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Top » Catalog » UAV, FPV, Multicopter, Autopilot » UAV DIY for beginners Part.07: First takeoff
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UAV DIY for beginners Part.07: First takeoff

In previous article, the last step was to upload the flight parameters. If user have been followed the steps and setting since beginning, the flight parameter is compatible.
Connect the APM to PC and click “connect”. Go to CONFIN/TUNING->Extended Tuning. MP would show below screen if user had uploaded the flight parameter according to previous article.

Adjust the parameters according to the picture below. It was from “automatic parameter adjustment” of the author’s UAV.
Click ” Write Params”.
Before first takeoff, user needs to check a few things first.
Go to “FLIGHT DATA” of MP, make sure the artificial horizon and the UAV attitude are same.
Test to lock and unlock the throttle. It would show “DISARMED” above the artificial horizon, which means the throttle is locked.
The left joystick (throttle), is supposed to be downward. Pull the throttle to the right for three seconds and release. The “DISARMED” would change to “ARMED” and disappeared, which means the motors are activated. (Note: The battery is not connected.) After a while, the letters would change to “DISARMED” again.

The firmware setup is complete done. Click “DISCONNECT”, and remove USB connector.
Please make sure the propellers are NOT assembled.
Make sure the throttle is at the lowest point, and connect to the battery.
After connecting to the battery, motors would beep. APM signal would blink red and blue first, and blink red, purple, and blue.
Pull the throttle to the right downward for one second. APM signal would blink red and blue. Release the throttle to middle. Motors would start idling. Gently pull the throttle, motors would speed up. Pull the throttle to 1/3, and take up the UAV carefully. Move the UAV by your hand, the motors would adjust rotating speed automatically.
Pull the throttle to the low point, and pull the throttle to the left for three seconds. Motors would stop rotating and enter safe mode. Pull the throttle again, motors would be no response.
Charge the battery, and find an open field (about a half basketball field) to start!
The author shared some notices as following.
1. Notice the flight time. For supporting UAV flying, the battery working time is about 10~15 minutes. Lipo battery will be damaged if being over-discharged. When user finds out the power is weaker during the flight, please replace the battery. The author didn’t install the power module yet for simplify assembly; thus APM is not equipped with battery monitor function.
2. Try to pick a windless day as possible.
3. Not to fly over other people, or in a crowded place.
Let’s assemble the propellers. If the motors are assembled correctly, the rotation direction of propellers will be correct.

After arriving flying field, please confirm the throttle is at the low point.
1. Starting the transmitter
2. Connect the battery, do not move UAV. Red and blue signal would blink for a few seconds, because the gyro is calibrating.
3. APM will run self-check automatically. It will blink red twice if there is any problem.
4. Check the flight mode is STABILIZE. If user is going to use auto pilot function (LOITER, RTL, DRIFT, AUTO or NAVIGATION mode), please wait for 30 seconds, after GPS located and APM blink blue.
5. Pull the throttle to the right downward for 5 seconds. It takes 5 seconds for gyro sensor to initialize.
6. Once starting, the red signal would start blinking, and the propeller would rotate slowly. The rotating speed can be adjusted at “MOT_SPIN_ARMED” in MP.
7. Pull the throttle slowly to take off.
Notice: User can only start the UAV under flight modes as following: STABLE, ACRO, ALTHOLD, and LOITER. If the throttle stays at the low point for 15 seconds, motors would stop working automatically.
* If user is a beginner, please be patient and pull the throttle slowly until the UAV is about to take off. If the UAV is not steady, please quit take offtemporarily. Hold the UAV in your hand carefully. Pull the throttle slowly and move the joystick, see if the moving direction of UAV and joystick are same. If not, please check as following: motor direction, APM assembly, propeller direction, and flight modes.
First, try to establish the link between user’s hands, eyes, and APM movement. When UAV is about to leave the ground, try to control the rudder and make it to move forward / backward / left / right. After being able to control the moving direction of APM on the ground, user may pull the throttle totake off. 
In windless day, the UAV will drift in the sky under 30 degrees, and there will be no vibration from the body. For the first ten flights, please practice tomake the UAV stay  in a height of 4 meters. If there is any problem, please quit flight temporarily and do troubleshooting.
To end flight and stop the motors, please operate as following:
1. Set the flight modes as STABLE, ACRO, ALTHOLD, or LOITER
2. Pull the throttle in low point, and pull the rudder ti the left for 2 seconds
3. Red signal will start to blink
4. Disconnect the battery
5. Turn off the transmitter
(Note: Select STABLE mode only, because the author has not finished setting the LOTER and RTL mode yet.)
In windless day, the drift direction of the UAV is random. If the UAV is obviously drifting to some direction, the accelerator calibration is possible undone. Connect to MP, place the APM horizontally, and calibrate the accelerator again.
***Advanced Flight Modes*** (With GPS)
APM supports many kinds of flight modes, and a lot of flight modes needs to set up GPS.
Connect GPS to computer. Go to INITIAL SETUP->Mandatory Hardware -> Compass. It is to set the assembly direction of GPS. Check “Manual”, and change it to” ROTATION_ROLL_180”. Check the magnetic declination, which is default to be “Auto Dec Declination”. The magnetic declination varies according to different location. The author lives in Taiwan, he filled in the blank “-5”.

Go to “CONFIG/TUNING->Extended Tuning “, change the parameters in red blank. It is to set the range and strength of APM correction in LOTER mode.

GPS setting is done! The author shared some notices as following:
1. After connecting to the battery, wait for 30 seconds before flying.
2. At the first LOTER mode, make the UAV stay in a height of 4 meters. If the UAV is not steady in LOTER mode, please turn to STABLE mode immediately and check the compass setting.
…..To be continued…
* Want more articles? Please refer to: DIY UAV for beginners articles review

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