UAV Mapper Pixhawk Configuration Guide

Overview

Do each of the steps below in sequence to configure your Pixhawk, RC transmitter and servos.

Install Mission Planner on your PC

Mission Planner is the ground control station and configuration utility for your UAV Mapper. It is compatible with Windows only.

  1. Download and install the latest version of Mission Planner.

Note: Complete Mission Planner documentation here.

Install the latest Arduplane firmware on your Pixhawk

Pixhawk USB Connection
  1. Connect your Pixhawk to your PC using a Micro USB cable.
  2. Start Mission Planner and select your Pixhawk from the drop down list. Do not press Connect.
  3. Select INITIAL SETUP > Install Firmware.
  4. Select Arduplane and follow the onscreen instructions to complete the firmware installation.

Copy the UAV Mapper parameter file to your Pixhawk

  1. Download the UAV Mapper Pixhawk parameter file. If it opens as a text file then Right-click > Save as > UAV_Mapper.param. (Delete the .txt extension).
  2. Connect in Mission Planner and go to CONFIG/TUNING > Full Parameter Tree.
  3. Select  Load From File and open UAV_Mapper.param.
  4. Select Write Params to copy the parameters to your Pixhawk.

Calibrate your accelerometer

Follow these steps to calibrate your accelerometer: http://plane.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-accelerometer-calibration/

Calibrate your compass

Follow these steps to calibrate your compass: http://plane.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-compass-calibration-in-mission-planner/

Bind and connect your Spektrum satellite receiver

Your Spektrum transmitter communicates to the Pixhawk with a Spektrum satellite receiver. You must must first "pre-bind" the satellite using a Spektrum receiver before you can plug the satellite into your Pixhawk.

  1. Connect your satellite receiver, bind plug, and 5 volt power to your Spektrum receiver.
  2. Hold down the bind button on your Spektrum transmitter and turn it on.
  3. Wait for the bind process to complete and remove the satellite receiver from the Spektrum receiver.
  4. Plug your bound satellite into the SPK/DSM port on your Pixhawk.

Configure your Spektrum DX 6, 7, or 8 RC transmitter

Create a new model with NORMAL wing type in your transmitter

Elevon mixing is handled by the Pixhawk. Create a new model with NORMAL wing type (no elevon, aileron, or flapperon mixing).

  1. Press the Scroll Wheel and turn on your transmitter.
  2. Select Model Select and choose a new Acro model. New Acro models use NORMAL wing type by default.
  3. Click the Back button twice to exit system setup.

Set RC transmitter servo direction

  1. Power up your RC transmitter.
  2. Hold the Scroll wheel and select Servo Setup.
  3. Scroll to Reverse.
  4. Scroll to Aileron and Elevator and change them to Reverse.
  5. Press the Back button to exit.

Set the Flight Mode switch

  1. Hold down the Scroll wheel and turn on your transmitter.
  2. Select Channel Assign.
  3. Scroll to and select NEXT on the RX Port Assignment page.
  4. On the Channel Input Config page scroll to 7 AUX2 and change it to D.
  5. Click the Back button twice to exit system setup.
  6. You have now assigned the D Switch to channel 7. You will configure your Pixhawk to change flight modes using your D Switch.

Configure your Spektrum DXe RC Transmitter

The Spektrum DXe requires a special programming cable and software to configure.

  1. Download and install the Spektrum DXe programming software and connect to your RC transmitter.

  2. Set Wing type to Normal.
  3. Set Transmitter Channels to 9.
  4. The 3 position Flap/Gyro switch will be your Flight Mode switch.

  5. Reverse Aileron and Elevator.

  6. Set Exponential to Off.

  7. Inhibit Throttle Disarm.

Set your Pixhawk flight mode channel to 7

  1. Start Mission Planner, Connect and go to CONFIG/TUNING > Full Parameter Tree > FLTMODE_CH and make sure it is set to 7.
  2. Make sure FLTMODE6 is 0.
  3. Press the Write Params button
  4. Go Mission Planner > FLIGHT DATA screen and verify Manual is selected when you move your Transmitter’s D Switch to the top position. Manual mode removes all autopilot input. This allows you to set your control throw limits using your transmitter. These limits will be passed on to your Pixhawk later during Radio Calibration.

Note: The UAV Mapper parameter file you download sets your flight modes to:

Switch Position  Flight Mode 
Top  Manual 
Middle  FWBA
Bottom  Return to Launch 

Once you finish setup you should change your flight modes to:

Switch Position  Flight Mode 
Top   FBWA
Middle  Auto 
Bottom  Return to Launch 

Note: You must use CONFIG/TUNING > Full Parameter tree to set flight mode 6. INITIAL SETUP > Flight Modes forces flight mode 6 to Manual. 

Center your servos

  1. Set flight mode to Manual and power up your UAV Mapper.
  2. Center RC transmitter trims.

  3. Important:
    You do not ever need to "Trim" your UAV Mapper. Just get the elevons close to centered and the Pixhawk will automatically keep the UAV Mapper flying level. Adding trim will make the Pixhawk think you're trying to "nudge" it and cause it to fly off course.
  4. Remove the servo arms from the servos and position them so they are at a right angle from the control rod. The servo arms are not centered on the splines. You can rotate them to achieve a near perfect right angle from the pushrod. Add blue thread lock to servo arm screw and tighten.
  5.  
  6. Widen the center hole in the servo arm with a 1/16" drill bit. Install the pushrod as shown.
  7. Raise left elevon 1/8" up from relaxed position (as cut from the foam) and tighten brass quick connect hex screw. Do both sides.
    Important: Use thread lock on the servo arm screw.

Set Pixhawk elevon direction

Make sure your Elevons are moving in the right direction. These instructions are for a Spektrum DX7 and Corona MG329 servos. You can get the same results with different transmitter and servo combinations, but you may have to reverse servos in your RC transmitter menu or switch the servo plugs between MAIN OUT 1 and 2 on the back of your Pixhawk.

  1. Power up your UAV Mapper and set your flight mode to FBWA.
  2. In Mission Planner > INITIAL SETUP > CONFIG/TUNING > Full Parameter Tree and set ELEVON_OUTPUT to 2.
  3. Move your UAV Mapper and verify you get the following response: pitch up, pitch down, roll left, roll right. Note: Different brands of servos move in different directions. If you're not getting the proper response from the Pixhawk then change ELEVON_OUTPUT to any number 1 through 4. If you're still not getting proper response then switch servo plugs in MAIN OUT 1 and MAIN OUT 2 on the back of the Pixhawk.

Calibrate your RC transmitter

Your Pixhawk uses the same throw distance you have programmed in your RC transmitter. You must perform a Radio Calibration so your Pixhawk will have those settings.

  1. Remove your propeller and power up your UAV Mapper.
  2. Start Mission Planner and connect.
  3. Go to INITIAL SETUP > Mandatory Hardware > Radio Calibration.
  4. Select the Calibrate Radio button.
  5. Set Pitch and Roll (right stick) trims to center.
  6. Set throttle trim to low.
  7. Move sticks in all corners then return sticks to center. Your values should be with in 50 of the following:
    • Pitch and Roll Low: 1100
    • Pitch and Roll Center: 1500
    • Pitch and Roll High: 1900
    • Throttle high: 1900
    • Throttle Low: 1000

The values above are standard RC servo 100% travel. If necessary use your RC transmitter's End Point Adjustment to reduce or increase the PWM values.

Note: Do not use your RC transmitter's trim button after performing a Radio Calibration. This changes the "center" stick position and the Pixhawk will think your trying to "nudge" the plane. This will result it flight lines offset from waypoints, roll turning during take off, and other undesirable behavior.

Errata, kudos, brian.christal@gmail.com

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