Getting started

Last updated 2 months ago

This page should provide an overview of the most important pages of the HoverGames user guide to help you to get started.

This user guide should contain all the information you need to get started with the HoverGames drone and NXP FMU. Most pages should be read in the order in which they appear in the menu. Sometimes a link to an external source is provided. Have a good look at the information provided by the external page before you continue through this GitBook. Afterward, remember "search" is your friend - use it to locate specific details quickly.

Questions can be asked in the community. If anything remains unclear or if wrong information is provided, you can contact the HoverGames team.

(Important) information about the HoverGames

First things first, read the nice introduction to the HoverGames and RDDRONE-FMUK66 if you haven't already done so! It explains what this program is all about, and it introduces the hardware which HoverGames centers around. Also, make sure to read this important must read information before you continue!

Check the contents of the kit!

After receiving the HoverGames kit, the first thing you should do is check its contents. A list is available which explains what items should be included in your kit, and the purpose of the different components. Unfortunately, it is not possible to include absolutely everything you need to fly your drone in the kit. There is short list of items you will have to buy separately, as well as a list with the required tools, skills and time for building your drone.

Learn about the basic concepts

If you have never done anything with drones before, it might be a good idea to get familiar with some basic concepts first. The earlier mentioned list of items included in the kit is a nice introduction to the different parts of a drone, but the following page also introduces some of the software and other important concepts.

This page is part of the documentation for the PX4 Autopilot software, which is also used by the RDDRONE-FMUK66. There is no need at this point to go through the whole documentation, we will get to that after you have build your drone.

This GitBook also has a glossary page, which lists some resources that explain many of the drone related terms and concepts. It also lists some terms that cannot be found at the external sources, or need some extra information in the context of RDDRONE-FMUK66 and the HoverGames.

Build your drone

When you are sure nothing is missing from your drone kit, and you have read some of the basic concepts and principles, you are ready to assemble your drone! We have an assembly guide that explains how to put all the parts together. There are images with instructions and videos available that explain how to build the frame and how to solder and connect the electronics.

Setup your remote controller

Make sure to setup your remote controller in the right way. The controller configuration should be changed to make it more reliable and safe.

Get to know PX4 from an user perspective

The RDDRONE-FMUK66 runs the PX4 Autopilot software. Before you can actually fly your drone, you have to install and configure the PX4 software on the FMU board. However, before we do this, it is probably a good idea to get to know this piece of software. Luckily, the PX4 community has excellent user documentation. Have a good look at it.

The PX4 software is often setup using the QGroundControl software, which can run on your Windows, Mac or Linux computer. You will use this software a lot when setting up or changing the configuration of the HoverGames drone, when calibrating sensors or possibly during flight to monitor your drone. They also have their own user guide available. Install QGroundControl on your computer and have a look at their documentation.

Install the software and configure your drone

After you have assembled the drone, you should continue with the software setup on the flight controller. This should explain how to upload the software to the board, and how to configure it for the HoverGames drone.

Before you can start with the software setup, you might first need to install a bootloader on the FMU board.

More advanced information about the FMU software is available in the section about programming your drone, but you should not need it until you are ready to implement your own software for the HoverGames drone.

Let's fly!

When the drone is ready, make sure to double check everything! We have written down some important (safety) steps before, during and after flight, as well as some general tips on flying. Make sure to check them out before your first flight.

Be careful! A drone the size of the HoverGames drone is not a toy! Be prepared and act responsibly when you fly. Don't forget about your own safety!

Writing your own software

Now that you have a working drone, you can start writing your own software for the drone. You can add modules directly in PX4, but you can also add an external companion computer that communicates with the FMU. The PX4 community also maintains a seperate developer guide which explains the PX4 software architecture and how to extend it. They also have a page that explains about the use of companion computers, instead of making changes to PX4 itself.

Frequently asked questions

Running into problems? Make sure to check out the frequently asked questions before asking the community. You can get help from the PX4 community Slack (check out the #hovergames channel!), as well as from their community forums.

Technical reference

This GitBook also includes a technical reference section which includes some more advanced topics and schematics. Have a look at the topics in this section after your first flight, when you start with your first HoverGames challenges and are developing your own software for the HoverGames drone.