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I just built one up tonight. I got my circuit boards today. It went together in about a hour. Its pretty hard to test this thing out on the bench but the led comes on for a few seconds then shuts off. The servo is moving ok but my gps receiver does not work in the house. (not that I could simulate waypoints anyway) I have read of a few people being very happy with it .

Good luck with your project

Tom

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Thanks for the e-mail JP. I will just post my answer here so others may see it and add their input or correct anything I may say if incorrect.

When first applying power the led should light for 3 seconds then goes out. I assume this is part of a "health of the system" check. If the pic chip boots up successfully you get a 3 second light to indicate so.

Plug the wires from J4 to your rudder channel of the receiver. The plug from J3 goes to the enable channel (like your retract channel). The wires from plug J2 goes to the rudder servo.

When the system is not enabled you have control of the rudder.

When the system is enabled the Autopilot has control of the rudder channel.

Question: Did you buy a preprogrammed chip?

Thanks

Tom

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If your GPS has simulation mode you don't need reception to test it. I run my GPS in sim mode and program in the waypoint and speed and watch the RCAP do it's stuff. Make sure your GPS is set on NMEA 4800 and that you also have set a GO TO waypoint.

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Thanks Crash Pilot. What model GPS are you using. I played with my simulation mode and it seemed pretty useless. I can only set a heading and a speed. I never saw it output a GPRMC sentence or a GPRMB sentence in the simulation mode. I am trying to use a Magellan map330 GPS.

Could you explain the led operation. What it signifies?

Thanks

Tom

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Tom

I am using a GPS III plus. I run mapsource on my pc and draw a route and then download it to the gps. I put it in simulation mode and then activate the tracback function and then flick the gear switch to activate the RCAP. When activated the green LED will continue to flash on and off to say that it is reading the NMEA data.

Make sure that you select NMEA 4800 on your GPS otherwise it won't communicate.

If you require a more detailed description of the LED I will have to charge my battery and test it.

To test the GPS strings I hook my GPS up to my computer by the interface cable and run windows hyper terminal and it will show you the data.

Crash Pilot1

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Ok. Well I got a reply from Mikep and he answered my question about the led. The LED will blink once everytime it receive GPRMB and GPRMC sentences.

So I believe the function of the led is 1) lights up for 3-6 seconds on power up to signify cpu boot up. 2) lights up steady to show Autopilot on (aux channel enabled) and ready to receive data. 3) blinks off and back on when good data is received.

Thanks Crash Pilot 1 . I looked up your GPS. Its a nice unit. Yep I got the nema ver 2 turned on and its set to 4800 baud. I can read the GPS sentences on the laptop. I can even see the GPRMB and GPRMC sentences coming through. Either it s a problem in the max232 chip or the actual gps sentences are formated wrong.

Looks like everyone is using a garmin gps. I'll have to get a Geko 201 or similar.

Maybe my Magellan just ain't a Jellan????

Tom

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Thanks for the e-mail JP. I will just post my answer here so others may see it and add their input or correct anything I may say if incorrect.

When first applying power the led should light for 3 seconds then goes out. I assume this is part of a "health of the system" check. If the pic chip boots up successfully you get a 3 second light to indicate so.

Plug the wires from J4 to your rudder channel of the receiver. The plug from J3 goes to the enable channel (like your retract channel). The wires from plug J2 goes to the rudder servo.

When the system is not enabled you have control of the rudder.

When the system is enabled the Autopilot has control of the rudder channel.

Question: Did you buy a preprogrammed chip?

Thanks

Tom

We programmed it here using the published files on the nett

JP

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Thanks to all joining

This is my experience with it. First I have to say I work on it with a friend of mine who does the programming of the processor. I am the test pilot. He had to correct the program a little as there was no oscillation on the processor. It was an easy correction. We used the available files to program it from the net. It started to work afterwards. There is just a problem with the servo movement when it is not engaged. If the rudder stick on the transmitter is moved quickly, the servo gets confused. Example: I move the stick quickly to the right the servo would go there, and as soon it is there, it would go fast left and than back to right where it should be. Has anyone such experience? I am using 35 MHz Hitec Rx, JR Tx, GPS E-track. Setting of the GPS is as it was already said. More questions following:

1 What file did you guys use to program the chip?

2 Has anyone actually flown it? –Experience?

3 Does it exclude crosswind from the flown track?

4 Is there a link to a person who did the program?

5 Can someone compare it to PDC 10?

6 Has any of you another source of information on the topic than the one mentioned? Is there an E-mail to inform someone about the mistake in the program? How about the seller of the already programmed chips?

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Pista

I bought the kit and only assembled it. The kit was available 12 months ago but now they only sell the PCB and Programmed chip.

I have only bench tested mine . I had it installed in my Heli once by the Heli crashed before the RCAP was activated (See below for reason of crash)

I did email Mikep (who designed the RCAP and wrote the program) in the past but that email address is no longer in use. If you do a search under RCAP you can find some information.

Here a new website for him http://michael.pawlowsky.com/

The cause of my heli crash was because of the interface cable from the GPS to the RCAP. It was working like an antenna and throwing out a electrical noise when the GPS started transfering NMEA data. This caused my receiver to lock out (36010) in failsafe. This also caused erratic servo behaviour. It seems that I have only justed fixed this by making a new interface cable. My GPS has been hacked and the Data wires from my GPS wire straight into the RCAP by servo leads. This also saves weight. I am currently waiting on my Soarstar elect plane which I ordered to arrive from the USA.

When I receive it I will be fitting the RCAP into it.

Crash Pilot1

Edited by Crash Pilot1

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Pista. The program name is Main.Hex it has a date of 9-25-2004. It was part of a zip file called RCAP.ZIP dated 11-4-2003. I do not believe there is an error in the program. But if your friend has modified the code there may be one in it now.

RCAP.ZIP Version 1.1

My board does not have the servo swing problem. I think you need to have the R/C transmitter on when the autopilot boots up because one of the first things it does is measure the pulse width of the neutral position of your transmitter.

When autopilot is enabled The LED will blink once every time it receive GPRMB and GPRMC sentences.

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Hi Crash Pilot1. I downloaded the file but I don't know what to do with it. Its a hyperterminal data file. I guess I need to turn it into a .txt file. My familiarity with hyperterminal is very poor. How would I use a .ht file?

Update::: Played around with it some more. I believe a *.ht file is not what we need. Its like a connection data file . Not sure....

Tnx

Tom

Edited by Tom in Cincy

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Tom

I'm not that clued up on Hyperterminal either. I know how to view my gps data but thats were my knowledge ends. I can open the file on my PC but I think that is because I created it. For some reason when I delete the original and download the file I posted myself it won't open. I have tried saving it as a text file but it won't work either.

I would be more than happy to record my data for you if someone would be kind enough to explain how we can do it.

Crash Pilot

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Thanks Crash Pilot. Yes, the new txt file is a good one. I ran it through VisualGPS and it played just fine. If you have never seen this program check it out.Visual GPS It is easy to use and you can set up several gauges to simulate sort of a cockpit instrument cluster.

It also will capture your gps output and save it as a TXT file that you can play back later. The DL is shareware its suppose to expire after so many days but it seems to keep running.

I'll have to wait a week to test your file on my RCAP. I have to head out of town in a few hours.

Thanks

C Ya

Tom

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Haven't been here in a while.

I just read this thread and wanted to say RCAP was never designed to be flown on a helicopter. I'm not saying you could not make it work, but I would seriously no recommend it.

It works fine on a high-wing, trainer type aircraft with a good amount of dyhedral which is what it was designed for.

If anyone has questions, please post them to the source forge lists and I will answer them there. http://rcpilot.sf.net/ LOok for the support mailling list.

As for kits and pre-build units they should be availbale again shortly. Right now I gave a few boards and chips to someone who is testing out the idea of building them for people.

Regards,

Mike

Edited by mikep

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Hi

I have sorely tested the RCAP in flight. These are the results.

1 The trims do not affect ether of the functions Gain or Travel limit. Solution to this is to reduce the rudder movement via the linkages.

2 Once it gets to the last waypoint, it starts holding there. As the intelligence of the RCAP relies on the GPS receiver, it would not hold in right or left patterns, but it would hold in random patterns. Typical example is: 3 right patterns, then two left ones then 1 right and so on.

3 The situation in number two can result in this: When the RCAP brings the model exactly above the final waypoint, it firs passes the waypoint and than the GPS decides which way to go back to it. The gps pointer suggests a right or left turn, then the rudder goes to a position according to it. The model starts turning, but before the turn is finished, GPS changes its mind and sets and opposite turn to the final waypoint. The model starts turning the other way round. This repeats until the model disappears in left and right turns.

These tests were done on a 35 ccm acrobatic model plane. On board- FMA Copilot, RCAP, GPS Etrex, SPCM20 JR receiver.

I expect that if I had a GPS receiver that would send data to the RCAP more frequently- mine is sending data once in two sec., this wouldn’t happen.

The RCAP behaves OK during navigating on a route. It has only the mentioned problem when it overlies home waypoint and the waypoint stays exactly180 degrees behind it.

Do you have the same experience? If not what GPS are you using and how often does the position data refreshes?

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Thanks for the offer of help Mike...

Crash Pilot, I tried the text file posted and the RCAP does read it fine thanks for the help.

I am not sure if there is any correction data in the file as my test servo never moves.

But the led blinks on each sentence.

As far as my Megellan Map330 gps goes I guess there is something incompatible with its data output

as the RCAP just refuses to read it.

The funny part is the only difference is the fact that the $GPRMB is sent before

the $GPRMC sentence. The Garmin sends $GPRMC then GPRMB.

Anyway I ordered a Geko 201 today..

Pista, thanks the test results. sounds like you have yours running well.

I understand the left- right scenario. I would of never thought of that happening.

Thanks

Tom

Edited by Tom in Cincy

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Hey Radiohound, Very cool you have some ready to go.

I was trying to get the files to recreate the PDC-10's but the cost ran too high and I couldn't get control of the files for the future. It was looking like not so good a deal. I had a handful of guys waiting on the PDC-10’s and I've had to disappoint them all. It looks to me like you have a unit that will do the same thing but at a lower cost. How about I send them your way? How many do you have ready to go?

Also, I have three years and several thousand miles of PDC-10 use accumulated under my belt. I want a device like these to be continuously available in the future. What would you think about sending me one to evaluate? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t need to keep it. I have 4 PDC-10’s still in my personal stash. I’ll make an objective comparison to provide an experienced advertising blurb for you and send it back. I want guys to be able to get a PDC-10, RCAP type device.

Dan

Edited by kd7ost

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How about I send them your way? How many do you have ready to go?

Thanks for the interest Dan. Glad to have any extra business. Thanks! I never keep many pre-buit. I just build them as needed. I've got more circuit boards, and have another batch of parts on its way.

The original RCAP (firmware on PIC) was written by Michael P, and this PCB board was based on his design. For more info on the original RCAP see http://rcpilot.sourceforge.net/modules/rcap/index.php . I have added some ports for extra servo's or a/d conversion, however, I have not written any extra code for these. Hopefully these boards and kits make it easier for people to experiment with the RCAP. Perhaps users can post their modifications to the code for others to consider, which would make it a truly evolving open source project.

I plan to expand on the documentation for the unit, but have a long ways to go. You can find some information here: http://www.uavs.net/rcap.html

Walter

rcap2.jpg

Edited by radiohound

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