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3DR's APM 2.5 vs. RTFQ's ReadytoFlyer 2.5.2

poerboy

Junior Member
#1
First off, so please forgive me if this has been asked already. I did my best to search the forums before posting.

How does the ReadyToFlyQuads' ReadytoFlyer 2.5.2 compare with the 3DR's APM 2.5? Also, it is worth noting that the 3D Robotics APM 2.5 is now EoL and being replaced by the still more expensive APM v2.6, which has the on board magnetometer removed for interference purposes?

From what I can gather from their respective websites, they seem to be very competitive (dare I say: identical) on paper. Heck, even the board's architecture looks the same; but the RTFQ version is less than $100 with the GPS and Magnetometer add-on! Is this simply another low-end knockoff like what HK is producing with the HKPilot Mega V2.5--which still has a large following and decent reviews? I'm reluctant to think so because RTFQ is starting to build a respectable reputation for customer service and quality.

FWIW, I have a couple years experience flying single-rotor CP heli's (not 3D yet) and more recently some trainer-level fixed-wing craft, but now I am looking to build my first scratch tri-copter--or scratch anything for that matter--to use for FPV and AP, so any input here is greatly appreciated. Maybe we could even influence the FT guys (read: Chad) to due a more in depth comparison of the leading flight controller options out there and compare each variants top contenders :rolleyes:

Thanks guys, and happy flying...
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#2
Hardware should be identical. It's an open design so others are free to reproduce it. So I wouldn't call other versions "knock-offs" as they're basically the same thing just a different manufacturer.

Personally I'm not a big fan of 3DR. This post on reddit kind of covers why I'm not a huge fan of their (though I do disagree with this post on a few finer details) http://en.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/1u85p3/anthrax_linux_kernels_remain_closed_source/ceft2vz

Frankly I don't feel bad at all buying an APM board from a different manufacturer because bottom line is it's the communities design not 3DR's. 3DR just stepped up to manufacturer and market what the community develope(d/s).

I'm really considering one of the boards from RTFQ...but since I still haven't heard back from Paul about the missing items from my first order and it's now been 3 days I'm not in a huge hurry to order from them again just yet. I know he's got to be busy since he put that notice up on his site about slow shipping right after the FT episode with his stuff...but I still expected a reply of some kind by now...If he does respond (as I expect him to) and does agree to make good on the missing item (Just some gell pads not a big expensive item or anything) I'm really torn between ordering one of his ReadyToFlyer boards as a base for a APM based FC....or trying one of his basic flip controllers for my existing knuckle quad and turning it into a pure acro trainer....
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#3
I have noticed that 3DR continues to move hardware "off board" and raise the prices to get it back. Their Telemetry radios have gone from $39 to $100. I think they create issues to sell more hardware of less value for much more money. I jumped ship after APM2 which was an exceptional value for $200. I have been using RCTimer's Arduflyer since for ALL APM hardware. The latest Arduflyer Kit offering from UAVObjects.com at $200 blows 3DR offerings OUT OF THE WATER!

Thurmond
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#4
$200 isn't bad...but you can get the same basic thing from RTFQ for $50 less: http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/flight-controllers/readytoflyer-2-6.html

2.6 board with GPS, telemetry radios, power sensor module, and OSD all for $148. Pretty good deal. Leave out the telemetry radio (I have telemetry on my openLRSng already) and the GPS and OSD (I already have them) and I could be flying APM for under $80. Tempting...but for now I'd rather keep saving towards some goggles ;)

As for moving hardware off board. I'm actually all for that. I think keeping the IMU components on the main controller board is a bad idea in general. Yes, it makes things a bit more convenient in that you only have one board to mount. But it also raises it's own issues like making it harder to isolate your sensors from interference. I'd love to see more FC manufacturers start making boards without included sensors so they can be mounted remotely and so you can swap to different sensors as they become available. That flexibility is one thing I love about my hacked together controller.

On a more general note I'd love to see more thought go into some designs. EOSbandi who's doing great stuff with the GPS nav on MW has posted some great thoughts on what current boards could do better. http://www.multiwii.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4360#p44345 I don't agree 100% with his position but he does have a lot of good suggestions.

Really wish I had the time and skills to route my own custom board....someday...someday....
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#6
Thanks for all this input guys.

I think I finally have a solid handle on the mechanics/physics of multirotors and am ready to delve into something more involved on the control side. I'll probably jump into some sort of APM card in early spring. :)
 

Airwolf

Senior Member
#7
I have HKPilotMega 2.5 with all the goodies from HK as well (uBlox LEA-6H module, power module, minim OSD). Hardware is identical but some of the connectors on the additional modules are not so you have to play around with wiring a little bit. Also there are no cases for the boards in HK (not counting the CNC cut APM case which basically is a crap). Fortunatelly Goodluckbuy sells them.

I have no problem at all it's not genuine 3DR product. In fact they also seem to test their stuff on the "knock off" products (like RCTimer's knock off's of the DJI products).