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New F550 with PIXHAWK

Discussion in 'Other DJI Multi-Rotors' started by markminer, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. markminer

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    Hello All,

    I finished out my F550 and I put a Pixhawk autopilot in it. I also own a DJI Phantom 2 with Zenmuse gimbal. I thought I would try something different than the Naza for this build and I have been very happy with it so far. My Phantom 2 with Zenmuse gimbal was purchased from the photography side of things and it is great for that purpose. The gimbal with the gopro is a lethal combination.

    http://youtu.be/oax7iPSHtAQ video from St Thomas, USVI.

    I purchased the F550 to FLY FLY FLY and FLY it does. It is fast and crazy and maneuverable. I fly it even when it is way too windy. It is rock solid fun. It will also fly exactly like a Naza when you have it in that mode. It is a very configurable system and flies very well. There are several aspects that are the same as the Naza ( Loiter on the Pixhawk = GPS hold on Phantom, there is simple and super simple which corresponds to Course Lock and Home Lock on the Naza) There is also fully autonomous flight with unlimited waypoints. Follow me mode where it will follow your phone. Circle mode where it will rotate around a point with camera always pointing towards the point. In autonomous mode you can also set it up to circle every waypoint once with the camera pointing at the waypoint before it moves to the next. The software is open source and for 100 bucks you get great telemetry for it that will connect to your laptop, (PC, MAC, or Linux) and the same telemetry will hook to your phone or tablet. (again iPhone or android). One other trick that I really like about Pixhawk is the reset to armed yaw. I have set one switch on my transmitter to 'reset-to-armed-yaw', which basically just yaws the helicopter back to the rotational position that was front when it was armed. This is very handy for reorienting yourself without having to go into simple or loiter mode.

    This is not a fanboy post. I love my phantom, I got it for Christmas and it was love at first site (with multirotor aircraft) I bought a 550 frame and was going to put a Naza in it and just started looking around, and the pixhawk caught my eye. The downside has been that it is constantly evolving hardware and you have to make sure that any instruction or youtube video that you watch deals with the hardware that you are using and not two generations ago hardware/firmware. The tech for this has been through many generations to get to here and some of the "information" on the web should be pulled or marked as historical.

    this is the video that got me thinking about the Pixhawk.

    http://youtu.be/SdRZuQiS7G4


    Mark Miner - At work but wish I were flying my F550!
     
  2. OI Photography

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    Thank you very much, Mark! I've been eyeing the pixhawk for a while now but wasn't sure it was quite ready to replace my Wookong...I'm glad to hear a report from someone using it on a 550 specifically. I could tell it had the potential to be an awesome system but wanted to be sure it was fully baked before diving in.

    Would you mind sharing a pic or two of the main controller and the GPS unit mounted on your rig? Also, from which dealer did you buy it, and do they offer the main unit and GPS together as a bundle?

    Thanks again, and I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions for you here very soon :)
     
  3. markminer

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    I am at work for a 48 hour shift. I will not be home until Sunday afternoon for photos. It is a pretty standard set up. I have the pixhawk on the bottom platform, along with the telemetry and futaba sbus receiver. The ublox gps module is on top next to my battery.

    I got the setup from 3drobotics. I bought the pixhawk, the ublox gps and the telemetry unit for about 379. They shipped it the next day. There were no problems setting it up except for ones I made for myself. 3Drobotics are the manufacturer. Usually I buy just about everything from my local hobby store, but they do not sell the pixhawk, (but my main go to guy there loves pixhawk).

    The community of people working with the pixhawk and the arducopter firmware that goes in it is very extensive. Lots of how to stuff out there. I would be happy to discuss the small sniggling issues that I had with it, one of which turned out to be a noob problem of mine.

    Mark Miner
     
  4. OI Photography

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    Thanks Mark, and no rush on the pictures or anything, just wanted to get a visual sense of how much space they eat up.

    I know there's a ton of info and activity in the arducopter community, I just haven't taken the time yet to dig in to it fully...I know it'll take a while to get familiar with it all.

    So telemetry is a single unit? I was figuring there would be a number of external sensors.

    I'll read up on it some more, and I'm sure I'll ask plenty of questions as I go.
     
  5. markminer

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    The GPS sensor is a single unit that has both the magnetometer and GPS within it. The telemetry unit is separate and just plugs into the board and has an antenna that sends the information to the software on your laptop, phone or tablet.

    Mark
     
  6. JTheed

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    I am also very interested in seeing how you have this installed, so whenever you can, please upload some pictures.
     
  7. JTheed

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    Mark,

    What Transmitter/Receiver are you using with your PixHawk?
     
  8. NYRangers99

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    Building a F550 and definitely interested in other GPS besides DJI stuff…this Pixhawk seems pretty good and definitely interested in knowing how it works out…Liking this a lot after that video
     
  9. tango

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    My entry into Drones was with a Phantom. Then downlink & AVL58 from DJI. I then decided to go down Pixhawk path with a custom quad & love it. It is so customisable (good & bad thing) but what converted me was the Free Mission Planner http://planner.ardupilot.com that has no limitations & a heap more flight modes. For example at the time DJI Point of Interest had only just come out & required a Wookong where that was free on Pixhawk (Arducopter). Im now ready to go for a hex which will probably be DJI BUT with a Pixhawk, hands down.
     
  10. mattpitts74

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    Good to hear people using the pixhawk. I've just got the parts to build a F450 with the pixhawk.

    I was wondering from anyone who has already done if if there are any special things I need to know?

    I have the standard F450 kit with the E300 motors and esc, the pixhawk and the combined gps and compass module.

    It would be great if someone could share a few photos and details of how they connected everything together.

    This will be my first build so any tips or guidance would be much appreciated.
     
  11. Alardt

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    Mark, I am trying to get my F550 up and working with Pixhawk. Did you plug all three wires from your ESC's into your Pixhawk? How did you test everything? Would you mind telling me the steps involved (calibrations and such) Thanks!
     
  12. darwin-t

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    I am using a Pixhawk clone called the RTFHawk in my F550. The DJI ESCs didn't seem to work well with it, though. I had to replace them. I mounted my 4 cell battery on the bottom.

    I'm really happy with the setup.
     
  13. darwin-t

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    Yes, you plug the ESCs into the flight controller, 1 through 6. Make sure you know the numbering system for the motors. It isn't intuitive. And that you have each motor gong the right direction. There IS a way to calibrate all of the ESCs at once. If you want to try that, I'll look it up. There is also a "test motor" feature in Mission Planner. You have that, don't you?
     
  14. darwin-t

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    I have a Pixhawk clone. I use a Turnigy 9X with a PPM converter. A Phantom receiver and transmitter will work directly, without the converter.
     
  15. darwin-t

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    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1987175