Frankensteined X4 Quad is Brought Back to Life

x4 quadcopter wood frame

As kids we’ve all let a friend use a toy only to have it returned broken. That was such a bummer! At least that was years ago though…. well not for [Tom]. He had a Hubsan X4 mini quadcopter that he had crashed into all sorts of things. The little quad held up good against all of the beatings so [Tom] didn’t think too much about letting his pal take it for a test drive. Thirty seconds later, several separate pieces of the quad were laying in the dirt.

A new X4 was ordered but there was some time to kill waiting for it to show up. Since the electronics seemed to be intact and only the frame was broken [Tom] decided to try his hand at making a new frame. Keeping costs under control is an important part of any project and this one was no different. The frame would be made of cheap and rigid 5mm plywood. The only potential problem would be the weight. [Tom] cut out a piece of the plywood and weighed it, then measured the volume and calculated the density of the wood. The wood’s density was used to estimate the final weight of new plywood frame designs and shapes. This worked so well that the newly built quad only weighed more than the original by 0.31 grams, less than 1% increase in the total weight!

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Fonera-based quadcopter can be controlled from a web browser

fonera_html_controlled_quadcopter

[Tiakson] just wrapped up the construction of a quadcopter which piqued our interest due to the unexpected mix of hardware he used.

A good portion of the copter is made up of the essential bits we have come to expect from a quad rotor system. Instead of using an Xbee or hobby wireless controller however, [Tiakson] opted to use an old Fonera router running OpenWRT to control the system. He wrote special software that allows him to direct the quadcopter using an HTML 5 interface, adding a few kernel tweaks along the way that enabled him to emulate I2C ports over GPIO pins.

The Fonera takes in data from Wii nunchuck and Motion+ sensors, relaying commands to the on-board PIC 16F976 microcontroller. The PIC is used to manage the electronic speed controller modules using PWM, which the Fonera could not handle on its own.

This is a great use for a old router, and the cost is obviously far cheaper than buying off the shelf wireless control modules. We would love to hear how much extra weight the Fonera adds, as well as if there is any controller lag introduced by the web-based interface.

Continue reading to see a quick demo video of the quadcopter in action.

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