General Configuration

It's recommended to use USB connection instead of wireless telemetry connection for the steps below.

First of all, connect to the flight controller using the links management menu in the top-right corner. Then, click the gear icon in the left side of the toolbar: flight controller settings will appear.

General

The general tab provides major information about the hardware you're using, installed firmware version, and unique ID of the flight controller.

Airframe

The airframe tab allows you to configure your vehicle type.

Click AIRFRAME and choose your airframe from the list. If you can’t see your airframe there – feel free to contact us and we’ll add your specific airframe type for you.

Channel mapping and propeller rotations are shown on the corresponding images.

System Orientation

You can choose the desired orientation of the flight controller and GNSS module from corresponding orientation menus.

Landing Gear

SmartAP allows you to configure automatic control of retractable landing gear. Simply select the output channel where your servo is connected to and adjust the minimum/maximum values as you desire. You may apply reverse if needed.

Motors IDLE Speed

If you want the motors slightly spinning when the system is armed you can set motors IDLE speed to the desired value.

Radio

Go to the RADIO tab and choose the RC receiver protocol corresponding to the one you’re using. SBUS or PPM receivers are recommended. This change will take effect after the system is has been reset. Therefore, you will need to reboot the autopilot and connect again if you have made such changes so as to ensure the changes are applied immediately.

Go to Settings > RADIO and make sure that your RC radio is turned on. You’ll see the sposition of the sticks displayed. Press theCALIBRATE button and move all sticks to their end points. Switch off the radio.

When it’s done – press the STOP button to stop calibration and save parameters. You can remap any action to the desired channel and apply reverse if needed.

Sensors

Sensors configuration tab allows users to perform accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer calibrations which are very important for heightened flight performance.

Accelerometer Calibration

Click theCALIBRATE button near accelerometer data. Click START and follow the instructions shown after the procedure has begun.

For accelerometer calibration you’ll have to place the autopilot in 6 positions:

  • Top side up

  • Top side down

  • Left side down

  • Front side down

  • Right side down

  • Rear side down

It’s highly important to hold the system still in each position during the calibration. In each step the axis should be aligned with g-acceleration vector as precise as possible.

Gyroscope Calibration

Click the CALIBRATE button near gyroscope data. Keep the board vert still and click START. Follow the instructions shown once the procedure has begun.

Magnetometer

Magnetometer calibration is highly important for precise position hold and autonomous flight modes. Make sure that you’re outdoors and don’t have any metals around you or in your pockets (e.g. keys, cell phones, etc) before calibration.

Press CALIBRATE near magnetometer data and follow further instructions. You will need to rotate the vehicle around three major axes (roll, pitch, yaw). After 60 seconds, the magnetometer calibration will be automatically completed and the pop-up calibration message will disappear.

GNSS Configuration

Make sure that the GPS module is connected to the autopilot before proceeding to this step. Also, make sure that the green LED indicating power supply of the module is solid green (NOT flashing)

The sensors tab allows users to configure the GNSS module with the default parameters and messages required to work in unison with SmartAP Autopilots. Click theCONFIGURE button near GNSS data. Click CONFIGURE in the new window again and configuration changes will take an effect after system reboot.

Battery

Set battery sensor type. The system supports several battery sensors, including:

  • Generic power module

  • SmartAP PDB

  • SmartAP 3.x internal monitoring

  • Custom

Set battery cells number and capacity. The system will notify you when the charge is too low.

If you're using a custom sensor then select Custom and provide the scalers for voltage and current. The scale value can be calculated as follows:

SCALE VALUE = SENSOR RANGE / 4096

Tuning

SmartAP Autopilot is based on P-PID control algorithm. It means that the stabilization (the ability to stay in the air) and navigation (the ability to follow a desired trajectory) control algorithms include two loops: angle and rates control and position and velocity control. By default the gains (PIDs) are set to be the average for the majority of airframes, configurations, etc. Of course the parameters can be tuned precisely for better flight performance.

Here is a brief guide for PID tuning:

  1. Set all values to default.

  2. It's very important to tune the stabilization loop as precisely as possible since navigation is based on stabilization, so if not done properly, the vehicle will not hover and fly waypoints as precisely as you might like.

  3. The most important parameters are Stabilization Rate Roll / Pitch. Increase it until you see high-frequency oscillations or decrease it if you can already see them. Normally, this value is in between 0.1 – 0.2 depending on your airframe size, motors, ESC, props and vibration levels.

  4. If you can see low-frequency oscillations – it means that your Stabilization Angle Roll / Pitch is too high and you need to decrease it. This value lays in range between 3 - 6.

Navigation gains can be tuned using the same approach, however, this is not essential as the values are fine by default for the majority of vehicle types.

More information on default gains is available in the Standard PID Presets section of this documentation.

Control

Control tab allows users to manual configure control sensitivity, horizontal and vertical speed limits in various modes, and failsafe actions.

OSD

The OSD tab provides settings for On-Screen Display module configuration.

In OSD settings you can:

  • Enable / disable the OSD module

  • Select either metric or imperial units depending on your preference

  • Narrow the overlay area to fit the information on the screen

  • Choose specific parameters you would like to be shown

OSD supports both PAL and NTSC video standards with auto-detection and selection. A typical information layout is shown on the images below:

PAL Layout

NTSC Layout

The actual layout on the screen typically looks as follows:

Camera

The camera tab allows you to configure the camera gimbal and shutter control settings.

Gimbal: the system supports 3-axis gimbal stabilization with flexible configuration for minimum and maximum output angles as well as minimum and maximum raw output values on the physical layer (PWM is used). As an option, the output can be reversed.

Shutter: shutter configuration has settings for minimum and maximum output values for the triggering pulse. Interval is the length of time the pulse should be in an active state to initiate the shutter of the camera to trigger.

Parameters

The parameters tab gives you direct access to all parameters available in the system.