UAVP-NG: The new HW-0.30-mini-r0


Welcome back to my blog, esteemed reader!

In June, we organized the 11. UAVP-NG Multicopter Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a great event with good weather. Lots of folks joined and we had a lot of fun.


Besides that Ralf, one of our software and hardware developers, finalized the first prototype of the new HW-0.30-mini in the last month. We sent the Gerber files to our chinese producer and two days ago we finally received the first prototype PCB of the new UAVP-NG HW-0.30-mini-r0 boards!

The boards look great. I used my new Fujifilm X-T1 to take the pictures. It seems I still need to learn a lot - finding nice lightning was not easy and I finally resorted to normal sunlight, after failing to get sensible pictures using two table lamps.

The new HW-0.30-mini-r0 PCB in 6 layers has our classic 'mini' hardware size of 55x55mm. All features of the bigger hardware are included - except the second STM32F4 CPU and the dual port RAM, which wouldn't fit on a PCB of this size.

Top side of the new HW-0.30-mini-r0 PCB (full size):


The bottom side of the new HW-0.30-mini-r0 PCB (full size), the footprint of the STM32F4 processor is nicly visible:


The boards look nicely made and I hope we will get them airborne soon!

In the next weeks we will assemble some of the new PCB and test them throughly. Should everything be fine, the new PCBs will show up in the UAVP-NG Shop.

UAVP-NG: 30C3 and the new HW-0.30-r1


Hello again!

For once, not that much time passed since my last post. Which is a good thing! It helps me to concentrate on the real news... ;)


So, let's see... The UAVP-NG team was meeting at the 30. Chaos Communication Congress 30C3 in Hamburg. The congress gets organized by the Chaos Computer Club, one of the oldest hacker clubs of the worlds. As every year, it was a great event with numerious interesting talks and workshops.

Our team built a small UAVP-NG assembly at the 30c3. We showed our different copter hardwares, did a lot of software and hardware hacking and had many interesting discussions.

Volker - one of our hardware head developers - brought with him the first assembled HW-0.30-r0 prototype which you can see Volker presenting here at the 30c3 assembly in Hamburg.


This is the first prototype of our new STM32F4 based HW-0.3x hardware family. It's feature list is impressive and I will introduce you to it's features further on.

Most of our head developers showed up to the 30c3 meeting and we did a lot of NGOS hacking to get our newest hardware airborne. Several small bugs on the PCB had to be fixed and Volker, Ben, Martin and several others did a great job in tracing the problems of our newest prototype.

Christi brought with him his new styropor oktocopter which he flew inside of the 30c3 hackcenter.


Shortly after 30c3 the UAVP-NG core team meet in Zurich, Switzerland for a hacking weekend. There we finished the last hard- and software fixes for HW-0.30-r0 and did the first maidenflight of the new hardware prototype.

In the days since the maidenflight our hardware developers prepared HW-0.30-r1 and we produced a first batch of the new boards, accompanying breakout boards for switches and a JTAG adapter as well as a new NGusb-v2 which supports 6-pin RTS/CTS connections with flow-control and 4-pin UART connections without.

The new PCBs have arrived from the fab and look great. Here you see the top-side of the brand new HW-0.30-r1 PCB in 6 layer:


And this is the bottom-side of the board:


As you can see, the new hardware sports two STM32F4 CPUs coupled by a dual-port RAM, shared by the two CPU.

Here's a short overview of the features:

  • 80x80mm FC PCB
  • 2x STM32F407IGT6, ARM M4 MCU, 1024kb Flash, 168Mhz, 192kB SRAM
  • IDT70V261 Dual-Port RAM, 16KB x 16
  • 2x TJA1051T High-speed CAN transceiver, 1Mbps
  • USB2514B 4 Port, Low-Power, Full-Featured, Full-Speed USB 2.0 compliant hub
  • LTC2950 Push Button Controller
  • Micro SD card slot
  • 4x Servo Control PPM Output
  • 4x UART Input (2x with RTS/CTS)
  • 1x Telemetry Input
  • 2x ADC Input (for external Sensors like IR, US)
  • On-board JTAG Adapter
  • MPU6000 3D Gyro + Accelerometer
  • LIS3LV02DQ 3-Axis Accelerometer
  • HMC5883L 3-Axis Compass
  • MS5607B Altimeter Module
In the next weeks we will assemble some of the new PCB and test them throughly. Should everything be fine, the new PCBs will show up in the UAVP-NG Shop.

Welcome back to my blog, esteemed reader!

Let's see what has happened since my last blog post end of 2012...

In december 2012 the whole UAVP-NG team meet at the 29. Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg. It was a great event with many interesting talks. Many of our pilots, beta-testers and developers joined the UAVP-NG assembly and we had a lot of fine discussions, hacking, talks and fun. Many visitors came by at the assembly and all of our developers and beta-testers were constantly explaining and showing our new hardware HW-0.24-mini-r1 and the NGOS software.


Our team started to design a new hardware revision, called HW-0.30 at 29c3. Volker, one of our hardware head developers, took the project lead. We discussed and designed the features of the new hardware revision during the 4 days the congress lasted. Having defined most of the feature set the real design work on the new hardware revision was done later in early spring by Volker together with Ben and Martin.

In early May the 9. UAVP-NG Developer Meeting took place in Zurich, Switzerland. Sadly we had bad luck with the weather and we got rain for most of the 4 days. On the other hand this gave us a lot of time to discuss the HW-0.30 design and our hardware team verified the new design pin by pin and chip by chip. In the night I myself did two long hour talks on NGOS and it's implementation for my fellow developers. The design of the new hardware had already progressed a lot and the new design looked promising.


Later on in July Martin invited us to the 10. UAVP-NG Developer Meeting, which took place in Gruenstadt, Germany. The weather was wonderful and we enjoyed two great flight days. The design of the new HW-0.30 was nearing completion and we started to plan production of the first prototypes.

This fall, we implemented a new fully autonomious looping function in NGOS which Christi, one of our developers, implemented while doing a lot of crash intensive testing. It essentially allows you to do fully autonomious loopings on the press of a button. Over time the new looping function was perfected and Ralf, another of our developers, demonstrated the new feature in a great movie some days ago.

End of september we finally ordered the first HW-0.30-r0 prototypes. The board will feature two STM32F4 CPUs with a dual-port RAM in between them allowing both CPUs to have near realtime sensory data and synchronisation. It will support a CAN bus ring additionally to the I2C bus for BLCs. A lot more improvements were incoperated and I will post more on this in a later post.

The first HW-0.30-r0 prototype PCB arrived today. Here are the first pictures of the new board...

The top of HW-0.30-r0:


The bottom of HW-0.30-r0:


We plan to design a HW-0.30-mini later on, when the HW-0.30 design has been stabilized and has proven itself. The HW-0.30-mini will contain only one of the STM32F4 CPUs and will not use a dual port RAM. This will allow to build it with a 55x55mm footprint similar to the earlier HW-0.24-mini and HW-0.22-mini PCBs. It will provide a nice upgrade path for all our HW-0.24-mini and HW-0.22-mini pilots.

The HW-0.30-r0 prototypes will now be delivered to our developers and we can hope to see fully assembled HW-0.30-r0 boards soon. If we are lucky and our software developers find time for the final touches on the NGOS STM32 port we will eventually see the first prototype get airborne at the 30C3 - The 30. Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg where all developers will meet again for the UAVP-NG Developer Meeting at 30C3.

If you are interested in the UAVP-NG and live near Hamburg, make sure to visit us between the 27. and 30. december at the 30C3 in Hamburg!

And again it's getting winter and I've not updated my blog for too long. ;)
Let's change that...

At last year's 28c3 Chaos Communication Congress the UAVP-NG developer team succeeded to get (our back then brand new hardware) HW-0.23-mini-r0 airborne.

The new hardware - designed by Volker and Ben, two of our NG developers - no longer contains analog sensor technology but instad uses modern 3D digital sensor chips. This gave enough room to include the GPS sensor on-board. We also designed a GPS antenna perfectly suited to be mounted on top of the flight control.

In spring 2012 the 7. UAVP-NG Developer Meeting took place in Heidelberg. It was a great event - we were very lucky with the weather - and lot's of folks showed up. We all had a lot of fun and had great 4 days. Thanks to Volker & Ben again for making that great location available to us!

After 28c3 Ralf, one of our NG developers, started designing the new NGblc-4mini-r0, a quad-BLC for small Mini-NGs. His first design was airborne in spring 2012. After testing serveral smaller design changes were done and a NGblc-4mini-r1 was produced and tested successfully.

Small changes in print and a footprint error resulted in a NGblc-4mini-r2 design which we will produce now and hope to have ready for the 29c3 congress at the end of this year.

Besides that we started testing the new HW-0.23-mini-r0 in spring 2012 and we had to find out that the combined gyro/accelerometer called MPU6000 has a shortcoming: It only contains one filter set for both, the gyro and the accelerometer. As both sensor have opposing filter requirements in our application, we concluded that it would be nicer to have an additional accelerometer.

In our new hardware design HW-0.24-mini-r0 which we designed over summer 2012 we include a secondary additional footprint for a second (optional) accelerometer. We choose the proven accelerometer we used in previous designs. Furthermore we added a antenna PCB allowing everyone to build flight control sized GPS antennas perfectly suited to be mounted on top of the flight control.

HW-0.24-mini-r0 got airborne some weeks ago. Except for small textual fixes which we will incoperate in HW-0.24-mini-r1 everything worked out fine! We hope to have HW-0.24-mini-r1 with us for 29c3.

As you can see the new HW-0.24-mini-r0 includes the flight control PCB, a GPS antenna PCB with the same size as the flight control, the Cam/RC controller PCB, an external compass PCB, a JTAG connector PCB and two push button PCB.

Besides all the above some of our developers took the time to design NGlight, a small I2C peripherial devices to the flight controll allowing control of 16 PWM LED channels for control of RGB leds. It allows you to control different colors of 5 RGB LEDs while choosing the color in a range of 0.255 for each of the 5x 3 RGB channels.

Last but not least I should mention our UAVP-NG assembly at the 29c3 Chaos Communication Congress 2012 in Hamburg. If you live near Hamburg feel free to visit us from 26.12.2012 to 30.12.2012 at the congress!



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