Friday, February 25, 2011

A Closer Look at the ArduPilot Mega

We received the ArduPilot board last week, and now we're getting ready to start getting going with it.  We bought the assembled and tested system from uDrones.  They're providing a great service by providing assembled and tested boards, as well as selling RTF quadcopters as well.  There's a nice writeup on what they're doing on diydrones
Here is what we ordered from uDrones.  The assembled and tested price includes the Ardupilot, IMU, and MediaTek GPS.  There's an optional GPS upgrade from MediaTek to U-blox.  The magnetometer is optional; you'll need it for any copter configuration.
  • Ardupilot Mega 1.4.  This is the red board.  It's a custom Arduino-based board.  A separate coprocessor handles PPM (radio control) decoding.
  • IMU/Oilpan Board.  This is the blue board.  It came from uDrones attached to the Ardupilot. It holds the gyros, accelerometers, pressure sensor, magnetometer input, etc.
  • MediaTek MT3329 GPS: 10Hz + Adapter Basic.  This is the cheaper GPS option when buying from uDrones.  It's the recommended standard unit.
  • HMC584 Triple Axis Magnetometer: Rev 1.1.  This is most important for multicopters. 

Weights for each of the units are as follows:
  • ArduPilot + IMU/Oilpan: 395 grams
  • MediaTech GPS: 74 grams
  • HMC584 Magnetometer: 22 grams

We received the unit pre-flashed for the X-quadcopter but we'll be downloading our own builds.

Lots more details to come as we start assembling and testing the quad and fixed wing versions.

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