Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Arducopter 3.0.1 Software Is Really Good – Good Enough For FPV

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Sequence 01_1I’ve been flying various incarnations of software on my almost 3 year old Arducopter and never felt comfortable enough to trust flying it by video signal alone – until now. The inertial positioning in horizontal and vertical is really good and feels rock solid under fpv. The “return home feature – rtl” is also very reliable now and I trust if I loose video signal, I can get home. I flew 12 flights  totally under fpv the weekend of 7/13/2013 and had great success.  I invoked multiple rtls – at least one every flight and a total of 15 or so over the weekend. I was also using a beta iPhone app to watch flight values and battery condition with voice warnings of low battery etc. Here is video of one of the flights at my in-law’s farm:

Ardustation 2 2.0.18 Released – Adds Low Aircraft Battery Voltage Warning

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

I’ve been working on the Ardustation 2 software since August 2011 and I’ve finally gotten around to adding a feature that has been asked for more than once: a buzzer warning when the received Mavlink aircraft battery voltage has dropped at or below a set value.  The buzzer is sounded  ( at LCD screen updates – 1 Hz) when the voltage is at or below the set warning value while the “flight data” screen is displayed (see below).


Switching to another screen will silence the buzzer until the flight data screen is brought back up. I wanted a way to silence the buzzer if necessary and this mechanism turned out to be the simplest way to implement it – given the need for an interrupt driven buzzer timer. All other features of version 2.0.17 are intact (antenna tracking, parameter update).


I had a chance to test fly 2.9.1 on my Arducopter over the Easter weekend and this worked pretty well to keep my 4000 mah 3S Lipos from exceeding  the use of 80%  of the batteries capacity. Using a HobbyKing 3S voltage warning was killing the life of my batteries. After 12 flights trying to slowly increase the flight times vs battery remaining capacity, I settled at a  warning at 10.6 volts (my quad’s current drawn is about 20 amps at a hover) and that is the default in the software. I have another 2 minutes of flight time to land after the buzzer continously sounds and I’m happy that I’m not puffing my Lipos anymore.  This can be easily changed to other values in the source code before loading into the Ardustation.


My Ardustation has served me well over the last 2 years and I don’t anticipate adding any other features since RAM and screen real estate is very tight. Thanks to everyone who has downloaded the software and provided feature requests and comments and to the code contributors who have worked on Ardustation 2.

As always, the software is available at this link. Be sure to test this with your aircraft on the ground to verify that you understand the behavior and its limitation. I’ve only tested the voltage monitor with my quad – although it should work with airplanes also.

Compile this code only with the library contained within the zip file. The libraries provided with APM or ACM source code have changes that will cause compilation errors. This code can be compiled with Arduino 1.0.1 or 1.0.3.

New Version of Ardustation 2 – 2.0.17 Compatible with Arducopter 2.9.1

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

This release is for Mavlink changes in ACM 2.9.1. The message location of the number of GPS satellites has been changed for ACM. Ardustation II 2.0.16 will display 0 GPS satellites with 2.9.1.

I’ve also added an additional antenna range/bearing as suggested by James Masterman. He reported antenna pointing issues at long ranges at his location in Australia. This algorithm seemed to fix his problem. I’ve tested both algorithms using a simulation and the results seem to be very close. I’ve left the default algorithm originally provided by 3DR but you can select the alternate algorithm by pressing the center button on the pad while on the antenna range/bearing display. The display will show ALG 1 for the new algorithm and ALG 0 for the old.

I’ve tested the software with my quad on ACM 2.9.1 and an APM 2.5. I have not tested this software with Arduplane 2.7, but I expect it to still work and appreciate any reports of problems by users.

The software is available at the usual spot:

Ardustation II Google Code Repository

Please be sure to download the zip file to a empty folder and to only use the library folder contained in the distribution. Do not merge this library folder with either the ACM or APM library folders. This software should be compiled with Arduino 1.0.3 or Arduino 1.0.1. Do not use the earlier versions as indicated in the Ardustation wiki.


Updated Mavlink 1.0 to Remzibi OSD Converter Software

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I’ve been continuing to use my Remzibi OSD with my Arductoper quad and ACM version 2.7.3. I haven’t released this software in a while for the few who may still be wanting to use Remzibi OSD so I’m attaching the software to this post. This is the source code for the converter and needs to be compiled with Arduino 1.0.1.

Here is a link to the original article. Mavlink to Remzibi Howto


60/5 Megabit Service

Monday, January 11th, 2010

I’m excited to try Charter’s new Docsis 3.0 60 mbit service in St. Louis. Pricing was $30 more than what I’m currently paying for 20/2.

LHC Coming On Line – September 10, 2008 and the LHC Rap

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

I’ve been watching with interest the progress in CERN’s LHC and the upcoming first proton beam over the 27 km loop. Wednesday, September 10, 2008 is the day and I’m excited to hear how the tests go. The beam will be only in one direction, so any collisions will be from stray particles or beam positioning errors. However, as they calibrate the detectors and other instruments, it won’t be long until the many experiments planned for the LHC will commence. In particular, the search for the Higgs Boson is really exciting since this may finally add the source of mass for particles in the Standard Model.

One really enjoyable overview of the LHC is AlpineKat’s LHC Rap:

Ben Stein and his new movie

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

About an upcoming movie:

I really enjoyed Ben Stein’s work up to now (including “Win Ben Stein’s Money”), but I’m afraid my opinion of Mr. Stein has been lessened by news of his upcoming movie Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed which is coming out April 18th 2008. I have not seen this movie yet, but the scientists whom I deeply respect report misrepresentations of the project’s intent during the production of this movie. In addition, PZ Myers (who was in the movie and thanked in the credits) was “expelled” from an early screening for little provocation. Quite ironic – don’t you think? Please see this site for information about the misrepresentation made to those scientists about this project – and shame on you Ben Stein and your producers! Expelled Exposed – Flunked, not Expelled: What Ben Stein isn’t telling you about Intelligent Design

Hello world!

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

This is the start of my new web site. Access my old website here:Old web site.