Chapter 5: Testing…

is, as always, on hold pending reasonable weather: dry with a light breeze.  If I’ve got things right in this set of articles , then many things become possible:

  • Phoebe will be able to takeoff from a non-horizontal surface – the X & Y axis speed PIDs will stop her from drifting due to the slope she took off from – this turns out to be a bit of an oversimplification – the flights MUST still start on horizontal ground to ensure the angles used from the integrated gyro’s are accurate when translating accelerometer sensor outputs for Phoebe’s dimension to the earth’s.  I think I’m going to need a 3D compass to sort this out.  Luckily the rest below remains valid…
  • She won’t drift in a hover – she’ll stay vertically above her take-off ponit
  • That means winter testing can move to the garage knowing Phoebe won’t smash herself into a brick wall at high speed
  • That’ll let me continue to improve the take-off and landing code to be more sensor driven and less hardcoded
  • Last, but definitely not least, I’ll be able to add a remote control; the addition of the horizontal speed PIDs means commands from the RC such as move forward at 1 meter per second can be used directly as a horizontal speed PID “target” – most of the code for the RC is already in place in my development code, but is commented out.

It also means I can start considering things like adding GPS, both for mapping where she’s been, and also retracing her steps if the RC connection gets lost or battery level gets low.

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