Controlling a quadcopter with a homebrew remote

When [Matt] started building his multirotor helicopter, he was far too involved with building his craft than worrying about small details like how to actually control his helicopter. Everything worked out in the end, though, thanks to his homebrew RC setup built out of a USB joystick and a few XBees.

After a few initial revisions and a lot of chatting on a multirotor IRC room, [Matt] stumbled across the idea of using pulse-position modulation for his radio control setup.

After a few more revisions, [Matt] settled on using an Arduino Pro Mini for his flight computer, paired with a WiFly module. By putting his multicopter into Ad-hoc mode, he can connect to the copter with his laptop via WiFi and send commands without the need for a second XBee.

Now, whenever [Matt] wants to fly his multicopter, he plugs the WiFly module into his MultiWii board, connects his laptop to the copter, and runs a small Python script. It may not be easier than buying a nice Futaba transmitter, but [Matt] can easily expand his setup as the capabilities of his copter fleet grows.

Video of [Matt]‘s copter in flight after the break.

Comments

  1. Sisco says:

    “Video of [Matt]‘s copter breaking after this flight.” :P

  2. I am someone who designed, consults, for the RC helicopter industry, and I must say, this guiy made things harder than needed, and he needs to learn to fly first. he is attempting to fly it by just directing it, its an aerial vehicle, not an RC car

  3. CRJEEA says:

    I think some kind of autonimous stabilisation might make things easier. A few accelerometers, maybe a compas and a secondery processor. (deadbug to save on the mass)
    You could say select the amount it interferes with flight all the way off as he has it now to an aided flight that lets you do tight vector turns or even all the way on so you only have the most basic control and it always stays level. Maybe even just follows a preset flight path.
    I susupect it would be fairly simalar to one of those very unstable robots that balance on a ball.

  4. Will says:

    Futaba – not Futubu

  5. sonicdude10 says:

    LOL. Brian Benchoff misspelled Futaba. Spelled it “Futubu”.

    He can also edit the post, this comment, and is extremely handsome, intelligent, and witty.

  6. dave says:

    Its Futaba. Thats fuctupu.

  7. NewCommentor1283 says:

    too bad those things cant learn… well they could technically… but by the time it saves the calculations to flash, the rest of the darn thing would be in pieces XD

  8. nikescar1 says:

    If you can crash and still have a good time, you are doing something right. Good work on this project.

  9. Grovenstien says:

    Props for doing things different! That’s why his quad build is on HAD and mine is not. Also when I crash mine I break props nearly all the time even with prop savers (which are rubbish) This quad smashed into a tree and flies again immediately!

  10. sneakypoo says:

    Haha I just love how you can see the panic wash over his face as it shoots across his head :D I know the feeling all too well.

  11. freelancer says:

    hmm, seems quite sturdy :D

  12. Danny says:

    Intresting to see what people are doing. The first time(second time, third time……) i tried to controll a RC helicopter it went fast down. I bought a RC boat instead to save some money.

  13. MacChicken says:

    Is anyone using a portable Gyro as a stabilizer or a weighted centrifuge for solving this issue? It seems that a balanced weight as small as a penny on a triple axis pivoting mount could count the balance issues in flight.

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