VRBrain 5

VRBRAIN 5

This is a first draft, so please report incorrect information.

VRBRAIN5 is the successor of the former 4.5

It has been designed to keep consistency with the old board but has been engineered to comply with most recent technological updates.

It has the same board layout, but has many new features like the support for CANBUS, native SBUS, multiple IMUs for redundancy, support for 2 GPS’s and muche more.

Please follow carefully the pin layout because it has been changed on the INPUT rail!

It’s main characteristics are:

  • 168Mhz ARM CortexM4F micro controller with DSP and hardware fpu.
  • 1024KiB flash, 192KiB of RAM.
  • Accelerometer, MEMS gyroscope, magnetometer and barometer.
  • 8 RC standard input PPM, PPMSUM, SBUS.
  • Up to 12 RC outputs at 490 hz.
  • 1 SD Card Slot until 64 gigabyte.
  • 2 I²C Bus.
  • 3 serial porti: 1 for option GPS 1 for SBUS 1 telemetry.
  • 4 digital switch (ULN2003) 2 LED 1 BUZZER.
  • 1 analog input.
  • Jtag port for realtime debug.
  • 1 Input analog lipo voltage control, 1 input for current sensor.
  • CANBUS support.

Drivers download

If you already have installed VRBRAIN drivers, it is recommended to unistall previos versions:

Lasernavigation_Drivers

Follow this link to download Windows drivers.

Once downloaded, double click on the .exe to unzip.

Choose a folder where you want to save them and once unzipped, go to unzipped folder VRuBrain_drivers_2.0.0.5 and run either DPInstx86.exe for 32bit Windows or DPInstx64.exe for 64bit windows.

Once done, your board should be recognized as a com port, with name VR Brain.

port_recognition

(please note: port COM is 13 on my computer, it could be different on yours!).

Board layout

VRB5_Full_board_TOP


VRB5_OUTPUT VRB5_IN-OUT_PWM VRB5_IN-OUT_PPMSUM-SBUS

connecting-receiver_ppmsum-sbus_rev5.2

 

Powering the board

The board should be powered only using a 5V. BEC or 1 ESC.

 

Powering the board with internal regulator.

powering_the_board_1
To power using the internal regulator, please follow these instructions:

  1. Connect the VBAT (the positive of your battery) to the 1st central pin of the output rail starting from the left.
  2. Connect the negative to the 1st bottom pin.
Voltage and current monitor.

voltage_current_monitor

To monitor battery voltage connect the + cable from your battery to the 3d central pin of the OUTPUT side of the board.

Supported voltage monitor is up to 6S (30 volts).

While voltage monitor does not need any other tool, for current monitoring you need a special cable with a current monitor chip.

Like this: https://store.3drobotics.com/products/apm-power-module-with-xt60-connectors

Powering using an external BEC or ESC.

Connect the BEC (+ and – at 5V.) or ESC on

  • One of the 8 Output pins (the ones where you would connect your motors);

powering_the_board_2

If you power using one of the 8 outputs, please remember to leave the Jumper labeled 5V connected.

  • Or, if using a BEC, to one of the first 4 inputs. 

powering_the_board_3

 

Beware, the middle pin of the INPUTS 5, 6, 7, 8 do not have the 5V! They are used for CAN BUS and I2C. Please do not connect 5V. on those pins!

 

Connecting the receiver

To connect the receiver you have three options:

SBUS (or Taranis SBUS), PPMSUM, standard PWM (one cable per single channel)

Note that with VRBRAIN5 we encurage the use of either PPMSUM or SBUS as the input method.

PPMSUM is more common and is used in Graupner radios, and in most thrid party futaba and taranis receivers. It is able to transfer 8 channels on a single wire.

SBUS is a Futaba (and now also FRSky) communication protocol that allows you to send up to 18 channels using only one cable.

Starting with hardware revision 5.2 the SBUS and PPMSUM layout has changed, please check the correct image below.

 

1. Connecting futaba SBUS or PPMSUM (or FrSky SBUS).

Hardware Revision 5.2 

connecting-receiver_ppmsum-sbus_rev5.2

PPMSUM input is located on the 8th INPUT pin.
SBUS is now on the bottom rail as shown on above picture.

Hardware Revision 5.1:

connecting-receiver_PPMSUM-SBUS

To connect the SBUS receiver, you need to connect receiver signal cable to the 5th INPUT pin, and connect the 5V and GND to the PINS 1 to 4 as shown in the picture.

PPMSUM input is located on the 7th INPUT pin. As for SBUS you need to collect the 5V. from the INPUTS 1 to 4.

Beware, the middle pin of the INPUTS 5, 6, 7, 8 do not have the 5V! They are used for CAN BUS and I²C. You need to get the 5V from the central pins of the INPUTS 1-4

 

 

2. Connect all 8 PWM inputs.

connecting-receiver_PWM

To use standard PWM, you need to upload a special firmware to the board.

Follow the following link and locate the folder firmware/xxx/custom/PPM

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6g7whsxe63t0fai/AACT724tj4ADHAZUOnndkh4Ua/Firmware/Copter/custom?dl=0

Look for the .vrx file you need if it’s for plane or copter.

For a Copter it would be in: firmware / Copter / custom / PPM /

For Plane it will be in: firmware / Plane / custom / PPM /

Choose your preferred platform and upload using the instructions below.
  1. Open Mission Planner, go to Initial Setup–>Firmware.
  2. Click on Upload custom firmware and select the file you have chosen in the “Custom” folder.
  3. Wait for upload of firmware.

Connecting the ESCS and optional outputs (gimbal control)

The ESCS should be connected without the 5V, (red cable) unless you plan to power the board using one of them. If you plan to use an ESC to power the board please be sure you have:

  • Only 1 ESC powering.
  • You use one of the 8 outputs or 1 of the first 4 inputs.

The order ot the outputs is shown in below figure

ESC-Motor_connections_1
If using PPMSUM or SBUS you can use up to 12 channels.

The channels 9 to 12 are on the input rail on the first 4 channels as shown in figure:

 

ESC-Motor_connections_2

Connecting the GPS and External magnetomenter.

GPS and External compass connector is located in front of the board where you connect the receiver.

You will need the connector VirtualRobotix provides toghether with the board, otherwise you can create your own using standard servo connectors (2.54 mm.)

GPS+MAG_connector

 

You can also connect a second GPS receiver to the port located on the side of the board labelled SER2.

 

Connecting Wireless Telemetry

Telemetry_connector

Connecting LEDs, Buzzer and optionale relay

You can connect up to two high current LEDS (up to 4S), 1 buzzer for Alarm and a high current relay (5-16V) using VRBRAIN’s ULN chip.

To use these outputs you need to connect only Ground (-) to the corresponding pins and get the positive (+) from any source you need.

For example to connect External leds, you can connect the + on the battery and the Ground (-) to the first two pins.

The buzzer is used for Arming/disarming signaling and to signal low battery and GPS glitches. Connect the + to the 5V. or to the battery + and the ground (usually the black cable) to the 3rd pin from the left.

LED_Buzzer_Relay

 

First connection of the board:

All drivers, firmwares and bootloaders are available here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6g7whsxe63t0fai/AAAsgjScJeZe2auJHv3Xwzmaa?dl=0

Before using the board, you need to install the Mission planner software available here (permanent link to latest):

http://ardupilot.com/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=82

Once downloaded, please install it by double – clicking on the .msi file.

 

Open mission planner,

Click on Config/Tuning:

barra_sup_config

Beta update:

beta_update

Then help, and check for beta update:

barra_sup_help

check_beta

Mission planner will update and then restart.

We now need to upload the firmware on the board (only the first time):

to do this, check the com port is correct, and baudrate is 115200

com_speed

DON’T CLICK ON CONNECT!!
then go to “initial setup”:

barra_sup_init

“Install firmware”:

install_fw

And select the firmware according to your set up (+ or x configuration will be defined later):

fw_options

Wait for the firmware to install, and click ok if asked.

Once done, you can now click connect, and set up your board (radio cal, etc) using the setup and tuning page. Next time, you’ll just have to click connect and access setup.

 

Advanced users:

– Uploading the bootloader:

You can upload the bootloader by two different ways:

1) Using the micro Sd card (only on last firmware, you must have fw uploaded on board).

Select the right bootloader in this folder (after downloading it).
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6g7whsxe63t0fai/AAAsgjScJeZe2auJHv3Xwzmaa?dl=0
save the .bin file on the sd card with name “bootloader.bin”
put the sd cart back on the board, and plug it in. The firmware should now update the bootloader, and then delete the file on the sd card.

2)Using the DFuse software;

– Take off the jumper on the board,
– Connect the USB cable. The led should blink blue.
– Open the DFuse software.
– Select the right bootloader file (in the downloaded file above, at this link:)
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6g7whsxe63t0fai/AAAsgjScJeZe2auJHv3Xwzmaa?dl=0
– Then click “upload”. This should go very fast (about 2-3sec).

Once done, disconnect the usb cable, put the jumper back on and reconnect the USB cable. You can now use the Mission planner procedure (see top) to upload firmware.
– Uploading the firmware + bootloader.

You can also upload both the firmware + the bootloader in one time with dfuse. To do that, use the above procedure, but choose the appropriate DFU of the firmware section in the folder previously downloaded.

3 comments on “VRBrain 5
  1. mrechte says:

    Hello,

    1) Is vrbrain compatible with Linux ?
    2) It seems it is not possible to drive HV servos (under 7.4 V) ?

    • Hello, VRBRAIN has an ARM STM32F4 MCU.
      Linux should have already the drivers while in Windows you have to install specific ones.
      As contrary to Pixhawk VRBRAIN is able to drive HV servos, there is a Jumper to physically disconnect the system’s 5v. from the output rail.
      You can then connect a HV source (BEC) to one of the outputs and use that source to drive all your servos.

  2. Guillaume Helle says:

    Hello,
    where i cand find the datasheet for this board? (my version i 5.2)
    Thx a lot!

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