APM2.5 and Crius AIO Pro Market perspective
APM2.5 used to be a very unique and advanced flight controller in the RC market, although it’s priced very high (used to be $180, now $90 at RCTimer) it’s still a very popular flight controller for many copter hobbyists. But nowadays there are so many more cheap alternatives to the APM2.5 I think it has lost it’s dominant position, such as the Multwii, Crius, KK etc. It seems like the APM2.5 is almost an APM2, not much changed in the performance, except they fixed some of the bugs and made many sensors removable, so it wouldn’t make sense to the owners of APM2.0 to upgrade. One of the great alternatives is the Crius AIO (All in one) Pro Flight controller.
The emergence of MegaPirates and Crius AIOP really changed the game here in the copter market for Ardupilot boards. The Crius AIO Pro FC is equally powerful and much cheaper, it’s making me question why would you still want to spend so much money on the APM2.5?
APM2.5 and Crius AIO Pro Comparison
Here are some research I have done about these Flight controllers.
- Size and Dimension – APM2.5 uses an unusual rectangular shape that’s hard to mount whereas Crius AIO Pro uses a standard square shape that’s common with many other boards.
- Spectrum Satellite or SBUS – the Crius AIO Pro can easily do either of those just by re-configuring and, in the case of SBUS buying a $10 adapter. APM2.5 requires a firmware change in the dedicated on board processor that handles the PPM which is not simple and it requires an external ATMega programmer board.
- The Crius AIOP offers cheaper official GPS modules than the APM2.5.
- Software – You can run Multiwii or MegaPirateNG (MPNG) software on CRIUS AIO Pro and it’s very easy to get AeroQuad running on it as well. However for the APM2.5, their designers have somehow restrict the APM series to run other software. MPNG support cheap sonars like DYP-ME007, MPNG support different OSD: RemzibiOSD, MinimOSD, E-OSD(Syberian’s). MPNG software doesn’t support OpticalFlow and Maxbotix sonar, since nobody used it. All other features between ArduCopter and MPNG is same! From many people’s feedback, both official and ported version seem to fly the same. The only difference to me is MegaPirate needs to be ported from the Arducopter code so updates are slower. Note that the firmware is not interchangeable, you need to use the correct firmware on the correct board.
- Documentation – APM2.5 wins here. The documentations are from the official manufacturers. While there are less documentation for the Crius AIO pro. Although there are some kind people written and share their own notes on the web.
- Price. APM2.5 is $90 WITHOUT GPS. Crius AIO Pro is $57 with no GPS (price on Nov/2013). It’s a free choice. Some people will buy whatever is cheapest. Some people will choose the officially supported product.
- There is no data logging in Crius AIO Pro.
- MegaPirate needs to be installed onto the board via Arduino and the Arducopter firmware has a link in mission planner or you can use Arduino.
Both systems use Mission Planner to operate once loaded and to adjust paramitors/plan flights and so on.
The Crius type FC boards can help new entrants with low budget to get started with MegaPirateNG or Arducopter, as well as multiwii. The APM2.5 on the other hand does not offer such a feature of being compatible with other open source firmwares.
I think the Crius AIO Pro is still the better choice for the money if you want to be able to run either Arducopter (MegaPriates version) and also the advanced features of Multiwii (there are cheaper, just as good boards to run MW if you don’t need position hold and don’t plan to build an octo).
But If you are focused on Ardupilot software only, have enough budget, want the hardware to be 100% compatible with the Ardupilot software, and you want to run it without modification then you should choose the APM2.5.