Hello from Texas!

Wan't to discuss something that's relevant but has no forum, this is the place
hittstick
Beginner
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:26 am

Hello from Texas!

Post by hittstick » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:52 am

Howdy, Bitcraze community!

I'm a beginner computer engineering student from Houston and I plan on using the Crazyflie 2.0 as a platform by which to learn and practice some of the fundamentals of digital circuits and robotics programming, as well as work on soldering and expanding my knowledge of the sea of technical information related to this endeavor. I'm interested in developing sensors for various functionalities and am looking forward to experimenting with the platform :) .

I'm excited about learning from all of you, and am enthusiastic about becoming involved in the community. Cheers

tobias
Bitcraze
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:17 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by tobias » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:52 am

Hi and welcome to the community and great to hear about your enthusiasm!

hittstick
Beginner
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:26 am

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by hittstick » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:11 pm

tobias wrote:Hi and welcome to the community and great to hear about your enthusiasm!
Hi, Tobias, thanks. Nice to meet you. Looking back with what you know now, do you have any pieces of advice that you wish you'd have gotten when you were first starting out with the Crazyflie?

tobias
Bitcraze
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:17 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by tobias » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:03 am

Since I'm one of the developers at Bitcraze it is hard for me to tell. I'm hoping you can give me feedback on all good and bad things :-). I can warn you a bit about the documentation :oops: . A lot is there but it needs shaping up. Things are moving fast though which makes things obsolete way to fast...

hittstick
Beginner
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:26 am

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by hittstick » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:40 am

tobias wrote:Since I'm one of the developers at Bitcraze it is hard for me to tell. I'm hoping you can give me feedback on all good and bad things :-). I can warn you a bit about the documentation :oops: . A lot is there but it needs shaping up. Things are moving fast though which makes things obsolete way to fast...
What I notice so far is that, like you say, there is a lot of documentation, but it seems to be spread out between the forum, the wiki, the main website, and GitHub. It would be helpful there was one place, ie the wiki, that could serve as a go-to for everything. The YouTube videos are cool, but most of them are showing off features without providing links about how to obtain or implement them.

Here's an example of something that confused me yesterday. I read in the forum about some adjustments that could be made to the CF's flight stability. I then saw a YouTube video on the bitcraze channel testing out said adjustments, and saw something on GitHub about them, as well. That's all really great, but it would be even better if there was something detailing the implementation. Have the adjustments been made in the firmware by default or does the user need to implement them? Is there a tutorial that can get me going if I do need to implement these changes?

I still have a lot (!) of reading yet to do but am not scared away just yet. I want to learn all I can and I feel as though participation in the forum is probably one of the best ways to go about that.

That said, if you have any questions at all regarding a complete beginner's perspective, you can feel more than welcome to bombard me with them. :)

hittstick
Beginner
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:26 am

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by hittstick » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:57 am

Was finally able to pick up the package with the flie, I'll open it up tonight and make sure everything's there. I'm excited!

H0stname
Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:44 am

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by H0stname » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:41 am

Yeah the scattered documentation drove me nuts this semester, but I have compiled various setups that worked for me and will be turning them in to our professor and posting on here so that others can benefit. I spent more time setting this up, dodging/isolating bugs and learning about linux (I don't regret being pushed in this direction) than doing any development for the crazyflie itself. But my current setup works well and is portable. I can't complain too much though, because the drone itself worked well as a consumer product and I am happy this dev community seems alive and supported. They prioritized function pretty well and I am happy with that. I did manage to sift through the documentation with time, and learned a lot about the steps required in the process. I hope to do some more development outside of class, potentially looking into how to convert this thing into an FPV racer both from a structural and software standpoint.

TL;DR
The biggest thing I could say is if you're not running Linux natively on your machine, bite the bullet and go for it, or at least dual boot if you need some windows stuff. The VM should work, but I ran into some problems with this as well as a non-crazyflie VM that makes me think Virtualbox induces more variables that are out of the devs control. It sounds like you are in a similar position as I am, I wish I had just gone straight to native linux. Pick something user friendly like Ubuntu or Debian. Would have saved so many headaches.

tobias
Bitcraze
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:17 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by tobias » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:52 am

Thanks a lot for your great feedback!

Documentation has proven to be really hard. We have an idea of the structure but sometimes hard to follow and keep updated.

FPV racer sounds like a fun project. You should team up with Sean who is taking that path as well ;) . He e.g. ported betaflight to Crazyflie 2.0 HW.

The VM has unfortunately become unstable lately. Probably because of some change in their USB framework and we are not sure how to handle this as we still believe it is a simple way to get stated. For development though I would also recommend a naively installed environment.

H0stname
Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:44 am

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by H0stname » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Sounds like a good person to team up with! I am moving soon and have a lot on my plate so I don't want to commit to something, but that is probably the direction I want to go.

I don't think the native linux setup was that difficult. Yes, the VM would have been easier initially, but due to variables in virtualization software that are out of your control, I think automating installations on native linux and checking compatibility might be a better method even if it does take 2-3x longer initially. That is ok for better performance, but say 10x longer would not be. This is basically what I'm putting in my write up.

Besides docker setup and the toolbelt (which I still haven't gotten working, but I can fly and do minor debugging/testing/sensor analysis without it), the installation is actually very straightforward and automated already, once you sift through the conflicting information in the docs and find what library versions play nicely with each other. I can only imagine how difficult it is to keep the docs up to date when the libraries themselves get obsolete so quickly especially with finnicky python C lib wrappers like QT.

But like I mentioned, I'll upload something in a week or so that you guys can copy verbatim with sufficient details for a Linux laymen, so you don't have to spend time updating the docs when you could be updating and improving code :D

H0stname
Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:44 am

Re: Hello from Texas!

Post by H0stname » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:18 pm

Also, I appreciate the spam reduction, but my default email settings did not notify me on here or via email of new replies, so that is why I would post something then not respond to help for several weeks. I think other users may also do this based on what I have seen in the forums. I may suggest having the default setting notify by email of replies, keeping the current configuration of no additional emails until you view the topic. I hate tons of bloat emails too, but I forget to check here and did not realize the default was off, unlike most other forums.

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