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Pumpkin drop event

KK 2.0 Alternatives

dlabs

Junior Member
#1
Hello All,

I'm new to the hobby and am embarking on my very first scratch build using the bat bone kit.

Seeing how hobbyking has been sold out of the KK2.0 LCD flight computer for quite a while, I'm getting impatient and looking for viable alternatives. I would LOVE to do the DJI Naza Lite, but my wallet is screaming a bit on that one and I figure it might be a bit overkill for a first build.

Has anyone had good experience with the MultiWii MicroWii ATmega32U4?

Sorry if this question has been asked 100 times before, but I could sure use some wisdom here. Thanks in advance!

Dane
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#3
I'm in a similar situation. I've been waiting on the KK2 for some time, I've gotten e-mail notices about it being back in stock twice - but both times it was out of stock again by the time I saw the notice in my inbox.

So I decided to give MultiWii a try...but then reading up on it realized that it's basically just an arduino and some sensors...and since I have a currently unused Arduino Mega, a Wii motion plus that hasn't been used in over a year, and a wii nunchuck that hasn't been used in even longer...decided to go ahead and order the bits for a quad and while I waited on them to arrive from China I'd try piecing together a homebrewed MultiWii.

So far so good. I was able to get the WMP hooked up and the MW code loaded the first evening and it all seems to be working. HK surprised me and got me my parts in under 2 weeks so I'm hoping to make some real progress on it this weekend. I'm just short some servo leads to wire my RX up to my arduino but those should be here in a day or two.

Last night I stripped the WMP down to a bare board and go it hooked back up along with the MW bluetooth adapter from HK which I ordered along with my motors/ESC's - and that was also easy to setup...so I can now program and tweak my homebrewed MW from my phone which so far seems a lot nicer than the four buttons and LCD of a KK2.

Nothing in the air yet so take this all with a grain of salt...but so far I've found MW to not be that difficult to work with. Give me a few more days to make a frame and get the motors/esc's wired up and we'll see if it actually flys. I don't see why it shouldn't but I'm not sure just how difficult MW is to actually get flying yet and I've heard widely varying reports.

So for me there were a few big things that convinced me to give MW a try instead of continuing to wait on the KK2:

1) No waiting.
2) Cheap - I had all the parts to homebrew one on hand...but full boards can be found fairly cheap. The "Flip" is only $15 and listed as in stock and looks like a good basic MW based board: http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/flip-mwc-flight-controller.html
3) Bluetooth - I cringe every time I see someone reach into the middle of a bunch of props to tweak settings on a KK2. Just seems like a bad idea to me. <$8 for a bluetooth adapter from HK and it's super easy to hookup, several free apps available for android and so far all that I've tried seem to work.
4) Expandability - A $5 Arduino pro mini and a WMP are all you need to get a basic MW setup going it seems. But you can keep adding to it and as a tinkerer that appeals to me. I already have a baro sensor (<$3) and a compass (<$3) on order to expand my options...I also have an old GPS laying around I may try to integrate. Though it seems like GPS support on the MW is still very early.
5) Options - Since the MW is based on Arduino and standard sensors there are multiple firmware options. Just off the top of my head MultiWii, MegaPirateNG and OpenPilot are all options that can run on the same basic hardware. Though MP sounds like a bit of a pain to get going and OpenPilot is a bit more than I want at this point.

All that being said if the KK2's were in stock I'd probably have gone with one of them first since they're simple and proven. But since I had the parts on hand to build a MW so it's costing me basically nothing out of pocket combined with the points above I'm pretty excited about getting this thing together.

Of course as a bit of perspective this past weekend I repaired a steel gate in my backyard with a welder I made out of broken microwaves...so I'm not exactly scared of doing things myself out of what's available instead of buying a proven solution :D
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#4
Set up an email notification at HobbyKing for the KK2. It may appear they are out-of-stock all the time, but they regularly get a batch in, pretty much bi-weekly.
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#5
I have been waiting for KK2s to be available for 6 weeks tomorrow. I am on the list and I check both US and international warehouses daily.

HK has a problem and this question is being asked over and over.
http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?5985-Opinons-on-multiwii-pro

I put my first KK2 in the air in a matter of hours and started learning to fly. I have had the MultiWii for 3 weeks and am still not flying.

If you want autonomous flight and more stable autolevel for video, the MultiWii is an inexpensive board that will provide those functions once you deal with its multiple learning curves.

If all you want is to fly, wait for a KK2 or look for other simpler/cheaper options recommended on this forum.
 

dlabs

Junior Member
#6
Thanks for all the replies guys. There's a lot of information out there for a noob to wade through!!!

I'm on the HK waiting list for these boards, but haven't heard anything from them for weeks. If they come in, I'll jump all over it... Maybe buy a few for good measure!

I ended up going with a full multiwii solution, which ended up costing about $90. Another $100 and I could have just done the Naza Lite which probably would save me about 60 hours of headache. But, I'm a supporter of the open source solutions and have always liked the arduino platform, so I guess we'll see how it goes.

http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/fl...pro-ez3-0-flight-controller-w-gps-option.html

There seems to be support out there for this product, but if anyone knows a good tutorial that gives a tried and true way to get my craft into the air, please feel free to share!

It seems like the "Ready to Fly Quads" site pre loads the firmware and everything... Perhaps I'll create a build video / site so I can share the experience.

Thanks again!
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#9
I got my MultiWii in the air an hour ago with help from Mustang.

The tutorials are all in the files section on the hobbyking web page. Use the pinouts file, and the motor plan file as you build your copter. Mustang walked me through Arduino. I haven't tried MegaPirate yet. This link from Hobby King helped me a ton.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwqpJpd_OBg

The hardest thing to find was how to set the throws of the controller so the copter will arm. Its about using subtrims to center your sticks at 1500.

By the time I figured out a few dum-dum build things I had done like got the ESCs connected wrong causing the copter to flip and needing to reverse the elevator channel on the remote, it was dark.

Luckily I put lights on the thing.

It flies like a heavy marshmallow but it flies. I have lots of tweaking to do and I need to build a cover to protect the barometer and to raise the GPS.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#10
Congrats on getting it going! Thankfully for me I'm used to arduino...but the funky build for MegaPirate has me in no hurry to look into it just yet.

I haven't made any progress on mine today since assembling the frame this morning :( Been working on my daughters play house all day. But it's "Done" enough for her to play in now (she even got to paint it herself) and once she's done with her bath I get my shower...and then I can start working on mine finally. Don't think I'll get to spin the motors up tonight and since I don't have lights on mine absolutely zero chance of a test flight tonight :( As I suspected I'll be super happy if I can test fly by mid-week.
 

KJ4CCH

Senior Member
#11
I was looking at this: http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__19534__HobbyKing_Multi_Rotor_Control_Board_V2_1_Atmega168PA_.html

I never owned a tricopter, I plan on building one, so I though I should look hahah.


Also, i hear the multiWii is good. Is is flyable out of the box hardware wise?I know i have to flash it with software, but does it take the standard arduino usb to flash the program on it?

sorry if it seems like i am thread jacking, but thses seems better to ask here than starting another thread.
 
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#12
I have a crius v2 board that is native multiwii and went with Megapirate. There is a tiny bit more learning curve but it is totally worth it. Mission planning is awesome. Here is a video of my waypoint flights and it is about .5 km. It was no issue for the quad. I did get it stuck in a tree in a later flight when the GPS wire broke... make sure if you have a crash you check your wiring well before relaunching. In that case I had a small crash but wanted to get it launched before dark and didnt check.


I will be really interested in the next few generations of APM stuff and their compatible hardware from the china companies.
 
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cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#13
KJ4CCH, I have never used the board in the link but it states right on the HK web page that the board you have linked to is for 4 rotor craft (quadcopters). I suspect it may not work with a tri-copter.

I have a quad running a KK2 and I have a quad running the MultiWiiPro:
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__26588__MultiWii_PRO_Flight_Controller_w_MTK_GPS_Module.html

The KK2 is the epitome of simplicity. The MultiWii has some additional learning curves, may require modifications to your copter build to accommodate the plug for the USB port and requires a computer to make flight adjustments.

I have a BatBone on order. I plan to wait for another KK2. The MultiWii is ok and has some great functionality, but if all you want to do is fly, the KK2 gets you in the air faster, is simpler to build to and is simpler to tune.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#16
Now that I have my MW quad flying well enough to start doing stupid things with it I figured I'd chime back in with my thoughts on MultiWii now that I have more experience with it.

First my single biggest complaint. Documentation is sorely lacking and that which does exist is usually for older versions of MultiiWii and/or written in broken English that's hard to follow. Figuring things out tends to take either someone who knows what they're already doing or some good google skills. Thankfully I have some killer google skills :D

The #1 complaint I hear about MultiWii is that it's harder to setup. Honestly though the initial setup on the MW is no worse than doing a firmware upgrade on a KK2.0 - and possibly easier. I've yet to try the KK2 uploaders but I've had issues with AVRdude before but never had a problem getting the arduino GUI to "just work" out of the box. The configuration changes to MW seem daunting at first because the config file is so big...but really there's no "programming" to it - just a matter of adding and removing #'s at the start of lines to choose which options you want (What sensors are you using, Are you using a summing RX or individual channels, do you want to mix up the order of the channels?) Bottom line here is that the things that require using Arduino and reflashing are in general things you only change once when doing initial setup.

And if going through that big config file is really that scary and you're ok using v2.2 or below (I haven't even tried 2.3 yet) there's a webpage that will setup the config file for you. I actually used this to get started - but now that I'm experimenting with adding new sensors it's quicker and easier for me to just find and adjust the correct lines in the config file: http://panoramaic.se/configurator/

Honestly - building the wiring harness and physically connecting the new sensors I added yesterday took a LOT longer than the time it took to update the configuration. I spent maybe 5 minutes updating the software but a good hour or two wiring up the sensors. If you actually buy a ready to go board you don't have to deal with any of that unless you choose to add extra sensors down the road.


I will admit I'm not a fan of the stock config GUI for MW. I can't figure it out. And I'm pretty good at figuring out odd interfaces. But I seriously can't figure out how to actually change things like the PID values. It's windows specific but the alternative GUI is FAR FAR better IMHO: https://code.google.com/p/mw-wingui/ It's also maintained by the guy who's making a lot of improvements to the GPS code so it's developing into a bit of a mission planner type of app as well.

I am however a huge fan of the android app and bluetooth for configuration. So quick and easy. It's one of the few positive bluetooth experiences I've had. I love the idea of bluetooth...but so often it leaves me screaming at what a joke the implementation is. In this case though it all just works. The android GUI is quick and easy to use and makes tweaking things a true joy. This is the android GUI I've been using, it's under active development and the free version is great but I liked it enough I went ahead and donated for the extra features of the paid version even though I don't need them (And I'm really cheap so impressing me enough to pay for features I don't need is no easy task!): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ezio.multiwii

The MW does support adding a LCD, and I even have a LCD or two laying around that would probably work. But I have zero interest in pursuing it because the bluetooth option works so well. Why add the extra weight of a LCD when the BT module is so small and light and "just works". Plus at only 4 wires the BT module is easy to remove when I don't need it.


If you're thinking of trying MW but are scared of the prospect of "programming" then do yourself a favor and take a quick look at the setup. Download the free Arduino IDE: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software it's really not hard to get setup on most modern computers. Then download v2.2 of MultiWii https://code.google.com/p/multiwii/downloads/detail?name=MultiWii_2_2.zip&can=2&q= (2.3 is out...but it sounds like it still has a few issues so I haven't tried it yet...but also sounds like some major improvements so I'm probably going to try it fairly soon.) Now just open the folder you put the MW code in and double click the main MultiWii file - if you installed the Arduino IDE correctly it should open all of the MW files in it, then just find the tab for "config.h" and start browsing. Most sections of the config you can just skip over entirely if they don't apply to your situation. The rest it's simply a matter of making sure options you don't want have a # in front of them and ones you do want don't have a #. If you can handle that - congrats as that's the hardest part of MW.


I still want to try a KK at some point when they become available again. But MW has blown me away so far and sucked me in. Getting past the poor documentation is a hurdle, but once past it the rest gets easy quick. The biggest problem I had with my build was being scared to try auto level mode - once I finally gave that I try I quickly realized it was my flying skills causing most of my problems since I wasn't used to a full acro mode!
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#17
I have both the MultiWii Pro and a KK2. I just ordered 2 more KK2s from ebay.

The MultiWii can complicate your build by having the USB port on the side. You MUST flash the MultiWii to make it work. You can flash the KK2 to make it work better. Order the KK2 from ebay and it costs $15 more and is pre-flashed to 1.6.

What really makes the MultiWii shine are its features. It has a great autolevel and can support GPS. The KK2s strength is its simplicity. Both will fly OK with default values. It takes minutes to tune a KK2 to fly really well. The MultiWii can take far more time due to its complexity and the need to connect to a computer to change settings.

If you want to program your copter like a robot and have the smoothest autolevel possible after you invest the time to make it work, the MultiWii is a great choice.

If you just wanna fly, get the KK2.
 
#18
@jhitesma: Congrats for getting you mwii airborne! Using the original WMP gyro is.. well 3 years back in time now (copter stoneage). You can have much better performance with a 5$ MPU6050 Break out Board (it also has an accelerometer build in for self leveling). From my time with wmp and nunchuk (awful accelerometer) I think the mwii ver 1.9 was the best combo for this acient sensorset (2.0 flew worse, than I got rid of wmp and nunchuk - so hard to say whats up with 2.2 or 2.3 but I doubt that serious developmentpower was wasted on that bad sensorset). Give 1.9 a try.
Changing numbers in the original gui is press left mouse button and move the mouse - that is beyond any windows standard but designed that way for whatever crazy reason.

Cheers Rob
 
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Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#19
I have both the Atmega V3.0 and the Atmega V2.1 and the KK2.

All I can say is if you can afford the extra $10-15 . . . please don't waste your time with the V3.0 or the V2.1 and get the KK2 or the KK2.1, unless you're simply curious how older boards work.

The Atmega V2.1 & V3.0 is older tech with the gyros separate, and the aileron gyro I believe, physically protruding off the board asking to be bend or broken. Plus dealing with sensitive analog pots is a pain. For the extra few dollars, the KK2 is a no-brainer, if you're interested in a better flying craft, a more reliable craft, a MUCH easier to set flight controller with pretty much every multi-rotor configuration you could possibly want, already built in waiting for you to choose it.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#20
@jhitesma: Congrats for getting you mwii airborne! Using the original WMP gyro is.. well 3 years back in time now (copter stoneage).
Thanks, and yes I realized before starting that it was outdated tech...but having it on hand and being zero out of pocket cost was too much to pass up :) Plus there's just something neat about saying I actually built a functioning multi using bits and pieces that were just laying around my house! I wouldn't suggest anyone take this path unless they really want the experience...but it wasn't that hard and works way better than I anticipated.

You can have much better performance with a 5$ MPU6050 Break out Board (it also has an accelerometer build in for self leveling). From my time with wmp and nunchuk (awful accelerometer) I think the mwii ver 1.9 was the best combo for this acient sensorset (2.0 flew worse, than I got rid of wmp and nunchuk - so hard to say whats up with 2.2 or 2.3 but I doubt that serious developmentpower was wasted on that bad sensorset). Give 1.9 a try.
Well I'm already on 2.3 and am blown away at how well it works. I have ordered a MPU6050 and actually expected it to have been here earlier this week and am a little upset that it still hasn't arrived as I'm busy the next 4 days and won't be able to play with it when it does come now :D

Honestly right now my biggest complaint is my ESC's. The multistars have completely unimpressed me. I'm sure I'll see an improvement stepping up to the 6050 but I suspect I'd see a bigger improvement from flashing SimonK. Just haven't had time to bust out the tiny tip on my iron and my magnifier and don't want to risk frying an ESC since I don't have any spares. Hopefully I'll have some spare ESC's soon and will be making the change to SimonK shortly after upgrading to the 6050.

Changing numbers in the original gui is press left mouse button and move the mouse - that is beyond any windows standard but designed that way for whatever crazy reason.

Cheers Rob
Well it is Java and cross platform so I can understand not following windows standards...but that's one convention that's so totally non-obvious I wish it was documented somewhere :D I did finally figure it out about a week ago though. The new 2.3 version of the windows GUI is pretty flaky for me so I've been using the official GUI more since I switched to 2.3.

I also had to switch from my mega 2560 board to a pro mini and have to say I would NOT suggest the pro mini to anyone. I'm so glad I already had experience with a working copter from my mega board before trying the mini. If I had started with the pro mini I very well may have given up before getting it flying. And even now that it's working (and working quite well, with my new parts still in shipping limbo and not having my bluetooth connected to the pro mini I've been doing a lot of flying instead of tweaking and am loving it) I can't wait to go back to the mega board. The biggest issue I'm having with the pro mini is it keeps loosing my changes. From both the windows GUI and the official I hit save, and it doesn't give any errors, I hit load and it shows my new numbers...but once I power down the multi and then turn it back on...my new numbers are gone. Really annoying. Sometimes they save, sometimes they just seem to save. Honestly not sure if it's a 2.3 issue or a pro mini issue but the extra serial ports on the mega make it so much nicer if you want to use bluetooth and/or GPS.