, 2008, 02:15 PM
bmw330i's Avatar
Originally Posted by dafatboy
I am following this thread, and find it very interesting.
I was just wondering if you managed to get the LEA-5H working properly on the tiny?
Hi Dan,

Good question, I thought I mentioned this. Yep. Works great. What happened is that there are two ways to program the GPS Module for Paparazzi. Either manual where you go in and simply set all the values per their suggestions...or you can use a feature of the u-center and import a file with the values. The only file they post is for the LEA_4P...guess what? It doesn't work in the 5H ... I found in u-center an option to reset everything to factory default. Doing that got it to stop freezing. Then I proceeded to manually using the menus and the Wiki info set the values. I then saved them. I should post it up to the Wiki...when I get some time.

I have found that the LEA-5H is way superior in sensitivity. Indoors it is picking up satellites and getting a fix where the same spot an LEA-4P based one is still searching for even a single satellite. As soon as the LEA-4P based Tiny2.11 sell out I'm only going to carry the 5H based ones.

As pointed out I agree, I should not be distracted (by SunSpots ) and will push on.
May 23, 2008, 02:22 PM
bmw330i's Avatar
Oh, BTW, there really is no need if you have Linux (I suggest Ubuntu 8.04) installed to have to install u-center on Windows. Just download the app on Linux. Install Wine (sudo apt-get install wine) then run the usetup.exe file you will install and run fine. To get com1 port visible to u-center you create a link:
cd ~/.wine/dosdevices && ln -s /dev/ttyUSB0 com1
That command above in English:
change to your home (~/ ) directory into the .wine / dosdevices directory. If successful (ie no errors) then create a symbolic link (ln -s) to the device (/dev/ttyUSB0) and call it com1
The FTDI USB cable most often maps in Linux to /tty/USB0 device. If not unplug everything else (USB wise) and then plug it in.
Now, u-center will launch, and com1 will be redirected to /dev/ttyUSB0 or your FTDI cable...which is to be connected to "serial1" on the Tiny2.11 autopilot...which has to have the "tunnel" program loaded. The "tunnel" sends UART1 communication direct to the serial1 port from the GPS. ... more on this in the Wiki. The above is just what is missing to do it on Linux. I did edit the Wiki to include some details or at least mentioned it works on Linux.

May 24, 2008, 01:26 AM
Registered User
Hi David.
I succeeded in running the paparazzi center within windows using VMware.
Ubuntu 8.04 sees the usb cable but i will not know for sure if it will program the tiny inside VMware until i get the tiny 2.11.
The reason i am using windows as a host is that i also need to record video from the onboard camera which also has the OSD module and so far i am unable to use my saa7134 card (pcmcia) to record video inside linux with acceptable quality.
Btw the Lea 4p can be programmed to output Nmea data from it's serial port?
My onboard sensor module (IAS, altitude etc.) has an input for a NMEA gps.
May 24, 2008, 12:07 PM
bmw330i's Avatar
Hello Chris,
That would be great if you get Paparazzi software fully working under VMWare. My experience is it is slow (VMWare). Maybe they have improved it.

You may wish to try and find open source solution to your driver you need Windows for. I know the feeling often is "if it only ran on Windows" but think of it as "if only people learned that Linux is free and you don't need Windows". Making Paparazzi Windows compatible means to me that you are making it tied to a non-free OS. Currently Paparazzi is open source as is the OS it runs on. You only have to pay for the actual hardware. Today, and tomorrow, upgrades=FREE, updates=FREE...I personally like it to stay that way.

If Paparazzi is not more "mainstream" I believe it's the lack of simpler end-to-end step-by-step instructions for getting something flying. My own "wish" list would include a single airframe (EasyStar?) and exact step-by-step from just having only the hardware components to first launch and the process of testing. For sure I see most all of that info exists on the Wiki or in the Archives of the email list but it is not end-to-end and not easy to follow for a "newbie". This build thread will hopefully do something similar. In the end I will edit either my BLOG or the first entry with the exact step-by-step when I'm in the air. I can guarantee it will be:
OS=Ubuntu 8.10
Aircraft=FunJet just like the Wiki but minus the Chemical Sensor

My views about Windows are my own. I wish you luck with the VMWare/Windows solution. Hopefully this thread will have useful information for your build or that you give Linux a chance without running alongside or on-top of Windows.

Good luck,
May 26, 2008, 04:54 AM
Registered User
HI David.
I have been following Linux for a long time now and believe me i would be very happy if i could use it for all my needs. I even post this reply from a pure linux box which is perfect for internet and office job.
I have spend endless nights trying to find a good program so i can record video
but i can't find anything.
My tv card works fine in Ubuntu and the video inputs are working fine it is just that i can't record video with sound yet and the video recording is not of good quality.
I tried Xawtv, Mythtv, me-tv, but no luck.
Recording the composite video input with a console command line like i do now is not exactly fun (mencoder).
Mythtv manage to destroy the system twice so i won't be trying this anymore.
The problems arise when i try to use a good pcb program (although i can run my favorite pcb program with wine) or an rc simulator or a video capture application.
Anyway i have installed Ubuntu 8.04 in my laptop and i must say that it found all the hardware and it is working fine so i will be working in a pure linux environment, i just want to experiment with win+vmware+linux.
Ubuntu 8.04 runs very fast inside vmware there is no problem here.
Btw i compiled my first flight plan and run a simulation succesfully!
It looks like everything will work.
May 26, 2008, 02:02 PM
Registered User

I got the tiny 2.11 !

David i just want to say that i got the tiny 2.11 that you sent me just now.
I can only say that your overall work is excellent.
Everything is just as it is supposed to be, perfect.
Tomorrow i will solder the servo and power connectors and start experimenting
May 27, 2008, 12:43 PM
Registered User
Hey guys, great addition to the build log. As a note on the 4P vs. 5H. The H models are built to have higher sensitivities, but longer start times. The 4H was better than the 4P as far as sensitivity, and the added features of the 5 series should make it all around better.

I ran paparazzi through VMware for over a year on my desktop(developing). It worked alright, however when I reformatted VMware would not run right, and made it impossible to use Debian Etch, with any X I tried. I finally gave up and made an install of Ubuntu 7.10 which I use now.

May 28, 2008, 02:15 AM
Registered User

molex connectors

Hi AntonK.
I found that the best way that those molex picoblade connectors can retain their wires is by soldering.
After two cables came off the molex connector and it became evident that all the cables are prone to failure at the crimping point (simply not much area for a good crimp)
i decided to remove all pins, re crimp the cables to the molex pins the best i could with pliers and then apply solder to the pin-cable joint.
Of course i used a microscope for the job and thank God my hands are steady as a rock.
Can anyone verify me the connections from the mini usb plug to the molex connector?
I read the wiki but i am still not sure where each pin of the usb jack connects to he tiny 2.11 pcb.
Here is a small how to solder them.

You will need:
1) soldering cream
2) a fine point nose soldering iron
3) VERY THIN solder (i used 1mm thick solder)
4) a microscope or a magnifier with base.
5) a clamp of some sort in order to keep the wire and pin steady.

First use a clamp to hold steady the wire not exactly horizontal
but with a 10 degree up attitude under the microscope.
Apply soldering paste to the naked wire which should be about 2mm long
and insert the pin to the wire.
Carefully with pliers squash the pin metal crimping area with just enough force in order to retain the pin to the cable insulation and slightly bend the metal around the wire naked strands .
Then apply the soldering iron to the pin where the naked wire is and apply A SMALL QUANTITY of solder to the soldering iron tip just to make it look wet, not to the pin!
When The pin and solder start to boil together and the solder gets absorbed by the wire
strands and looks like dissipated inside the pin remove the soldering iron and you are done.
After a few tests my opinion now is that this is a much better way than crimping.

Last edited by hendrix; May 28, 2008 at 04:48 AM.