First Official Pixhawk-2 Unboxing | Reference |


First Official Pixhawk-2 Unboxing

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Adam from Aeroworks Productions unboxes the new Pixhawk 2 flight controller.

• An integrated, single board / box flight controller.
• Sufficient I/O for most applications without expansion.
• Improved ease-of-use.
• Improved sensor performance.
• Improved microcontroller resources.
• Increased reliability and reduced integration complexity. • Reduced BoM and manufacturing costs.

Key design points

• All-in-one design with integrated FMU and IO and lots of I/O ports.
• Improved manufacturability, designed for simpler mounting and case design. • Separate power supplies for FMU and IO (see power architecture section).
• On-board battery backup for FMU and IO SRAM / RTC.
• Integration with the standard power brick.

Pixhawk FMU Main Board

• STM32F427; flash 2MiB, RAM 256KiB.
• On-board 16KiB SPI FRAM
• MPU9250 or ICM 20xxx integrated accelerometer / gyro. • MS5611 Baro
• All sensors connected via SPI.
• Micro SD interfaces via SDIO.

Vibration Damped IMU board

• LSM303D integrated accelerometer / magnetometer. • L3GD20 gyro.
• MPU9250 or ICM 20xxx Gyro / Accel
• MS5611 Baro

• All sensors connected via SPI.

I/O ports

• 14 PWM servo outputs (8 from IO, 6 from FMU).
• R/C inputs for CPPM, Spektrum / DSM and S.Bus.
• Analogue / PWM RSSI input.
• S.Bus servo output.
• 5 general purpose serial ports, 2 with full flow control
• Two I2C ports
• One SPI port (un-buffered, for short cables only not recommended for use). • Two CAN Bus interface.
• 3 Analogue inputs
• High-powered piezo buzzer driver. (On expansion board)
• High-power RGB LED. (I2C driver compatible Connected externally only)
• Safety switch / LED.

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Last week my long awaited Pixhawk 2.1 aka The Cube arrived and I’m going to be doing a review, blog and posting some info on the flight controller, the setup and capabilities especially around the Intel Edison Companion computer.

First lets take a look at the Flight Controller its self.

The Basic Story

The Pixhawk 2.1 grew from the Pixhawk Hardware Project. this project was a group effort by the PX4 and Ardupilot teams, with the support of 3DRobotics.

At the Beginning of 2014, The Ardupilot Community took the lead on the EE of the future Pixhawk 2. the brief was simple… add Vibration isolation, make it code compatible with PH1, and make it simpler to integrate into OEM air frames.

Then came the next requirements….. Smaller, with more pins…

So the project was broken into use cases.

A simple Quad copter with basic Gimbal
A large Octocopter with 3 Axis Gimbal, landing gear and shutter control.
A CANBUS only vehicle.
A large fixed wing with many flight control surfaces, multiple Airspeed sensors
The concept of a modular approach was born. allowing for simple carrier boards that simply served as wiring looms to connect components in a neat and professional manner.
The cube concept was born.

in 2015, the project returned to the community, and gained sponsorship from ProfiCNC.
ProfiCNC has partnered with Hex Technology to bring this product to the community.

The Spec

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Comparison to the Pixhawk 1

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The Cube Edison Edition

There are two version of the PH2 available, the main flight controller known as The Cube contains the vibration isolated sensors board and the FMU, this has a large connector that allows it to be connected to a verity of carrier IO boards.

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the idea is to have a system that offers maximum flexibility, There are currently 2 versions of the IO carrier board available,one with and one with out Intel Edison support.

Unboxing.

This kit contains the Pixhawk 2.1, the Here GNSS GPS module, Power Brick and Cable set.

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Once the top is removed you can see the top of the Cube and the Here GPS

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Remove the next layer to find the Cube is already mounted to the IO carrier board

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Below this is the included cable set and power brick

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Cables laid out, these include multiple power cable to support both the new power brick and older Pixhawk ones, pre wired cables for radios, GPS cable for converting the new connector with the integrated arming button, speaker and I2C hub.

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The Cube & Carrier

As posted the Cube comes pre assembled to the carrier board from the factory

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Here you can see the micro USB on the side of the Cube, this is the main USB port for connecting to the controller for installing firmware and configuration , below this is the SD card that internal flight logs are written to

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On the opposite side you can see an additional 2 USB ports, these are specifically for connecting to the Intel Edison companion computer if fitted, these do not connect to the Cube FC its self and can not be used for configuration.

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Here we have the new power connector setup, in the PH2.1 they have change the additional power input setup to remove it from the servo lines and it now has its own dedicated connector, another change is none of these two power connectors will provide output to the servo lines at any time.

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On the other side we have the main sensor and inputs, GPS and GPS 2, external USB, Telem and Can bus ports, you also have a dedicated Spectrum Satellite input as well as SBUS out

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Looking underneath this is where the Edison connector is hidden under the base, more on this later

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Overall I am much happier with the Pixhawk 2 compared to the first, the absolutely horrible DF13 connectors have been replace with JST-GH locking connectors that are just 100% better, the new heated isolated IMU is also a massive improvement meaning you don’t have to worry about isolating the FC from the frame in normal use.

The Here GNSS GPS

As part of the Kit it includes the in house Here GPS unit

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This all new GPS offers reception of up to 3 GNSS (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou)
has 67 dBm navigation sensitivity, Supports all satellite augmentation systems and has Advanced jamming and spoofing detection

The interesting features is It has inbuilt arm button ands notification LED so there is no need for a separate arm button, i uses the HMC5983 MAG, and LIS3MDL Mag and has a 6CM Ground plane

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Underneath you can see a section where you can remove the cable, the reason for this is the GPS 2 port does not have the additional connections for the arm button and led so you need to use a separate GPS2 cable, this is available separately so you just swap the cable over, tbh i would have thought it would have been a little simpler to just use the same connector on both but the leave that section of the GPS 2 port un connected.

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The new connector

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from initial tests this GPS is extremely sensitive and while trying to test it it was still able to receive a good signal wrapped in foil under a metal tin of paint, this is impressive, my only complaint is the cable in my opinion should be longer, its just a little short for my liking.

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Using Non Here GPS

As stated the new GPS has the status LED and Arm button built in, this is a very nice feature but this means if you want to use another brand GPS you will need to use a breakout cable, they supply this as standard in the box and you can see it already has the arm button attached, this is only needed if you are not using the Here GPS.

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The Power Brick

As part of the package they include a mini power brick, this is rated at 8S 30A so while its OK for small quads or aircraft for larger quads your going to need to use something else, The Mauch Current sensor and BEC is HIGHLY recommended and ill cover more on that later.

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Overall i am impressed with the Pixhawk 2.1 out the box, its solid and well made.

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