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 10 September 01:41   


The RCAP2 is a Limited Ascendancy AutoPilot for archetypal airplanes, cars and boats. The autopilot action can be switched off or on during flight with the flick of a switch. For it to function, a NMEA able GPS (with programmable goto/waypoints functions) haveto be affiliated to the consecutive ascribe anchorage of the RCAP2. Currently (april 2006) RCAP2 does alone abutment waypoint navigation. Altitude-hold is getting formed on, but not yet implemented.


This Wikipedia commodity describes what the RCAP2 is, what you can do with it, how it works and how to install it. The commodity is not meant to be a how-to for the RCAP2. For that advice you should appointment the website of the RCAP2.


The aboriginal RCAP was conceived by Mike Pawlowski. Mike wrote the firmware v1.1 for the RCAP, which this RCAP2 is based on. He aswell advised the aboriginal RCAP board, which this RCAP2 is based on. Some acknowledgment to Mike for publishing his plan as accessible source. His website and antecedent cipher can be begin on . The RCAP2 is pin for pin accordant to the aboriginal RCAP. Some added headers and servo ports accept been added for approaching use. You will acquisition them declared below.


The RCAP2 is accessible from in 2 flavours:


Software/Firmware can be begin , and servo.inc and additional aboriginal firmware for . The antecedent cipher for this activity was programmed using PicBasic Pro. This software is accessible from . PicBasic Pro is alone all-important if you ambition to adapt the program of the RCAP2.


The adaptation that is currently getting awash (april 2006) contains bootloader functionality which makes it accessible to upload new firmware to your RCAP2 by abutting the it to the consecutive anchorage of your computer through a null-modem cable.


Very anon I will be abacus added advice on how the RCAP works.


Before you jump into affairs the RCAP2, you accept to apprehend that to create your UAV arrangement complete, there are a few additional items that you charge to have/buy to get started. Aswell there are things that charge to be advised afore demography the attempt into RCAP2:

    Before you can infact use the RCAP2 there is some accessory plan to do. This includes soldering to the board. If you dont feel adequate with soldering, then acquisition anyone that can advice you with this.



To ability the board, I advance you to accept a adapter that mates with the adapter on your powersupply (ie. batterypack). The adapter can be absorbed to the lath through wires. Soldering has to be done for powering the lath and in some cases for abutting the RCAP2 to your receiver.


Solder the red wire (positive lead) advancing from the adapter to the pad apparent with a + assurance and the atramentous wire (negative lead) to the pad apparent with the - sign. These pads are a little harder to find. If you attending at the angel above, you will see 2 dejected capacitors, just next to the DB9 connector. The pads can be begin beneath the capacitor abutting to the bend of the board. You apparently accept to angle abroad the capacitor to accept admission to the pads. Be accurate not to angle the legs of the capacitors to generally or it will breach and couldcause your lath not to plan anymore.

    Receiver connection


In the angel aloft you see jumper J3 (enable channel) and J4 (RCAP2 to Adviser on receiver). To save weight -crucial for aerial models- some boards are awash after the jumper. If you accustomed your lath after thes jumpers you accept to adhesive servo addendum affairs to the board. The servo addendum bond should accept a changeable adapter on 1 ancillary (for abutting it to, in alotof cases, the landing gear/flaps approach and adviser approach of your receiver). The pads that you affix arena to is the pad abutting to the bend of the board. Accelerate the servo wire into the lath from the upside and adhesive it on the behind of the board.



In alotof cases you wish to use your adviser for council from one waypoint to another. Affix your adviser servo to jumper J2 on the RCAP2 board.


Also affix the servo wire advancing from J4 to the adviser approach of your receiver

    Before using the RCAP2 for the first time, be assured that you accept the latest firmware version.


Your RCAP2 lath contains a (type 16F876A) that contains the software that takes affliction of sending your archetypal to pre-programmed waypoints. On the microcontroller you will acquisition a characterization with the firmware adaptation that is in the chip. New firmwares can be downloaded from the RCAP2 , chase the hotlink to firmware and download the latest HEX file. You aswell charge the software to upload the HEX book to the RCAP2 lath that you acquisition on the aforementioned page.


After downloading the firmware, use the null-modem cable to affix the RCAP2 to your computer (note: Notebooks dont plan in alotof cases back the ability they can accumulation through the consecutive ports is too low). Chase the instructions on the firmware page on how to upload the firmware to the RCAP2.


Be abiding to set your GPS data alteration settings to NMEA/NMEA at 4800 baud. A new firmware has appear accessible (2006-05-03) which makes it accessible to plan on 9600 baud, go to the firmware website to download this new version


Now chase the action beneath for first use.


No smoke? great! You did well. Now, if the RCAP is first powered, it samples the transmitters adviser stick for aloof position. In versions antecedent to 1.6, it aswell samples the adviser position (and assumes it to be neutral) anniversary time the autopilot is enabled. This agency that you haveto be in aloof adviser position anniversary time you cast to autopilot if you are using versions antecedent to 1.6. This is important for the autopilot to action properly. During ability up, you will see the LED ablaze for the first 6 or so abnormal afterwards you administer ability to the RCAP.


Now verify if all controls on your archetypal plan as they are declared to do. If something doesnt plan as it is declared to do, then analysis your access and see if you followed all accomplish of the action above. Maybe you forgot something.


If aggregate works correctly, you are accessible to cast the landing accessory (or flaps) about-face on your transmitter to about-face on the RCAP2 autopilot function. The LED should alpha to blink every 2 abnormal or so. This indicates that your RCAP2 has autopilot enabled, and accurate GPS data is getting accustomed through the consecutive port. If the LED is not blinking, then analysis if all the afterward altitude are met:


Comming soon...


It is appropriate that the RCAP2 be acclimated alone on top addition trainer blazon aircraft. The aboriginal RCAP website suggests that it alone be acclimated with a FMA Co-pilot blazon device, in adjustment to accumulate your even stable. It is alien whether an inherently abiding aircraft could be aureate auspiciously with the RCAP2 after a flight stabilization system. The aboriginal RCAP website shows a FMA Copilot getting affiliated to the elevator and ailerons, while the RCAP is affiliated to the rudder.


There are 3 variables to set to the RCAP2 and accept it plan the way you want, those are Travel, Accretion and Servo direction.



Max Servo Biking (Variable resistor R2) allows you to set a best end point that you will acquiesce a servo to travel. This is abnormally important if installing the RCAP into an aircraft. I acclaim starting with a basal ambience and accretion it slowly. For your advice a max ambience of biking is accomplished if the pot is set absolutely adverse clockwise.The position of this pot will be looked at anniversary time autopilot is selected.



Course Alteration Accretion (Variable resistor R3) allows you to acclimatize how aggressively you wish to RCAP to abide on course. A low ambience agency that the RCAP will boring about-face against the accepted course. A top ambience will accept the turns accomplish abundant quicker. The bulk of alteration acclimated is aswell proportional to the bulk off advance the car is, the greater the bulk off course, the greater the alteration is. I would acclaim starting with a basal ambience and accretion it slowly. For your information, a max ambience of accretion is accomplished if the pot is set absolutely counter-clockwise.

    Servo direction


Servo administration artlessly allows you to about-face the administration a servo turns while the RCAP autopilot approach is selected. While in radio controlled flight (autopilot off), your transmitter takes affliction of servo direction. The transmitter uses the settings you accept done in the radio. If autopilot is on, you accord ascendancy to the RCAP2 and it is not acquainted of any transitter settings. Afore infact putting the RCAP into your car your accept to create abiding it matches the accepted response. You haveto analysis this with the GPS attached, waypoint selected, casual a waypoint position one ancillary or the additional while searching at the adviser to ensure that it is axis the able administration to about-face against the waypoint. This about-face position is looked at every time the autopilot approach is selected.


Programming or modifying your own cipher is accessible as the PIC16F876A dent can be reprogrammed about 100,000 times. The RCAP2 currently comes with adaptation 1.6B programmed in. This adaptation includes a baby bootloader cipher in the firmware that allows the dent to be programed calmly through the consecutive port. With adaptation 1.6B no programmer will be required. If you are absorbed in a programmer, there are some programmers out there. Some will charge a separate addapter to program a 28 pin chip. PicBasicPro was the software apparatus acclimated to make Main.bas (ver 1.1 RCAP code), as able-bodied as anniversary alternating version. This program makes it almost simple to program a PIC dent using cipher agnate to the Parallax Basal Brand code. PicBasic Pro is create by , and can be begin on their website.


If you anticipate you accept advised a advantageous section of code, then we would adulation to apprehend from you about it. Amuse acquaintance and let us understand what you accept made. We ability accede to use your cipher in affection releases of our firmware.



Debug is a apparatus you can use to get advice out of your PIC chip. You can use the provided cipher debug-main.hex to advice you accept what is traveling on central the RCAP2. This is not traveling to be available, unless you program the dent that way. it is easiest to plan with the debuging port, J7. This gives you the afterward cachet while you accept angry on autopilot mode.




    !cs=15 gpscs=15

    !Use and Bound LiabilityTechnical informationUser tests/stories/testimonials==


In this branch you will acquisition belief or links to belief from RCAP2 customers. You will see how they accept appear to their setup, what obstacles they accept run into, etc...


After some alpha up troubles, kd7ost appear about his first acknowledged flights:


RCAP assemblage analysis flown



Well, we didnt get abundant of a breach but it was enough. The apprehension acclimatized down to 15 mph. Jeff had the Telemaster 40 accessible to go with the RCAP on its own ability source. He managed to fit the Garmin geko 201 aloft the ammunition catchbasin so we gave it a go backward in the day.


Jeff had aswell formed his FS8 receiver into the activity so would accept a failsafe assemblage to added analysis with. Set area as a waypoint and performed a ďgotoĒ. Fueled up and into the air, ascend out to a safe distance and first got the cycle and angle ascendancy alive to satisf action . Next, flew down wind and aback appear us to appoint the RCAP while celebratory results. We were continuing at the waypoint. The even got aerial and as anon as it anesthetized the waypoint it started a affable appropriate duke turn. We watch as it boring came around, went aback down wind a fair means and accomplished the about-face branch appropriate aback at us. Over arch afresh and it repeated. It was dabbling at the waypoint. Jeff had the accretion set to about 50 percent and that was a little ablaze for the Telemaster. We brought it in and tweaked the accretion up to about 100 percent deflection.


Back up and set it again. It kept in a little tighter this time. We connected to fly and were so blessed watching and evaluating it that we let the ammunition run out. Asleep sticked in, re-fueled and aback up for more. Jeff flew it off in the ambit till it was a blueprint in the ambit and shut of the transmitter to absolutely analysis the failsafe and return. Aural a few account it was obediently aerial aback into the amble pattern. As a continued time PDC-10? user I can say this performs just like the now retired PDC-10. Several added testís were done aggravating assorted directions, down wind, (still up at 15 mph) up wind, cantankerous wind etc and it came aback over arch every time.


Due to not accepting the time to artifice a advance we didnít forward it out on an free flight. But thatís a action of the GPS and I understand this RCAP would accept aureate the avenue and alternate to amble overhead.


Congratulations to . You got a winner. Were still cat-and-mouse for appropriate acclimate but I understand there will be some flights to appear with the unit.


?) The PDC-10 is an anachronistic UAV artefact from .


The adventure aloft originates from on the forums. In that cilia the antecedent problems with gettng the the RCAP2 alive accurately with a GPS accessory were discussed.



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