SkyRocket

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The SkyRocket SkyViper GPS streaming drone uses ArduPilot as its main flight control software. This page provides details for advanced users and potential developers on this RTF drone.

Where to Buy

The SkyViper GPS Streaming drone (version with FPV headset) is on sale through Amazon, ToysRUs (with FPV headset), Target and Costco in the US, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, German, Holland, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Serbia, UK since October 2017.

SkyRocket sells a variety of different drones, be sure to get the GPS Streaming drone which should have a white shell and usually sells for around $150 US.

Hardware

  • STM32 CPU
  • 5x serial ports
  • 1x I2C
  • 1x SPI
  • ICM20789 IMU including 3-axis accelerometer, gyro and barometer
  • Ublox M8 GPS
  • 1S battery (4.2V max, replacement batteries are readily available on Amazon and other places)
  • brushed motors
  • the camera can be manually adjusted to point forward, down or anywhere in between
  • 2.4Ghz wifi for telemetry and video
  • 145g
  • flight time of about 11min
  • top speed of between 8m/s ~ 10m/s
  • video streaming uses a Sonix board with ARM CPU running FreeRTOS and OmniVision OV9732 chip
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Software

  • the drone ships with a custom version of ArduPilot (Copter) which is close to Copter-3.5 but has additional features that will be coming back into master in the near future (notch filter, etc). GitHub repo is here in the skyviper-stable branch.
  • live video can be viewed through a SkyRocket app (Mission Planner video support coming soon).
  • firmware source for the video board is here https://github.com/SkyRocketToys/Sonix
  • APWeb (a tiny open source web server) runs on the drone and allows easy calibration, modification of parameters, uploading firmware to both the drone and transmitter, downloading log files, pictures and videos.
  • the transmitter has a relatively low powered STM8 processor running open source software written by Tridge (incorporates some code from Paparazzi). Github repo is here.

Discussion

We have a SkyViper section <https://discuss.ardupilot.org/c/arducopter/skyviper> on the ArduPilot discussion forum. Have a look there to see what people are up to and ask questions.

Videos

sUAS news interview with Tridge and Matt (from SkyRocket):

Bo Lorentzen’s intro video:

Throw Mode demonstrations

Calibration using the Web Interface

SkyViper GPS web server demo

Customising transmitter tunes

Mission Planner Simulator connection to SkyViper

Adjusting Transmitter Buzzer Frequency

Using Throw Mode

The SkyViper is such a small frame that ii is great for “throw mode”. If you want to try throw mode then first read the throw mode documentation.

Here are some extra tips for throw mode on the SkyViper:

  • you can assign throw mode to a button on your TX. Go to the web interface at http://192.168.99.1 and choose the parameters page. Then assign throw mode to one of the action buttons. I like using ACTION5, which you get by holding the MODE button, then pressing the right shoulder button (the one marked with the photo icon)
  • wait till you have full GPS lock (green LED on transmitter is solid)
  • with your skyviper disarmed and on the ground, select throw mode with the button you have setup in the first step. You will hear a bip-boop-bip sound from the TX
  • now press the “return” button to arm your copter. The motors will not start spinning.
  • look at your transmitter LEDs. If the green LED is flashing rapidly then you are ready to throw. Do not throw the copter unless the green LED is flashing rapidly
  • pickup the copter by one of the legs, keeping fingers clear of the propellers
  • throw it as high as you can with one smooth motion
  • do NOT swing your arm back and forward to “wind up” for the throw, otherwise the copter may think the throw has been done and will start the motors
  • be ready to press the power button on the TX for instant disarm if something goes wrong
  • after the throw, the copter will take a few seconds to settle, then will automatically switch to LOITER mode for you to fly it

Using Other GCS Software

The SkyViper has its own app that runs on android or iOS, but to access the full capabilities of the ArduCopter firmware you may prefer to use another ground station package. The SkyViper can work with a wide range of GCS software, including MissionPlanner, QGC, Tower, MAVProxy etc. For each of them, set them up to listen on UDP port 14550. The SkyViper uses MAVLink2 by default, which doesn’t work with some older GCS software (such as Tower). To use those GCS versions you need to change the parameter SERIAL1_PROTOCOL to 1 from the default of 2. That will allow MAVLink1 GCS implementations to connect. As the SkyViper uses UDP broadcasts you can connect from multiple devices at once.