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Feb 04, 2009, 11:00 PM
Thread OP
Build Log

New project to be flying this weekend! :: AttoPilot flying!


Woot!

I have everything I need to start flying this weekend autonomously. Yet, I am still missing a few items from the overall setup that I will install sometime next week or the following. I spy the following in my picture:

(1) MPX TwinStar 2
(4) HiTec HS-81 servos
(2) Scorpion 2215-18 motors
(2) Scorpion 35A ESC's
(1) TanicPack 5000mAh 3S Lipo
(1) TanicPack 2200mAH 3S Lipo (not shown)
(1) iCharger 106B-Plus
(1) Canon PowerShot SD1100IS with remote USB trigger
(1) 8GB SDHC card + CHDK framework (neat stuff!)
(1) 14mz transmitter (with 72mhz receiver)
(1) 2.4Ghz 1watt transmitter
(1) 2.4Ghz receiver
(2) 9XTend 1watt data modems
(*) Extension, Y Cables, Dean connectors
(1) Dell 830 Laptop Ground Control Station & Software
(4) APC-E 8X6E props
(2) CNC Custom made motor mounts
(1) AttoPilot 1.8 Navigation system & Sensors
(1) Castle Creations BEC (not shown)
(1) Parallax Prop Plug & Cable

What I don't have yet that I am still reviewing:

(1) 2 Channel Mini Video Switch V2
(1) OSD Camera (DPC-480A OSD Camera)
(1) Mounting bracket with 180o Pan / Tilt servos

Even though I don't have the above three items, I still will get everything going this weekend, and trimmed out on Saturday / Sunday. The build will start on Friday.

I will post videos and pictures as I go along.

Mike
Last edited by mhaun5; Feb 07, 2009 at 09:48 PM.
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Feb 05, 2009, 02:41 PM
Registered User
it looks great , please daily update for progress.

Any detail for 2.4ghz transmitter and receiver ( not 14mz ) ?

How to plan to connect remote trigger to canon ?

9XTend 1watt data modems ? ( what for ? )

"(1) Mounting bracket with 180o Pan / Tilt servos" you can use http://www.servocity.com/html/pan_ti...cessories.html for camera.
Feb 06, 2009, 03:02 PM
Thread OP
Woot! The build process has started.

I picked Dean Goedde up from the airport at 10:00 AM, and we made a few last minute runs for some miscellanous parts.

We are in the process of dry fitting everything together, as we need to make sure we have a good balance and access to all the equipment. One of the issues with the MPX Elapor foam based TwinStar 2 plane is that it has to be glued together; making it very difficult to jam everything in.

Anyhow, here are a few pictures of the AttoPilot v1.8!

---

gumush:

The 2.4Ghz 1 watt is a Lawmate unit. I purchased it from Black Widow AV

The Trigger unit to the Canon Camera SD1100IS will be done through the AttoPilot trigger system. But the way it actually works is via a USB trigger, via power of 3.3 - 5.2 volts; using CHDK custom framework.

The 9xTend modems are for the AttoPilot's ground control telemetry unit. It will be able to have uplink and downlink.

Thanks,
Mike
Feb 06, 2009, 04:46 PM
Registered User
Looks good. You'll probably need to hack out some of the foam to get all that stuff mounted. It is much easier to fit it all up and cut it before joining the two fuse halves.

I also have a Multiplex Twinstar II which is anxiously awaiting an Attopilot. I won't be using any video or downlink for telemtry but I will have a camera. Last time I took it up it was just taped onto the fuse but it'll be interesting to see what you come up with.

I mounted my esc's right behind the motors, which saved some space, but I need to shorten up my connecting leads. I set everyting up with plugs for a two piece wing but when I clean it up I'll tape the wing together to reduce the wiring mess.

I received an Amateur Radio beacon from Bigredbee.com today. It is used with a directional antenna for finding lost models. I actually lost a plane with a beacon on it. I could tell the direction it went but lost the signal before long. I think it may have come down in one of our many area lakes.

I'm currently covering a SIG LT-25 which will probably wind up as the aerial photography platform. Slightly modified of course; 6" wheels with very tall landing gear so I can mount the camera under the plane.

Vince
Feb 06, 2009, 05:37 PM
The Toy Man
Frisk151's Avatar
Mike,

Great choice in motors and autopilot. I have a Scorpion HKII 2221-10 in my Rave R/C heli running off a Castle 45 HV speed controller and it has incredible power on a 4S pack.

What brand video switch are you using? I'm going to be running multiple cameras on my airplane and I was going to hack up a standard 4 channel switch, but would much rather have a micro or small version.

I read above you picked up "the man" (Dean) from the airport. Talk about special AttoPilot delivery... I must have missed that shipping option...
I may do a build thread of my own on the Telemaster (has retracts and under-slung camera gimbal).

Look forward to more pictures on your build..

David
Feb 07, 2009, 04:05 PM
Registered User
icebear's Avatar
Mike,

Nice to see the 1.8 and your equipment.
Getting the designer over for the installation is really great customer service.

Good luck this weekend and looking forward to seeing the results!

/BjŲrn
Feb 07, 2009, 09:50 PM
Thread OP
Thanks Vince, David, Bjorn!

I have tons of updates to give. I am in the process of unloading pictures during the build. But here is a teaser: the plane flies autonomously!
Feb 07, 2009, 10:26 PM
Thread OP
We worked through the night on Friday, finally quitting around 2:30 AM CST. Most of the time we spent on the build was design and layout, trying to figure out how to lay out all the equipment in the most efficient manner.

One thing I wanted to do was relocate the servos from the front of the MPX TwinStar 2 to the mid/rear. This would help with the overall needed CG weight, as well as give more room for us to work with up front.

There were a few moments that caused us to focus more time during the build on:

- Remote USB Camera trigger switch
- Canon SD1100IS fitment
- Canon CHDK Custom Framework
- 9xTend SMA to MMCX connector (lack of a rubber ducky antenna)

We first began laying out where we would want to place the Canon camera. Although it is small in size, it is still bulky enough to make it a pain in the ass for a clean fit. Cut after cut, we finally got a decent placement of the camera and USB cord.

Once we knew we could adequately house the camera, I moved on to looking at the CHDK framework. I wrote a custom script and placed it on the SD card. Made a few tweaks, and then went to check how much voltage would trigger the shutter. We found it was in the ~4 volts range. This was more than the default AttoPilot output trigger logic (3.3v), so we used a simple Transistor to power 5v - which was perfect in making the camera take pictures on demand.

One of the last issues we ran into was that I had the wrong rubber ducky 900 MHz connectors (I had MMCX, needed SMA). Dean happened to have an extra 9xTend 1watt transmitter with him, so I stole that and quickly glued it into the plane (making it mine ). I then used my MMCX antenna, and routed it up through the tail. By cutting some of the extra compartments out, we were able to put the gear in various places.

Overall, we stopped working about 2:30 AM CST. We had just glued the two halves together, with a small shopping list of items needed for the next day. Our delirious minds figured we would sleep for 6-7 hours, and pick it up at 8-9:00 AM CST; finishing everything by Noon!

... Oh were we wrong!
Feb 07, 2009, 10:36 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhaun5
We worked through the night on Friday, finally quitting around 2:30 AM CST. Most of the time we spent on the build was design and layout, trying to figure out how to lay out all the equipment in the most efficient manner.

One thing I wanted to do was relocate the servos from the front of the MPX TwinStar 2 to the mid/rear. This would help with the overall needed CG weight, as well as give more room for us to work with up front.

There were a few moments that caused us to focus more time during the build on:

- Remote USB Camera trigger switch
- Canon SD1100IS fitment
- Canon CHDK Custom Framework
- 9xTend SMA to MMCX connector (lack of a rubber ducky antenna)

We first began laying out where we would want to place the Canon camera. Although it is small in size, it is still bulky enough to make it a pain in the ass for a clean fit. Cut after cut, we finally got a decent placement of the camera and USB cord.

Once we knew we could adequately house the camera, I moved on to looking at the CHDK framework. I wrote a custom script and placed it on the SD card. Made a few tweaks, and then went to check how much voltage would trigger the shutter. We found it was in the ~4 volts range. This was more than the default AttoPilot output trigger logic (3.3v), so we used a simple Transistor to power 5v - which was perfect in making the camera take pictures on demand.

One of the last issues we ran into was that I had the wrong rubber ducky 900 MHz connectors (I had MMCX, needed SMA). Dean happened to have an extra 9xTend 1watt transmitter with him, so I stole that and quickly glued it into the plane (making it mine ). I then used my MMCX antenna, and routed it up through the tail. By cutting some of the extra compartments out, we were able to put the gear in various places.

Overall, we stopped working about 2:30 AM CST. We had just glued the two halves together, with a small shopping list of items needed for the next day. Our delirious minds figured we would sleep for 6-7 hours, and pick it up at 8-9:00 AM CST; finishing everything by Noon!

... Oh were we wrong!

Did you get the RX working?

Chris
Feb 07, 2009, 10:40 PM
ios
ios
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhaun5
We worked through the night on Friday, finally quitting around 2:30 AM CST. Most of the time we spent on the build was design and layout, trying to figure out how to lay out all the equipment in the most efficient manner.

One thing I wanted to do was relocate the servos from the front of the MPX TwinStar 2 to the mid/rear. This would help with the overall needed CG weight, as well as give more room for us to work with up front.

There were a few moments that caused us to focus more time during the build on:

- Remote USB Camera trigger switch
- Canon SD1100IS fitment
- Canon CHDK Custom Framework
- 9xTend SMA to MMCX connector (lack of a rubber ducky antenna)

We first began laying out where we would want to place the Canon camera. Although it is small in size, it is still bulky enough to make it a pain in the ass for a clean fit. Cut after cut, we finally got a decent placement of the camera and USB cord.

Once we knew we could adequately house the camera, I moved on to looking at the CHDK framework. I wrote a custom script and placed it on the SD card. Made a few tweaks, and then went to check how much voltage would trigger the shutter. We found it was in the ~4 volts range. This was more than the default AttoPilot output trigger logic (3.3v), so we used a simple Transistor to power 5v - which was perfect in making the camera take pictures on demand.

One of the last issues we ran into was that I had the wrong rubber ducky 900 MHz connectors (I had MMCX, needed SMA). Dean happened to have an extra 9xTend 1watt transmitter with him, so I stole that and quickly glued it into the plane (making it mine ). I then used my MMCX antenna, and routed it up through the tail. By cutting some of the extra compartments out, we were able to put the gear in various places.

Overall, we stopped working about 2:30 AM CST. We had just glued the two halves together, with a small shopping list of items needed for the next day. Our delirious minds figured we would sleep for 6-7 hours, and pick it up at 8-9:00 AM CST; finishing everything by Noon!

... Oh were we wrong!

Looks great

Whens the first flight !?

Nick
Feb 07, 2009, 10:51 PM
Thread OP
For whatever reason, we figured we would simply throw the wing on and go. We needed some extra wire to connect and Y together the ESC's, which we would pick up on Saturday morning. After executing our plan, we were done shopping by 9:30 AM. Back to work!

The day started out well, things were going together nicely. Then the exhaustion set in, and we slowed down. Jimmy Prouty stopped by mid morning and offered a hand. We took it! He got us back on track and helped with the final push of getting the wiring and Scorpion ESC's programmed correctly.

We did a few things different than what the manual states. Specifically here, we glued the wing spar in-place, making it one entire wing surface. The reason we did this was mostly because we wanted to make it fly. I have enough space to transport without having to worry about completely breaking it down.

Once we had the wing and fuse completed, we started hooking up the AttoPilot. The install and configuration went extremely quick in comparison to everything else we had been doing in the past two days. In about 45 minutes, we had everything squared away - picking up Sat signals in the basement of my house.

We went through the entire ground test mode, and found we had to reverse a few items (rudder, aileron and elevator). We also set a few gains in the configuration file.

Fighting the time, it was now 5:00 PM CST and we hadn't even flown yet! We quickly scrambled to the field, and went to take it for its maiden flight. On the maiden power up, the NFL Tuck rule went into place; the result is this:

Feb 07, 2009, 11:05 PM
Thread OP
If anyone is familiar with United States football (National Football League); there is this thing called the "Tuck Rule". If you don't know what it is, Google it. This is what occurred on our first attempt to launch.

We rushed to the field while we had some daylight left. We did all of the preflight checks, verified the AttoPilot and Manual modes were working correctly. We powered up the motors, Dean cocked his arm back to launch the plane with throttle around ~50% and on the forward motion a loud PLOP and odd pitched noise was made.

Lucky enough, Dean was able to hold onto the plan and shut it down before it all hit the ground. In review, the prop just broke while it was at 50% throttle! This caused the prop to become way off balance and fly off all together. A piece slapped into the side of the frame, and one nearly hit Dean!

The prop must have been defective from the factory, for there was no reason for the blade to just break. I came prepared though, and had an extra one to use. After a short pit stop to replace the Prop, we were back in order.

Then the moment came. We ran all the pre-flight checks again, and went for a launch. Dean through the plane and off it went! A few clicks of trim, else everything was flying near perfect. For our first test, we through into AttoPilot mode and it worked near perfectly! It began a nice loiter circle around our launch site.

It handled and flew just great. This was the best launch in Dean's AttoPilot airfoil thus far on its first flight. Needless to say, we all were super excited. We let it fly for 15 or so minutes, and landed to check the data. We made a few changes, putting in some Photo-Grid waypoints, and launched everything again. Another perfect flight!

We have video of it all, and it will be posted tomorrow. We are going to make a few tweaks to some gains and other settings, but it is great to know we are up in running!

In hindsight, if the plane would have been already built and trimmed, the entire install would have taken about an hour! This unit is awesome!

More to come later.

Mike
Feb 07, 2009, 11:08 PM
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmcn_3
Did you get the RX working?

Chris
Chris,

No I did not. Thanks for trying to help though! I ended up using the 2.4 Ghz module from my large R/C Gas Helicopter. I need a DSC cable to make it work.

Thanks,
Mike
Feb 07, 2009, 11:14 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhaun5
Chris,

No I did not. Thanks for trying to help though! I ended up using the 2.4 Ghz module from my large R/C Gas Helicopter. I need a DSC cable to make it work.

Thanks,
Mike

Mike,

I am very glad to hear you guys got it worked out; I was feeling a bit bad for you. Itís great to hear it only took a couple of flight to tune it up; it really shows how far the development has come. We are looking very forward to seeing your GE tracks and video.

DSC cable........ Remember I said I never used my 72MHz RX? Well....... I always wondered what that cable was for sitting in my TX case

Great job guys!

Chris
Feb 07, 2009, 11:15 PM
Thread OP
Here is the first autonomous flight!


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