E-VTOL-1 STEP BY STEP GUIDE V2
The objective of this guide is to accurately describe all the steps required to get the Eclipson E-VTOL-1 flying properly.
Although you can use several flight controllers and add many extras like cameras, pitot tubes etc. In order to simplify as much as possible this guide will focus on the minimum elements required for Vtol flight with the use of Mateksys F405-wing flight controller with arduplane firmware. For a complete list of the supported flight controllers, refer to ArduPilot wiki.
We encourage you to share your experience or ask anything related to this project in the following forum. Also if you consider useful to add any information to this guide, please let us know in that forum.
STEP1 - Soldering
The information provided by Mateksys is a bit confusing since it gives you one scheme for Inav and another for ardupilot. The following scheme is the summary of what you should do.
Note. In case you are using ESC with BEC one cable (power) should be removed as you can see in the following picture.
Note2. Until the STEP 10 we do not recommend you to install the flight controller in the plane, this way the calibrations will be much easier.
STEP2 -Updating the firmware of your flight controller
1 You might need to download the right drivers (necessary for the F405-wing flight controller).
Download the “Driver fixer” from this page and run the software.
2 Select the latest folder from here
3 Select your Flight controller, in our case F405-wing
4 Select the “arudplane_with_bl.hex” file and download it.
5 Open betaflight or INAV
7 Plug the flight controller into your computer and click on connect
7 click on firmware flasher
8 Click on load firmware (local) and chose the file “arudplane_with_bl.hex” from your computer
9 Click on Flash firmware
STEP3 - Radio configuration
Create 5 input channels
Channel 1: Aileron
Channel 2: Elevator
Channel 3: Throttle
Channel 4: Rudder
Channel 8: Any 3 position switch to select flight modes
Note: Do not create any mixing or travel limitation in the radio, otherwise it can cause you problems later. You can only use some exponential and reverse (if necessary) in the radio.
STEP4 - Ardupilot tailsitter configuration
1 Download and install mission planner
2 Plug the flight controller into your computer and click on connect
3 We need to tell ardupilot the type of vehicle that we are using, an VtolTailsitter configuration with two motors and two elevons.
Click on CONFIG > Full parameter tree > look for Q parameter > activate it > then you need to click on the bottom write params and refresh
After that you should be able to see all the Q parameters. Look for the the following parameters and modify the values as indicated:
-Q_FRAME_CLASS = 10,
This will tell ardupilot the type of vehicle we are flying
-Q_A_THR_MIX_MAX and Q_A_THR_MIX_MAN = 0,9,
This set throttle vs attitude control prioritization to high. Throttle will be applied when the plane lose attitude to recover it.
-Q_VELZ_MAX_DN = 150
-Q_VELZ_MAX = 500
Limit od ascend/descend in QHover
Read more about tailsitter planes in ardupilot
STEP5 - Accel calibration
Click on calibrate the accel Mission Planner will prompt you to place the vehicle at each calibration position. Press any key to indicate that the autopilot is in position and then proceed to the next orientation.
The calibration positions are: level, on right side, left side, nose down, nose up and on its back
STEP6 - Radio calibration
Turn on your radio, click on Calibrate radio and follow the instruction.
(Note depends on your wiring, your receiver may not be powered by USB connection, you may need battery connected to power receiver.)
STEP7 - Servo output
Here we are telling ardupilot the function of each element connected to our Flight controller (position ). So here is where we are making the mix (not in the radio)
Note: Throttle bars will not be moved yet, they are working only once we arm the model (later steps)
STEP8 - Flight modes
ArduPlane will transition between hover to plane once you change the flight mode. So you will need to set at least 1 hover and 1 plane mode.
Read more about all Q modes (Hover flight)
Read more about all planes mode (horizontal flight)
Here we will select the flight modes to be used and the switch position for each one. We would recommend you to use the following modes for the maiden flight:
Q-STABILIZE < > STABILIZE <> MANUAL
Move the switch of your radio that you have chosen (channel 8 in our case) to see the fllght modes that you need to modify
STEP9 - Compass calibration
In order to calibrate the compass you need to be outside to get satellites signal and power the Flight controller with the battery.
Click on the START and rotate the Flight controller around the X axis, then around Y and later around Z. The process takes some time, so be patient and do not stop until you see a successful message on the screen.
Read more about compass calibration
STEP10 - Arming
Before you can fly your plane you need to arm it. Arming the aircraft before flight has two purposes:
prevent the motor from turning when the pilot is not ready to fly (a safety feature)
prevent takeoff before the autopilot is fully configured and ready to fly.
The key thing that arming does is to enable the motor. You will not be able to start the motor (ie. control the throttle) until the aircraft is armed.
The flight controller will not let you arm until the pre-arm check list has been successfully (all in green) completed. As you can see one of the checks is to get enough sats. So go outside, power the flight controller and wait (be patient, the first start can take you until 30 minutes).
By default in order to arm the plane you need to select the flight mode manual, throttle to the minimum and move the rudder to the right for 2 seconds.
Note: It is recommended to connect the laptop to the flight controller during this process, this way you will be able to see the status of your preflight checklist and also the errors message in case you can not arm.
Read more about arming process
At this stage you can install the Flight controller in the plane. Make sure that the arrows of the Flight controller and GPS are pointing forward.
STEP11 - Maiden flight
In order to successfully maiden the plane we highly recommend you to:
1 No windy conditions. Be patient and choose a day with almost no wind for the maiden flight. Tail sitter Vtol during hover flight are difficult to be controlled in windy conditions, keep in mind that our airplane is a great vane (CG above neutral point) this mean that will try to be aligned with the wind direction, this effect is greater if the wind direction is perpendicular to the wing, so take off and land always with the wind coming sideways, In general we would not recommend you to fly if wind is greater than 10 km/h
2 Preflight checks.
With the propeller not installed make sure that the elevons and motors react in the right direction for each flight mode.
Hold the plane with your hands vertically, apply power and make sure that the reaction of the flight controller is as indicated:
The Flight controller is not working so just make sure that the elevons are working like in any other flying wing.
The elevon should be in neutral position when you hold the plane in horizontal and level position. For any roll or pitch attitude the reaction of the flight controller should be to return to level and horizontal flight.
3- Avoid overcorrection in hover mode.
Keep in mind that the radio inputs will not have an immediate impact on the model as you might be used in manual mode, the flight controller should level the model for you and correct any undesirable movement, so apply only smooth and slow inputs to your radio when flying this mode.
4-Take off from horizontal surface.
Make sure that the chosen surface to take off is horizontal and that the elevons are in neutral position just before taking off.
5-Take off and landing procedure
Do not try to land or take off slowly and smoothly because the risk of crashing is higher.
Take off: Apply 10% of power smoothly, then apply throttle suddenly up to 75%
Landing. Fly smoothly until an altitude of a few centimeters and cut suddenly the power.