Traditional Helicopter – Mounting the Autopilot to the Frame¶
On larger helicopters of approximately 550-class or larger the autopilot has been mounted in various locations such as on the FBL unit tray, on top of the tail drive case, or even on the side of the frame (very popular). The video below discusses some considerations when mounting your autopilot on a helicopter.
Below is a possible method to mount a full-size autopilot on a smaller sized helicopter. The Pixracer is popular on smaller frames that have less mounting options. All in one boards such as Matek F405-WSE are also good choices. Any ArduPilot supported autopilot with the required number of outputs for your configuration, and the ability to attach a GPS and remotely mounted Compass (internal compasses sometimes have too much motor electrical interference, especially on boards with integrated current sensor) can be used.
Separate the helicopter’s main body from its landing gear
Attach one carbon fibre plate to the body, the other to the landing gear
Drill holes in the upper and lower mounting plates so that the plates can be attached with four strong 3cm or 4cm stand-offs
Mount the autopilot to the bottom mounting plate using vibration dampening foam (see Vibration Dampening wiki page for ideas on mounting methods to isolate the autopilot from vibrations)