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DJI Groundstation instructions for flying an octocopter on autopilot

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Picture of DJI Groundstation instructions for flying an octocopter on autopilot
You can use the DJI wookong flight controller system, upgraded for use with GPS waypoint coordinates, to fly a helicopter on autopilot mode. It was somewhat hard for me to decipher the DJI wookong maual. SO here's how I did it.

 
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Step 1: What you need

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I was flying the OctoKong, purchased from rc-drones.com. 
I got the DJI wookong flight controller multi-waypoint navigation system. This allows for setting many waypoints and controlling the UAV using pre programmed routes through your PC. 
You also need to have the WooKong -M flight control system with updated firmware calibrated for your own UAV and transmitter. I'm using the JR-XG8 8 Channel RC transmitter

Once you have been using the Wookong-m flight control platform with the transmitter and are somewhat comfortable flying your UAV, here's how to get started with the upgraded DJI Wookong-M multi waypoint navigation package:

Step 2: 1. Open the DJI GroundStation

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1. Open the DJI GroundStation 4.0 on your PC.

Step 3: Connect the Datalink

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2. Connect the DJI DataLink to the computer via the USB.
a. The RED light should go on (the red light has a label on the right of it that says DATA / POWER)
-make sure the antennas are connected to the datalink and to the microcontroller on the UAV.

Step 4: Turn it on

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3. Turn on the power to the helicopter
a. Plug in both batteries to the via the YELLOW xt-60 connectors or whatever battery / on off mechanism you have on the octocopter
b. DO NOT MOVE the octocopter after plugging it in

Step 5: Turn on the transmitter

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4. Turn on the Transmitter (JR-XG8 Remote Control)

a. Flip all the switches AWAY from you (towards the ground, if you are holding it parallel to the ground)
b. Put the throttle (the LEFT gimble stick) downwards, towards you
c. Flip the silver ON/OFF switch in the center of the transmitter UPWARDS (away from you)
d. Put the transmitter in AUTOPILOT (GPS) MODE by flipping the switch in the TOP RIGHT of the transmitter, labeled (GPS / ATT / MANUAL), up towards you, to GPS MODE

Now that's an interesting topic. I agree totally that a multicopter is not suited... Take one standard FPV airframe, APM 2.xx, suitable video gear, flying at a safe height, problem solved... Total cost around 400 Sterling. Cannot beat DJI for multiprop though, it is almost foolproof and simple to set up.

rawindra1 year ago
wat is the full project cost plz tell me yaarrrrr!!!!!!!
londobali2 years ago
Great i'ble!
and great pictures.. Top picture in step 13 looks like the octocopter's emitting steam.. :)
Thanks for sharing..
reda102 years ago
thanck you
kocnn2 years ago
hey do you think I could get this to fly 4 x daily from my house 10 miles down
the beach and back with a camera for a visual beach, surf and pier report, while I'm at work and dock itself at a solar battery charging station,
nerys kocnn2 years ago
yes you can. in your situation radio control range is irrelevant since your using autonomous GPS control which is "onboard"

be warned. if for commercial purposes the FAA (illegally without authority in my opinion) has decreed any use of RC for commercial purposes to be illegal. Flat out.

you also need to be careful. 10 miles is no small distance. even at 20miles per hour that is MINIMUM 1 hour 30 minutes of battery power. that is a VERY VERY heavy model.

you need 30 minutes to get their 30 minutes to get back 10 minutes to loiter and 20 minutes of reserve power (in case of delay or headwinds etc..)

if that model "HITS" someone it will likely kill them or at the minimum injur them quite badly. I would program it to go out over the ocean go up shore and work in (but not over land) slowly. this way if it goes down it does so in the drink and is far far less likely to hit someone.

and YOU WILL have a failure eventually. a motor will fail an ESC will fail a prop will fail (though in theory an octo has some redundancy if its design right IE switch to 4 motor mode kill the offending string of 4 motors if a motor esc prop fails. AFAIK none are designed to do this.???
Pader nerys2 years ago
We have different rules in the UK for UAV flying, Air Navigation Order 166(3) which is part of British Law says that the pilot of the aircraft must have direct, un-aided visual of the aircraft at all times. The exemption to this order is that if the aircraft is less than 1.8kg all up including airframe, motors and fuel, then a trained observer, who must remain close to the pilot, must then have the line-of-site of the aircraft in order to warn the pilot of hazards. It is highly unlikely that anyone is going to be able to clearly see a small model at a range of 10 miles.

On the point of equipment failure; an octocopter is normally designed for heavy lift. Surely if one of the eight axes fails, it is better to leave all of the other seven in operation. I have seen an hexcopter return safely after losing a single motor, albeit slightly erractically. The additional motors on an octocopter are closer together on the same radius and must therefore be steadier in flight on the failure of one motor. Another consideration must be that octocopter propellers may not have sufficient thrust to lift the vehicle with only 4 working and also the remaining 4 motors will have to work that much harder to maintain altitude, which in turn, may cause further failure. Especially over a long distance.
nerys Pader2 years ago
Hmmm maybe its just me but designing it to be within its safe flight envelope on 4 motors would be a mandatory design requirements.

ie if you loaded it down enough that 4 motors can't fly it your doing it wrong in my book (for what he wants to do !!)

to me the whole point of using an oct for this specific endeavor is higher top speed and redundancy. ie safety.

Personally I don't see this happening. VERY expensive. very very expensive.

the 10th amendment (US law) makes it clear flying rc drones for my own use is a right not a privilege and the FAA and Government are exceeding their authority in trying to "ban" it and set silly requirements like line of sight.

plus line of sight only applies to PILOTED RC craft.

remove the RC gear and that rule evaporates. now its just a free flight aircraft.

People fly those (including rockets) out of line of sight all the time.
Pader nerys2 years ago
I can sympathise with your reasoning but 100% redundancy is far too much overkill when you consider the additional cost for larger motors, props and ESCs. Of course, there is a considerable weight penalty also as apart from the larger sized drive parts, there would need to be much more battery weight to consider for long flights. 8 slow running motors calibrated to achieve reasonable flight with 7 or even 6 motors would be much more viable.


Higher top speed can be achieved with a quadcopter fitted with higher power motors and large, high pitch props together with a lighter airframe which would also reduce inertia compared to the much bigger octocopter and probably make it more maneuverable.


Octocopters are sexy but were generally developed to give higher lift capability for large camera FPV and aerial survey
nerys Pader2 years ago
I am sorry but I can't agree. he is talking about sending an EXTREMELY large heavy dangerous machine 10 miles down a beach ON ITS OWN with no guidance except its internal navigation system.

this machine would probably push 20 pounds to carry enough motor and battery to make the 90 minutes flying time.

that is enough to kill someone rather easily or maim that real nasty

your FPV flying over a secluded location within eyesight of you with radio control does not need that kind of redundancy.

his autonomous 20 pounds 90 minutes flight time 20 miles traveling distance beast DOES in my personal opinion.
Pader nerys2 years ago
I am sorry, I just cannot accept your reasoning. To build such an aircraft would cost at least 7 or 8 thousand dollars. That is assuming that it could carry sufficient battery power to cope with 1.5 hours flying time at the redundancy level you are advocating though I suspect that the laws of exponential gain apply here.

Secondly,, why would anyone risk the cost of losing such an expensive aircraft on an unmanned, unpiloted flight just to see what the sea conditions are 10 miles up the coast. By the way, you have already suggested that the flight should take place over the sea and therefore would reduce the third party risk in the event of failure.

For that matter, why would anyone risk the cost of the aircraft for ANY reason if the aircraft is out of sight of both the pilot and beyond transmitting range of an FPV system. Unless you enjoy the suspense of whether the aircraft would return to you, there can be no enjoyment of owning such an aircraft in use and if it should crash due to bird strike or any other reason, you would have absolutely no idea where it crashed.

As other correspondents have said, a rotary wing aircraft is just not viable for this particular task. Unlike a fixed wing, rotary wing aircraft are inherently unstable. They require constant thrust to keep them airborne (and hence, considerable battery power) whereas a fixed wing aircraft may fly unpowered for a while (if necessary), except for gravity and thermal lift provided there is sufficient airflow over the wing. The power to weight ratio of the thrust components and battery of rotary and fixed wing bear no resemblance to each other.

A large wing, powered sail plane with just a small motor will do this particular task both faster and more economically than an octocopter. An octocopter is designed purely for close quarter flying or within range of FPV for observation and photography, Moreover, the cost of a foam, fixed wing aircraft, if lost, would be much more bearable at 2 to 3 hundred dollars than the loss of 7 or 8 thousand dollars. Additionally, in the event of a collision, a foam aircraft is far less likely to cause serious injury in the event of a crash.

As Garys-pdx (above) says, and I suspect to be true despite your opposition to it, the use of drones is prohibited in the US as well as the UK apart from use by the military or other Government department. If this be the case, the illegal use of a rotary wing aircraft is very likely to be detected due to the noise generated by the props and motors (which are working much faster than fixed wing to overcome gravity) whereas a fixed wing sail plane would be comparatively silent.

My advice to you is to use the aircraft shown in the video at relatively close quarters in order that you can see and enjoy it's flight characteristics. Something that would be impossible outside of a visual range or outside the range of a receivable FPV system.
aking14 kocnn2 years ago
An octo would be radically the wrong thing for what you're wanting. You'd want a light, sleek, fast plane to minimize battery, quite possibly an efficient wing design. Two or 3 808 #16 keycams, for redundancy to record at a light weight, you don't want to get back and have nothing if a cam stopped recording.

Do it right with a fluffy, lightweight plane and any actual hazard would be low, and painted like a seagull and it would be well camouflaged, 99% of people would ignore it.



garys-pdx kocnn2 years ago
Maybe if you don't mind breaking a bunch of laws. Only certain government agencies can fly "drones" beyond the line of sight. Other than that with enough money and engineering I'm sure it could be done but it probably would be cheaper to hire someone to drive down to the beach each day and send you a video of the surf.
jj.inc kocnn2 years ago
They actually make UAV plane platforms which can take off and land themselves. If you have a good runway area you may be able to make one that runs on gas with the required range, however getting it to refuel itself would probably require another autonomous to change its direction for takeoff, fuel it up, and charge the battery for electronics. However in today's day and age that still isn't completely out of reach.
jj.inc kocnn2 years ago
20+ miles is quite a distance for 8 motors on a copter with a fairly slow top speed. Unless you can rig up some solar or nuclear power, I don't think you will be flying that far.
Pader kocnn2 years ago
The distance any radio controlled vehicle can go is completely limited by the control signal. Unless, an aircraft is carrying it's own control processor, it is entirely dependent on the signal received from a transmitter. The most popular radio control systems work on the 2.4gHz and the 5.8gHz bands which required a line-of-site connection between the receiver and transmitter. This is further exacerbated by the restricted transmission power under Government regulations. I doubt very much that a signal connection could be maintained at a distance of 10 miles (unless using an illegal transmitter) but it may be possible for half that if you and your beach were at each end of a cove with only the sea intervening.
nerys Pader2 years ago
he is talking about autonomous GPS control so there will be NO ground/model transmission that are required. program launch forget.
wittend2 years ago
Really helpful. Thanks!
sitearm2 years ago
@gabriellalevine; So hot... tweeted! Cheers; Site
leaning_r2 years ago
Hi All:

I currently have a Hexacopter and run a a relativity small battery and get approximately 20 min of flight time with NORMAL flying.......
I have heard of people using larger batteries and getting 1+ hours of flight.

Check out www.3drobotics.com

Regards
Randall
That's very interesting. Kind of reminds me of that flying cat thing.
Could fool a lot of people thinking its some kind of UFO. :)
not really. they are noisy little buggers :-) and its very human sounding (sounds like a bunch of little electric motors going :-)
YolksterXD2 years ago
Great job on the octokong. How much did all of this cost?
Also, I'd like to say that its awesome is seeing a girl so interested in science. Lady Nerds <3