We had one of these boards last week in order to build an automated car. This is an autopilot named ardupilot.Project is based on Arduino boards.I have read from some forum that an arduino mega could become one of these when its software installed.But it also has compass and gyro sensors so it is a useful kit. If you were using an arduino you will have to buy these sensors and develop a software for them too.Moreover , if you don’t know how to code , it would be a good idea to buy one of these to make your own robot. I strongly recommend you to buy GPS pack with it.
I’m going to give you a tutorial about how to use ardupilot for rovers.
First you need to download its software.I am using APM 2.0 for mac. You can find software from here : http://ardupilot.com/downloads/?category=35
Connect your ArduPilot to your computer and open APM 2.0, make configurations like image below.
Next thing to do is install firmware for ardurover.To be able to do that select INITIAL SETUP tab. And you will see an option in the left menu named “Install Firmware” click on that.Select ardurover and install it.After that you will see your compass and gyro is getting you some info as you move your ardupilot card.The screen on the left corner is moving…
The real question is , how is this thing is going to move my wheels?
At first it won’t, you have to calibrate it.As far as I can learn from http://rover.ardupilot.com/wiki/setup/ 1st input pin is for steering servo and 3rd input pin is for motor esc. Connect your inputs from RC receiver or arduino system that you had used to control your car previously(this was my case) to input ports of ardupilot.
And then open “Radio Calibration” from INITIAL SETUP tab keep in mind that you have your ardupilot is still connected to computer.
When you started to move your remote sticks you will see bars are moving.Click “Calibrate Radio” and move sticks as much as possible.This action will set radio boundary.
Now you have set your connections and signals, you are expecting an output. If you want to get an output(to see your motors are moving) make sure that jumper 1 is connected.I have marked JP1 pin in the picture above.
At this point you can use your car in MANUEL mode with your remote controller.And also you can use at AUTO mode as well. Just define some waypoints and set them to your controller , you’re good to go !
One last thing , make sure that you have connected an external power source…
If you have any questions just ask…