I have +3 years experience in assembly and C on 8 bit µC.
I have been using Linux with Debian, mainly, for around 10 years. An of course some scripting, c c++…
I am testing stuff on uTest for fun, but I am missing the hardware bit.
I have been reading in the forum, and I know about this: http://ardupilot.org/dev/docs/supported-autopilot-controller-boards.html
I could buy a Skywalker plane, build a boat hull etc if needed, that’s just fun.
But still I would like to ask:
What is the best hardware to buy to get started with testing and developing here?
The main microcontrollers currently in use are the STM32F4 and various SBC’s. 8 bit microcontrollers are generally not being actively developed on the main barnch in ArduPilot though several people are still working with them and their are interesting ideas to use them such as in cooperation wuth a companion computer, but to look to the future I would say look at a 32 bit ARM mcu such as STM32F4 or STM32F7 series.
The other options are various flavours of SBC. On the one hand the RaspBerry Pi and clones and on the other Intel and Beaglebone etc. Personally I would reckon that if you are into hardware, the SBC’s will be frustrating. The I2C port on the RaspberryPi is groaning under the strain of all those sensors on the bus, but if you like developing on a PC, they offer the most painless path.
An SBC is frustrating per se, but it’s great fun combined with a 8 bit µC. A BBB or RB Pi is no problem to use.
So to get started with the code, on of this STM32F769 Discovery Development Board would do? Link to rs-online: http://tinyurl.com/hhww93p
I am trying to read me up on this forum, but I have atm not the overview I need to by the hardware. Sorry if the questions is to simple…
The best way to get started with the code is probably to buy a pixhawk or one of the other STM32f4 boards. There are several. The ones with and STM32F427 are the best bet in my opinion. The Pixhawk is very versatile but physically quite large, but for development is a good choice.
Then head over to Github and clone the ArduPilot source code repository. Trying getting a build. The Code is very Linux friendly so no problem there.
Once you have your dev environment set up, then you could try to build and upload some of the examples. E.g one that tests the AHRS
That is quite a good way into the whole ArduPilot ecosystem.
As a next step for 8 bit boards, there has been talk about reusing the old APM flight controller in ArduPilot as an IO board together with an SBC and I think it would be popular. This has been achived by the AURAS project which might be useful as a starting point. Here is my thread on that subject.