Servers by jDrones

ArduPilot Partner CUAV new hardware


(Matt) #21

I’m glad I’m not the only one seeing it this way. I’ve asked repeatedly now what about this product is an improvement over the product they clearly copied to undercut. So far, nobody has been able to answer that question with anything more than “the version number”.

So is the “v5” version number the only improvement? A numerically higher number than v3 printed on the internet? That’s it? There is nothing that actually makes it better, more advanced, safer, more capable, etc etc? I keep asking and nobody can seem to list anything.

How very mature. Your well thought out input will be sorely missed…


(Chris Olson) #22

The v5 version supports the newest processors including the H7 variant with up to 400MHz clock. This comes from PX4, not ArduPilot. And the new Pixhawk 4 is also a v5 board.

The thing is, you have the choice. With these new hardware offerings it looks to me like the community is expanding expodentially, not imploding. If you don’t like v5 then stick with v3. Or even v2, which is actually good enough for “redundancy” if it weren’t for the flash bug. Like sticking all those mags in the v3 doesn’t do any good because everybody turns them off anyway because they don’t work - can never get all the compasses to agree.

As I said, nobody is forcing you to buy Pixhack V5. You have the choice. Without CUAV taking the initiative to build it the choice wouldn’t exist. My personal choice is that I like it and I’m going to put one in a helicopter and test the snot out of it, and I’m going to run ChibiOS on it. If the internal IMU damping is as good as the Pixhack V3 Pro they got a winner. There is no need to declare the community is collapsing under a mushroom cloud just because a new kid shows up on the block.


(Matt) #23

So the only functional improvement is a 400mhz processor. Does anything today or even in the foreseeable future make use of that? Is the cube’s processor speed a functional limitation now that this overcomes? Is there anything else besides a USB-C port and processor speed that isn’t really used? I’m not seeing these things as justification to copy, undercut, and profit.


( .) #24

https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/09/27/amazon-com-the-place-where-american-dreams-are-stolen-by-chinese-counterfeiters/#4505d3594c72

I posted on the other thread about the cyber threat of counterfeit products, now I’ll post about the economic threats.

As others have stated, there isn’t much of an upgrade here (but there does appear to be some slight differentiators)

I won’t go so far as to say that this is a clone (because of the slight changes) but i agree that it doesn’t appear to add to the available feature-set or some new feature that is “gotta have”. Feels more like people standing in line for the next iPhone, or the next Android phone with a SnapDragon 205vs208. minimal changes. Feels more “my PX is bigger than your PX”. But, this is coming from a standpoint of someone who doesn’t really develop major application use-cases for drones as some of you do.


(Rob_Lefebvre) #25

The point, for me, of the word “clone” is when a company makes a few minor changes (if at all) to a board design, and simply sell it at a lower price. This injures the company that took the time to engineer the reference design in the first place.

Also, the companies that get labelled as “cloners” are the same ones who offer little/no customer support. They sell their products at a minimum price, and then it’s the Ardupilot developers, main hardware vendors, and the forums who end up having to support the “clone” products.

Philip/ProfiCNC/Hex is the ONLY hardware company that bothers to communicate with the Ardupilot software developers on a regular basis, helping them solve hardware problems.


(***) #26

If you don’t like what they have made then simply don’t buy it, pretty simple concept.


( .) #27

I think the issue P2P has is the AP community clearly “throwing the support of the AP development” at a (potentially) cloned piece of hardware which will hurt the real manufacturers that are out there and provide all the support of a real manufacturer. In one of the articles I posted above, it tells the sob story of the inventory of a Made-for-TV product which went from having a great income to making $500 a year off the product, all because of counterfeit clones of the product, many of which were both inferioir and unsafe to use, which ended up hurting his own company’s reputation. None of that is good for the industry.

So the solution isn’t just “if YOU don’t like it dont buy it”. The solution is that a community as a whole needs to be willing to put aside their desire for the “next-big-thing” and support those which spend the money to properly engineer products. Put yourself in the shoes of the producer for a minute, rather than the consumer, and then decide how it might affect you.


( .) #28

Clearly you’re missing the fact that this shiny new product also adds a shiny new 15g to the weight of your vehicle over the 2.1. How are you not loving that?


(Rob_Lefebvre) #29

So, funny thing is…

I’m staring at this Odroid XU4 that I need to implement in order to run an improved version of Precision Landing which is a closed-source software that operates on top of Ardupilot and costs pretty big money per license.

Now, the XU4 is not optimized for UAV usage. It has a bunch of horribly big USB-A connectors and RJ45 jacks, all sticking out the sides, going to make the entire thing really big. How great would it be, if somebody designed a purpose-made companion computer for UAV usage with sensible connectors, etc. But nobody will. Why? Because soon as they do, it will be cloned, and then they can’t make back their investment.

But cloning makes the community stronger right?

And why am I paying big money for an improved PL? (We’re talking 4-figures per instance!) Ardupilot already has this. Well, it’s not quite good enough, it needs to be improved. And the business case is needed where I can just write a cheque, and somebody makes my vehicle be able to land on a boat in a month. I can’t get that with the existing Ardupilot developer group. They don’t have the people lying around ready willing and able to satisfy my need.

We used to have 20 people paid full time to work on Ardupilot. Now there are just a few. Why? 3DR used to make enough money from the hardware sales to fund the software developer salaries. But the cloners killed off that market.

But cloners make the community better, right?

I’m now having to pay a lot of money, to several closed-source companies, who develop products and software that operate on top of the core Ardupilot controller. None of this is happening open source. It’s sad.


(Jakob Schmidt) #30

That might be a fair point, but that horse bolted long ago. Meanwhile CUAV appears to at least try to make their own products and not just aim to make cheap copies.
The build quality of the Pixhack V3 Pro is far beyond the quality of the 3DR pixhawks.


( .) #31

I’ll give you this

There is a fine line between providing “competing products which drive the price down” and “cloned products which captilize on the engineering, design, development, and marketting paid for by another company”

That fine line, is typically, visual and technical advantages of the competing product, which drives the other competitor (profiCNC) in this example, to innovate in design/features/materials/manufacturing efficiencies to compete.

This PixHack…only BARELY provides a “visual advantage”


(Rob_Lefebvre) #32

CUAV used to be one of the few companies that were actually turning out interesting products that offered the market something other than just a cheap copy of an existing design. Aluminum cases and interesting form-factors.

This one however, they clearly, intentionally, decided “let’s copy the style of the Pixhawk 2.1 to steal their market share and credibility.”

And then the also violated the licensing terms, by using ProfiCNC’s designs and documentation, and pretending they didn’t. It’s all just really shameful.


(Chris Olson) #33

Actually, no they didn’t, and no it’s not. You must be referring to the visual form factor aspect of a carrier with a plug-in module. All similarities end there. Internally, both in the module and carrier, it is not even CLOSE to a PH2.1. It has some of the same components, which are industry standard stuff. But not even the connector from the module to the carrier are the same.

After I get a chance to thoroughly bench test this thing and fly it with ChibiOS and make sure everything works with the heli code I’ll be able to do a proper review of it. But you can rest assured is NOT a cheap copy. This is a very high quality unit and I really like the design of the peripheral rail. You won’t be jerking any SMT connectors off the board in this one.

Support for the v5 is already in master
./waf configure --board fmuv5


(Rob_Lefebvre) #34

They darn well did. The cube shape. The internal lighting that glows from the base of the cube. The rectangular baseboard with the cube not quite centered. The stepped deck heights. The cutaway relief in the middle… It’s intended to look the same.

This product, by comparison, is a usefully different design. And it is not a stylistic copy of anything else.


(Jakob Schmidt) #35

Given the price of Pixhack V3, I don’t think it’ll be all that much cheaper than the Cube 2.1, if at all.


(Chris Olson) #36

No, it was never designed as a cheap imitation. It is a high-quality alternative with the Cube form factor. And that form factor is definitely not suitable for all vehicles.


(Matt) #37

Making the plugs different is trivial and irrelevant. You’re going on and on about minor differences that have no functional impact. And blindly ignoring literally everything else about it.

All day long I’ve been BEGGING you or anyone to tell me what is technologically better and different than the product they copied and are undercutting. And they only thing you can do is praise the “v5” label as being numerically different than 2.1. and that it has different connectors. So far all I see is a product and company that hurts the community, and a tremendous waste of developer time.


(rmackay9) #38

I think we should be careful not to jump to conclusions about who is right or wrong when it comes to the possible license violation. Even within the AP dev team there isn’t agreement on this point. There are good arguments on both sides.

I think it’s very clear that the board is aimed at competing with the HEX’s Cube… but that on it’s own isn’t necessarily a bad thing right? Competition spurs innovation and from the customer’s point of view it leads to better flight controllers regardless of which company that customer eventually chooses to buy from.


(Chris Olson) #39

It is already supported in master. It took @tridge all of a few hours to write support for it and work out some issues with the cpu cache. It’s a very nice product. Nobody wasted any developer time on it because a lot of people want it.

The Pixhack V5 is here to stay. Maybe Hex/ProfiCNC will make a smaller form factor unit based on FMUv5, which people also want. In the hardware business any design is usually good for a year before it gets one-upped.

After I get a chance to test the Pixhack V5 and see how well it runs and works in piston helicopters I’ll be able to provide a more thorough review of this new product.


(tridge) #40

There are quite a lot of non-trivial changes. The built-in vibration-isolation looks to be a significant improvement (although I have not yet setup a vibration bench test to confirm this). It has an external SPI port which makes some sensor types a lot easier (we had an external SPI port on the Pixhawk1, but don’t on the cube). It has 3 I2C buses exposed on connectors (cube has 2). It uses a USB-C connector instead of micro-USB. It has a STM32F765 processor, which gives it a lot more memory and faster CPU. It has a debug connector exposed for developers without opening the case. The LED in the light-piping around the cube is a full 3 colour RGB toshiba-led. The buzzer is incorporated into the safety switch. The IOMCU is on the carrier board (presumably to free up pins for the extra exposed I2C and SPI ports). It comes with a WiFi telemetry radio (or at least this one did).
There are downsides too. The microSD card can be quite hard to remove. I haven’t yet worked out how to connect a spektrum satellite receiver (I can’t see a port for it, although it is supported in the schematic). For some aircraft the use of side and front connectors will be a problem, depending on the fuselage shape.
There are probably other drawbacks that I’ll notice over time. It should be clear however that a lot of effort has gone into this product.
I should also note that this is marked a “developer edition”. I don’t know what changes may be made in the final version.
Cheers, Tridge