Running TauLabs software on hardware that isn't supported? Work with others to get a new platform supported.

Draco

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dandys

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Draco

by dandys » Sat May 17, 2014 1:53 pm

Draco is flight controller board I primary designed for my experiments with flying things and also for some fun (hey! I can design my own fc too :D ). I'm posting it here, because someone can found it interresting. In that case I can probably assemble some pieces for individuals. In the case of bigger interrest, i can slightly modify board and produce small series, but this is thing I realy don't expect to happen and wasn't in my mind when specifying project goals.

Board contains quite a lot things like OSD circuit with dedicated MCU, xbee slot and microSD. It's absolutely huge (when compare it with shred's nice tiny board), so it's not intended for miniquads.

I've already done some test flights with it and Tau and it went well. There is still quite a lot of work I have to do on it.

List of features:
  • main MCU STM32F4, MCU for OSD STM32F303CC
  • 32MBit serial flash
  • MPU9250 in SPI mode
  • MS5611 in SPI mode
  • CAN bus transceiver
  • microSD slot via SDIO
  • 4x A/D inputs
  • slot for telemetry module (xbee or PirateBee - see below)
  • half-duplex inverted serial line for new FrSky S.PORT telemetry bus
  • GPS port with power, UART and I2C for external compass
  • 2x extension port with UART/I2C and GPIOs
  • extension SPI port
  • dedicated sonar port with power and trigger+echo signals
  • microUSB
  • 12x PWM in/out + 1x S.BUS/CPPM pin on 2.54mm header
  • 6x LEDs
  • micro button
  • OSD with resolution 320x240, automatic PAL/NTSC detection
  • dimmensions: 62x47mm :shock:

some pictures (sorry for low quality):
DSC00955.JPG
DSC00955.JPG (28.81 KiB) Viewed 4584 times
DSC00957.JPG
DSC00957.JPG (27.21 KiB) Viewed 4584 times


Along with draco I also desgined own telemetry modules with xbee layout called "PirateBee". It's simple module with STM32F1 running SiK firmware, RFM22, RP-SMA connector and USB connector (so you don't need any adapter on the ground side). Picture:
piratebee.JPG
piratebee.JPG (22.86 KiB) Viewed 4584 times


Everything is of course open SW and open HW. Just please note that at this time many things still need to be done and many things need to be cleaned-up!

TauLabs support (switch to draco branch):
https://github.com/strnadda/TauLabs/tree/draco

Board kicad files and firmware for OSD MCU:
https://github.com/strnadda/draco

Video with OSD demonstration:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBf34QRr3P8
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peabody124

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Re: Draco

by peabody124 » Sat May 17, 2014 4:54 pm

Very nice. Looms like a really solid combination. I like your pirate bee too. Does it have a compatible pinout with xbee?

Also SD will be useful doe recording flight logs. We'll need to write code for that.
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Re: Draco

by dandys » Sat May 17, 2014 5:36 pm

peabody124 wrote:Very nice. Looms like a really solid combination. I like your pirate bee too. Does it have a compatible pinout with xbee?

Also SD will be useful doe recording flight logs. We'll need to write code for that.

Thanks! Yep, pinout is compatible (at least important pins like power, rx, tx and flow control).

I can probably write SDIO driver or wait for chibios integration - I have good experience with their SDIO driver. Also I don't know if there is currently some higher-level support (module) for logging in flight code. Only thing I can see is low-level stuff for SD card in SPI mode and DosFS.
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shred

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Re: Draco

by shred » Sun May 18, 2014 10:46 pm

Very nice! It seems like you put a lot of work into the OSD graphics, they are much nicer than those of the Brain :).
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dandys

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Re: Draco

by dandys » Mon May 19, 2014 6:10 am

shred wrote:Very nice! It seems like you put a lot of work into the OSD graphics, they are much nicer than those of the Brain :).

Thanks, OSD look and layout is of course matter of personal preferences. I've put some effort to make it flexible. It means that new widgets can be written easily, can be placed at arbitrary coordinates at screen and it supports multiple "virtual" screens. OSD code is able to run in my (for now very simple) QT simulator, so theoretically it wouldn't be problem to write some realistic editor. Still not sure how to integrate it with Tau correctly. Now I'm not talking just about GCS side and configuration, but also about Tau<-->OSD channel, maybe I'll end up with something like UAVTalk. With OSD running on the same processor like Tau itself on Brain, you're in better position with that...
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tbrkfd1

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Re: Draco

by tbrkfd1 » Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:40 pm

Hey Draco, Just some quick thoughts and I'll come back later. The OSD looks great! I don't think the combined FC and OSD logic on the same CPU/RC board is a good one. OSD graphics can be CPU intensive and in the future the Taylabs FC logic will probably be implementing a Kalman filter (which is very CPU intensive) in the IMU logic. In addition, it's easy to fix things that are modular. You might consider UAVTalk or MavLink over I2C. Almost all FC have an I2C connection and the data rate is 400kbaud or better. If you use MavLink, your OSD can be used with other FCs. In addition, using MavLink or other protocol it is easily posible to send test data packets from a PC to simulate a FC connection...
Good luck!
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h3nk

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Re: Draco

by h3nk » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:35 pm

Hey dandys,

that board looks impressive! Are you planning on developing it further and do you possibly aim to make Draco a supported target for TauLabs?
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dandys

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Re: Draco

by dandys » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:07 am

h3nk wrote:Hey dandys,

that board looks impressive! Are you planning on developing it further and do you possibly aim to make Draco a supported target for TauLabs?


Yes, development still in progress ;) There is not much things remaining in firmware - currently I would like to code support for microSD logging and then maybe makes OSD layout configurable in GCS. Draco is now unofficial TL target (see my github). It theoretically met conditions to be official target, but I think merging it would be to selfish since I'm currently the only one who use it. I'm contributing generaly useful code back to upstream though.

Regarding HW it's overall working good, but I discovered few little annoying bugs which I plan to fix in next revision.
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h3nk

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Re: Draco

by h3nk » Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:44 am

I could imagine several folks around here would like to try your board, but it seems not ready for the public yet. I myself would be very tempted to order one or build one myself when you release a "matured" version of Draco.

How much are the components needed to build Draco?
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dandys

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Re: Draco

by dandys » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:00 pm

Just to break the silence and because someone on IRC asked me to post some video with draco OSD, here it is:
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