WARNING: do NOT follow these instructions to load

WARNING: do NOT follow these instructions to load
WARNING: do NOT follow these instructions to load Megapirates NG firmware unless
you do have EXACTLY this Hobby King board.
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The thread about running unmodified stock firmware on this board is
at http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1726790
There is a LOT of information on this page, don't let it overwhelm you. It is NOT
complicated when you do it one step at a time.
I suggest you read all of this page, don't worry if there are parts you don't understand
initially, read the whole page.
Then come back and read it a second time, it will then slowly start to make more sense,
when you are comfortable that you have a clear idea in your head of all the required steps only then start implementing it with your HK Mega,
The information on this page is NOT in the order you would use it, and some information
about GPS for example may NOT apply to the particular GPS that you have purchased,
therefore please read all the information FIRST BEFORE DOING ANYTHING to your
board.
************************************************** **************************************************
**************************
Do I need Megapirates NG ?
No, you don;t need to modify the stock standard firmware in the HK Mega as shipped
UNLESS you want to use the additional features available in Megapirates NG
Megapirates NG is optional, you don't have to have it unless you want to.
If you are not proficient at using Arduino to modify code then this information may
not be for you, carefully consider if you want to learn Arduino FIRST before following
any of the instructions in this thread.
If you are not proficient at using Arduino to modify and load code, I suggest you do not
follow this thread as the instructions will mean nothing to you and will cause you lots of
frustration.
What is Megapirates NG [MP NG] ?
MP NG is Arducopter firmware ported over to less expensive "Mega" boards based on the
Atmel ATMEGA2560 MCU.
Until very recently when Rctimer started selling their ArduFlyer 2.5 which is 100% the same
as APM 2.5, APM boards for running ArduCopter had been sold at a inflated price far above
what it actually cost to make the board and that is the historical reason for MP NG being
developed in the first place.
MP NG has basically the same functionality as Arducopter, each time Arducopter firmware
is upgraded a few months later MP NG is also upgraded to keep up to date.
Almost all documentation pertaining to ArduCopter applies to MP NG, things that don't
apply - you cannot update firmware from within Mission Planner, to update MP NG firmware
you must used Arduino, Mega boards do not have on board logging to flash..
Today if you want a real 100% APM 2.5 at a fairer price than 3DR sell it for,
Google RCTimer ArduFlyer V2.5 which is sold as a single board or bundled with the
excellent !! CN-06 V2.0 GPS and 3DRadio.
Useful code and documentation links for ArduCopter and MP NG in no particular order of
importance, look at all of them.
http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/ArduCopter2
http://code.google.com/p/megapirateng/
http://code.google.com/p/megapirateng/downloads/list
http://code.google.com/p/megapiraten...ngStarted?tm=6
Back to the topic on hand. Initially there was doubt MP MG would run on this board, I
found a few very simple modifications to MegaPirate NG V2.7 R4 code make it run nicely on
this board. Full details further down this page
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http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...PS_Module.html
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Latest batch of GPS shipped by Hobby King appears to be the same GPS as depicted
below without the white sticker over the GPS module.
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IMPORTANT:You MUST shield the BMP085 barometer from both LIGHT and PROP
WASH
Blue arrow pointing to BMP085 barometer
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Like all barometers, the one on this board is very sensitive to both LIGHT and Prop Wash. It
is much easier to shield the barometer before you install the board. Detailed
instructions here http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=452
The micro USB connector is fragile, although not as fragile as some but it is fragile so
take care. at least this one has solder tabs on both sides as well as on the 2 rear corners, I
took the precaution of putting a little bit more solder on those 4 points. Also helps to find a
micro USB cable on which the end of the cable that plugs into the board is not a very tight
fit, the supplied USB cable is a good fit.
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*-- Connecting the Receiver --*
HK Mega is supplied with a cable for connecting the RC receiver that at first seems not to
have enough pins, you only need to connect GND and 5V once and then the rest of the
single female pins one per channel
The radio connections on Connector J11 headers for MP NG 2.7 R4 are;
Quote:
The inner row of that group of headers [the pins closest to the white writing A8--A15]
A8 = Throttle
A9 = Aileron/Roll
A10 = Elevator/Pitch
A11 = Rudder/Yaw
A12 = Ch5/Radio 5
A13 = Ch6/Radio 6
A14 = Ch7/Radio 7
A15 = Ch8/Radio 8
The outer row [along the outside edge of the board] of that group of headers is GND for the
Receiver
The middle row of that group of headers is +5V for the Receiver
Red connects to (+) supplies power to the RX receiver
The cable supplied by HobbyKing is not the best, I suggest you do NOT use it, the cable is
too stiff and the female pins are not a tight fit on the headers which means they could very
easily come off in flight.
Instead I suggest you order a packet of 10 of these - 10CM Male to Male Servo Lead (JR)
26AWG (10pcs/set) http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=21758
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One 3 lead cable cable you connect to A8 on the board, other end of that cable goes to your
Receiver Throttle. That cable connects Throttle from your Receiver and also connects GND
and 5v to power your Receiver.
The other 3 lead cables you connect in a straight line along the length of the inner side of J1
pins so that;
the first cable connects to A9,
second cable to A10,
third cable to A11
and connect the single cables to your receiver.
If you need to re arrange any cables at your receiver end you can use a sharp knife to lift
the plastic tab [gently, don't break it off] on the cable header pull the cable out and swap it
to another location.
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Check that you have made the correct connections in Mission Planner - Radio
Calibration
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*-- Connecting ESC --[Powering your HK Mega --*
there is no need to connect GND and 5V for each and every ESC
I know many people use the UBEC in one of the ESC to power the FlightController, this is
NOT a good idea. If that one chosen ESC fails then there is no power for your FC and
without any control your lovely multicopter is simply going to fall like a brick even if you have
6 or 8 motors and you think there was redundancy.
It is much better to power the FC from a dedicated BEC like this one from HK
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...Reduction.html
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The 3A switching UBEC is supplied with a 3 pin plug, notice one slot is not used, you can
neatly cut if off to end up with a 2 pin plug.
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It is also a good idea to connect this HK capacitor on one of the 5V and GND connections to
prevent brownouts, I used double sided tape to hold it in place
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...Protector.html
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You can neatly cut off the third unused empty slot on the capacitor connector
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Then you have all sorts of choices about where you connect the switching UBEC to power
the board and the capacitor to prevent brownouts.
Remember the black lead is always closest to the edge of the board
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The ESC wring needs Only to have each ESC Signal wire connected, connecting all or any
of the ESC GNDs can lead to electrical noise from ground loops, GND is already connected
to the FC via the power supply negative lead, no need to have 4 or 8 copies of it to generate
unwanted ground loops.
Real benefits from connecting fewer wires for the receiver and the ESC are;
- Less stiff wires to transfer vibration from the frame to the FC which you mounted on some
sort of shock absorption material.
- Less stiff wiring, much easier to connect everything.
- Much neater.
- No ground loops.
I removed all the wires except ESC signal from the connectors wrapped them in tape to
insulate them, they do not even enter the FC enclosure.
-- Connecting the GPS --
[
The 2 pink wires are not connected.
GPS cable connects to GND TX2 RX2 5V, RX and TX are crossed
Quote:
BLUE -> GND
GREEN -> TX2
YELLOW -> RX2
BLACK -> 5V
The 2 outside pink wires are NOT used
If your supplied MTK3329 GPS cable has different colors them match these connections to
MTK3329 GPS
Quote:
GND -> GND
RXA -> TX2
TXA -> RX2
VDD -> 5V
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Don't expect miracles when indoor testing any GPS including the one supplied by HK
- take it outdoors.
Indoors or under a roof at the edge of a verandah, it will NOT work properly. it will receive
satellites BUT it will only be accurate once you take it outside with a clear view of the sky all
around and leave it powered initially for about 45 minutes so that it captures all the relevant
satellite data. Then you can start judging how good it is, try a ground plane [Square piece of
aluminum or unetched PCB will do fine] under the GPS antenna and see what difference it
does make. the optional CN-06 V2.0 GPS does NOT need a Ground Plane.
Indoors you will get a 3D fix BUT it will not be precise it will have an offset in one direction, it
may be off by quite a few meters and it will wonder around far more than it will outside, this
is perfectly normal.
-- Loading the MP NG Firmware -Don't skip the next step, I know it seems strange to load Multiwii first when we really
want to run MP NG, but this will save you all sorts of GPS headaches.
Code is edited and loaded into your Mega board's ATMEGA2560 using Arduino
Software
http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
You do need to become familiar with using Arduino, lots of tutorial on the net.
Additional information other than what is discussed in Arduino tutorials relevant to modifying
either Multiwii or MP NG code is;
After you have downloaded the relevant code, usually a ZIP file.
You need to copy from the zip file the code sub directory to the place Arduino keeps
sketches which on Windows 7 is - Documents - My Documents - Arduino
You also need to copy from the zip file the LIBRARIES to the libraries folder of Arduino, in
Windows 7 that is C:\Arduino-1.0.1\Libraries
That information is very standard Arduino stuff covered in Arduino tutorials.but it may not be
obvious that you need to do that first.
NOTE: if you wish to update HK Mega firmware using Arduino - you must place the
jumper over J1 header, if you have a 3DRadio connected to J2 you must disconnect it
Easiest way to set up the supplied MTK GPS for correct baud rate etc is to first run
Multiwii_dev_r1240 which has a routine which tries to guess the current GPS baud rate then
sets and stores 115200 along with other settings, to use it edit the source to enable it to
AUTOMATICALLY setup the GPS
Download and edit Multiwii_dev_r1240
http://code.google.com/p/multiwii/do...0.zip&can=2&q=
The version of Multiwii dev keeps changing, I originally used r1143, if the link above stops
working again, use the link below to find the latest dev_rversion of Multiwii.
http://code.google.com/p/multiwii/downloads/list
in Multiwii_dev_r1240 config.h make these settings
Quote:
#define FFIMUv2 // second version of 9DOF+baro board from Jussi, with HMC5883 <-
confirmed by Alex
#define GPS_SERIAL 2 // should be 2 for flyduino v2. It's the serial port number on arduino
MEGA
#define GPS_BAUD 115200
#define INIT_MTK_GPS // initialize MTK GPS for using selected speed, 5Hz update rate and
GGA & RMC sentence
Compile and upload that to the HK Mega board, make sure your GPS is connected so the
GPS is in fact setup.
That should take a few seconds, then you can forget about Multiwii
We are not intending to fly using Multiwii nor to do anything further with Multiwii, we
are done with Multiwii we will be loading Megapirate NG.
OK, we have set up the GPS, now it is time to load what we will be using
MegaPirateNG_2.7_R4 You didn't skip the bit above?
Download and edit MegaPirateNG V2.7 R4
http://code.google.com/p/megapiraten...4.zip&can=1&q=
After you have downloaded MegaPirateNG V2.7 R4
You need to copy from the zip file the code sub directory to the place Arduino keeps
sketches which on Windows 7 is - Documents - My Documents - Arduino
You also need to copy from the zip file the LIBRARIES to the libraries folder of Arduino, in
Windows 7 that is C:\Arduino-1.0.1\Libraries
That information is very standard Arduino stuff covered in Arduino tutorials.but it may not be
obvious that you need to do that first.
in APM_Config.h make these changes
Quote:
// Select your sensor board
#define PIRATES_SENSOR_BOARD PIRATES_FREEIMU
// Select your baro sensor
#define CONFIG_BARO AP_BARO_BMP085_PIRATES
// For BlackVortex, just set PIRATES_SENSOR_BOARD as PIRATES_BLACKVORTEX, GPS
will be selected automatically
#define GPS_PROTOCOL GPS_PROTOCOL_NMEA
#define SERIAL0_BAUD 115200 // Console port
#define SERIAL2_BAUD 115200 // GPS port
#define SERIAL3_BAUD 57600 // Telemetry (MAVLINK) port
You also need to select your Frame and Frame Orientation, here I am setting up a hex
frame in X orientation
Quote:
//#define FRAME_CONFIG QUAD_FRAME
#define FRAME_CONFIG HEXA_FRAME
/*
QUAD_FRAME
TRI_FRAME
HEXA_FRAME
Y6_FRAME
OCTA_FRAME
OCTA_QUAD_FRAME
HELI_FRAME
*/
#define FRAME_ORIENTATION X_FRAME
/*
PLUS_FRAME
X_FRAME
V_FRAME
*/
AND a last one to correct mag on HK Mega board, I know we should not edit config.h, but
this was the easiest way
in config.h make these changes
Quote:
#else
#define CONFIG_IMU_TYPE CONFIG_IMU_PIRATES
//#define MAG_ORIENTATION ROTATION_YAW_180
#define MAG_ORIENTATION ROTATION_YAW_270
#endif
At first it may appear that there is no config.h file to be found. Arduino interface cannot fit
all the files in one line. There is a drop down menu at the end of the line. Click on the drop
down menu [DOWN ARROW]
And then click on config.h in the list that drops down
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Many people have now successfully tested it apart from myself, I have flown the board with
MP NG and it works fine as expected.
** -- Motor connections for Megapirates NG --**
Note Octa configuration cannot be used as HK Mega does not have D11 and D12
connected.
Motor numbers, Motor number 2 connects to D2 on the HK board.
Configuration
http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_First
First thing you should do is clear the eeprom in the boards Atmega2560 so that you do not
encounter strange issues caused by invalid data left behind in the eeprom from previous
versions of code.
This will ONLY work using the USB connection, you use Mission Planner to perform this
task
http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/downloads/list
Connect your USB cable but do not click the Connect button on Mission Planner.
If Mission Planner is already connected click on Disconnect
Click on the Terminal tab.
Some text should appear ending with MegaPirateNG V2.7 R4}
Type setup and press Enter, you can type ? to get a list of available commands
Type Erase and press Enter
When the eeprom erase operation is completed click on the Fligh Data Tab, then click on
the Connect Tab
Click on the Configuration Tab
Click on Hardware Options
Enable the compass and type in your Magnetic Declination
Be aware that the compass WILL NOT work correctly until you have also clicked on Live
Calibration and rotated the board at lest one full revolution on each of the 3 axis. You can
do this now to get the compass working, once the board is mounted in your frame you need
to do this again properly, see the documentation.
You also need to perform - Radio Calibration and Flight Modes etc, read the
documentation
http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_First
*-- Warnings --*
Very important, you must reset all Trim and Sub-Trim in your RC Radio transmitter to
ZERO - VERY IMPORTANT
You must calibrate each ESC individually EVEN IF you have already previously calibrated
them using some other firmware and specially when you switch back and forth between
MWii and MPNG as a lot of you seem to be doing. ESC calibration that was done for
Multiwii is very likely to not work with MP NG because Multiwii can set lower minimum PWM
and if you programmed your ESC to those very low PWM values with Multiwii, your ESC will
NOT ARM as MP NG does not put out such low PWM values, Solution is simple, remove
the props and re calibrate each ESC individually.
I find that none of the easy ESC calibrations in Mission Planner work correctly for me. Doing
it manually one ESC at a time works much better and works every time without a lingering
doubt of - did it program correctly -.
This is what I recommend to calibrate ESC.
First reset all trim and sub-trim in your transmitter - all to Zero.
Disconnect Lipo,
Remove all propellers, don't be tempted to leave propellers ON as you WILL regret it
when your arm or face is bleeding from multiple deep cuts.
Repeat this for each ESC One at a time
Quote:
Disconnect Lipo from your frame.
Connect your Throttle output from your receiver directly to one ESC.
Switch Transmitter ON, move Throttle lever fully UP.
Connect Lipo - you will hear some loud beeps and one soft beep a few seconds later.
Now lower the throttle lever fully down and you should hear one more beep.
Slowly raise the throttle the motor should start to spin smoothly, raise the throttle to full UP and
back DOWN, the motor should run smoothly and only stop when you have the throttle lever all
the way down or very very close to fully down.
That ESC is done.
Make sure motor is stopped, throttle all the way down.
Disconnect Lipo
Raise Throttle all the way up ready to program the next ESC and repeat that process for each
ESC ONE AT A TIME.
I am using Simonk flashed ESC and I found that I needed to ensure no more than 2000
PWM is output to any motor ESC because if I allow more than 2000 the motor stops.
You can monitor Motor OUT in Mission Planner by clicking on Actions - Raw Sensor View Radio
Remove propellers, ARM by applying Minimum Throttle and Right YAW for 6 seconds then
advancing throttle to maximum and making sure none of the Motor OUT readings go above
2000.
Even after correctly performing Radio Calibration in Mission Planner - Configuration - Radio
Calibration, I found when testing before first flight that PITCH needed to be REVERSED on
my Transmitter. Make sure Pitch is working correctly before your first flight
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*-- PID Tuning --*
It will be a miracle if the default PIDs are correct for your frame and motors. You will have to
perform PID tuning.
Easiest way to tune PID is Using CH6 mapped to a dial on your RC Tx
First - go to this page http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_Tweaks
Scroll down to Method 2: Flying Attitude Tuning with CH6: learn how to use a dial on CH6
for tuning.
Then - have a look at this excellent tutorial in which the Author forgets to mention that he is
using Method 2: Flying Attitude Tuning with CH6:
http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/ar...r-tuning-guide
Seriously, you should wear long welding gloves when tuning this way as it is very easy for
the blades to cut your arm while you hold the frame, Eye Protection is also recommended.
--- GPS --Using a ground plane with the GPS does help with MTK-3329 GPS, NOT with CN-06 V2.0
GPS which does not need any additional Ground Plane.
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This is not the supplied GPS, it is the Crius CN-06 V2.0 I was testing, I discovered later
that this GPS in fact works better without any additional ground plane.
Here you see the UBEC which gets power directly from the Lipo and supplies 6V to (+) and
(-) connectors on D46 header, alonside you see the 6 single wires which connect to the
Signal input on the 6 ESCs which control the 6 motors on my HexX
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.
--- You have choices when it comes to a better GPS that will work together with the
Mega FC --The supplied MTK-3329 works OK, for a little more you can get a much better GPS, which
has decent software for changing configuration parameters etc.
I am very impressed with MultiWii APM u-Blox NEO-6M CN-06 GPS Receiver V2.0 $26,99
http://www.rctimer.com/index.php?gOo....x=0&image.y=0.
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It does need to be programmed as it comes set to 9600 Baud and 1Hz update.
I used an FTDi cable together with UBLOX u-center software to set it to 115,200 Baud and
5Hz
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I have performed a lot of GPS module testing and comparison between the supplied MTK
3329, OpenPilot GPS v8 which uses the NEO-6Q, CRIUS Extend board which uses the
LEA-6H and CRIUS CN-06 V2.0 which uses the NEO-6M
My conclusion after a lot of testing is, use the inexpensive [ $29.90 ] CRIUS CN-06 V2.0
which comes with a low noise active antenna, it beats all the other GPS I have compared it
to for accuracy, least deviation, quick start up, accuracy straight after start up, satellite
acquisition in adverse conditions, the low noise antenna outperformed a much larger
passive patch antenna.
NOTE: This GPS does NOT benefit from using a ground plane beneath it. Make sure
the antenna is above any transmitters mounted on your frame, for example, mount
transmitter antennas on the arms and mount the GPS antenna as high as possible away
from any transmitter antenna such as telemetry radio.
ublox provides some real nice software u-centre which if you read the help will allow you to
customize a ublox GPS module, very handy bit of software.
If left out in the hot sun the ceramic patch antenna absorbs and retains a LOT of heat from
the sun. It will feel much hotter than the surroundings. This is normal, I am going to place a
sheet of white paper on the underside of the top surface of my food container above my
GPS antenna [plastic or paper does not affect GPS signals] with my name and phone
number printed on it in case my HEXX is ever lost and more importantly to keep the GPS
and FC cooler shaded from the heat of the sun.
Be aware that the CN-06 V2.0 GPS has an excellent very sensitive antenna design, it is not
the usual simple passive antenna and does NOT need improving with additional ground
plane modifications. Attaching it to a ground plane which improves reception on MTK
3329 does NOT work with this GPS as it seems to somehow ruin the antenna and makes
reception worse.
Unsoldering the antenna and soldering it directly to a ground plane does not ruin reception
but it just barely improves it, not worth the effort unless you are really using the ground
plane to shield the antenna from noise below it.
CN-06 V2,0 connected to HK Mega board
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You can also set the CN-06 V2.0 GPS to use the 3DR APM ublox script. 3DR-ublox.txt sets
the ublox NEO-6M on the CRIUS CN-06 V2.0 to output only the more compact UBX
protocol at 4Hz update which means the ATMEGA2560 wastes less time parsing the GPS
data and can spend more time doing more important tasks like PID more often, also the
default Navigation settings are for "Automotive" it changes it to "Flight" for faster response.
Instructions are here, they work exactly the same for CN-06 NOTE: this will NOT work
with MTK-3329
http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot/wiki/ublox
In order for MP NG to recognize the 3DR text programmed CN-06 you need to make the
following changes to APM_config.h;
set GPS protocol to UBLOX
set GPS baudrate to 38400
Like this
Quote:
// For BlackVortex, just set PIRATES_SENSOR_BOARD as PIRATES_BLACKVORTEX, GPS
will be selected automatically
#define GPS_PROTOCOL GPS_PROTOCOL_UBLOX
/*
GPS_PROTOCOL_NONE without GPS
GPS_PROTOCOL_NMEA
GPS_PROTOCOL_SIRF
GPS_PROTOCOL_UBLOX <<< Select this for UBLOX LEA-6 (CRIUS GPS boards and others)
GPS_PROTOCOL_MTK16
GPS_PROTOCOL_BLACKVORTEX
GPS_PROTOCOL_AUTO auto select GPS
*/
#define SERIAL0_BAUD 57600 // Console port
#define SERIAL2_BAUD 38400 // GPS port
#define SERIAL3_BAUD 57600 // Telemetry (MAVLINK) port
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*-- 3DRadio --*
A lot of people have a real struggle to get their 3DRadio or its equivalent from Rctimer to
work
These are the setting I use. In this example 115 means 115,200 baud, like I said you can
change this to 57600 if you like.
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The important things are the settings, the settings and the settings, it is all about the
settings;
Both AIR and GROUND unit settings must be set up exactly the same way.
57600 baud is plenty fast enough for APM Planner to work 100%
Things that will confuse you AFTER you think you have it working ! and suddenly for
some strange reason 3DRadio doesn't work anymore.
You bench tested 3DRadio and got it to work.
You then mount the 3DRadio in your frame connect Lipo and plug in USB and 3DRadio
doesn't work, in fact the HK Mega doesn't seem to work either, LEDs don't blink correctly.
If you had APM Planner working before and switched off 3DRadio, you FIRST need to
make sure APM Planner is DISCONNECTED.
Safest thing to do when nothing seems to work,
1. - switch everything off
2. - shut down Mission Planner on your PC
3. - switch on you HK Mega FIRST
4. - wait until HK Mega boots
5. - Now run Mission Planner
6.. select the correct COM Port and Baud Rate in Mission planner then click Connect.
3DRadio connections to HK Mega board J2 header
3DR -- J2
GND -- GND
5V ----- 5V
TX ---- RX0
RX ---- TX0
NOTE: if you wish to update HK Mega firmware using Arduino - you must place the
jumper over J1 header, if you have a 3DRadio connected to J2 you must disconnect it
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Useful code and documentation links for ArduCopter and MP NG in no particular order of
importance, look at all of them.
http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/ArduCopter2
http://code.google.com/p/megapirateng/
http://code.google.com/p/megapirateng/downloads/list
http://code.google.com/p/megapiraten...ngStarted?tm=6
Discussion thread about whitespy board that is similar to HK Mega and which has newer
sensors but is missing 3.3V voltage regulator and some headers is here
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1770898
Discussion about CRIUS AIOP is here
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1677726
Discussion about RCTimer ArduFlyer is here
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1752761 
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