FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Questions

  • Universal use for different autopilots
  • Up to 8 PWM inputs per autopilot and AutoPilot-Manager
  • Configurable PWM input of 460 usec to 2ms and 50Hz to 400Hz
  • PPM (max. 8 channels) or PWM input for remote control signals
  • Alive-signal control and motor signal control
  • Unstabilized emergency control through AutoPilot-Manager for helicopter und plane aircraft
  • Mounting orientation in UAV can be freely selected
  • Integrated voltage regulator with wide input range (1S-4S)
  • 3 (with USB 4) different inputs for the power supply
  • Switchover to autopilot 1 via hardware in case of failure of power supply or severe failure (detected through firmware)
  • Manual switchover between autopilots or switchover between telemetries via 1 remote control channel
  • Ideal backup solution when testing new configurations or new firmware of autopilots
  • The telemetry can switchover automatically and manual
  • 6 configurable digital outputs for warning signals and status reports
  • Continually development of firmware
  • Firmware updates via provided USB-to-serial adapter
  • Intuitive configuration of the AutoPilot-Manager through supplied Configuration-Software
  • Loading and saving of configurations of the AutoPilot-Manager via USB and Configuration-Software
  • Online status for analysing during commissioning of the AutoPilot-Manager via Configuration-Software
  • Straight- or 90°- pin headers
  • DF-13-connections
  • Appealing casing optional available (on request with your own logo)
  • Online support/FAQs
  • For each AutoPilot-Manager an automated test report is created before delivery
  • Made in the European Union

NO,

it is not. It is an intelligent, universal interconnection between two parallel, independent  running (different) autopilots for safety and/or testing purposes.
It does also have an onboard signal mixer to operate manual, just in case both autopilot should quit.
This “third” backup-solution works for normal aircraft, delta-wing and for helicopters, but NOT for multi-copter.

NO,

not only. Ideally the whole system takes advantage of all its features when you use the Pixhawk, but it also works perfect with all DJI autopilots (except ACE ONE, because it is not tested till now)

The only difference here is that you cannot split the telemetry link with only  one link system. Here you need a downlink for each DJI autopilot system for itself.

NO,

the AutoPilot-Manager board has no designated orientation. You can mount it wherever you want.

As with any other electronic circuitry, it is strongly advised to mount the AP manager away from heat sources and strong electromagnetic sources (electric motors, relays, coils). Protect electronic devices from liquids, pollution, mechanical shock and excessive vibrations.

Under reasonable reasons we recommend, to keep the distances and length of the cables as short as possible.

The AutoPilot-Manager does have an internal voltage stabilisation unit what keeps the onboard power in a range of 5V +/- 5%.

Therefor you can support the AutoPilot-Manager with input voltage between 3,7V to 17V (5V nominal). This corresponds 2S -4S LiPo battery-packs.

YES,

if you use a helicopter, delta-wing or normal plane it is possible to perform an emergency landing manually. We have implemented helicopter, normal aircraft and delta-wing mixer in the AutoPilot-Manager. It is very difficult to fly a multicopter without stabilization, so we haven’t implemented an operating state to fly a multicopter manually.

Dependent on you mission and system, the very minimum setup would be 1 autopilot (with its sensors) and the AutoPilot-Manager board (whit its mixers onboard) as a backup, when you are flying a helicopter, delta-wing or traditional aircraft.

With a multi-copter system the minimum are two autopilots.

To keep the redundancy high we also recommend the use of two or three onboard power sources.

YES,

if it makes sense for your application. But as mentioned, we also implemented a telemetry-switch, hence only one link is needed.

NOTE: Due to the different periphery of the DJI system, only here you need always two telemetry-links.

For switching between the different operating states of the autopilots, one free PPM channel is required. You can configure the channel and its switching states in the Configuration-Software.

For advanced users:

e.g. you can take a 3- way switch to control the states of the autopilot. e.g. as follows

  1. Primary autopilot 1 active
  2. Secondary autopilot 2 active
  3. Automatic state

and / or

you can take a 2-way switch to switch the telemetry data of the individual autopilots.

  1. Telemetry data of the primary autopilot 1
  2. Telemetry data of the secondary autopilot 2

NOTE: If two switches are used, they must be mixed to one output channel on your radio control.

YES,

with a second AutoPilot-Manager you can use up to 16 channels (this is in progress for the future).

NO problem.

If AutoPilot-Manager fails, a transistor, mounted on the AutoPilot-Manager, automatically switches to the primary autopilot 1.

Important:

This is only a protection for single failure.

In the case of malfunction of the primary autopilot 1 AND the AutoPilot-Manager, there is no chance to land your UAV safely.

YES,

simply change it in the given Software interface (via USB) and use the AutoPilot-Manager together with the autopilot as a single backup solution.

NOTE: This only works for helicopter, delta-wing and traditional aircrafts, but NOT for multi-copter.

YES,

it is possible to use the AutoPilot-Manager not only as a intelligent bridge between two autopilot in case one ap fails.

TRANSFORMER means e.g. first fly as a quadcopter and then switching over to the second autopilot to fly as an aircraft.

Some things to mention here when the AutoPilot-Manager is used in the “Transformer state”:

  1. The AutoPilot-Manager then is NOT acting as a redundancy device any more. It is “only” a kind of manual switch, but together with the telemetry signal (NOTE: Telemetry switch only for the ardupilot-family).
  2. The already existing mixers on board of the AutoPilot-Manager are not active in this configuration.
  3. We provide 8 channels for the AutoPilot-Manager (like most autopilots) and for the use of a TRANSFORMER with ONE AutoPilot-Manager you only can use 4+4 channels. But if you, depending of your type of transformer, e.g. already use 6 channels to fly your hexacopter, you would need 6+6 respective 12 channels (or 6+4 if the aircraft only needs 4 channels). In this case you need to have two AutoPilot-Manager-boards to provide overall 8+8 channels. The two AutoPilot-Managers are simple linked together with a synchronizing cable. We will follow up with this idea to a later point.

NO problem,

the system automatically switches to the alive autopilot (semi-automatic).

YES,

you can do this in several ways by using the onboard GPIO (general purpose input/output) plug.

So you can use:

  • strong LED as a visual feedback of the system
  • a buzzer system
  • dependent on your transmitter-system use your Rx input channel to give direct informaion on your Tx (in combination with a akustic or speech-warning)

We have done this with a JETI-system by simply changing one or two channels in the receiver as “digital-input”. We are not very familiar with the FrSky or other receiver-systems, but if they also having configurable “digital-in” channels this should also work fine.

NO,

the telemetry switch is only for serial protocols (Rx, Tx signals). On Ardupilot Linux based systems it is possible to open a second serial telemetry Eg. Navio+.

Tested Autopilot systems:

  • DJI Naza V2
  • DJI Wookong
  • DJI A2
  • Pixhawk
  • APM


Tested RC signal connections:

  • DJI PWM over PPM to PWM adapter
  • Pixhawk PPM

Untested:

  • Pixracer
  • DJI Lightbridge
  • DJI Lightbridge 2
  • FeiyuTech autopilot FY41-AP-M
  • PixFalcon
  • DJI FlightControl A3
  • Tarot ZYX-M Flight Controller

The switch status which autopilot/ AutoPilot-Manager is active can be examined using the onboard leds.
GPIOs and EXT_Switches can be configured as output for various statuses.
In the AutoPilot-Manager configuration tool an detailed online status can be retrieved via usb.

YES,

if no Alive signal is available from the Flight Controller board in the AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool FC board no Alive signal can be selected as autopilot. With this selection only the PWM input signals are monitored by the AutoPilot-Manager.

In general YES,

the requirements for the use of an autopilot with the AutoPilot-Manager are:

  • Max. 8 PWM outputs (50-400Hz, 3.3-5V)
  • [Optional] I2C/CAN bus or any other signal which has a periodic level change within the configured supervision time ( min. 160ms)
  • [Optional] PPM/PWM signal from RC for Manual Switch of autopilots
  • [Optional] PPM signal for manual control of plane /helicopter aircrafts

More Specific Questions

YES,

the AutoPilot-Manager becomes fail silent in case of software fault (Watchdog failure), hardware fault (brown out detection and power fault of the microprocessor). In fail silent the PWM signals of autopilot 1 are routed to the output by hardware. The AutoPilot-Manager only sets a flash code on the Buzzer.

YES,

for certification of an aircraft with the Austro Control (Austrian Flight Agency), the AutoPilot-Manager is certified to be used as a module for a system of redundancy of autopilots.

NO,

if one the following power sources are still available: Autopilot 1, Autopilot 2, USB.

If the RC input fails and the autopilots are ready, only the option to switch between autopilots and to switch the telemetry is not available.

If the RC input fails and no autopilot is ready, configured failsafe PWM outputs are switched to the PWM output servo rail.

If the AutoPilot-Manager is configured as helicopter or plane and both autopilots fail, a manual control of the PWM outputs via the AutoPilot-Manager is available (Helicopter without stabilization).

NO,

for the moment it is only possible to connect SBUS to the AutoPilot-Manager via an SBUS to PWM or SBUS to PPM adapter module. A tested Arduino firmware for an SBUS to PWM adapter (connected to YETI RSat2 DBUS firmware) is available on request.

YES, (UNTESTED)

the AutoPilot-Manager requires 1 RC channel if you want be able to manually switch between autopilots and, or telemetry.

Use SBUS to connect the autopilot and 1 free channel of the 8 traditional PWM channels to connect to the AutoPilot-Manager.
In the AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool is the possibility to select PWM or PPM input. In this case select PWM input.

NO,

we use 1 power module for each Pixhawk unit and use the power redundancy on the AutoPilot-Manager.
The AutoPilot-Manager is using 4 power sources (autopilot 1, autopilot 2, USB and external 5V),  1 of this must be healthy for operation  (USB is not recommended during flight).

You can use 2 power modules, if you do so, just make sure to connect it via diodes together.

Our recommendation is to use the I2C port connected with minimum 1 external compass for the Alive signal.
In General an ideal alive signal is, a signal which is sending packets unconditionally of the data contained with a frequency of minimum 4-6Hz. You could also use a serial signal like telemetry on the Pixhawk and manually specify the baud rate and which signal is transmitted (refer to Parameter SR0 to SR4 in Mission Planner Parameter Tree).

NO, (NOT RECOMMENDED)

GPS unit alone is not a stable signal. It is not generating continuous packets  (e.g. if there is no GPS fix) and is therefore not recommended for using as an alive signal.

  • Bad USB cable connection, USB driver not correctly installed
  • Autopilot power cable connected to AutoPilot-Manager but autopilot not powered
  • AutoPilot-Manager in HardFault mode
  • No Firmware loaded or last Firmware update was interrupted
  • AutoPilot-Manager stays in Bootloader Mode

Check cable connection, use different USB port on PC, check if USB device appears in device manager.

Disconnect power cable to autopilots or apply power on autopilots.

Disconnect USB to Serial Converter and external consumers to lower the power consumption to 150mA. Then power cycle the AutoPilot-Manager.

Redo Firmware Update.

Software Watchdog failure (firmware cycle takes more than 140ms), never happened during tests.

Processor Brown Out failure, the processor power supply drops after power on lower than 4.3V (can happen if the USB to Serial TTL converter is connected on power on or the power consumption exceeds 150mA).

Alive/CAN signal missing (no level change of the Alive/CAN signal within the configured supervision time (min. 160ms).

PWM input signal(s) missing or out of configured range.

Autopilot has not finished initializing within configured start up time.

Check if CAN HIGH, CAN LOW signal is not reversed.

Check if only CAN HIGH, CAN LOW and GND are connected on the Alive signal port on the AutoPilot-Manager.

Disconnect Alive1(2) if connected.

Check if only Alive1(2) and GND are connected on the Alive signal port on the AutoPilot-Manager.

Disconnect CAN HIGH and CAN LOW if connected.

Ensure that there is at least 1 device active on the I2C Bus e.g. external compass.

The AutoPilot-Manager is not Armed, check if Arm switch is configured in the AutoPilot-Manager configuration tool (manual switch).

If configured an Arm command must be initiated via the RC sender to arm the AutoPilot-Manager.

Timeout of AutoPilot-Manager go to Bootloader mode:

  • USB to Serial TTL Converter not connected correctly to AutoPilot-Manager SERCOM interface
  • Wrong Serial COM Port selected
  • Wrong COM Port settings
  • AutoPilot-Manager in HardFault Mode (can be reset by power cycle the board)

The AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool is a .NET Application and requires Microsoft Windows operating System. The AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool has been tested on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Additionally a Virtual USB Com Port is required. A Virtual Com Port driver is included in the Download package.

The AutoPilot-Manager is delivered as a Kit containing the following items:

The AutoPilot-Manager Board with integrated 5V voltage regulator for internal supply and equipped micro USB port.

The following cables and connectors (female), cables are open ended on one side:

  1. 3×10 Pin DF13 plug with cable (*)
  2. 1×6 Pin DF13 plug with cable (2 red and 2 black cables for the power supply)
  3. 2×4 Pin DF13 plug with cable for the ALIVE (I2C, 3DR family)
  4. 2×4 Pin DF13 plug with cable for the CAN Signals (DJI family)
  5. 2×6 Pin DF13 plug with cable for Telemetry input 1+2 (3DR)
  6. 1×5 Pin DF13 plug with cable for the SERCOM Port and GPIO 3
  7. 1×6 Pin DF13 plug with cable for Telemetry output (3DR)
  8. 1×4 Pin DF13 plug with cable GPIO Connector 1+2

As well as all sockets for soldering on the AutoPilot-Manager board:

  • All the counterparts in DF13 sockets
  • 3x3x8 Pin 0.1” Header for the servo signals (*)
  • 4x1x3 Pin 0.1” Header for the PPM signals and the power-supply
  • 1x2x2 Pin 0.1” Header for the LEDs and buzzer
  • 1x Micro-USB cable for configuration
  • 1x USB to serial TTL-converter for firmware update

(*) For servo signals the 3×10 Pin DF13 Sockets or the 3x3x8 Pin 0.1” Header can be used.

With the order of an AutoPilot-Manager you receive a Customer Login to get access to the Download page on our website.

NO,

in the current hardware release it is not possible as the onboard telemetry switch utilizes only 2 channels and TCP/UDP would require at least 4 channels.

BUT, there is an option to use an external telemetry switch which is controlled by one of the onboard configurable general outputs (only on request).

YES, (but UNTESTED till now)

if the Number of servos channels do not exceed 8 (e.g. TriCopter and Elevon ) and all servo signals are valid during flight, this means when each servo signal does have a PWM pulse within 20ms period, with pulse width in configured servo supervision limits.

For the AutoPilot-Manager this case is not different to a redundancy configuration with an aircraft which has only a single function (Multicopter, plane or Helicopter).
The AutoPilot-Manager Emergency mode is limited to plane mode in this case and the AutoPilot-Manager Servo supervision must be turned on for all 8 servo channels.
The function of the Emergency mode is limited to the flight state of the aircraft.
If the autopilot fails e.g. during takeoff or landing in copter mode, Emergency mode may result in a crash.
The autopilot is responsible for the decision which VTOL mode (copter, plane) can be used.
It is possible to use 1 autopilot in redundancy with AutoPilot-Manager Emergency mode or 2 autopilots in redundancy mode with the same configuration of the autopilot (same servo configuration, both VTOL, …).and opt. with AutoPilot-Manager Emergency Mode.

We plan to test this in future together with e.g. Pixhawk and PX4 Flightstack.

NO,

Redundancy is not possible in this case, only manual switch between modes is possible (AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool select Transformer mode).
The sum of used servo channels for both autopilots must not exceed 8 for Transformer mode.

YES, (but UNTESTED till now)

It is possible to use the AutoPilot-Manager Telemetry switch to switch between telemetry of 2 DJI Autopilots if they use the same physical protocol (CAN Bus).
The tests on the Telemetry of DJI autopilots together with the AutoPilot-Manager are ongoing.

NO,

the telemetry switch can only be used if the telemetry physical protocol is the same.
You cannot mix telemetry for example DJI A2 on autopilot 1 and Pixhawk on autopilot 2, as these are different bus systems (CAN Bus, Serial). Also moste of the time the groundstation software is different.

YES, (but UNTESTED, additional hardware required for full support)

Until the tests of DJI LightBridge (1,2) together with different autopilots and remote controls are finished we can give no warranty on the functionality.

YES, (but UNTESTED yet, additional hardware required for support)

The Remote Control signal of Lightbridge (1,2), DBUS (Futaba SBUS) protocol, is not compatible with the AutoPilot-Manager. To use the remote control signal of Lightbridge (1,2) a SBUS to PPM or a SBUS to PWM converter is needed.

The official converter by DJI can e.g. be found here:
www.globe-flight.de/DJI-A2-D-Bus-Adapter

Another, cheaper converter is here:
www.fpvmodel.com/rmilec-high-precision-pwm-ppm-sbus-signal-converter-v2_g478.html

A low cost variant with an Arduino Pro to program DIY with Arduino CC we have found here:
http://openrcforums.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=91&t=5476&start=30

We have tested the low cost variant with an remote control JETI Duplex 2 HEX,  Extended Series DC-16, an receiver DBUS(SBUS) JETI Duplex 2hex (Firmware-DevUp2_Rx_324_DSUB) together with an Arduino MINI-AT board 3.3V 8 MHZ.

The Firmware for the Arduino is available on request.

YES, (UNTESTED)

The DJI telemetry is read by the Lightbridge (1,2), directly from the DJI autopilot CAN-Bus.
An excerpt from Lightbridge manual:

CAN-Bus: (L,H) OSD information from the flight system. For non-DJI HD gimbal users, connect to the CAN-Bus port (for DJI A2 user, use the CAN 1 Bus port) on the flight control system with a separated CAN-Bus cable.

Example setup: Autopilot 1 DJI A2 <–> Autopilot 2 DJI Naza:

On Telemetry 1 you connect the CAN-Bus (CANH, CANL, GND) of autopilot 1 (DJI A2),

On Telemetry 2 you connect the CAN-Bus (CANH, CANL, GND) of autopilot 2 (DJI Naza).

On the Telemetry output you connect the CAN-Bus (CANH, CANL, GND) of the Lightbridge.

You can connect CANH and CANL on RX/TX on the AutoPilot-Manager Telemetry ports or vice versa.

NOTE: On all 3 CAN-Bus connections you have to make sure that CANH and CANL are connected in the same order.

YES, (UNTESTED)

The PixFalcon is a variant of the Pixhawk hardware with reduced functionality. It has 8 PWM outputs, 1 I2C interface, 1 UART interface (serial port), 1 PPM sum signal input and is therefore compatible with the AutoPilot-Manager.

NOTE: If the UART is not used for telemetry but for e.g. GPS, the telemetry switch on the AutoPilot-Manager cannot be used.

YES, (UNTESTED)

The DJI FlightControl A3 is the successor of the DJI A2. It has 8 PWM outputs, 2 CAN interfaces and 1 SBUS interface, same as DJI A2, and is therefore (limited) compatible with the AutoPilot-Manager.

The limits for compatibility regarding the SBUS and Telemetry, look up here in the related FAQ.

YES, (ONLY servosupervision, UNTESTED)

The Tarot ZYX-M Flight Controller has no external bus system for sensors (like I2C or CAN Bus).

Therefore no Alive Supervision is possible. The Servo signals can be connected and monitored by the AutoPilot-Manager (select FC board no Alive Sig(nal) in AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool).
If a conventional RC receiver is used PPM or PWM signal can be used for the Manual Switch of autopilots On the AutoPilot-Manager.
If SBUS is used, a SBUS to PWM or SBUS to PPM Adapter has to be used for the Manual Switch of autopilots.
The specification of the Telemetry is not mentioned in the Manual of the Tarot ZYX-M Flight Controller and cannot be guaranteed until it has been tested.

If you get an error message when you select File->Write To Board

1) E.g: Error Write To Board
‘Ungültige Daten’ or ‘Bad Data’.

Your LicenceData.txt File is eighter corrupted or the License does not match the AutoPilot-Manager board ID you connected.

OR

2) E.g: Error Write To Board
‘Die Datei “Path to LicenceData.txt” konnte nicht gefunden werden’ or ‘The File „Path to LicenceData.txt“ could not be found’.

Your LicenceData.txt File is missing. In this case copy the LicenceData.txt you received from gizmotec or from your reseller of the AutoPilot-Manager to the path where your Config_Software.exe is located.

If you still get the error message, connect your AutoPilot-Manager by USB and read out your AutoPilot-Manager Board ID by AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool System -> Read Firmware Version
You will get a message box with e.g. the following content Board: 41 Id: 58343431333315051115 Firmware: 4:r21 EEPROM: 45: CRC: 187

Send this information to office@gizmotec.eu to obtain a valid LicenceData.txt.

You have to copy the LicenceData.txt file to the path where your Config_Software.exe each time you have downloaded a new AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool Software and each time you buy a new AutoPilot-Manager.

The AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool Software can manage only one AutoPilot-Manager license at the same time.
If you have more than one AutoPilot-Manager, the easiest way is to copy the folder of the AutoPilot-Manager Configuration tool Software and replace the appropriate LicenceData.txt file.

Another way is to exchange the LicenceData.txt File in the AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool Software each time you connect a different AutoPilot-Manager.

YES,

for Pixhawk autopilots (Ardupilot family)  it is possible to configure the UAV (autopilot) over the AutoPilot-Manager.

Built-in Telemetry switch. You only need 1 telemetry transmitter and you can configure both autopilots via MAVLink protocol. You can switch between the telemetry of the autopilots via a switch on the RC.

The channel for the telemetry switch is configurable in the AutoPilot-Manager Configuration Tool.

NO,

Unfortunately the CAN-Bus on our AutoPilot-Manager is for Alive Signal Monitoring only. CAN-Bus driven Motors cannot be controlled by the AutoPilot-Manager.

RC –> remote control
SBUS (DBUS) –> Futaba proprietary protocol
VTOL –> Vertical take-off and landing
CAN –> Control area network
PWM –> Pulse width modulation
PPM –> Pulse break modulation (Pulse-position modulation)
TCP/UDP –>  Transmission Control Protocol / User Datagram Protocol)
I2C –> Inter-Integrated Circuit
GPIO –> General purpose Input output
EXT –> External
LED –>Light emitting diode
COM –> Communication port or synonym for Serial Port
single point of failure –> Element or part of a system for which no backup (redundancy) exists and the failure of which will disable the entire system.

Clever tools for unmanned systems!

NEW

Please WELCOME our new integration partner in Spain  “Dron Flight”

NEW

Nation based sales campaign just started, for more details check here

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You want to become an integration partner for the AutoPilot-Manager? Details at “Integration Partners”

NEW

Please check our updated FAQ list

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