GPS Racer: worklog #4

Yesterday I finally maidened my GPS Racer in full FPV configuration. RunCam Owl Plus and VTX finally arrived, it was not raining, so I took recording gear after sunset and went flying.

To be precise, it was not "night". But it was pretty dark. Too dark for my RunCam Swift. Owl Plus was sensitive enough to fly. It was not perfect, but doable. Next step: not IR blocked lens and IR emitter for real night flying. Both have been ordered.

Plus, thanks to GPS and OSD I finally saw the speed this thing can do. 92km/h recorded, but that was not the limit on those 6030 props. I do not think I've opened throttle to max…

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The best GPS module for INAV

This is my personal best GPS module for INAV: Beitian BN-880 based on Ublox Neo-M8N. Currently I have 3 pieces of BN-880, all works just great, and if I will have a need to have another one, I would also choose it.

Why? It really works well. On the outside it gets a solid 3D fix in less than a minute. It even can get a fix with 9-10 sats in a center of a city when only a small piece of sky is visible simply by lying on a windowsill. It take time, but works.

Beitian BN-880 - best GPS module for INAV?

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Mini Flying Wing: MiniWing v2

Miniquads are fun, right? After all, there is a reasons most uf us flies 210-250 quadcopters. If so, small flying wings should be fun too! I tried that already in late 2015 and failed miserably! My design did not survived maiden flight. Well, things like that happens from time to time, so few months ago, after learning few new things, I’ve made a second attempt. And this time I’ve succeeded.

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INAV 1.6: Fixed Wing PIFF Controller

Another new feature of upcoming INAV 1.6 (BTW, INAV 1.6 ALPHA-1 has just been released) is brand new PID controller for fixed wings. I repeat: this new controller is used only on fixed wings, multirotors are not affected.

So, what is new about this new PID controller? First of all, it is no longer a PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative). It is a PIFF (Proportional, Integral, Feed Forward) controller. What is the difference?

Traditional PID controller computes error between setpoint and measurement and feeds it to 3 modules: P, I and D.

PID controller

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How to connect APM Power Meter to Cleanflight and INAV

This topic was eluding me for some time now. It’s time fix the problem and finally present a short tutorial how to connect 90A APM Power Meter for flight controller boards like Naza32, SP Racing F3 or any other running Cleanflight / Betaflight / INAV software and equipped with Current Meter ADC input.

I will not show where to connect APM Power Meter to flight controller, since this differs from board to board. Some boards have dedicated pins, on some boards PWM input pins are used for Current Meter ADC. You have to refer FC documentation and / or flight controller software documentation.

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INAV Configurator 1.6: Presets

Upcoming INAV 1.6, and INAV Configurator 1.6 will bring many important changes. I will try to cover most of them in a next few days, beginning with Presets.

Because INAV can run very wide spectrum of aircrafts, it suffers a penalty of very general default values. Different frame sizes, propellers, multirotors, airplanes, flying wings. It is impossible to have one set of default values that will make all those different UAVs fly good right after flashing. And it’s not only about PIDs. Also rates, filters and other settings differs between them. Good default tune for 5″ racer will not work on 1.2m flying wing or 1.6kg quadcopter on 12″ propellers.

To solve this problem, INAV Configurator 1.6 introduces new tab: Presets.

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Using PCA9685 with INAV

One of the hardware limitations of flight controllers that usually multirotor users ignores is a number of PWM outputs. To fly a quadcopter you need “only” 4 PWM outputs. Since most FCs have 6 outputs and 90% of multirotors are quadcopters, there is no problem.

In case of airplanes, this is not that simple. 6 PWM outputs is an absolute minimum to fly a classic airplane using MultiWii and derivatives (Baseflight, Cleanflight, INAV): 2 outputs reserved for motors, 2 ailerons, elevator, rudded. Suddenly, 6 outputs barely meets the requirements. If you want flaps, gas engine, pan & tilt or anything else, you are missing some outputs.

For some time INAV tries to address this issue by supporting external PWM driver: PCA9685.

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