Flying A Normally-Sized Drone With A Nano-Drone’s Brain

Drones come in all shapes and size, and [Kedar Nimbalkar] was wondering if the guts of a tiny Cheerson CX-10 nano-drone could take off with a larger body, leading to an interesting brain transplant experiment.

For his test, [Kedar] acquired a CX-10 and the body of a larger Syma X5SW drone. After gutting the CX-10 for its LiPo battery and circuit board, which features an STM32 ARM-core MCU, a 6-axis IMU and the wireless transmitter, [Kedar] studied the datasheet of the onboard SQ2310ES driver MOSFETs. He figured that with a maximum continuous current rating of 6A, they would probably be able to cope with the higher load of the slightly larger motors of the X5SW body. They also didn’t seem to overheat, so he just installed the board into the new body as-is and wired up the motors.

The first test flights didn’t go well. The CX-10 brain was slightly confused with its new body, which additionally seemed to be flawed with a few mechanical bugs. After stabilizing the wobbly propeller shafts, [Kedar] was able to fly the upsized nano-drone quite well. Naturally, it doesn’t fly very stable with the stock PID settings making it wish for the return of its youthful slenderness, but it’s a start.

That’s also where our readers come in: Custom firmwares on the CX-10 are nothing new, so have you been flying a scavenged CX-10 PCB in anything else than its original shell? Let us know in the comments! Enjoy the video below where [Kedar] explains and flys his frankendrone:

34 thoughts on “Flying A Normally-Sized Drone With A Nano-Drone’s Brain

  1. The PCBs from the cheap Eachine H8 and Floureon H101 micro quads are quite hackable because of their bigger than usual Flash size at $9.99. People have been using them to drive bigger coreless motors (some with another FET soldered directly on top of the original FET to double the max current) but I’ve even heard of some builds with brushless motor controllers wired so that they’d read the analog signal destined for coreless motors, and drive normal BLDC motors. They’re also great for learning acro and 3D flying as the opensource firmware by silverxxx supports all these modes.

  2. BTW, its a quadcopter, not a drone. Drones by definition have autonomous flight capability (usually involving GPS or GLONASS) Quadcopters are completely user flown (but can have auto level or headless mode)

      1. I admit the drone vs quadcopter naming irritates me much in the same way that the general public calls those two wheeled things hoverboards but I’ve learned to just accept that popular opinion doesn’t necessarily need be logical nor correct. Oh well, let’s just get over it and move on with our lives.

      2. No offence. Sorry for bothering you. I respect the fact that you are calling it a drone. It bothers me so that’s why I posted the comment. I did not expect you to edit it. You can call it what ever you want.

      3. No, you aren’t doing this. It isn’t a drone. Drone is a military term that became a media buzzword for airplanes and helicopters that flew themselves. R/C hobby grade stuff (toys) are built to specifications. There are proper names for the type of craft. We don’t call it drones. Maybe you do, but that’s thanks to the idiot media coverage going viral with how they like to poorly describe things. What’s sad is schmucks like you are getting our hobby banned because it mixes the military missile clad craft with your typical phantom. Unless my phantom can launch guided arms, it’s still just an autonomous quadcopter.

        1. Nope, the term has been used in robotics well before robots started to fly and it applies just fine to this new types of robots with some grade of autonomy, military or otherwise.

          Totally agree with Xander52 that following the media in calling every multicopter a drone is perpetuating a bad example. We’ve got journalists constantly using the word hacker to mean the bad guys who bypass authentication mechanisms, whether it’s truly a hack or a completely uncreative use of an off-the-shelf script, i.e. where you technically should say cracker. If you complain about that then you can’t be doing the same thing with drones vs. RC multicopters. On the other hand if you don’t care then just go with what Brian Benchoff said.

      4. I thought someone of your claimed calibre would be one to avoid using incorrect albeit popular terms, like a real engineer. Are you gonna call your desktop tower a CPU like many people do now? Also, come at me, white knights of the Benchoff.

    1. Actually, the definition for “Drone” in the dictionary does not make any claim towards autonomous, it states:

      ” 3. a remote-controlled pilotless aircraft or missile. ”

      The term drone has been used in our lexicon since after WWII when we turned some of the tech that was advancing into “targeting drones”.

  3. Is Cheerson CX-10 still the go to for the nano size category? Any other recommendations for just having fun in the office at lunch?

    I’d go for a flybrix just for the DIY side of it, but it >5x the cost…


  4. This is how criminals will hijack delivery drones and use the zombie-drone to get close enough to real delivery routes without detection in order to bring down a fully loaded delivery-drone in a controlled manner to allow it to be looted and turned into a zombie too.

    1. From the people who brought you Sharknado, Zombie Drone Apocalypse… Humans have an uneasy peace with the creepy AI drones, who serve them as couriers, but all it takes is one drone to go rogue, and infect the others….

    2. I actually find that quite plausible if commercial package delivery becomes commonplace.
      Criminals seem to find a way to crack anything and everything. These ‘drones’ better start using security screws. They will probably need to jam and/or spoof GPS signals.

  5. Someone mentioned something about military craft like that are called ‘drones’ are autonomous (they fly themselves). I don’t believe this to be correct. Certainly the General Atomics Craft (Reaper, Predator, etc) have pilots stationed (google drone pilots). The military technology is very upscale from the hobbyist, but people fly them (they don’t fly themselves). You can autopilot them like a plane, and pilots can switch shifts if a mission lasts longer than 8 hours, but they have displays, uniforms and joysticks. The autopilot is autonomous like the Autopilot or Autoland on a 747.

    1. they dont actually fly them as such, they tell them where to go, source general atomics sales rep trying to explain the system, there are civillian models, oddly enough most still include functional hardpoints.
      they can be directly flown and as i understand it many landings and takeoffs are done manually but that isnt the intention in normal operation, usually the payload is manually controlled but even that isnt necesary.

  6. A HAHAHA HAHA. Language and word meanings change over time, always has worked this way. If your meaning is understood then that’s all you need to worry about. Words are what we make them. Dictionaries get updated.

    Side note: those cx 10s are incredible fun at a teenie cost. I bought one for my kid. Then had to buy a second one because my kid wanted to have a turn too.

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