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Programming and Tuning

Last Updated on July 17, 2012

In order to program and tune Scout you must install “Mission Planner”.  Mission Planner is application that allows you to update the  firmware, configure, and program a flight path into the ArduPilot Mega.

Install Mission Planner

    1. Download the Mission Planner version suitable for your computer:  64-bit MissionPlanner64 or 32-bit MissionPlanner32
    2. Connect the supplied USB cable to your computer and Scout’s Flight Controller.
    3. In the upper right corner select “Arducopter”, Select the ComPort that appears and Select 115200 as the baud rate.

Upload Firmware to ArduPilot Mega

On the “Firmware” page click the appropriate airframe to upload the firmware.  Once firmware has been uploaded, click “APM Setup” button.


Calibrate Scout

  1. In the upper right corner select “Arducopter”, Select the ComPort that appears and Select 115200 as the baud rate.  Click Connect.
  2. Once connected, click the Configuration button.
  3. Click the “Arducopter Level button”  With Scout powered on and connected to Mission Planner, put Scout on a level surface.  It is important that Scout is on a level surface in order to get an accurate calibration.  Click the “Level” button.
  4. Once Scout is level select the either a + or x frame orientation.


Calibrate Radio Transmitter

  1. Turn on your Radio transmitter.  Click the “Radio Calibration” button.
  2. Click the “Calibrate Radio” button.  Move your radio sticks to all axis to there maximum travel positions.  The easiest way to do this is move each stick in a clockwise square pattern.  Also move the “Flight Mode” switch to it’s full travel length.  The “Flight Mode” switch is usually assigned to Channel 5 on the radio.
  3. When finished “Click when Done” button.
  4. Disconnect from Mission Planner and unplug the USB cable from Scout.



23 Responses to “Programming and Tuning”

  1. Talha Khan says:

    is there a way that i can use my iphone to fly this thing i know there is ………so plz can u help me how..

    • Russell says:

      I believe you could use your iPhone to control a quadcopter with the BlinkRC 2.0
      I have never used it but I am interested if it does actually works as advertised.

  2. nacci011235813 says:

    Is the ArduPirates.pde for the quad copter to run autonomously or with the radio controller?
    If it is for the radio controller, is there a sample source code for an autonomous quad copter?

    • Russell says:

      The ArduPirate code is semi-autonomous, meaning the code is used to stabilize the aircraft. The ArduPirate does support position hold with the use of a magnetometer and GPS. If you are looking for waypoint navigation I would use the ArduCopter code.

  3. nacci011235813 says:

    I do not have the radio controller though because I want it to run fully autonomously. As of now, I also do not have a GPS. I just was looking for a code that can check if my copter is working properly. Like a function check mainly focusing is on the ESC and motors. Maybe a code that can spin the motors at some speed.

    • Russell says:

      You can test the motors and ESC’s by using the “Configurator”. Select “Motor Command” from the drop-down menu. On this screen select the desired throttle level for the individual motors and click “Send Motor Command”.

  4. Tony says:

    After using the online configurator and copying the code into the config.h tab I tried to verify the sketch. I got the following errors. I am not very familiar with C so I was hoping you could help me out.

    In file included from ArduPirates.cpp:65:
    C:\Users\adepau01\Desktop\Quadcopter\AutoPilot\arduino-1.0\libraries\AP_Common/AP_Common.h:19:20: error: wiring.h: No such file or directory
    In file included from C:\Users\adepau01\Desktop\Quadcopter\AutoPilot\arduino-1.0\libraries\AP_Compass/AP_Compass.h:7,
    from ArduPirates.cpp:71:
    C:\Users\adepau01\Desktop\Quadcopter\AutoPilot\arduino-1.0\libraries\AP_Compass/AP_Compass_HIL.h:6:22: error: WProgram.h: No such file or directory
    In file included from C:\Users\adepau01\Desktop\Quadcopter\AutoPilot\arduino-1.0\libraries\AP_GPS/AP_GPS_Auto.h:9,
    from C:\Users\adepau01\Desktop\Quadcopter\AutoPilot\arduino-1.0\libraries\AP_GPS/AP_GPS.h:13,
    from /Config.h:46,
    from ArduPirates.cpp:54:
    C:\Users\adepau01\Desktop\Quadcopter\AutoPilot\arduino-1.0\libraries\FastSerial/FastSerial.h:116: error: conflicting return type specified for ‘virtual void FastSerial::write(uint8_t)’

    • Russell says:

      It looks like Arduino can’t find your ArduPirate library files. This could be because you did not move the needed ArduPirate library files to the library folder or that the Arduino is looking in a different folder for your library. Check and make sure the needed ArduPirate library files are in your Arduino Library folder and go into preferences in Arduino to verify the library folder is the same folder where you put the ArduPirate library files.

      • Tony says:

        I have put the library files in the correct folder, but it is still generating the same errors as before. There are errors in almost all lines saying things were not declared in this scope

  5. […] Programming and Tuning | | Scout UAV To tune the quadcopter for stable flight, download the “ArduCopter Configurator” software from arducopter.googlecode.com/files/Configurator.zip . […]

  6. Russell,

    We have the copter built and the software installed, but the tuning keeps failing.

    Some details: When we uploaded the ardupirate sketch to the copter, we had to upload to the arduino mega 2560 instead of the arduino mega (ATmega1280), because the 1280 would give us an upload error (not in sync and protocol error). The 2560 uploads successfully.

    We are using the configurator (v1.2.2), and we have tried it with the LiPo battery plugged in at the same time, and with the inputs and the outputs unplugged, etc., every combination we can think of, and we cannot get the status bar to say, “connected to ArduCopter” it just keeps timing out. If I try to skip through this and go to initialize eeprom it seems to work, but nothing after this.

    Do you think this is a versioning problem, or are we not plugging things in or turning things on at the right time?


  7. Harry Hubbert says:


    Could i use the same mission planner/code to control a quadcopter with variable pitch blades??

    Thanks 🙂

  8. Ernie says:

    I have an old Lite Machines Corona 120. Could I use the MissionPlanner64 program with Arduino Meag 2560 with Gyro & speed controller to stabelize the Heli, also mabe add two regular motors & props on either side to stablize it with this program? (kinda like a Tricopter but with one big pichable blade). . there is a Copter out like the old Coronas with a small computer wt gyro&spd cont for balance sooo I was thinkin HMMMMMM.

  9. Jake Kollar says:

    How do you connect the telementry and use it while its in the air.

    • Russell says:

      The telemetry port connects to a wireless telemetry radio. One of the radios connects to a computer and the other radio connects to the flight controller. From you computer using Mission Planner you can see telemetry data from the aircraft. You can program and controller the aircraft from your computer.

  10. Jake Kollar says:

    We have our helicopter all built and programmed successfully, but i cant get the motors to work.

  11. Michel says:

    ola Russell, poderia me ajudar estou começando meu projeto tenho muitas duvidas gostaria muito de fazer a montagem e programação mas não sei como ou por onde começar, gostei muito do seu projeto

  12. David says:

    Hey guys, I am trying to find a version of this that I might be able to use for an arduino uno and a 6DOF Digital Sparkfun. Is there anyone that has done this? I’m not 2 savvy with arduino yet, My other materials are a out runner 1020k elite motors, and 35 Castle ESC’s 25v. Can any of you point me in the right direction for a sketch that would work?

  13. sid says:

    i want to control the drone with my own android app,
    and want to connect to the drone with wifi , can i install wifi card intead of xbee radio so that i can interact with phone to control the drone, help plzzz

  14. Samir says:

    Plz send me ardino uno code with circuit skt my email shahrukhali78692@gmail.com

  15. chouqin says:

    This actually answered my problem, thank you!

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