Pi Zero Drone Part 8: On board Instrument Calibration

Pi Zero Drone Part 8: On board Instrument Calibration

Jul 12, 2018

Luke Ridley

From the on screen response to tuning PID controllers, APM Planner 2.0 software can give a newbie quad user (myself) a deep understanding of what it takes to control this quadcopter. The software is capable of display real time response of the IMU, RC controller and other instruments you wish to fly with. This post aims to give a brief introduction and how to calibrate your instruments while I wait for new ESC to come in from Amazon.


The APM Planner 2.0 has a very interactive GUI that can be used for multiple vehicle types. A full in depth tutorial of the software can be found on ardupilot.org/planner2/. First step is to download the software onto your computer and follow the instructions on the screen. To connect to the quadcopter, first plug in the battery and wait for the buzzer to sound. This time you can connect to your quadcopter using the 5 GHz Wi-Fi signal.


Steps to configure the Wi-Fi signal can be found in blog post #6.


After you have connected, the on screen altitude indicator (Very similar to one on an airplane) should start responding to the onboard IMU. Now the calibration can begin. In the APM Mission 2.0 tool bar select ‘Initial Setup’ >> Mandatory Setup. From here you can pick the frame type, this drone uses the first X-style frame type.


pi zero




Select Compass to start the calibration. The Compass will need a live calibration by rotation the quadcopter in the air slowly around all axis (front, back, left, right, top and bottom). This will be done for 1 minute. Calibration offset will be created and stored for future missions.  




Selected Accel Calibration and the calibration wizard window will appear. Be sure to have the quadcopter on a flat surface and select Calibrate Accelerometer and follow the prompts on the screen. It is important not to move the copter immediately after pressing continue for each process, this may lead to skewed stored parameters.


Radio Calibration


Remove all propellers and bind the RC transmitter to the receiver. Select Radio Calibration and start the calibration by pressing the Calibrate button. Move the sticks and switches to the maximum positions. When you feel that all the movements are correct, press End Calibration and the offsets will be stored for that radio controller.


Flight Modes


This setting can be used to assign switches on your transmitter to modes like loiter or stabilize. You can set your own settings based on what you wish your quadcopter to do.


pi zero