Drone Parachute deployment "acid" test

The boys at Skycat jerry-rigged a copter to force a motor failure using a relay. Then programmed the Pixhawk to auto-deploy the Skycat launcher and a Fruity Chute.

You can't hardly ask for a more better world test than this with everything on the line.  It works or the copter is destroyed.  Here is an excert from the DIY Drones thread what Henri says and did!  The video is very cool!

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Pixhawk automatic parachute recovery worked!

Setup was our test quad copter with Pixhawk and latest beta 3.3 firmware. We used two Triggers: one for Pixhawk manual/automatic eject and one Trigger connected directly to RC receiver for backup. In case Pixhawk had failed we could have ejected normally using pilot radio. It is good to have two or even three triggers for different sources and radios for redundancy. Once ground station is able to eject we'll do Trigger for it also.  

We tried two different kind of recoveries and two of each:

  1. Manual eject request. CH7 was set for eject request and it worked as should.
  2. Automatic eject. One motor was powered via relay (Skycat relay trigger) and from altitude approx 50 meters we shut one motor down by cutting it's main power (+ cable). Copter tilted immediately and started fast spinning one motor arm pointing to ground. It took perhaps 10 - 20 meters of fall and then parachute was ejected. Both attempts were visually similar.

Video is on youtube today - https://youtu.be/KmjPZIQ9c0A

It was only four tests we made but based on results I would activate automatic eject for casual flights. As video shows everything happens very very quickly and if pilot freezes on critical moment, then automatic eject is at it's best.  For over the crowd and other risk flights I won't use it yet and in all cases would recommend to use two eject sources: One for Pixhawk and one for pilot. If autopilot freezes, you still can take copter down using pilot radio.

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For those interested here is how you program the system:  http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/parachute/

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Name: Gene Engelgau

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