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Author Topic: Holybro 3DR Pixhawk Mini  (Read 592 times)

chris-s

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Holybro 3DR Pixhawk Mini
« on: March 24, 2018, 05:37:05 PM »

Thought I would add a bit of info about my experience with this flight controller as there isn't much around.

I've purchased it to put into a Nano Talon build which I will document elsewhere. Originally I was going to use a Mini APM Pro, but they were out of stock and I'm not comfortable with iNav/Ominbus setups so decided to give this controller a go. I've had several APM's in the past, all in fixed-wing models, and have had really good results with them but this is my first Pixhawk.

Do not confuse this Mini Pixhawk with the 'Radiolink Mini Pix' which uses non-standard firmware to work with their selection of hardware components. There is also a 'Pixfalcon', but from what I understand it uses not-so-good hardware.

I bought mine from Banggood https://www.banggood.com/HolyBro-3DR-Pixhawk-Mini-Autopilot-Micro-M8N-GPS-Built-in-Compass-PDB-Board-for-RC-Drone-p-1255251.html.


So, this is what you gets for your money...

  • Flight controller
  • GPS/Compass
  • Combined PDB/PM
  • Servo breakout board
  • I2C breakout board
  • XT60 pigtail
  • Micro USB cable
  • 4GB SD card
  • Basic manual
  • Arming switch
  • Selection of cables

Rather than coming wrapped in a piece of bubble wrap and stuck in a jiffy bag, it comes in a proper little box with the controller and compass nicely packed in some foam. With all the '3DR' branding, I was a little confused whether or not this was a genuine 3DR product or what?






The flight controller weighs 16 grams, and without the case it is just over 8 grams. The compass/gps is just over 20 grams with the case.

The first thing I did was to update my copy of Mission Planner (version 1.3.53), connect the compass/gps to the controller and then use the supplied usb cable to connect it to my laptop. Reassuringly, it beeped and flashed into life!

Mission Planner happily recognised the controller as a PX4. http://www.px4.io

As supplied, it comes with a version of arducopter installed by default. Since I intend to use it in the Nano Talon, it was a simple process of using Mission Planner to acquire and install the latest version of Arduplane (3.8.4).

Once updated I ran thru the basic gyro and compass calibration process with it on the bench. I'll do it again when installed into the airframe, but I like to do this process as soon as I can to make sure the basics are working!


Next, I plugged in a FrSky X8R receiver, calibrated the radio and then connected up some servos to the servo bus, which needs to be powered separately, just to check all the outputs were working, and again, no problem.

Following that, I quickly rigged up the PDB/PM along with a spare motor/esc and once I had configured the battery monitor settings in Mission Planner I then had some nice battery data available too.



The 'arming' process is different than I have been use to with the APMs, and it took me a while to work out why I could not get any servo output. I think I've disabled it all for now, but will have to read up on that later.

So for now, this is as far as I have gotten with it. The basic things seem to work without fault, which is always a good start. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the quality of the parts and the packaging and am looking forward to getting the rest of the bits to start the build.




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iwan_canobi

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Re: Holybro 3DR Pixhawk Mini
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2018, 11:26:37 AM »

Interesting, thanks for the write up! Does this have an OSD built in or do you still need to use an external unit with a telemetry connection? I've used older ardupilots before and they were good, if a little complicated to get set up.

Do they still have the same community? Seems like they are maybe focusing more on enabling commercial stuff now? The iNav community has probably tempted a lot of hobbyists away I can imagine.

Look forward to seeing your results with it any way!
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chris-s

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Re: Holybro 3DR Pixhawk Mini
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 10:54:49 PM »

It is still a little complicated to setup, but when you look at what itís capable of I donít think that can be avoided.

You still need a separate osd using something like a minimosd or the aeromax osd.

I think you are right in that 3dr are moving more towards commercial applications but there is still a good community of hobbyists although I think you do need to be prepared to do a good bit of work and research yourself.

Iíve invested a lot of time in APMís over the years as well as contributing to some of the mission planner source code. Once you get hands-off automated flights itís very rewarding - if thatís your thing!

The inav does seem like a reasonable option and price point but Iím not convinced that the hardware quality and fixed wing software configuration/featur set is mature enough yet to warrant the risk or learning curve to me just yet.

I will definitely update the thread as I progress with it, but it will be a few weeks yet.

Chris
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