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Old 03-14-2014, 01:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default TBS Discovery / Pixhawk or APM PID Tuning

After spending lots of time trying to get my Disco dialed in, I thought I would share the settings that have proved to work the best on my rig (2216-11 900kV, Afro 20A, 9x5 Graupners, 4S 3300, GoPro, no FPV yet).

At first, I relied on the autotune function to get the roll and pitch PID's where they needed to be.. And that definitely helped with getting closer to the appropriate values, but it still needed some adjustment. I was having some issues with full throttle wobbles on the pitch axis and some wobbles on the roll axis with yaw inputs. I was able to get rid of the yaw issues, but the wobbles on full throttle were proving to be more difficult to dial out... Especially since I have no experience with PID tuning.

So I resorted to google.. After a one minute search using 'TBS Discovery PID' I found screen shots of the PID settings that others had used to get their disco dialed in. Plugged the numbers into mine and the difference is like night and day, super locked in and stable.

Here are the numbers that I found and am using currently. I'll update this thread if I happen to find even better PID values. For now though, these values are an excellent place to start.

Stabilize Roll P - 4.5000

Rate Roll

P - .0900
I - .0800
D - .0030

Stabilize Pitch P - 4.5000

Rate Pitch

P - .1000
I - .0800
D - .0030

Stabilize Yaw P - 3.0000

Rate Yaw

P - .2500
I - .0250
D - 0.000

For anyone trying to better understand how to adjust PID's, checkout this link. This is the best info I have found yet on the subject of PID tuning.

http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/ar...r-tuning-guide

Here's a video from yesterday with this tune. I was having so much fun that I completely discharged the LiPo down to 3.1-3.3v/cell resting! I am so lucky that I noticed the loss in power just seconds before I came in for a rough emergency landing.... Thankfully, there was no damage!

[ame]http://youtu.be/r49u7oOxkT8[/ame]
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Last edited by SeanM; 03-14-2014 at 11:53 PM..
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did you try auto tune?

It usually seems to tune a bit soft for me but easy to increase them a bit.

My Flips PIDs (tuned myself) are very similar to those.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The very first thing I did was use autotune. The numbers it came up with were definitely on the soft side, and the D parameter for pitch was on the high side... Which caused a nasty wobble at full throttle.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Sean, thanks for sharing these and your experience with them. I ended up just bringing my Discovery with the Naza with me to Sea Town, because I didn't have the FPV installed on the Disco Pro yet. But, when I get back home I'm gonna plug these right in!
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Anytime! Let us know how it works out for you. Your pitch values will probably differ slightly, but the rest should be very similar.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Very good info SeanM

Just out of curiosity, what do you not like about the Pixhawk so far?

I wish I would have started out with this controller on my Disco Pro instead of my extended arm Disco, so that I could have compared notes with everyone else.
The Autotune experience was a bit of an opposite experience for me with the extended arms on the Disco. Yes, it definitely got me closer in the ballpark range of where I should be, however hard stops and turns were still way too twitchy to the point I almost crashed a few times. I ended up having to decrease the PID's still a bit more than what Autotune had done for me and I am still in the process working to get it perfect. I get carried away with having so much fun flying, I forget that I'm supposed to still be tuning, so I fly in a way to avoid the hard stops and turns...

Also Robert Lefebrve mentioned on RCgroups the next firmware release is slatted to be a big one which mostly only applies to the Pixhawk and not APM. Looks very interesting for what's coming down the pike for the Pixhawk.

-Extended Kalman Filter
-Angular Acceleration Damping and Input Smoothing
-Spline Nav
-"The Onion", complicated subject. It's a major restructuring of the code, that will allow the stabilize loops to run at 400Hz on Pixhawk vs. 100Hz on APM. This will mean that every ESC update has new information, currently on APM, you get 4-5 identical ESC signals (490Hz signalling, but only 100Hz updates). Also, I believe Inertial Navigation will run at... well something more than the 5hz it currently runs at.
-EKF will bring the potential for redundant sensors
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Old 03-15-2014, 12:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clouseau View Post
Very good info SeanM

Just out of curiosity, what do you not like about the Pixhawk so far?

I wish I would have started out with this controller on my Disco Pro instead of my extended arm Disco, so that I could have compared notes with everyone else.
The Autotune experience was a bit of an opposite experience for me with the extended arms on the Disco. Yes, it definitely got me closer in the ballpark range of where I should be, however hard stops and turns were still way too twitchy to the point I almost crashed a few times. I ended up having to decrease the PID's still a bit more than what Autotune had done for me and I am still in the process working to get it perfect. I get carried away with having so much fun flying, I forget that I'm supposed to still be tuning, so I fly in a way to avoid the hard stops and turns...

Also Robert Lefebrve mentioned on RCgroups the next firmware release is slatted to be a big one which mostly only applies to the Pixhawk and not APM. Looks very interesting for what's coming down the pike for the Pixhawk.

-Extended Kalman Filter
-Angular Acceleration Damping and Input Smoothing
-Spline Nav
-"The Onion", complicated subject. It's a major restructuring of the code, that will allow the stabilize loops to run at 400Hz on Pixhawk vs. 100Hz on APM. This will mean that every ESC update has new information, currently on APM, you get 4-5 identical ESC signals (490Hz signalling, but only 100Hz updates). Also, I believe Inertial Navigation will run at... well something more than the 5hz it currently runs at.
-EKF will bring the potential for redundant sensors
Very keel stuff coming down the pike! Thanks Clouse. I haven't even had a chance to seriously try flying with it yet ( something to look forward to when I get home) so I can't comment on that department yet, but the one hardware issue I don't like is how incredibly fragile those little plugs are. That beige plastic they're made of is very soft and too easily deformed so that pins can back out easily.
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Old 03-15-2014, 02:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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clouseau, I'd have to say that my biggest complaint would have to be with the tuning aspect of the setup. It would be nice if they had a base set of PID values for certain frames, and then let auto tune do it's magic from there. Besides that, I also don't like how difficult the connectors are to unplug. I'm glad I didn't plug them all in before the very last opportunity. What a PITA!

That's good to know that the next update will have all of those additions/refinements. Any idea how much longer we should expect it to be before its release?

I've made some more adjustments, increasing the rate pitch/roll P and D values slightly. Being that I just had a crash, I'm not sure if the numbers were indeed better, or worse. It might have been due to my high rate of descent with low throttle. All footage prior to the crash was the best so far, so I think it was more my fault. Lesson learned. Luckily, nothing was damaged! Even the Pixhawk crash detection worked beautifully. I'm assuming that's what the beeping tone is at the end, which started immediately after impact... shutting off the motors... aborting my recovery attempt.

[ame]http://youtu.be/Ve86V2XlR8s[/ame]
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Old 03-15-2014, 02:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Here's where the PID values are currently. I'm pretty sure I'll leave them alone, despite the crash.

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Old 03-15-2014, 03:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanM View Post
Here's where the PID values are currently. I'm pretty sure I'll leave them alone, despite the crash.

Now I just want to go straight home to try them out! Thanks for sharing them, because as you noted, they don't give you much to start with.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Sean I don't mean to be an ass about this but in my book when you're still ironing out the programming, and it's not flying like it should, you really shouldn't be flying around people and those little kids. You could lose control and hurt some one.
I think you really should find other places to fly.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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As others have experienced, they weren't there when I arrived. I only chose to stay because the parents were doing a good job at keeping the kids under control.

I would completely agree with you if it wasn't flying the way it should, but that is not the case.. like I said, the crash was my fault. I think that it's fair to say that the crash was caused by it descending too fast with little to no throttle.... Pretty understandable I think. The following flights after the crash were very stable and locked in, I just have to keep my inputs within its limits.

Living in such a densely populated area doesn't leave many nearby locations to choose from. I haven't had one issue sharing the space with others, nor have I encountered anyone that is anything but extremely interested in seeing it fly. Why would I deprive them of that...
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just be careful. I had an audience today test flying an experimental aircraft. I was not real wild about them being there.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Made a few more adjustments to the rate roll/pitch P and D values. The difference in flight performance just keeps getting better and better as I dial it in closer to perfection.

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Old 03-19-2014, 10:39 AM   #15 (permalink)
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While the previous PID's were good at lower speed flying, they still induced some oscillations at high speed. These new values are great in high speed flight and is super stable, even when flying on the deck. Now that the values are dialed in, it's much faster to react and take off is much more stable when gradually increasing the throttle.

I have yet to see how higher I values feel, but I don't see a need because I like how it feels already. A higher I value should help it maintain its attitude in acro mode. Right now it returns to level flight in a smooth manner when I center the stick.



Here's a video from yesterday. Best footage I've got so far in my opinion. I think the rig is ready for its next upgrade, FPV!!

[ame]http://youtu.be/fM__YeUNNfw[/ame]
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm still trying to work twitchies out... However the controller did something very strange today and pitched the quad over backwards while switching from Alt. hold to Stabilize mode. I was at a big empty shipyard along the Mississippi River that the owner allows me to fly at after everyone has gone for the day.

Not very happy it did this as it came straight at me full speed from 75' away. It hit my knee as I tried to avoid it and this piece of wood before coming to a rest upside down. Crash detection didn't work either, however everything is all good including my knee with just a bruise and scrape. While the other 3 props are not broken, they are scratched up badly from the concrete. This is sort of the dangers that come along with an experimental setup, you just never know what it might do unexpectedly after dozens of perfect flights. I'm going to try to decipher the flight log and see what happened.

I'm just glad this wasn't what it did to my knee...



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Old 03-20-2014, 08:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Seems like you and BIG had a bit of bad luck. Glad it you didn't get hurt any worse than you did. Put some ice on your knee or it's going to get stiff. Get out and walk some.
I seem to be the only one of our group that's had any good luck today. Got the wobble out of the quad. (see tip over thread)
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:09 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by setishock View Post
Seems like you and BIG had a bit of bad luck. Glad it you didn't get hurt any worse than you did. Put some ice on your knee or it's going to get stiff. Get out and walk some.
I seem to be the only one of our group that's had any good luck today. Got the wobble out of the quad. (see tip over thread)
Yep, already feeling stiff in the knee... I've never had a heli under power ever get that close to me thanks to throttle hold. I even have all my CC3D boards setup with TH, however once you get into more advance flight controllers, that's no longer an option, as the controller takes over the throttle in certain flight modes and seemingly just keep do what they want when things go awry.

I'm glad you got the wobbles out and are back out flying again! What did you do different other than move the controller? I guess we better get all the flying in we can while the weather is nice, cause I'm sure you and I have some rainy weather coming next month since April showers bring may flowers rings true here in south Louisiana.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:46 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I tighten all the screws up after putting the top back on and getting the FC mounted. The 3s 2650 battery is long and flat so it got slung up in the middle. I discovered the motor screws were loose on the two red booms but tight on the white booms. Some a full turn while some were a little less. That may have allowed the motors to move just enough to let them set up a vibration. So not really sure if tightening up the screws or moving the FC to the top resolved the issue.
I did find it took off so close to level to be negligible. Rocketed right up. I had the attitude gains centered at 100%. So following BIG lead with going up to 20 feet, I got it in a hover at around 20 feet. Turned down the gains till it spazed out then brought them up until it was wagging side to side. From there I real slowly started coming down until the wagging stopped. Then down just a hair more.
I was feeling brave so I did a speed run to the end of the lot and back. It's smooth as my ex's butt so I'm going to leave well enough alone. I did sling the 4s brick in the middle bay. That was fun. I left the attitude gains mapped to the knob on the TX as the 1 pound battery may require some gain tuning.
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Old 03-21-2014, 03:50 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clouseau View Post
I'm still trying to work twitchies out... However the controller did something very strange today and pitched the quad over backwards while switching from Alt. hold to Stabilize mode. I was at a big empty shipyard along the Mississippi River that the owner allows me to fly at after everyone has gone for the day.

Not very happy it did this as it came straight at me full speed from 75' away. It hit my knee as I tried to avoid it and this piece of wood before coming to a rest upside down. Crash detection didn't work either, however everything is all good including my knee with just a bruise and scrape. While the other 3 props are not broken, they are scratched up badly from the concrete. This is sort of the dangers that come along with an experimental setup, you just never know what it might do unexpectedly after dozens of perfect flights. I'm going to try to decipher the flight log and see what happened.

I'm just glad this wasn't what it did to my knee...



Geez, is it the time of the year or something? We sure seem to be having a bad time of it lately. The prop companies are gonna love us though. Glad you and your bird weren't hurt worse, but sorry for the humbug.
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