The first thing to do before more in-depth research is to actually use PX4 autopilot to fly something. This is a relatively straight forward process once you have a multicopter that is healthy and ready for the sky.
Here is a step by step guide on how to flash px4 firmware onto your autopilot hardware and fly your multicopter with it.
A quick summary:
- What you need
- Get QGroundControl
- Flash PX4 firmware onto your board via QGroundControl
- Choose airframes, calibrate sensors and radio
- Arm and takeoff
1. What you need:
- A computer with Internet Access
- Linux operating system (I am using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, you can use the operating system you want, but since I am also doing source code development, Linux will make my days a lot easier)
- A PX4 autopilot (Pixhawk, Pixfalcon, HK Pilot 32, Pixracer) with micro usb cable
- A healthy multicopter
- A pair of telemetry modules (optional)
Before we connect the hardware to computer, check if you have wired everything correctly. As a minimum, you need to connect at least the RC receiver, the power module, 4 ESCs and a safety switch to the board. Telemetry modules are recommended but are not necessary if you only want to do manual flight. If you are using Pixhawk or HK Pilot 32, a buzzer is also recommended since the firmware will emit different status tones which are handy in some situations. If your autopilot hardware is mounted on your multicopter already, make sure you are not powering it from the battery. The autopilot hardware gets confused when it has two power sources. And DO NOT INSTALL PROPELLERS BEFORE YOU ARE READY TO FLY!!!
You should also check if your motors are installed correctly, so they are spinning in the right directions. A separate tutorial on how to assemble a quadcopter from scratch will be included later, for now, use Ardupilot’s wiki: Assemble Quadcopter
2. Get QGroundControl:
QGroundControl is a nifty ground station designed around PX4, you can download from the official website: QGroundControl