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Help! rc helicopter with GPS and RTH???

#1
First off, I'd just like to explain that this project is for my own uses and on my own property. I have many acres of open field and i am far away from any airport and I am about 15 miles from the nearest city. I began this hobby with intentions of never doing anything intentionally unsafe and I still believe that I've been very safe about all my rc flights.

Ok, that being said, I hope someone here might be able to help with some suggestions. I have a 700 class helicopter that i'd like to stretch to an 800 class helicopter. That's the easy part. Where it becomes difficult, I'd like to add GPS with position hold, altitude hold, and RTH. Is there anything like this available? I've been searching around and I did find the DJI Naza-H controller (semi-popular several years ago) but, although an optional GPS module can be purchased, it does not include RTH.

Would anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
 

FDS

Well-known member
#2
You would want a more modern flight controller with a barometer, separate GPS and then program it with iNav or Arduflight. Helicopters are more difficult to set up for this kind of automation as they have servos controlling multiple functions, quads only have motors to control their movement, that’s why they are so popular for this type of application.
I would look at a simpler 5 inch or 6 inch quad build using something like an Omnibus F4 pro FC which has what you need for altitude lock and RTH (with separate GPS) and use that to learn on, it supports iNav. There’s lots of good build videos for those on YouTube. Painless360 has tons of good info on his channel. Then when you have mastered that try the Heli. The cameras and headset that you use for the quad can be added to your heli or if you have that already it can be transferred to your quad.
 
#3
It's funny that you mention the Omnibus F4 Pro FC because I have 7 of them in use. 4 of them are on multirotors (from 250-570mm) and 3 of them are on flying wings. Some are using Betaflight and some are using INAV. All of them work very well. Painless360 is an amazing asset to the rc hobby....no doubt.

I was just wondering if there was something that could be installed in my helicopter.
 

Fluburtur

Cardboard Boy
#5
Should work on Inav, you would have to dome some custom mixes but I dont see why it wouldnt work. Heli support is planned for the future actually.
 
#6
If you have all of that stuff up and working then setting up a full auto pilot like The Ardupilot Mega shouldn’t be a problem. It can do everything you want and more.
I had no idea that Ardupilot did helicopters!!! I've just read a small bit of the text and it looks like the APM Mega will do what I'm wanting. I'll be sure to sit and read through the rest of the info. Thanks for your time, FDS!!!
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#9
I wouldn't use the old 8 bit apm hardware and instead use the pixhawk or px4 hardware which is 32 bit and supports the latest software. If you go with the old stuff, you'll be using software that is at least 2 years old.

As you will see, there are many people who use the px4 and/or arducopter software in helis for autonomous flight in industrial uses.
 
#10
This is the unit that I've been told will suit my desires:

https://www.getfpv.com/pixhawk-2-1-standard-set.html

I've even spoken with one of the developers of this and he just makes it sound like this unit and my desire were made for each other. I'm quite stoked about this. I'll try to report back here when I make some progress. For now, I need to get a parts list together and start ordering stuff.

Thanks very much for all your replies!!!
 

F106DeltaDart

Well-known member
#11
The most modern controller out there with those features would be the Spirit with the Geolink GPS unit. It has RTH, alt hold, and a few neat features. I have one on stand by to go in my Roban 700 AH-1W Super Cobra.