New MK Firmware (Beta 0.91 as of 14.06.2013)

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Steve Maller, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Who's in? The most interesting change is the startup sequence, which now requires both sticks. I think that's a good thing. It's good to see them continuing to tinker.
    http://forum.mikrokopter.de/topic-post477309.html#post477309

     
  2. Josh Lambeth

    Josh Lambeth Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I like the double stick deal to start and stop motors... lol

    I do like the selectable landing speed though for FS! That will be nice!

    Josh
     
  3. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Also note that an MKTool update is part of this package. New version is V1.80f.

    Neat improvements for looks at GPS Sat data.

    Instructions at http://www.mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/Firmware-0.91

    And this missive
    [​IMG] Note: the challel numbers were changed - Do not load saved settings from older version with the KopterTool!
     
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  4. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Josh I saw this in the instructions
    Who should be totally unhappy with this change, but does not want to waste a channel with the safety switch, can enter "OFF" instead of "Disabled" ind the safety-switch option. Then it's like in the old versions.
     
  5. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Is anyone else but me feeling a little leery about auto-takeoff/auto-land? It's not that I don't think it's a good idea, it's just that I feel a little uneasy about entrusting these two critical operations to the automation. My thinking is that with position/altitude hold, and even Come Home, one can revert to manual control quickly and not put the copter at risk. If the autoland fails I'm not sure I'll be able to react in time other than to stare in awe at the compressed pile of carbon fiber bits in a shallow crater.

    You can see where I'm going with this if you read some of the (presumably apocryphal) aviation quotes on the Internet:

    Problem: Test flight OK, except autoland very rough. Solution: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.​
    Problem: Something loose in cockpit. Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.​
    Problem: Dead bugs on windshield. Solution: Live bugs on backorder.​
    Problem: Number 3 engine missing. Solution: Engine found on right wing after brief search.​
    Problem: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent. Solution: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.​

    :)

    Andy.
     
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  6. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Andy I don't think these changes are for 'us'. The market for FC's is constantly changing. MK needs to compete with the DJI's of the world. DJI has all sorts of features which are 'cool'. So MK needs to respond to the overall market. Will there be crashes and will the number increase? Yep probably, look at all of the S800 incidents and videos. Will folks become over reliant and confident based on the automation? Yep. Even at a hobby level you need some common sense and as Clint Eastwoods says 'A man's got to know his limitations'....

    With the large number of new members on the forum let's hope that they take to heart all of collected wisdom on how to operate safely and not have the unfortunate occasion to turn their investment into a pile of trash or even hurt someone.
     
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  7. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    The winds of change for our hobby/avocation/job are carrying the scent of autonomy. I think the large advances in this field in the near term and long term will be towards UAVs that truly do fly themselves. These sorts of 'probes' (auto-this and auto-that) are ways of trying out hardware, software and behavioral algorithms that'll lead us in that direction.

    All that said, I got into this in the first place because I wanted to fly, not because I wanted to build a machine that would fly itself. That's going to happen. I just hope we're able to continue to do what we do.
     
  8. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    So perhaps they need to modify the voice response file such that when you turn on autoland for a Cinestar you hear Clint Eastwood's voice: "Do you feel lucky, punk?" :)

    Andy.
     
  9. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    If you had a Jeti TX/RX the latest software uses WAV files. This could lead to all sorts of interesting messages.
     
  10. Scott Strimple

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    Lets not forget there is a Gynormous difference between the level
    of sophistication of the large UAV flight control system that automates everything
    and the DJI and MK electronics.

    We have access to some phenomenal electronics but at the end of the day
    they are "Hobby" quality with very little to no shielding and
    quality control of the electronics. I like the auto land and TO feature from a
    "Level of coolness" standpoint but have seen too many mishaps to rely
    upon it.
     
  11. Josh Lambeth

    Josh Lambeth Well-Known Member

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    I did the upgrade on my X8 and it flies nicely. I disabled the Dual Stick Start thing because I really don't like that. I also enabled the auto takeoff and land just to check it out... did it a few times and it works well. I didn't have a camera on the copter at the time but it controls the descent really well and as soon as it detects that it's stopped descending to instantly decreases the throttle and the copter just sits on the ground. It is nice to see how fast the copter will descend in a F/S situation though without having to actually put the copter in F/S!

    Josh
     
  12. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    I did my upgrade last night. Flew it this evening and pretty impressed. Seemed like the AH was even better than the previous version. Since I have an MC-32 with GR-16's I extended the servo range by changing the SUMO to 16. Added the Auto TO/LDG to a locking switch. Set the descent rate to a value of 5 which would be 1/2m per second. Manual takeoff, flew to a level spot at about 20 feet, did 3 or 4 autolands, both manual and with PH. It is a thing of beauty.

    .5m is a nice downward descent pace and it landed very nice with no bounce.

    I also tried the new double stick start and will disagree with Josh. From a safety standpoint, and having read the posts of inflight motor shutdowns with the resulting fatal plunge to earth, I'm going with the double stick routine.

    PH also seemed to be more accurate. I played with the new MKTools indoors this afternoon while I was 'working' and the GPS Deviation Screen with Sat overlay is kind of neat. Not that it is totally practical in the field since you would need a laptop. However, and it seems like life is full of those, the Range Extender is now available. This is the MK parts that allow you to use an Android device to run a version similar to MKTools. Now that has promise in the field. Uses Wi232 and MK is claiming a range of 1000-2500m under 'good' conditions.

    The upgrade was a bit buggy. Took several attempts to get the first pass to load to the FC. Navi was not a problem. The zip file contains two FC hex files. A MEGA644 and a MEGA1284. If you have a black board it has the MEGA1284 chip. The new channel layout is a bit different especially on some of the other screens where you used to see Poti.

    The upgrade did delete many of my settings. I had screen shots of all my settings and took screen shots as I did each tab. I used the exact settings that were in the upgrade doc. Attaching all of the screen shots of my settings. I run a CS8, FF Power controllers, test motors 700KV, 4S, I2C converter, Xoar 15x5 so your mileage may vary. Most of my settings are stock with a few exceptions like GPS gain and Gyro D at 25.

    In the past on the Misc tab you could set the emergency gas to either a value of a percentage by clicking a check box. As best I can tell the Auto TO/LDG overrides that so I left it at 95 value and left the vario check box blank.

    There seem to be a number of improvements scattered throughout the upgrade instructions. Data speeds have increased, GPS Login starts in 2 seconds instead of 5 (which may start the data log sooner) and a host of other items. Read it carefully as some of the settings you need are in the text, like GPS parameter defaults.

    As I said, just way to cool and seems to be another leap in the quality of flight.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Great info, Gary! Thank you for posting this. When my FC comes back from Riley's ACC Upgrade Shop, I'm going to do it myself.
     
  14. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Gary: I found that the FC board works better if you connect up the MK USB adapter directly to the FC board rather than trying to update it "through" the NC board.

    Just out of curiosity, which way were you trying to update the FC? Directly? Or via the NC board?

    Thanks for testing out the Automatic Take-off and Landing. Brave soul! You're up there with the first guy to try a raw oyster! :) ("You want me to eat that?) :)

    Andy.
     
  15. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    It was through the NC. Never had an issue in the past. Turned out ok just a couple of extra tries.

    Haven't tried the takeoffs yet. The front yard isn't very level. Will try it out on the street the next time.
     
  16. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Yeah -- I had that happen on my last upgrade via the NC -- I think the NC adds a leeetle bit of a timing delay that puts the firmware upgrade on the thin edge of a timeout error. Worked like a charm when I connected directly to the FC.
    Andy.
     
  17. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    A further update. Gave the auto takeoff some testing. Start with AH turned on, power up the motors. Now this is the part that is a bit tricky. I use the centering spring on the throttle with the 127 value set in the software. With that configuration and the motors running I released pressure (slowly the first time from caution) to let the stick get back to the midpoint. Flipped the switch to TakeOff and the copter lifted cleanly off the ground, pretty typical liftoff, not to aggressive and not timid, to a hover about at about 3m.

    Flew around varying the altitude with AH turned on. Brought it back and did an autoland. Nice at .5m/s.

    Did the same sequence and did the autoland from different heights. Really like that .5m/s rate. Might be a bit to slow if you are running out of juice in an emergency come home. At 25m 12.5 seconds might seem like a lifetime to get back on the ground.

    Now what I can't test, one of you can try it, is the auto TO not using the spring and 127 setting. Would be interested where you end up putting the stick to make it all work.
     
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  18. Sebastian Meredith

    Sebastian Meredith Active Member

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    Gary ... Will be keen to give it a try but still awaiting the arrival of the ACC upgrade. Apparently the auto TO/LDG only work with the upgrade. I fly without the spring on the stick.

    Anyone else who is "springless" given it a go yet? I must admit though going auto point on anything makes me a bit nervous ... I am a control freak!
     
  19. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Gary

    Thank you for testing and sharing all this great information.Have you had a chance to look at the GPX log file yet? IF so is there anything that seems to be different or any errors that are popping up that never did before? Do you know if its still logging once per second? Do you think the emergency landing would act pretty much like auto land?
     
  20. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Dave the emergency landing is governed by the new descent rate you set as outlined in the instructions on the MK site. I have not tried an emergency landing (loss of RC signal) so trust that Holger is correct.

    No change in the log files. No errors. I don't know what the default logging is when you install as I set it to 200ms which is another improvement in the .91 release. So you get 5 data points per second. Not sure if it is worth dropping to that level of detail. The GPS track tends to be more choppy due to the inherent inaccuracy of civilian GPS. You can be sitting on the ground stationary and see movement let alone see the variation on a flight track. Also on play back for any smoothness you need to bump up the speed to 3.33 or 5.

    Sebastian I have no plans to use the auto up and down on a regular basis. But the ability to slow down the descent from the old emergency settings is a great improvement.
     

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