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Need Complete Setup Guide for a APM 2.6 Helicopter Ver 3.2.1

(William ) #1

Thanks in advance for any help
I have recieved a lot of good help and tips from this forum and it’s users, Thank You.
I have viewed and read a lot of comments and tips for correcting problems for people using a APM 2.6 Tradional Helicopter, very helpful, but not a complete guide.
As with anything else various people have various ways of setting something up and it would be a lot easier to have a guide from one source, not so confusing. Most of the setups I see is for newer firmware like Rob’s 3.3.3 setup.
I would like to know if someone knows of a complete setup guide (from start to finish) for the APM 2.6 ver 3.2.1 or older firmware?
My heli is flying, but not near as good as I have seen from videos online?
Trex 450 clone, APM 2.6, ver 3.2.1, Tarot FBL head, Turnigy 9X radio

(Chris Olson) #2

Hi Wiliam,
There is no setup videos for 3.2.1. And 99% of the major improvements for helicopters were made in AC3.3 for ease of setup. Like in 3.2 HSV_MAN only has two settings - 1 and 0. 0 turns on the PID controller, 1 turns on manual direct to stick so you can set up the head. In 3.3 and later there is five settings for HSV_MAN. And no collective curve settings for Stabilize. But the basic head setup, mechanically, is the same.

The current wiki on tuning was actually written back in the APM days, so remains the best current online reference there is for APM and 3.2.1. However, there are even improvements to the tuning method now being used and the wiki needs to be updated to reflect those.

The APM, although it is a very good board, is considered non-supported anymore by the ArduPilot community. I have a lot of experience with the APM on Trad Heli’s so can try to provide some pointers on how to get it to fly better. But I would need to know some more specifics as to what problems you are having, along with a current exported .param file and maybe a flight log. Since you have an APM 2.6 with no internal compass, and the last I heard you were not using a GPS/compass module, it could be that’s your problem because you have no compass?

Seeing the .params would tell a lot about your setup.

(William ) #3

I really appreciate the advice you have given me and loads of other people from this forum.
What would really help is if you or someone would upload a ver 3.2.1 450 helicopter (or a version close) parameter file just to use as a reference guide for Imax, FF settings, so on, not to copy and use.
I know there are a lot of very knowledgeable people on this forum that know this program like the back of there hand, but some of us are still confused and trying to learn.

(Chris Olson) #4

William, this is the param file from my pylon racer Trex 500, DFC head, no failsafes except for collective (throttle), no GPS or external compass, only flight modes set up are Stabilize and Acro. APM2.8.

You can use these as a guideline, but note this is a very quick handling helicopter not suitable for UAV use and I’m using a lot of rate fastforward with very high mechanical rate besides. Also note all the Acro stuff is disabled - no Acro expo, no “trainer”. The headspeed on this helicopter is 3,000 rpm and it can achieve a roll rate of 700+ deg/sec and flight speed of 80+ mph.

While the rate PID’s might be applicable to your setup, you would likely use a lot less rate feedforward (RAT_xxx_FF), probably more in the range of .12 to .14.

Also pay no attention to the H_COL_MID/MAX params. This particular helicopter runs 15 degrees of collective pitch.

Trex500DFC-APM2.8-AC3.2.1-Aug 18 2017.param (7.9 KB)

(William ) #5

Thanks again for all the help.
Problem is when I try to use your file with my APM 2,6, I go into Mission planner, to Full Parameter List, right hand side, Load From File, it will show me your file note, and load file.
I then go into Mission Planner Full Parameter List but there are no H parameter listed?
I tried again Reset to Defaults, reconnected, reloaded file, still no H parameters listed?
Are you sure this is file is for a Helicopter?
Also is there a way to view a parameter file without loading into a APM board?
Thanks again

(Chris Olson) #6

William, yes it is definitely for a helicopter with AC3.2.1. Mission Planner likely doesn’t support AC3.2 anymore. Scrap that program and download and install APM Planner2 instead. Or you can use Tower on an Android tablet. I set that particular helicopter up just a couple weeks ago with APM Planner2.

Those .param files are just text files. You must be using Windows if it doesn’t know how to open it. On Windows I think you have to right click on the file and select something like “Open With” and use maybe Notepad to open it.

(William ) #7

I did not think APM Planner2 had a setup for helicopters, I saw the heli frame choice but no heli setup?

(Chris Olson) #8

I don’t know if I’d use the heli setup in Mission Planner for anything but the latest code, and even then I don’t know how well it’s supported. There’s no current Trad Heli maintainer to check all that stuff to make sure it works. So only use the Full Parameter List to make any changes, no matter what version you fly, or ground station you use.

Definitely DO NOT use the extended tuning pages, the basic tuning pages, or any of that stuff for a helicopter. That is all designed for multi’s, the settings for helicopters it considers “out of range” and it will make settings in your parameters you don’t want. Use only the Full Parameter List to change anything.

(Nana Sumarna) #9

Hi, Chris,
do you have a file parameter for the heli 450 pro ?
I would be very happy to use it

(Chris Olson) #10

No, I don’t. I have not tuned a 450 size with APM.

(Nana Sumarna) #11

what a pity, :frowning: