Quadrocopter project

This is a discussion on Quadrocopter project within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I decided to start documenting the project I am working on - an autonomous quadrocopter (helicopter with 4 propellers) in ...

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    Quadrocopter project

    I decided to start documenting the project I am working on - an autonomous quadrocopter (helicopter with 4 propellers) in the form of a log/tutorial.

    Feel free to stop by if you are into these kind of things!
    http://cyberfish.wecheer.com/quadrocopter

    I haven't really gotten to the programming part, though. Most of it is still electrical/mechanical stuff. But there will be a lot of programming later on.

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    Looks like a fun project.
    Last edited by Shakti; 08-05-2010 at 03:30 PM. Reason: i am stupid and cant read

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    I was going to use a Cortex-M3 (STM32), but later decided to go with a gumstix (single board computer with a Cortex-A8) because I needed more memory (among other things).

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    Yah edited my post, apparently its too late for me to read atm....

    Thought about using a mobile phone to send text-messages with commands to the copter? IE go to gps-coordinate, stay at altitude, take pictures every x seconds and mms them back to the phone and stuff like that? Would be cool so you dont have to rely on the radio or wifi. I realize this is very much in the future but could be a nice addition if you succeed with the radio and wifi.
    Last edited by Shakti; 08-05-2010 at 03:41 PM.

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    It's an interesting problem: orientation in space. I wouldn't worry about accelerometer chips not being perfectly perpendicular. You can apply a matrix transform correction in software.
    How about some sort of compass and a sun angle detector? I realize a solid state fluxgate compass may be problematic in a noisy environment like a copter platform. But I've seen sun angle detector modules... just an idea that may be neater than gyros.
    Perhaps some level digitizers on 2 axes, plus the sun angle data. As long as the platform is guaranteed horizontal, the sun's angle should be all that is required to get orientation. Now for altitude, there may be accurate barometric gauges.

    Be advised that the type of parts you're getting are getting into scary territory that may set off alerts from homeland security. That's just my opinion. Maybe I'm overreacting.

    Anyway, sounds like a nice project. I wish I was there to help. If I had any time for hobbies any more.
    Last edited by nonoob; 08-05-2010 at 04:07 PM.

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    Thought about using a mobile phone to send text-messages with commands to the copter? IE go to gps-coordinate, stay at altitude, take pictures every x seconds and mms them back to the phone and stuff like that? Would be cool so you dont have to rely on the radio or wifi. I realize this is very much in the future but could be a nice addition if you succeed with the radio and wifi.
    I actually thought about that. Using cellular network for internet connection. Speed should be adequate. The problem is, I couldn't find a cellular chip that will connect to 3G, and is available to hobbyists. GPRS/2G speed is too slow for video streaming.

    Otherwise it would be a really cool idea!

    It's an interesting problem: orientation in space. I wouldn't worry about accelerometer chips not being perfectly perpendicular. You can apply a matrix transform correction in software.
    How about some sort of compass and a sun angle detector? I realize a solid state fluxgate compass may be problematic in a noisy environment like a copter platform. But I've seen sun angle detector modules... just an idea that may be neater than gyros.
    Yeah the perpendicular thing is not really a big problem. We can probably just live with the tiny error, too.

    A 3D compass can possibly work, assuming they exist, but I'm not sure if it will give me enough precision and update rate (at least 20Hz minimum to make it stable).

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    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    Very cool.

    I'm especially fascinated by the Gumstix (after looking it up :P).

    I'll be following your progress.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. -- Alan J. Perlis

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    It's amazing how much they can cram into a computer that small. It looked even smaller in reality. About the size of an AA battery.

    The speed is like that of a PC from 7-8 years ago (Pentium 3 era).

    Only draws about 2W, too (with wifi off).

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    Update: mechanical design done.

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    glo
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    You should check out rcgroups if you haven't already. They had some very interesting designs, plus videos of how theirs got destroyed.

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    Maybe there's more to your plan than I know about, but your frame design looks terrible.
    -> You have a lot of mass there that doesn't need to be. You should streamline you design such that there isn't a bunch of mass around the outside, it doesn't help. Oh and just make the bottom layer a little thicker and forget the top one.
    -> It's flat. You should locate the blades at the top, and keep the 'platform' under the blades, not in the middle, this will help a lot with stability.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. -- Alan J. Perlis

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    -> You have a lot of mass there that doesn't need to be. You should streamline you design such that there isn't a bunch of mass around the outside, it doesn't help. Oh and just make the bottom layer a little thicker and forget the top one.
    I was hoping to go for high strength (crash resistance), hence the relatively thick (~2cm) and complete outer rim. I don't think it will add considerable mass.

    -> It's flat. You should locate the blades at the top, and keep the 'platform' under the blades, not in the middle, this will help a lot with stability.
    My rationale for having the blades in the middle is to give them some protection (if it ascends or descends into something), but you are right, I haven't really thought about aerodynamics. I will remove the top platform if it significantly impacts stability.

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    Where is the gun turret?
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

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    Ah, I didn't think about think about the durability. Makes sense now.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. -- Alan J. Perlis

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    Where is the gun turret?
    It's hidden. You need to type the cheat code "WEAPONS HOT".

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