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FAQS | CO-PILOT II FLIGHT STABILIZATION SYSTEM

I'm using Windows Vista or Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (or 32-bit). Do I have to have the FUIM2/FUIM3 connected to the USB device before connecting it to my computer? I ask because I keep getting "no driver found for your device."

1) Leave the FUIM2/FUIM3 disconnected from the CPII and from your PC's USB port.
2) Launch the Co-Pilot II application.
3) Click the download USB driver link from the application window.
4) Pick the correct driver from the web page. If your device is FUIM2, use the Driver for Win Vista x32 or x64 bit. If it's the FUIM3, there's only one driver.
5) Follow the on screen instructions. If you have attempted to load the driver before, what might happen is an uninstall first. If you see that the program wants to uninstall the driver, let it. Then go back to the website and install it again.
6) Now launch the CPII application again.
7) Plug the USB end of the interface into your USB port at this time. Win7 should tell you the driver is loaded now.
8) Plug the other end of the cable into the CPII computer's ACCY port and apply power.
9) Click the firmware you wish to install, then choose Update Firmware.

I plan to install and use the Hard Deck Module (HD100) with my Co-Pilot II system. Do I need to update my CPII Avionics firmware?

Yes, the Hard Deck Module (HD100) requires that the Co-Pilot II Avionics computer be updated to ver 2.37 or newer firmware. For more information, consult the Co-Pilot II Supplemental User Guide for Hard Deck (HD100).

I do not plan to purchase the Hard Deck Module (HD100) for my Co-Pilot II system. Should I upgrade my CPII Avionics Computer firmware to ver 2.37 (or newer)?

The quick answer is, no. There is nothing to be gained by updating to ver 2.37 if you are not going to be using the Hard Deck Module. For more complete details, please refer to the following:

Co-Pilot II Operation with and without the Hard Deck Module and new Co-Pilot II Avionics Computer firmware version 2.37 (or newer):

Please review the following carefully before you rush to upgrade CPII firmware. In this section we will attempt to help you decide whether to upgrade your firmware to v2.37, explain a couple things that are new in CPII Avionics Computer firmware v2.37 and newer:

1) In the user guide as well as in the REVOLECTRIX website and the descriptions for the Hard Deck Module and CPII Hard Deck Combos, we have provided the following important note:


Please be advised, the Hard Deck Module will only operate with R/C helicopters that are either non-CCPM or 3x120 CCPM . Other variants such as 3x90 CCPM, 3x135 or 3x140 CCPM are not supported unless utilizing a flybarless controller where the mixing occurs after the CPII Computer Module on board the helicopter.

2) Currently, we wish to discontinue support for old versions of CPII Avionics Computer firmware prior to v2.37. Therefore, once you click the update bootstrap button and then upgrade from firmware versions prior to v2.37, there's no going back. If we find there are too many issues, this could change, but we'd rather sort out any anomalies and adjust newer firmware to compensate.

3) With that said, we recommend you adhere to the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". What this means is that if you are not going to be installing and using the Hard Deck Module, it's probably just as well if you do not update firmware to v2.37 or newer. Without actually owning and installing the Hard Deck Module, there is nothing new to be gained from an update to v2.37.

4) In order to support the Hard Deck Module, v2.37 makes substantial changes to the way the Emergency Recovery (ER) functions. The reason for the initial statement above is that Hard Deck requires ER, but ER will be disabled if the CPII does not see good 3x120 CCPM data (from the RX via the transmitter). Most notably, once the Hard Deck Module is properly installed (see next bullet point), ER now utilizes collective management, not only in the new “Level in H.Deck” Flight Mode, but also in standard “Level” Flight Mode. Even if you do not use the Hard Deck Module, or you have CPII set to OFF on the remote, v2.37 (and newer) firmware mandates a stricter helicopter setup and will conform to the initial statement above concerning 3x120 CCPM at all times.

5) With regard to the statement in no. 4 above, “proper” installation of the Hard Deck Module is defined as: a) actually installing a working Hard Deck Module into the ACCY port of the CPII Avionics Computer; b) telling the CPII Avionics Computer you have the HD Module installed by calling it up at the question concerning CPII ACCY during Quick Setup; c) properly installing the static streamer; d) answering “yes” to the Quick Setup question asking if you have the Static Streamer installed; and e) properly completing the new Collective Pitch section of Quick Setup. In other words, if you wish to take advantage of the new ER method of collective management, all the above steps a-e must be completed.

6) If you know that your heli setup is something other than 3x120 CCPM, and that your setup is not utilizing a flybarless controller where the mixing occurs after the CPII Computer Module on board the helicopter, under the new v2.37 firmware, you will no longer be able to utilize Emergency Recovery in a CPII installation with or without Hard Deck Module installed.

7) So, what happens? In this case, you may receive the error message like this customer received "bad 3x120". ER will be disabled to prevent a malfunction during ER.

Recommendations (what should you do?):

8) First, if you have already updated to v2.37 and you know that your setup utilizes something other than 3x120 CCPM mixing, disable ER to be on the safe side.

9) If you know your setup does utilize 3x120 CCPM (at the transmitter), and you are still seeing an error message like "bad 3x120", try this:

reset the mix in your transmitter to factory defaults and start with a fresh 3x120 CCPM TX setup. Then redo Quick Setup on the CPII.

If you are certain your transmitter is setup properly for a 3x120 CCPM mix, and you are still having problems, send an email to howard@fmadirect.com We may need to put you in contact with a technician who will have you provide information from the technical screens in the IRNet programmer.

If your setup does not utilize a 3x120 CCPM mix, and you really miss ER (because you can not go back to an older firmware version in the CPII Computer Module), send an email to howard@fmadirect.com and outline your concerns.

Weather Calibration Advice

A suggestion, if you are getting a bad weather calibration during preflight check, instead of setting the aircraft on the ground where the vertical sensor only sees a very small area of the ground, hold the aircraft 3 or 4 feet off the ground and at an angel, approximately 30 degrees or less to the horizon. This allows the vertical sensor to see a much larger sampling of the earth. Note the temperature difference at this attitude. You may see an increase earth/sky temperature differential. I find that anytime the temperature differential is 8 degrees or more, CoPilot II works 100%.

What servos do I connect to the avionics computer for flight stabilization?

You need to connect the pitch (elevator) and roll (aileron) servos for flight stabilization. For 3D airplane flight modes, you will also need to connect yaw (rudder). For CCPM helicopters, you will also connect collective servo.

For aircraft:

Aileron (1 or 2 channel input)
Elevator (1 or 2 channel input)
Rudder (for 3D mode - must have available input)

Old time aircraft

Rudder
Elevator

For Helicopter:

non CCPM
Cyclic roll (aileron)
Cyclic pitch (elevator)

CCPM
Cyclic roll (aileron)
Cyclic pitch (elevator)
Collective

***For non CCPM with Hard Deck Module installed***

Cyclic roll (aileron)
Cyclic pitch (elevator)
Collective (Pitch)

What is the proper direction to connect servo leads to the avionics computer?

All servo leads, including the CP II sensors and IR router, connect with the black (ground) lead towards the CP II label.

Do the channels on my receiver match up to the inputs on the avionics computer?

No. The servo inputs on the avionics computer are totally independent from the channels on your receiver. Just make sure you connect the servos mentioned in the FAQ "What servos to I connect to the avionics computer for flight stabilization?" above. The order that the servos plug into the avionics computer does not matter. The computer learns the control settings during setup. Just make sure the input numbers match the output numbers; e.g., if you use RCV1 for Elevator, plug the elevator servo into SVO1, etc. Never connect throttle through the CPII avionic computer.

Do I have to connect my gyro control to the avionics computer?

No. The gyro control (1 wire servo lead normally connected to channel 5) is only connected to the avionics computer when you want to free up a channel.

Does it matter which way the vertical sensor is mounted?

Yes! The vertical sensor must be mounted with the arrow pointing towards the sky.

How do Flight Modes work and how do I set up and use the 3D modes?

Basically, how the system can be set up depends on what kind of switches or AUX knobs or sliders you have.

2 way switches, sliders and knobs can handle the following:

OFF
Flight Mode 1

3 way switches can handle the following:

OFF
Flight Mode 1
Flight Mode 2

A standard installation for a 2 position control might be:

OFF
Level Flight

If you want to setup 3D modes, then it might look like this:

OFF
Inverted Flight

For a heli, there is only one supported 3D mode which is inverted. For an airplane, the system supports the following 3D modes:

Inverted Flight
Vertical Hover
Knife Edge Right Wing Down
Knife Edge Left Wing Down

We intentionally make it more difficult to set up the 3D modes. You have to actually read the Reference manual to get the 3D password. Once you know it, you enter it during Quick Setup from the CPII main menu, and all the 3D Flight Modes are available to you. All 3D Flight Modes required the Vertical Sensor to be installed. If you answer no to the 3D password question, then you only see OFF and Level Flight Mode as the program options. Once you enter the password 1 time during Quick Setup, then you will always have access to the 3D modes during Flight Mode Setup (switch assignments) from within Preferences menu. To clarify, the Flight Mode Setup menus are duplicated in 2 places. The first time you set them up on your AUX control, you will do it during Quick Setup. From that point forward, you no longer use Quick Setup again unless you need to change aircraft, radio, sensor installation, etc. Quick Setup walks you through Sensor Setup first, followed by Flight Mode Setup. You may want to change Flight Mode Setup regularly, so we allow you to redo that part of setup from Preferences as well instead of making you walk through the entire Quick Setup process again and again. Why would you want to change Flight Mode Setup regularly? Suppose you want to start off with just OFF and Level Flight. Then later, you might want to set up OFF and Inverted. Or if you have a 3 way switch, you might want to set up OFF, Level Flight, and Inverted all on the same switch. Go to Preferences over and over to make changes to your Flight Mode Setup. Preferences is also where you will go when you want to adjust things like Gain settings, Set Angles (which is essentially trim when the CPII is turned ON), Stick Priority, Gyro output control on SVO4, etc.

How you intend to use CPII is flexible and it's up to the individual's preference. If no AUX control is set up, then CPII will always be ON and set up for Level Flight Mode. If you have an AUX control, then one setting is mandatory OFF. Many people will use the AUX control as a panic button. When you lose control, flip the switch. CPII is capable of stabilizing your aircraft from any attitude to level flight in split seconds. Some people will tend to want to keep CPII on all the time. Flying is much more natural feeling with CPII than previous versions of Co-Pilot, so it should not be a problem to do aerobatic flying when CPII is always ON. The key is adjusting Gains and Stick Priority to what you like.

Now, 3D modes are more tricky than the others which is why we make them harder to access. Here's how it works. Let's say you have a 2 way switch programmed for OFF and Inverted Flight. You can take off with CPII in the OFF position or you can take off with it in the ON position. CPII will not arm inverted mode until the aircraft is in the correct attitude AND then the Flight Mode switch is moved from OFF to Inverted. So, if you take off with CPII ON in this scenario, CPII will perform Level Flight mode. Keep reading and you'll understand why. Now, when you're ready to go inverted, switch idle up ON. Switch CPII control OFF. Invert the aircraft, then switch CPII ON. As long as the measured angles satisfy the computer that the aircraft is properly inverted, when the switch is flipped ON, it will hold inverted flight with little effort from the pilot. The only tricky part to this is that it might take some trial and error to set the Angles properly. This is because when the aircraft is inverted, it may require different trim settings than when it is flying right-side up. This is why we give you the ability to Set Angles individually for each of the various Flight Modes from within Preferences. If you go inverted, then flip with switch and the aircraft wants to fall out of inverted (due to trim issues), you will land, use the IRNet programmer to adjust the angles for inverted, and try again. Once the angles are adjusted properly for a specific installation, they will remain fairly well adjusted over time.

Now, what happens when the aircraft is not properly trimmed during inverted, or perhaps it is adjusted properly, but you want to go back to level flight while flying? When the aircraft falls out, or if you roll it out of inverted, then it will do one of two things. It can be set up to turn CPII OFF, or it can be set up to switch from Inverted to Level Flight mode. This is an option you set from within Preferences. In all cases, the vertical sensor is required for 3D Flight Mode setup. This being the case, the aircraft will always roll out of inverted mode during recovery to level flight if CPII is programmed to recover to level flight. So, we recommend you recover to Level Flight Mode when practicing Inverted, and this is the default setting. This is the safest way to go because if you fall out (or terminate) inverted, the only thing you need to remember is to switch Idle on to OFF. CPII will do the rest to bring the aircraft to a safe attitude.

What is the difference between Auto Trim and Set Angles menus and what is a good strategy for trimming the model with CPII installed?

1) Auto trim is expressed in degrees. Default value is 6 degrees. If using Auto trim, trim the model out with CPII switched OFF. Then turn CPII ON and re-trim the model again for level flight. When you turn CPII OFF again, trim should not change. If it does, increase the Auto trim value. If it still does not hold same trim with CPII ON vs. OFF, then you will need to either alter the install angle of the main sensor (tilt it slightly), or use set angles to trim CPII.

2) What Auto trim does is maintain CPII slightly ON even when it is switched OFF. That's why we term it for beginners. Advanced pilots sometimes do not like the fact that CPII has any control over the heli when it is switched OFF.

3) If you want CPII to have no control over the heli when switched OFF, then turn Auto trim to zero.

4) Now you will need to trim CPII for level flight when it is ON independently of when it is OFF. Some people tilt the main sensor to achieve level flight in this case. Some people use the Set Angles menus. Both methods achieve the same results. One does it mechanically, the other does it electrically.

5) Auto trim and Set Angles do similar things. They can be used independently or in conjunction. It's all just a way of adjusting the trim of the model. The difference is, Auto Trim will affect level even with CPII OFF. Set Angles only applies when CPII is ON.

6) The IR "cones", or viewing angles are 120 degress in diameter. If you block a portion of the cone with other installed components, it may affect the trim of the model. It's usually not possible to get 100% clear view of sensors. So compensating using higher Auto Trim value, or Set Angles is appropriate. If the sensor view is blocked by a component that could emit heat in varying degrees (like a muffler, or a black fin that could be heated up by the sun, or a digital servo that heats up as you fly), then it will be more difficult to achieve proper trim because the trim could change continually.

I'm now using the CPII from FMA and I SLOWLY want to take more control and reduce the CPII help until I'm flying like one of the real "bad boys". Do I slowly reduce gain and increase stick priority? (or do I have this reversed)?

If you have a proportionaly AUX control, you can set the CPII up so you can vary the sensitivity from the TX. This is not the same thing as reducing the gains. Gain controls the gain of the op amps in the sensors. Higher sensitivity means the servo travel is increased during stabilization (using the gains that are set up using the programmer). This is a common misconception and actually, the results are similar. Either reducing gains or reducing sensitivity will cause a longer recovery time during stabilization. Stick priority also works differently from either Set Gains or adjusting sensitivity. Stick priority lowers the gain of the system as you move the stick further from neutral. A lower percent setting means the gain is turned down less; therefore the pilot feels like he has less control over the model and the CPII has more. Conversely, a higher percentage means the gain is turned down more the further the stick is moved from neutral. This gives the pilot seemingly more control over the aircraft.

We recommend:

1) If you are not getting any oscillation and you are actually looking for more control over the heli, then leave gains where they are.

2) Increase the percentage on stick priority. Experienced fliers tend to use higher figures like 150%.

3) If possible, set the CPII remote up on an AUX channel so that you can vary the sensitivity in the air. If this is not possible, then you may accomplish a similar objective by reducing the gains when you land and using the IRNet programmer.

4) You can also achieve no CPII interaction when CPII is switched OFF by reducing the Auto Trim function to zero. But when you do this, then the model will probably no longer be trimmed when CPII is ON. Use Set Angles menus to trim the heli when CPII is ON. To set Auto Trim to zero, you don't have to re-do setup. Go to preferences.

How does Emergency Recovery (ER) work and should I turn if ON or OFF?

When ER is set to ON in Preferences menu, the following will occur:

ER activates when the following criteria are met:

1) The CPII is set up for Level Flight Mode on the Remote.

2) The aircraft is pitched away from level by 20 degrees or more; in either pitch or roll axes. (Inverted is considered more than 20 degrees away from level).

3) The Remote is changed from a low setting (nearly 0%) up to 100%; e.g., if Level Flight Mode is set up on a toggle switch and is moved from OFF to ON. In other words, ER is only activated by the changing the Remote setting from OFF to Level Flight Mode ON as in a panic situation.

What happens?

1) Gain is increased by a factor of 2x to bring the aircraft to Level faster.

2) The ability for the pilot to over-ride stabilization is greatly reduced. CPII ignores pilot input by 75% when ER is activated. Therefore any attempt by the pilot to over-ride stabilization is mostly ignored.

3) The duration of ER is 2 seconds.

When should I use ER and why is it defaulted to OFF?

ER is designed to enhance performance in a panic situation. However, the most basic instructions we provide to customers when initiating stabilization is to center the control sticks; particularly in a panic situation. This action becomes ingrained in the pilot quickly and is already a normal reaction as one reaches for the Remote switch as it is. In normal operation, the CPII is already capable of leveling an aircraft from any attitude in less than one second, depending on gain settings. Therefore, in normal applications, setting ER to ON is generally not necessary or preferred, as many customers would rather have the capacity to over-ride the system if they so choose. Nevertheless, the use of ER is generally non-problematic and it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to use it.

Contrary to previously released information, ER has the same basic utility whether used in a fixed-wing aircraft or a helicopter. There is no reason to believe that ER is preferred in one type of aircraft over another. Statements to this effect were the result of early testing of ER during the beta program, long before ER was thoroughly tested and perfected. Engineers were initially hesitant to recommend ER in heli’s because the feature over-rides pilot input. Subsequent testing has indicated that the duration of 2 seconds for ER has no adverse effect on pilot control and certain beta testers do prefer ER recovery to normal recovery.

Additional Information:

In subsequent CPII releases, we hope to support a feature termed hard deck. Imagine an aircraft, out of control, and heading towards earth. Pilot is completely at a loss to recover. Hard deck will represent a minimum altitude at which Level Flight Mode will be activated, regardless of Remote setting. ER will become mandatory to swift and un-constrained recovery of the model in this scenario which is the main reason why the feature is already available in the CPII firmware.

Are the LED's on the IR Router suppose to light up?

No

One of the LED's on the IR router is shorter then the other 3?

This is normal. There are 3 LED's for transmitting. These are the tall "blue" domes. There is one IR receiver which is mounted internally on the PCB and sees through the 4th hole in the top of the router case.

Can the IRnet programmer be used on another set of a CPII IRnet router?

Yes, you only need one programmer if you have multiple systems. We will eventually carry the sensors, avionics computers, and routers to purchase separately.

How do I turn the IRNet programer OFF?

It turns off by itself.