I have just been checking the cost of ArduPilot electronics when I thought
to check the China price . Yup you guessed it , they cost half as much.
Ardupilot Mega ................. US Price $60.00 China price $36
Ardupilot IMU Sensor board . US Price $150.00 China price $80
Unfortunately the Ardupilot Mega and IMU board are connected by pins and in the
event of an almost guaranteed crash(s) I suspect damage would be
done no matter how much foam you put around them .
This is the Sensor board ( ArduPilot IMU )
It goes with the ArduPilot Mega ( below )
If I use the ArduPilot Mega combo as shown above I would also need a brand
of GPS system that I do not have ( US price $80 ) . Hopefully there would also
be a cheap Chinese knock-off available .
I could do roughly the same thing using the much more downmarket ArduPilot board
( shown below ) and I am tempted because I already have some of the stuff like an
appropriate GPS and FTDI cable .
US price for the basic ArduPilot board is only $25 but I would have to
acquire XY/Z infrared sensors and I am not convinced they would work
well at low altitude or in mountainous terrain ( based my zero experience ) .
How cheap it all is has surprised me but there would still be hundreds of hours
of effort and what is the payoff ? I find it all quite interesting and have recently
been using an Arduino board to link my rowing machine and personal PC so
is some ways I am already partially there but it is still an awful lot of work for
no payoff .
PS ... Please note I am in full fantasy mode because I do not even
have an RC aircraft and probably never will .