Table of Contents
AR.Drone Shield (PX4IOAR)
The PX4 autopilot can be used on AR.Drone 1.0 or AR.Drone 2.0 airframes. Both versions of the AR.Drone share compatible center frame and motor controllers. This is a quick and easy way to build a light, stable quad rotor without having to design your own, or shop around for parts; the entire vehicle can be sourced from just two suppliers.
The instructions below guide you through the process of assembling the PX4IOAR shield and mounting it on an ARDrone frame.
These PX4 autopilot parts are required:
- 1x PX4FMU + PX4IOAR Kit (comes with all required spacers, PX4IOARMT battery board, velcro straps, vibration dampers and screws)
- 1x RC Receiver: List of compatible RC receivers
- 1x Radio modem: List of compatible radio modems
- 1x min. 2GB microSD / microSDHC / microSDXC card: List of compatible memory cards
Power supply and cabling:
- 1x 3S1P 1300-1800 mA LiPo (90-150g, 3 cells, 11.1V, Dean's ultra connector)
- 1x matching battery power cable (1.0 mm² / AWG 17 diameter, 4 cm / 1.5“ long recommended) and connector
- 1x matching servo cable to connect receiver
Parrot Parts (or either a full AR.Drone 1.0 or 2.0 for disassembly)
- 1x Parrot Central Cross (Mfr Part# PF070008AA) (Parrot Store Link)
- 4x Parrot Motor Set for AR.Drone 2.0 (Mfr Part# PF070040AA) (Parrot Store Link)
- 1x Parrot Propellers for AR.Drone 2.0 (Mfr Part# PF070045AA) (Parrot Store Link)
- 1x Parrot Gears & Shafts for AR.Drone 2.0 (Mfr Part# PF070047AA) (Parrot Store Link)
Tools / optional Parts
Fully Assembled Px4IOAR
PPM Receiver Connection
You can connect a PPM receiver directly, or using an encoder as described below:
Using a PPM Reciever
The PX4AR is designed to use a PPM capable receiver for manual flight control, through connector J3.
J3.1 - PPM input
J3.2 - +5V
J3.3 - GND
The following shows the correct connection between the PX4AR and the FRSky D4R-II. J3 pads and the D4R pin spacing is sized to fit a standard servo connector (recommended).
J3.1 Connects to Ch1 (Purple)
J3.2 Connects to Ch1+ (White)
J3.3 Connects to Ch1- (Black)
The D4R also requires that a jumper is connected between CH3 and CH4 to enable PPM mode, as shown
Using a PPM Encoder
You will need the following:
- RS6107SP reciever
- Futaba T8FG - changed to 7-CH mode
- PPM Encoder (similar to : http://store.3drobotics.com/products/ppm-encoder)
Simply connect the +5V, GND, and SIGNAL to the designated locations on the board as described in the picture below
After Assembly Setup
Please download and install QGroundControl 2.0 and follow the steps in the video. When selecting the airframe, please choose the AR.Drone.
- You need a microSD card, otherwise you will get an SOS morse code beeps
- During this step don't connect an external battery, simply use the micro usb cable as a power source
- If you are using a PPM encoder, you have to connect all the channels. Some of these channels are mandatory (mode switch with at least three positions) and you will fail to ARM the ARDrone if you don't assign it correctly.
- During RC calibrating, when you reach the part where you have to move the sticks and switches to their extreme positions, move the channels to their max position and RELEASE them before pressing OK, otherwise you will not be able to setup the direction mapping correctly.
- Before you fly the ARDrone, you need to adjust the scaling factor of your battery (specially if you are using a batter other than the ARDrone batter), otherwise you will get battery warning beeping sounds. Follow the instructions on this site : http://pixhawk.org/users/battery_config
- Before you flight the ARDrone, familarize yourself with the flight modes, and how to switch between them as described on this page: http://pixhawk.org/users/system_modes
DEVELOPER ONLY SETUP
This section shows how to set up the AR.Drone Airframe for convenient RC-Flight and Testing. At the end you will have a wireless MAVLink connection to a ground control station + a NuttShell terminal on a FTDI adapter.
In addition to the part list on top of the page you further need:
- 1x Xbee Adapter or similar for the helicopter + 1 module on the computer side
- 1x FTDI 3.3V USB to UART adapter
Prepare FTDI UART connection cable
Flash Firmware on PX4FMU
Go through the 9-Step Quickstart tutorial for Developers in order to be familiar with flashing the FMU.
Now plug the microSD card into the PX4FMU + the Xbee module and the DF13 5 Position Connector into the PX4IOAR Board. After powering the quad you should be able to connect via a ground control terminal (Xbee link) and a serial terminal (DF 13 cable on UART5) to the onboard electronics of the AR.Drone setup while flying with the RC remote.
Further Connectivity Tips
- /dev/ttyS0 is USART1 connected to the XBee
- /dev/ttyS1 is USART2 connected to the ARDrone motor controllers
- /dev/ttyS2 is USART5 connected to the PXIOAR external UART connection
- /dev/ttyS3 is USART6 connected to the GPS port
If you are using XBee Pro (speed up to 250kb/s) and you want to increase the XBee link speed from the default 57600 to 115200, then this is what you can do (warning this might not be the best way to do it!):
Connect to the board using a serial connection (as described here: http://pixhawk.org/users/serial_connection). Copy the /etc/init.d/rcS file to /fs/microsd/etc/rc.txt and modify it so that it does almost exactly as rcS, but change the baud rate to 115200, and remove the part at the beginning where the script calls /fs/microsd/etc/rc.txt (otherwise the script will keep on calling itself).
Throttle cannot be raised
Make sure the parameter MAV_TYPE is set to 2.