Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

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Tizzy
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod

Post by Tizzy » 21 Mar 2012, 17:30

Not exactly a random landing but how do you guys manage the wind and avoid flipping over at altitude? Flip-overs have happened when trying to turn into a gust of wind or steady blow and the drone over-rotates and then flips, but also when coming out from behind a building and running into a side wind. The mod is excellent but the indoor mode is not sensitive enough and the outside mode can be too sensitive if there's even only a slight breeze.
Last edited by Tizzy on 23 Mar 2012, 17:06, edited 1 time in total.

miamivice55
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod

Post by miamivice55 » 22 Mar 2012, 03:53

I have flown my drone in a very large rear yard from inside a second floor room with the "Macgyver mod" without a single issue.I have also experienced some issues at very high altitudes with wind but these ALWAYS arise from my own pilot error in attempts to be excessive with range and not compensating for winds at those altitudes,fortunetly the blood rushed back to my brain quick enough to realize I should'nt be testing the limits of the drone where it's not pratical to do so. There are very few instances were the Macgyver mod or the Drone are to blame ,the exceptions being malfunctioning in flight breakdowns or when using WI-FI which is extremely unstable .Fly high! 8-)

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tonyh0905
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by tonyh0905 » 29 Mar 2012, 22:09

I have been discussing this 'auto' landing problem with Miru, the developer of the MacGyver mod, or as it should be more accurately called the MiruMod.

It appears the cause is a weak radio signal, or a momentary drop in signal strength below a certain threshold. The way the mod's failsafe works is to constantly listen to the incoming radio pulses from the RX that tell the drone what to do.

"The mod is very picky about the RX signals, any missing pulse, too short or too long pulse will trigger the 'auto' land."

So if like mine your RX is a bit deaf (I could only get about 40-45ft when I did a range check instead of 90ft), a further drop in radio signal from external interference, or even the drone rotating at a distance (the RX antenna's range drops significantly when it's pointed 'end on' to the TX), would be enough to cause the mod to initiate a 'fail safe' landing.

To cure this problem Miru has inserted some code into the original programme that tells the mod to ignore any missing or incorrect pulses, unless they persist for longer than 0.5 seconds.

Unfortunately I managed to fry my Arduino board(the brains of the mod) before I could upload the new software to it, so I now have to wait for a replacement before I can try it out.

If your having this problem and you want to try uploading the latest revision of the 'sketch' (0.14) you can find it here:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost ... count=1703" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If you want to find out more about updating you mod (or building your own) there is a lot of good information here:

http://mirumod.hopto.org/intro.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As soon as my MacGyver mod is repaired, and the new software uploaded I'll post the results
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knoxploration
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by knoxploration » 30 Mar 2012, 01:24

One presumes that for most people, the only way to get the new code would be to contact Mike at MacDrones and send the transmitter module back to be updated, or buy a new one, right?

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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by rollus » 30 Mar 2012, 06:55

Lol

A ftdi board costs 15-20$, and the Arduino software asks to have enough skills to open a file, and click on send.
It's just as easy as sending a mail with an attachment..

Tizzy
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by Tizzy » 30 Mar 2012, 16:05

rollus wrote:Lol

A ftdi board costs 15-20$, and the Arduino software asks to have enough skills to open a file, and click on send.
It's just as easy as sending a mail with an attachment..
Just had a look on ebay for an ftdi board and not sure what'll work well and what not at all, do you have a link for us?

EDIT
scratch that, just ordered
http://www.ebay.com/itm/FTDI-Basic-Brea ... 19cb14de8c" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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tonyh0905
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by tonyh0905 » 30 Mar 2012, 23:11

Tizzy wrote:
rollus wrote:Lol

A ftdi board costs 15-20$, and the Arduino software asks to have enough skills to open a file, and click on send.
It's just as easy as sending a mail with an attachment..
Just had a look on ebay for an ftdi board and not sure what'll work well and what not at all, do you have a link for us?

EDIT
scratch that, just ordered
http://www.ebay.com/itm/FTDI-Basic-Brea ... 19cb14de8c" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Tizzy

Rollus is right Uploading the new rev is quite straightforward, but be careful when you connect the FTDI to the Arduino. I connected mine the wrong way around the first time, and I think that's what killed mine. FTDI board direction should be (grn<->grn) (blk<->blk), these are the end pins and are marked on both boards.

I replaced the Arduino on my mod tonight and successfully uploaded rev 0.14 to it.

I will test fly it tomorrow, and post how I get on.
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by Tizzy » 31 Mar 2012, 08:32

Nice breakdown and will certainly be fun to get it going on an AP some time to get the video feed, but imho nothing beats the tactile feedback from an RC. Fly-by-wire is nowhere near as interesting as fly-by-sticks :-) especially at height in 'wild' mode. Now to figure out how to avoid those flipovers... :-(

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tonyh0905
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod

Post by tonyh0905 » 31 Mar 2012, 17:05

solaris8x86 wrote:Tony, you are right. I am also boring of seeing people are bugging with this Macyer Mod. I noticed that people are spending additional money for useless. In fact, if just aims for extending the range. You don't need the Macyer Mod. I read the adv in ebay of the RC Mod. And it states:

>You go from an out of the box range of 150 feet (WiFi), up to 150-250 meters with this radio.

It is a joke. If you just use a router/AP (> 1000mW) to connect your Drone. It can be easily to fly beyond 300 meters away with steadily TX/RX signal. Especially the router will retransmit the broken signal automatically if really happens. Who would care the RX/TX signal in the Macyer Mod?? It is really boring. It is totally not necessary to convert RC mod for just extending the coverage of range.

You have to understand that. Once you use RC transmission kit on AR Drone. Your control links actually would be occupied by 2 x 2.4Ghz channels. It is a double of consumption of the no. of 2.4Ghz channel list. One for your RC control unit to the RC receiver (2.4Ghz) on the Drone that you added on. And another is the signal conversion/retransmission between the RC Receiver to the AR Drone itself which is the native WiFi 2.4Ghz signal. So your AR Drone ultimately is still taking the WiFI signal in the backend. The RC mod not only ineffective for extending the range. But also to increase the network latency between the RC 2.4Ghz to WiFI 2.4Ghz and the interference of 2.4Ghz channels. Because It must takes time for conversion. Making your control sensitivity more stunning. And sometimes, these two 2.4Ghz channels may overlapping by chance upon each reboot cycle by themselves that making signal interference because AR Drone would select an empty WiFi channel for listening. But sometimes it would launch an occupied channel that could be part of the Mhz channel, that overlapping your RC Receiver's signal (2.4Ghz).

The only point that you really need a RC Mod for AR Drone is you would like to control the LEDs On/Off by manual after take off. That the iPhone cannot do that. But for extending the flight range. The RC Mod is completely useless. A powerful router around 1000mW TX output power is all you need. And it is even fly further away than the RC Mod. And letting you have a high sensitivity of control with good video feedback because there is no signal conversion between the RC signal to the WiFi. That minimizes the control latency. After practical test, I have the following experiences:


A router/AP with 1000mW output power:

- With your iPhone 4 controls. The AR Drone can fly up to 350-500 meters with using factory pre-shipped 6dbi omni-directional antenna. WiFi Channel 6 (2437Mhz), 802.11g Only (WiFi Channel 6 has no 2.4Ghz overlapping channel).
- With your iPhone 4 controls. The AR Drone can fly up to 650-750 meters with using 12dbi omni-directional antenna. WiFi Channel 6 (2437Mhz), 802.11g Only (WiFi Channel 6 has no 2.4Ghz overlapping channel).
- With your iPhone 4 controls. The AR Drone can fly up to 3,000 meters with using a directional antenna. WiFi Channel 6 (2437Mhz) , 802.11g Only (WiFi Channel 6 has no 2.4Ghz overlapping channel).


So, do you really need a RC Mod?

Solaris

You make some great points, and I agree that if all you are concerned about is extending the range of the drone, then the RC conversion is not the only game in town. I also agree that the RC mod has its limitations, such as no video downlink beyond wifi range, and no on screen error messages.

I do however have agree with Tizzy about the whole flying experience being better with physical sticks under your thumbs. I feel a lot more secure, and never feel the need to look down at the controller.

Another big plus for RC is the lack of fuss. I can turn up at a field, with my drone and TX, flick it on and I'm flying. I don't have to boot up my laptop, set up the router, or worry that the directional antenna is accurately pointed. Don't get me wrong I agree there is a place for the set up you describe, but for day to day use I would still rather have the RC mod.

My initial experience with the RC mod was quite negative because I had a bad one. The problems I had to begin with have now been fixed, and I now look forward to filming some cracking high altitude video, and confidently flying over some more risky terrain (cliffs etc.).
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tonyh0905
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by tonyh0905 » 31 Mar 2012, 17:30

tonyh0905 wrote:
Tizzy wrote:
rollus wrote:Lol

A ftdi board costs 15-20$, and the Arduino software asks to have enough skills to open a file, and click on send.
It's just as easy as sending a mail with an attachment..
Just had a look on ebay for an ftdi board and not sure what'll work well and what not at all, do you have a link for us?

EDIT
scratch that, just ordered
http://www.ebay.com/itm/FTDI-Basic-Brea ... 19cb14de8c" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Tizzy

Rollus is right Uploading the new rev is quite straightforward, but be careful when you connect the FTDI to the Arduino. I connected mine the wrong way around the first time, and I think that's what killed mine. FTDI board direction should be (grn<->grn) (blk<->blk), these are the end pins and are marked on both boards.

I replaced the Arduino on my mod tonight and successfully uploaded rev 0.14 to it.

I will test fly it tomorrow, and post how I get on.
First off, it seems the "random landing's" problem is cured :)

I took the drone to a couple of sites where I have had problems in the past, and flew 3 full batteries without a single incident. I even managed to connect to my android phone and downlink video while flying without triggering one. I have NEVER been able to do this before.

I am completely blown away, that since I first encountered this problem people on this forum, and on rcgroups.com's forum have been so helpful. To finally have the problem solved by the designer of the mod, and then for him to actually take the time to modify the software to fix it, is fantastic.

It's a testament to the power of this type of online community. Well done all.
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Tizzy
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by Tizzy » 31 Mar 2012, 19:05

Thanks for the feedback Tony, and agreed, much thanks and appreciation to all those involved!

Am now extremely eager to update the arduino but will have to wait as my drone is in bits at the moment as I wait for parts... One thing tho, is it possible to make a backup of the current arduino state? Having Mike's excellent MacGyver mod I'm not sure tho if changes were made to the software before rollout in which case uploading Miru's update as-is might cause irreversible issues..
tonyh0905 wrote:Rollus is right Uploading the new rev is quite straightforward, but be careful when you connect the FTDI to the Arduino. I connected mine the wrong way around the first time, and I think that's what killed mine. FTDI board direction should be (grn<->grn) (blk<->blk), these are the end pins and are marked on both boards.

I replaced the Arduino on my mod tonight and successfully uploaded rev 0.14 to it.

I will test fly it tomorrow, and post how I get on.

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tonyh0905
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by tonyh0905 » 31 Mar 2012, 21:29

Tizzy wrote:Thanks for the feedback Tony, and agreed, much thanks and appreciation to all those involved!

Am now extremely eager to update the arduino but will have to wait as my drone is in bits at the moment as I wait for parts... One thing tho, is it possible to make a backup of the current arduino state? Having Mike's excellent MacGyver mod I'm not sure tho if changes were made to the software before rollout in which case uploading Miru's update as-is might cause irreversible issues..
From what I've read on the Arduino forum it seems the short answer is , no.

To be honest if you not suffering from the 'auto' land issue I would go with the old adage of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
In my case the issue was so bad, the mod was unusable. It caused a crash almost every time I flew, so I didn't have much to lose.

If you are going to update your software you do so at your own risk!!! But here's what I did:

1. Buy yourself an FTDI board to connect the Arduino to your pc. I got mine here:
http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/ftdi-basic" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hobbytronics are very good if you're in the UK, I ordered my Arduino from them on Wednesday evening, and it arrived Friday morning.

2. Download the Arduino software from :
http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
and install it.

3. Download Miru's updated 'sketch' from:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost ... count=1703" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
and unzip it.

4. DISCONNECT YOU ARDUINO FROM YOUR DRONE, and plug your FTDI board into your Arduino. Make sure you connect (grn<->grn) (blk<->blk). Connect your pc to the FTDI with a mini usb lead.
I'm using Windows 7 which installed the drivers for the FTDI automatically, and created a new COM port (in my case COM 3).

5. Open the Arduino software and go to Tools/serial port, and select the COM port that windows assigned to the FTDI. Next you need to figure out what Arduino board has been used on you mod, (mine was a Arduino Pro Mini 328 - 5V/16MHz and I got my mod from MacDrones) and select it from the list on Tools/Board.

6. You now need to load Miru's sketch by clicking on Sketch/Add file, and pointing to the file rx2atp.c that you unzipped in item 3.

7. You may need to make slight changes to the sketch, to define which switch you want as LAND/TAKE OFF, and which one for FLIGHT MODE. Read Miru's 'READ ME' file you unzipped for full instructions on this.

8. When you done click on the round 'UPLOAD' button on the Arduino software, and it should verify the sketch and upload it to your Arduino board.

9. That's it, you're done. In my case I just fitted the mod back on the drone, fired it up and it worked first time.

If you're going to attempt it, best of luck, but I would only recommend doing it if you really have to.

Tony
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Tizzy
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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by Tizzy » 01 Apr 2012, 15:33

Thanks again Tony, excellent tips! Will most certainly be attempting to upgrade asap as I'm most definitely interested in getting video to work while using the Rc. As it is I've not even flown 50mtrs as it becomes difficult to judge which way the drone is facing after I'd say about 25m and when the wind gets hold of it, it keeps yawing on pitch making it tough to fly straight... Just letting it hover and then viewing a spin to get the bearings would be a major help in getting the drone to return to base

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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by bluntnose » 01 Apr 2012, 21:32

:twisted: Far be it from me to play devil's advocate, but . . . I like some of the info conveyed by Solaris. When I looked to extend range I was trying to also keep the weight down on the little bugger, because my ultimate aim is to use up the payload dragging the best camera I could find aloft, in order to take the best amateur videos I could. I read with interest the posts about the camera limitations inherent in a drone with such a minimal payload, shrugged my shoulders at the revelation by several that pro quality video is not possible, and decided my family would be wowed by some good amateur quality video bagged by Dad (Granpa to some) with his toy. So, conserving weight was important enough to pursue alternatives to McGyver for extending range. I also have not foreclosed the possibility that somebody will crack the barrier and enable actual fpv at extended ranges with this thing. Once again, that spells non-McGyver controls. I should also add that I know I will also add the McGyver arrow to the quiver ere long--it's just too cool to pass up.

As for the love of the sticks, you don't absolutely have to have the McGyver to get that. So I invested in Drone Station, which runs on my Macbook Air, to which I can hook up a variety of sticks. Then I went for the Alfa long range antenna, got the older non-N spec network jobbie, after reading that it might actually be better for my purpose than the newer N spec jobbie. I bought some sticks, but not so I could feel the old RC feeling. I don't have any RC feeling in me, closest I got to it in my errant pre-RC youth was a plane on wires which would spin around you and actually fly, like magic. Unfortunately, on its maiden voyage the gas motor started up backwards, my trusty assistant set it down and it ran around backwards until it hit a ripple in the concrete and disintegrated the whole plane. Exit boy minus his savings, never to darken the door of the RC world until, tada!, the Parrot that flies.

A word about ease of use: My little antenna clips to the Macbook, giving a pretty compact package to set down by me and fly.

Point being, there is a decent alternative to the McGyver, brilliant as it is, which may offer some advantage for certain purposes, still offer stick control, and maintain the video link. Different strokes for different folks, and it's all good. I love this plane, and I love this board. I offer a caveat to all this. While I'm set to prove this to myself, I haven't flown the assembled equipment yet. The particular sticks I bought don't seem to connect to Drone Station, and I get no video on my computer screen when it fires up. While I know it's a proven deal that others have flown, I have yet to do it myself. I also recognize that most folks are Windows oriented, and I don't know if Drone Station or something like it runs on Windows. Again, different strokes or different folks. There's room for both.

The 2.0 will eventually get here, and the grumbling will turn to hoorays. Maybe we'll get a step closer to my dream of good HD video shot from a little toy with a range of many feet or meters (Solaris says 3000 meters? This I gotta see!) 8-)

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Re: Random landing's with MacGyver Mod - The solution

Post by knoxploration » 02 Apr 2012, 03:57

MacGyver still has significant advantages over most solutions like this in terms of range / reliability, battery life, and bulk, though. (If you've got a laptop set on the ground next to you, you can't exactly stroll across a park following your drone as you fly it.)

Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages. MacGyver's only significant disadvantage is lack of live video feed, and the fact you add a negligible amount of weight and must cut or skip using the upper body of the drone. Oh, and I guess compared to flying stock, a little cost, but it's far more affordable than solutions relying on wifi extenders, laptops, etc.

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