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Re: [Paparazzi-devel] Introduction, Q's about STM32 development

From: Chris Gough
Subject: Re: [Paparazzi-devel] Introduction, Q's about STM32 development
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2012 16:12:33 +1100

> Hopefully there's no competing microbiologists out there, I think I've come 
> up with a fairly simple collection system.

They are all out here, the list archives are in the public domain :)

I missed the "micro" bit, imagined a pith helmet and butterfly net...

> The system involves one or more sample pods...

Ok, i get it. How far would the excursions be from launch? If your only going a 
km or so, it might be a lot easier with a vehicle that can hover.

> Additionally I'll need some fire support aircraft around to put out any fires 
> that crashed piles of electronics might create.  Has anyone done any work 
> with fire support aircraft?

Not worked with them, but I live in a bushfire prone area and have seen then in 
operation a few times. They are enormous, not a job for drones (this decade).

>  I see that as a problem unless I can make the aircraft in a fire proof 
> manner.  Lipos can really burn hard under the wrong conditions.

Have you checked out LiFePO4 batteries? I believe they don't have the same 
issues with fire/explosion.

Chris Gough

>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Christoph Niemann
>> Sent: 01/20/12 03:35 AM
>> To: address@hidden
>> Subject: Re: [Paparazzi-devel] Introduction, Q's about STM32 development
>> Dear Jake,
>> since you didn't do anything with paparazzi at all, I would recommend you
>> to use something, that has been used with paparazzi before, because that is
>> challenging enough. What about using an established or at least tested
>> Autopilot first like TWOG or Umarin? I calculated the costs for an Umarin
>> with 120-130€.
>> Please don't get me wrong, I don't want to discourage you, but once you are
>> used to the System and you have an overview about how to build a new AP,
>> you can Still invent new, fancy APs as well.
>> Cheers
>> Christoph
>> 2012/1/19 Jake Stewart <address@hidden>
>>> Hello Paparazzi list members! I'm a microbiologist from Idaho (USA). I
>>> have a basic electronics background with some experience with RC flying and
>>> a little bit with Atmega8 programming. I'm very interested in using UAVs
>>> to collect unique biological samples from inaccessable areas like remote
>>> areas, high altitude areas, open seas, arial samples, etc..
>>> Your project is amazingly impressive! So much so that it is pretty
>>> intimidating to a non-expert such as myself. I have a few questions about
>>> where to begin. I've done a fair bit of reading on the project, but
>>> perhaps need some advice on getting started. Feel free to let me know if
>>> I'm out of line, or reply off-list, or ignore any or all of my questions if
>>> it's something I should be able to figure out myself.
>>> I am currently playing with STM32 VL Discovery boards from ST. I got a
>>> handfull of them from Arrow for the insane price of $2.20 each! Link and
>>> datasheet...
>>> It's essentially a STM32F100B chip with all the pins exposed on headers,
>>> on a board with a STM32103 for USB programming support, a couple lights and
>>> buttons, and with all the voltage regulators and whatnot that you'd expect
>>> for a simple dev board. I'm curious what I could do with such a cheap
>>> board. I figure that they're essentially disposable for all intents and
>>> purposes, so no worries about going soldering iron crazy and trying to
>>> prototype some interesting circuits.
>>> I'm curious about the extent that the code is tied to the hardware...
>>> What hardware features are there beyond a proto/dev board that are
>>> necessary for the project?
>>> Would it be possible to implement something on a cheap board like the one
>>> I mentioned?
>>> Is the code dependent on any of the hardware on the LISA boards?
>>> What are the memory requirements for the firmware?
>>> I ask because I'm currently using Atollic in Windows with my board and
>>> haven't yet set up a linux environment/toolchain to work with. Any tips or
>>> pointers to info on that would also be much appreciated, although I think I
>>> saw some info on that somewhere. My only linux install at the moment is
>>> BT3. Should I try with that or install debian/ubuntu?
>>> I reallize these are all pretty noobish questions, but I just wanted to
>>> introduce myself and see if I couldn't make a contact or two who have done
>>> similar work or could easily give me some answers.
>>> I plan to put some serious work into this project and think I have most of
>>> the tools needed. Besides my $2.20 dev boards I have soldering irons,
>>> lot's of spare components, a few prototype boards, two o-scopes,
>>> multimeters, etc.. For the project I've gotten a 9DOF IMU (ST chips), a
>>> few pressure/barometer sensors, a differential pressure sensor for an
>>> airspeed tube, a Fastrax GPS module, and a couple generic RF serial modems
>>> (sub-G TI chip based). I also have an electric plane, laptop, 3 small
>>> cameras, and a 900mhz video transmitter. As far as I can tell I have
>>> everything to build a prototype UAV and just need to wire everything
>>> together and program it! Easy right? (kidding)
>>> If running on different hardware platforms is not something easily done
>>> with the project I'm hoping I can put together a more basic program running
>>> a subset of the normal features. One reason I'm thinking of this is that I
>>> need to do things on the extreme cheap side as I don't have a lot of
>>> confidence that a very high percentage of my planes would actually be
>>> returning due to the dangerous nature of what they would be doing. Maybe
>>> I'm wrong there, but I don't envision a whole lot of my hardware returning
>>> to me and I'd be happy with a 50/50 crapshoot if I can keep the hardware
>>> within budget.
>>> At the moment I'm hoping to use the components I've gotten for testing.
>>> Not sure I really even need a radio.
>>> STM32VLDiscovery board - $2.20 (arrow)
>>> 9DOF IMU - $50 (
>>> Fastrax GPS - $28 (mouser)
>>> Cessna 182 (electric, 1.4m wingspan) - $130 (hobbyking)
>>> --------------------
>>> Total $210.20
>>> So if I can get any sort of reasonable return rate (many missions would
>>> probably be pretty safe) I should be able to get samples for fairly cheap
>>> (<$500). That should be much cheaper than collecting them by hand and open
>>> up a lot of areas that simply aren't accessable. Am I crazy to think this
>>> might be possible?
>>> -Jake
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Paparazzi-devel mailing list
>>> address@hidden
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