Using waypoints with MK

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Steve Maller, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I’ve never tried using waypoints with my MK-powered copter, and I have a question:

    Do I need the MK range extender to program waypoints, or can I use the Xbee that I have with a Windows laptop?
     
  2. Gary McCready

    Gary McCready Active Member

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    You can program the way points with computer and MKTools, using the USB or Xbee. I've only done it a few times, and never tried it while in the air. Unless you have internet where you are going you will need the local map on your computer. I just loaded the WP before I left for the site. You can always change them when you get there.
    ie: The "get online map" you obviously need internet access. It doesn't work if you are in the middle of nowhere! So you need to plan better than I did the first time at the local Park... lol
     
  3. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    I remember a guide fro Jeff (QC). It's very simple, here are some notes:

    * You download the map from geomaptool.de
    * You can connect over regular USB. You connect to Kopter tools when the kopter is powered on, and unarmed. You upload the waypoints. You unplug the cable, calibrate gyros and fly. First you get to PH, and when you hit the Come Home stick, the way point starts. Once you put your copter to PH again, the mission will be cancelled. After cancelling the mission, if you hit CH, the kopter will fly to the home position.
    * To fly a mission again, you need to upload to your mission to NaviCtrl again.
    * It will be easier if you use Xbee not to plug in cable everytime.
    * As Gary pointed out, you download the map before you fly waypoints. KopterTool is the only thing you need once you have the maps.

    Edit: I found the video

     
  4. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    That’s super helpful. Thank you!
    I seem to remember somewhere that Carefree mode has to be enabled, too.
    But is that just for dynamically assigning them in the air?
     
  5. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    No need to enable CareFree mode. I never did.
     
  6. Chris Fox

    Chris Fox Active Member

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    You need to enable car free mode if you want the copter to rotate .... this is particularly the case if you were to be using a 2-axis gimbal. There is the option to set the orientation for each waypoint and this requires carefree to be on. If you just want the copter to go to the waypoints and it doesn't matter about the orientation then you don't need to use carefree.

    Cheers
    Chris
     
  7. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Ahh, OK, that makes sense. Thanks.
     
  8. Gary McCready

    Gary McCready Active Member

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    It's in the wiki Steve, if you have any problems...but I know sometimes the English translations are confusing:
    http://mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/MikroKopterTool-OSD#WayPoints_Editor_.2BAC8_WayPoints_Generator

    Step 1
    • Start Kopter and bring on height.
    • Switch ON the function "HoldHeight".
    • Switch ON the function "PositionHold".
    • The throttle-stick is in middle-position.
    The Kopter should "stand" now in the air and should hold automatically the position and the height.
    Step 2
    • Switch ON the function "CareFree" (so that the Kopter turns automatically into the set direction).
    • Switch ON the function "ComingHome".
    Direct after switching ON the function "CareFree" the Kopter turns into the first given direction. After switching ON "ComingHome" the WayPoint-Flight will start.
    Now the Kopter will fly on the entered height and position of WayPoint #1. Has the Kopter reached that WayPoint the delay time counts down and the next WayPoint will be flown a.s.o.
     
  9. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    Ahh OK, CareFree was needed for POI. I fly a 3-axis gimbal with a second operator, so POI feature is not needed for me when using waypoint.

    I find waypoints quite useful when shooting an area on regular basis.
     
  10. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Well, I did my first waypoint flight, and it was a piece of cake, at least until I ran out of juice at the end (oops, more on that in a sec).

    I updated to the latest MK firmware (FC2.06c and NC2.06f), and also finally got around to installing my MK External Compass (that was a pain in the butt!). The process of assigning waypoints is pretty straightforward, although on my crappy netbook on a glare-y day it was really hard to see. I was paranoid about the copter moving too fast, so I set my speed to 0.5m/s, which in retrospect is WAY too slow, and probably burned up too much power meandering across the field. But the copter did exactly what it was supposed to. I did not engage Carefree and the POI feature, as I am really quite paranoid about Carefree after a frightening episode I had once. So the copter did not change its heading as it was flying around.

    Once it completed most of its transit, I was fairly low on power, but I thought I had enough to land. I had already flown a five minute flight before on the same batteries, and this flight lasted 9.5 minutes. I guess I have my low voltage warning level a bit too low, because just about 5 seconds after the LEDs started blinking, she came down. The good news is that (as always in these situations) I was flying over the tall grasses near where I live, and I can happily report that other than a lot of grass in its undershorts, the copter, gimbal and camera are all fine. I brushed it off, loaded another pair of batteries, and she flew just fine.

    Oh, and here’s the external compass. I mounted it out on one of my motor booms.
    IMG_0046.jpg
    Here’s a time-compressed video of the flight showing the waypoints transit, as well as the crash.
    password: nomorejuice :oops:
     
  11. Gary McCready

    Gary McCready Active Member

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    I think the low Voltage defaults on the new firmware are a bit low. I have mine setup like this:
    MK: Low 14.4 (3.6v) Default is 3.3 = 13.2
    CH: 13.6 (3.4v) Default is 3.2= 12.8
    Land: 13.2 (3.3v) Default is 3.1 =12.4
    I don't like to take my batteries under 13v. I was of the impression that if you hit 3v per cell you may as well toss your batteries?
    Steve: Like the way you mounted your compass. I think I'll move mine off the top of the GPS. It is just too easy to knock into sitting up there.
     
  12. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    Just a reminder on MK waypoints:

    It's fairly simply to cancel a mission. You just exit CH mode and the mission is cancelled. If you hit CH again, the copter will fly back to you; will not start the mission again.

    I prefer to cancel CH and landing on low battery function; since it's better to check out the battery very often.
     
  13. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Steve is that a metal bolt going through the compass board? I would be worried about having any metal that close to the compass.
     
  14. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Yeah, I bumped them up after that flight. My battery checker indicated cell voltages of between 3.2 and 3.4 after it landed, although the voltage sagged quite far at the time the copter came down. But the batteries both charged up just fine, balanced perfectly, and flew again uneventfully later in the day. Whew.

    I was a little worried about using a single screw to hold the compass, but it weighs virtually nothing and seems quite snug, so I’ll give it a go. I do need to figure out how to make a registration mark somehow to make sure it’s pointing exactly to 0°. But the compass calibrated just fine, and my GPX numbers indicate far more stable compass values. Here are some before and after numbers:
    Original compass from last week’s flights
    Magnet Field: 91 108 119 % (ok)
    Magnet Field: 97 114 128 % (!)
    Magnet Field: 102 115 128 % (!)
    External compass
    Magnet Field: 99 101 105 % (ok)
    Magnet Field: 101 103 108 % (ok)
    Magnet Field: 99 101 105 % (ok)
     
  15. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I asked Holger on the MK forum about that, and you’re right. Here’s what he said:
     
  16. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    What I found is that using 1 Nylon screw is not enough to keep the board from moving. What I did was use both the front and back holes with Nylon screws to work very well. I was actually afraid to even use aluminum but if he says its ok I guess its worth a try. I can't find any aluminum metric machine screws. I see a ton of steel and stainless but nothing in aluminum.
     
  17. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Some stainless steel is non-magnetic -- I wonder whether all the stainless steel M3 machine screws that Ace sells are magnetic or not?
    If you go into Ace with a small magnet you could test them, I suppose
    If you take a large magnet you'll be buying what ends up sticking to you. ;)

    Andy.
     
  18. Derek Cooper

    Derek Cooper Active Member

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    Just starting to wrap my head around waypoint flying with our X8.

    We are evaluating the option of building a fixed-wing drone for flying large survey jobs, but thinking for smaller projects we could use the X8.

    A couple of questions:

    1. Could we use a third party application like Pix4d to plot our course and then upload that to the drone?

    2. With the still camera on the gimbal to capture our photos, what would trigger the camera to fire at a pre-determined interval?

    3. With the latest firmware, I'm wondering if the data logging features would be sufficient to feed back to Pix4D along with the photos to build our photogrammetry survey of the area?

    TIA
     

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