A Newbie Needs Help :( pleaseeeeeeee

Hey guys, I’m new to the whole ardupilot traditional Heli situation. Seems super fun - I’ve got myself a Thunder Tiger e550 and am planning to use it for medium weight aerial filming. I have some setup questions that I want to make sure I get right before the thing kills me because as we know 550s are no joke.

Sooo when I set up my old flybarless system, I had to program the throttle curves in the transmitter itself. For ardupilot do I just plug my transmitter’s s-bus straight into the Pixhawk and touch nothing on it and in Mission Planner set throttle curves? Do I set them in the transmitter?

Also question from a friend who wants to learn to fly helis - my Heli is supposedly very beginner friendly - if I set it up in ardupilot can he learn on my Heli assuming no paraphernalia are attached, or should he learn on a regular bbl controller before going to the ardupilot?

Thanks y’all really appreciate the help!


Welcome to ArduPilot TradHeli

I assume that you’re using this:

So follow the wiki (check the videos) to set it up.

The swashplate setup is a H3-140, but pay attention because the elevator (motor3 output) is on the opposite side, so please check if the swashplate moves correctly. Try to setup using QGroundControl and load the suggested parameters for TradHeli from here Copter parameters QGC

The RC radio must NOT have any kind of mixes for the assisted modes, and all curves are handled by the ArduPilot stack.

IMHO, Helis are not an appropriate first flying vehicle to learn, but you can use ArduPilot with the E550 to practice basic flight.

Thank you so much for your help! That is exactly the copter I am using actually. Thanks for the info it was super helpful but the link you sent doesn’t seem to be working for me?


This gives me a 404 error on GitHub?

Sorry :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much! This really helps

As Luis noted, all the settings and mixes are handled in ArduPilot. Nothing in the transmitter. You can set the SERVO directions and collective direction as necessary to get everything to move the right direction. Use the H3-140 swashplate type for that heli.

Throttle curve is also set up in ArduPilot. QGroundControl is the best for this as it has all the heli setup on one page and you can just click boxes to reverse servos, etc… Plus make your throttle curve settings. The throttle curve is only five-points, but it is spline so it smooth curve between the set points. It is not linear like your transmitter is between the throttle settings.

If your heli has a governor in the ESC, then you can also just set a flat throttle curve for that.

If your friend has not flown heli’s before I guess I would find it hard to recommend trying it without getting some training. At the minimum at least learn how to hover one in a good simulator like Heli-X or Real Flight before trying the real thing, using the actual RC that will be used to fly it hooked to the Sim. The Sim will allow practicing all the nose orientations, etc. with crash after crash without hurting anything or somebody getting injured.

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Yea I was thinking of getting a simulator - it’s just hard to find one as I have a MAC but real flight possibly works on Mac? Sounds good on using qgroundcontrol and setup stuff - will make sure the TX has no mixing at all. I’m using the standard ESC that comes with the kit it asks me to calibrate and then set specific throttle curves as defined in the manual and pitch curves as well but none of these are more than 5 points anyways so should be good!

Thanks for all the help!

Hopefully I’ll get around to posting pics of my build!

You can get Heli-X for Mac OS X. The free version has four helicopters you can practice with. If you like Heli-X then you can upgrade to the full version for $58. Real Flight does not run on Mac OS X as far as I know. It is a Windows program.

Well, it will work with ArduPilot just fine, no matter what it is. If it doesn’t have a governor in the ESC then use the throttle curve with it. The throttle curve will be a bit different for electric than what is explained in the training video for piston gas because you don’t normally use 100% throttle on the curve with an electric if you want to limit headspeed to a certain value. Electric motors have a pretty flat torque curve so they can produce full power without going to 100% throttle value due to amps x volts = watts. Where with pistons power = torque x rpm. So the throttle curves are different.

But it makes no matter - ArduPilot can do 'em all.


It’s the ESC that got crazy here, and why I needed the CastleLink.

Once I get it, I’ll post a setup.

Just curious, what did your ESC do?

Thanks again for all the info! I’m using the stock ESC - I believe its like a Castle Talon 90 or something. Haven’t tried the ESC yet from ardupilot I believe it calibrated fine - to me tbh it feels like it was hitting full throttle at half stick even after I calibrated it but I’ll give you more details after I set everything up.

I’m using these settings (thanks @ChrisOlson SantaClaus :wink: )

Hey guy what if my board only wants to run the PX4 firmware and not the regular Ardupilot firmware on QGroundControl - it fails to connect when I load the Ardupilot firmware but not when I load the PX4 one. Will this Heli be OK flying with the Helicopter “Blade 130x” option - and would the parameters above be compatible with PX4?

I update my Pixhawk’s firmware to ChibOS Heli 3.6.5 and QGC is giving me “Check BRD_Type px4io start failed” or similar. What does this mean?

Okay so UPDATE: I was able to fix the IO problem by disabling the co-proceessor apparently this is an issue in the ripoff flight controller boards - but when I’m loading the firmware it asks me frame type - I assume it’s Heli and then it defaults to X? So my frame is Heli X? Is that correct? And where Do I set the swashplate?

Nevermind - I’m just going to buy a 2.1 Cube bc its probably worth it

Heli X is correct frame type. The swashplate setting is under the heli tab in QGround Control.

Thank you! That really helps