Passive RC + piDrone passed

RC control

RC control

Here’s what’s shown here:

  • Until the RC and piDrone connect, the piDrone does nothing; this is not on the graph.
  • When the piDrone sends a message to RC saying it’s ready, the flight control starts
  • Initially, it does nothing until the RC messages the piDrone a special command to take-off; the take off is automatic, the joysticks has not control this once striggered.
  • Once the 3s automated takeoff completes (about 16 – 19 seconds in the graph), the RC has full control again, and you can see me tweaking the real joystick actions up to the 46 second point.
  • At that point, another special message from the RC to piDrone sets it to descend; again once descending, the joysticks has no influence until landed.
  • In this case, I didn’t use the RC to trigger the take-off again; instead I then got the RC to trigger a stop to the flight at about 60s.

Next is to try it live, ideally on Zoe as the smallest, lighted, and strongest…

White litening

There’s been a lot of churn in the Raspian Jessie image recently, so I thought it about time to dist-upgrade Zoe.  Something went significantly wrong forcing me to install her from scratch, and taking the opportunity to swap to Jessie lite, throwing away the unnecessary games, GUI and other gumph present in the full Jessie distribution.

Here’s the installation steps I took after the basic installation of Jessie lite and sudo raspi-config to expand the file system, set hostname, enable I2C and assign minimal memory to the GPU.

  • Set up a WiFi internet connection from the CLI:
    https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/wireless/wireless-cli.md
  • sudo apt-get install i2c-tools python-smbus python-dev python-setuptools git ftp
  • edit /boot/config.txt adding
    dtparam=i2c_arm_baudrate=400000
  • git clone https://github.com/PiStuffing/Quadcopter
  • cd Quadcopter
  • tar xvf RPIO.tgz
  • cd RPIO/source
  • cd c_gpio
  • touch *
  • cd ../c_pwm
  • touch *
  • cd ../..
  • sudo python setup.py install
  • cd ~
  • cp Quadcopter/qc.py .
  • cp Quadcopter/fp.csv .
  • cp Quadcopter/Quadcopter.py .

With this, Zoe lite runs fine within the home network.  The next step is to WAP her, which with the new interface management is unlikely to be the same as I’ve done before, so I’ll blog this separately once I’ve worked out how to get it working.

Oh, feck!

Something has gone horribly wrong with Zoë.  I can only get one run from her; a second time results in completely duff sensor readings.  A power-reboot allows one more run and then the same happens again.  Any level of the code dating back months shows the same problem.  That suggests sensor damage.  She did take a major crash on her last flight with unknown cause – perhaps that was symptomic of the sensor damage or perhaps the cause?

So it’s RIP Zoë, Chloë and Phoebe for now as I’m out of MPU-6050’s.

Annoying because I’d just recalibrated yesterday, and wanted to test it in today’s good weather along with a set of changed butterworth filter configuration.

On the plus side, it’s now full speed ahead for HoG – first stop is to get some paper so I can print out the MPU-9250 specs and update the code.

Premature birth

It seems that the last crash killed more than just the power bank; Phoebe refused to boot yesterday with her new battery installed.  To track down what else had died, I ended up doing a step by step replacement of Phoebe’s pieces with Chloë’s

  • First the WiFi dongle which had clearly taken a big hit during the crash – replacement with Chloe’s showed no change
  • Next, the A+ itself – again using Chloe’s A+ showed no change
  • Next, Chloe’s SD card –  and everything came back to working

So now Chloë is running on Phoebe’s hardware which is exactly the opposite of what Zoë was supposed to be!

The next steps are:

  • Back up Chloë – done
  • Expand the image – done
  • Rename her Zoë (hostname, hosts, wap, udhcpd) – done
  • Overclock – done
  • Minimal GPU memory – done
  • GPIO speed enhancements- done
  • Test software & speeds- done
  • Back her up again as Zoë – done
  • Update her to latest distribution (24/12/2014)
  • USB power levels
  • i2c blacklist for latest update
  • back her up again as Zoë

This version of Zoë is still running on Phoebe’s frame using the old arms, motors and props, and no silicone sandwich; those can wait until I have Zoë working properly – i.e. fixing the problems Phoebe was showing.