Tag Archives: Pixhawk - Page 2

Naze32 Acro from HobbyKing

As I mentioned in the last post, I ordered the Naze32 Acro flight controller from HobbyKing about 2 weeks ago and today I received my package from the customs. I knew that the flight controller is a small one, but didn’t expect that it is so small in real. Made some photos of the 32bit board before and after the soldering job. I am really not sure, if this flight controller from HobbyKing is a good choice for starting with the hobby, as the most of the beginners can not use solder iron at all. Of course there are plenty of online resellers, that sell the board with presoldered pins for a bit more money. (for European buyers: http://www.pitchpump.de/shop/flugsteuerung/ ).

The quality of the HobbyKing Naze32 Acro is good. Everything looks fine and clean… and it works. Before you start, you should download the drivers for Windows from here and install them.

Then you can use the open source Chrome Baseflight Configurator to config the Naze32. Here you can also download a manual from the developer.

My SG Adventure quadcopter is now equipped with my Pixhawk “clone” – HK Pilot32 and I don’t have so much free time to rebuild the frame with the Naze32. But there are some photos of the small one 😉


And these are after I soldered the pins on the board.


Update 21.10.2014: There is a version with pins already soldered on it. Read about it here.

Naze32 Acro Flight Controller available by HobbyKing

Two weeks ago HobbyKing released their Pixhawk “clone” – HK Pilot32. I ordered mine as I wanted to step in the 32bit world of flight controllers (click here for my first impressions and photos of the 32bit controller).

Last week, I guess on August, 13th HobbyKing made also the AfroFlight Naze32 Acro 32bit controller available on their site. It is also a 32bit flight controller. As it is getting more and more popular in the last two years, I wanted to test it too, so I ordered one. This Acro version of the Naze32 does not have any barometer or magnetometer as my old one HK MegaPirate AIO board or the HK Pilot32. It is basically like the KK2.0 or the new KK2.1.5 controller, but instead using an 8bit Atmega processor, it has an 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 on board. The gyro and accelerometer is the same as on the KK2.1.5 and HK MegaPirate AIO – Invensense MPU6050. The Naze32 Acro does not have a display like the KK2.1.5 board, but it should be not so hard to set it up with the PC. So the AfroFlight Naze32 Acro is definitely a competitor to the KK board, as the price for the Naze32 is at the moment by 24,99 $ and for the KK2.1.5 it is 29,99 $. And the Naze32 is only 7.3 grams. Well, I still cant tell for sure if the Naze32 is a better controller to start with multirotors. But I will tell you this in a few weeks when I receive my package and test this shiny 32bit flight controller.

Update 02.09.2014: The Naze32 Acro arrived today 🙂 Here some more details.


HK Pilot32 – The Pixhawk "clone" arrived

Last week HobbyKing released the HK Pilot32, a controller for Copters, Planes and Rovers, based on the open source project PX4. I mentioned in my last post that I ordered one for me.

Update 21.04.2015: This one looks the same package as the one from HobbyKing, but the price is much better.

And today I received my package from HobbyKing, only 6 days after I made the order 🙂 The shipping time with DHL Express to Germany was just amazing!

Here are some photos from the HK Pilot32 and my first impressions with this flight controller:


On the label you can see that the hardware version is as the Pixhawk from 3DRobotics – PX4 2.4.3.


Overall the quality of the case is good and it doesn’t look cheep. Screws are on top of the case, which is not a bad idea. I miss that there are no holes in the bottom of the case, so I could mount it with screws on my SG Adventure carbon frame. Now I must use the mounting foam.

There are the HKPilot Mega 10s Power Module, Buzzer, Safety switch button, I2C Splitter module, 4GB SD Card (in the HK Pilot32), SD Card reader, Micro USB cable and other tiny cables as well.


I wanted to see the quality of the production, so opened the plastic case by unscrewing the bolts. The solder connections look fine. I don’t know why, but some of the chip labels were slightly erased. Hope these are new, and not used before.


And here one last photo of the case itself. There is some foam on the down size. This is were the barometer on the board is, so you don’t need to do this yourself, as for the Crius or APM board.


Then I connected the board to my computer and the drivers were automatically installed on Windows 7.

Opened Mission Planner, connected the PX4 and there came a message, that a new firmware for the board is available. The HK Pilot32 came preloaded with the open source ArduCopter 3.1.3. The latest stable (not beta) version is at the moment ArduCopter 3.1.5. Downloaded and installed it without a problem, just as on the “original” Pixhawk.

So far everything is fine. Later I will test it on my carbon quadcopter and post how it works. Overall I am very happy going to the next 32bit level 🙂

Update 12.08.2014: Yesterday I replaced my  HK MegaPirate AIO board and FrSky D8R-II Plus receiver with the newly arrived HK Pilot32 and the smaller FrSky D4R-II receiver (It was flashed with the new 27ms CPPM firmware exact as I did it with the D8R-II Plus).

HK MegaPirate AIO = 15 grams; FrSky D8R-II Plus = 13 grams. HK Pilot32 = 33 grams with case; FrSky D4R-II = 5 grams. Overall 10g more of weight.


Connected the motors as shown on the 3DRobotics site and calibrated the ESCs. I also did some small adjustments on my GPS-cable to fit in the HK Pilot32. Calibrating the flight controller and configuring the settings in the Mission Planner was an easy job. What took me a bit more time is to realize, that the new 32bit controller can not be used without the safety switch (Update: Here is how to disable it). With the actual 3.1.5 firmware of ArduCopter if you don’t connect the safety switch, you can arm it, but the motors don’t spin. So Google helped me finding that fact out. Connected the safety switch, hold it for about 3 seconds (until solid red) and then armed the copter. I tested it a bit at home and it was perfect, but the real tests outside are coming 🙂 So here two more photos of my carbon quad before and after.


Pixhawk “clone” by HobbyKing – HK Pilot32

I’m using my HK AIO MegaPirate (Crius clone) board since a few months and I am already very happy with it. The problem with this board is, that I cant get the newest official ArduCopter firmware and I must wait until the developer “SirAlex” port his version of it (MegaPirateNG) to the HK AIO board. The official or clone APM (HKPilot Mega) was not an option. As I saw that the developing of the ArduCopter firmware was going on and on and the APM will not be able to use all the functionality of the coming firmware updates, I decided to go for the PX4 open source board.

This 32bit board is on the market for a half a year thanks to the team of 3DRobotics. You can buy the Pixhawk controller from this page for about 199 $. As I know you get a free support for their products, so if you have problems, you can easily contact their team. That is the benefit buying from them (and the quality of the product… and the case looks very good in my opinion).

But as many people don’t have such amount of money only for the flight controller it becomes a problem. I thought I can order an RTFHawk from witespyquad, but there are big time issues.

And the solution for me came today: Hobbyking has announced their version of the PX4 open source board – HK Pilot32 (I cant name it clone, as the PX4 board is a open source project). The price is about 145 $, for platinum members 136 $ (RTFHawk about 127 $). In my opinion it is fair enough. You don’t get the professional support from 3DRobotics, but save a bit money. I cant say anything about the quality of production until it comes to me, but HobbyKing has never disappointed me so far.

So everyone should decide for himself and most important: you CAN take a decision as there is competition. I ordered mine already 😉

Update 11.08.2014: The HK Pilot32 arrived today. Photos and first impressions here.

Update 15.09.2014: There is also another board based on the PX4 open source project – the AUAV-X2 by Nikolay Arsov. It it smaller and have some nice features compared to the Pixhawk. More in my article about it here (for now only in german, but you can use google translate).