Quadcopter

Like anyone else who has ever come across this item, I immediately wanted to build one. When I was a kid my dad had an RC plane for a short time, but I was too young to grasp how to fly the thing. Anyway, this project seemed like the perfect chance to get back into the game, so I went ahead and ordered all the parts as a Christmas present to myself. The total bill was around $300.00, so I must say it was quite an investment.

If you don’t know what a quadcopter is, I would basically describe it as a four rotor aircraft that used accelerometers and gyroscopes to control the motors and achieve level flight. If this doesn’t help, see the videos below. This is also controlled using a remote control so that you can pilot the craft around. Up until about a year ago I had never even heard of this kind of device, but apparently they are quite common in some circles.

Anyway, after doing some research I was able to establish that there is a great deal you have to know about what you are doing to get the correct components. There is also the budget constraint, along with a bit on how complex you want to make the project: if you really want to, you can buy an arduino and the individual electronic components, making the stabilization system from scratch. You can check this out at the link below, but I was concerned as to the complexity of this aspect, so I decided to go with the link below that, which is a premade (and cheap) board that takes care of the flight stabilization. I did my best to figure out what I needed and ordered the parts, and I even made sure that the LiPo battery I bought would fit in both this and my RC car, as these batteries are much more powerful than anything I had dealt with before. I also had to buy a charger and new rotors.

http://www.scoutuav.com/2011/12/13/low-cost-arduino-based-auto-stabilizing-system/#more-2170

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__19534__HobbyKing_Multi_Rotor_Control_Board_V2_1_Atmega168PA_.html

BEWARE OF BUYING THINGS FROM HONG KONG. It took well over a month to get the parts, there was considerable trouble in even making the order, and I’ll be sure to pay the extra few dollars for the parts shipped from inside the US to get them in a reasonable time. Not worth the hassle HobbyKing.

Photo0060Anyway, assembly did require a bit of customization, even though it was very straightforward. This was done out in Indiana, while I was on co-op working for Carrier, so I had somewhat limited access to tooling. Anyway, I was able to put it all together and make it work, as can be seen at the left.

That being said, piloting and configuring the setup did not go quite as well, as I was able to fly is over short distances but did manage to smash it into the wall of my apartment on accident. I then tried taking it outside, but by that point I was already afraid of damaging the device again, and it is seldom not windy in that flat land, so I really wasn’t able to get into it.

I am still really interested in the device and have just put the project on the back burner for the time being, at least until I have the time to learn more about configuration and flying the device. It currently resides at my home in a deconstructed state.

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