This is my implementation of the AeroQuad (AQ) Open Source Quadcopter.
Major Vehicle Components
- Arduino Mega 2560 with AreoQuad Shield 2.0 as flight controller.
- Triple axis gyro - this detects rotation around any of the axis (roll,pitch,yaw). The only required sensor when in RATE mode.
- Triple axis accelerometer - detects the orientation of the craft and enables 'attitude' mode i.e. autoleveling.
- Barometric pressure sensor - detects the relative altitude, enables altitude hold.
- Triple axis magnetometer - detects the absolute compass heading and will make heading hold 'perfect'.
- BP A2217-9 Brushless outrunner motors mounted with motor-mounts from the AQ store.
- Turnigy Plushy 18A Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC).
- APC 10x4.7 regular and pusher props.
- Spektrum DX6i transmitter and AR6210 receiver.
- Traxxas 3300mAH 25C 3s LiPo battery.
- 12" Aluminum towel bars with routed phenolic plates for a "sandwhich" style frame.
- Plastic food container for electronics housing.
- The Open Source Quadcopter - main web site.
- Sparkfun Sensors - get more details about the sensors here.
- Spektrum - radios.
- Traxxas - LiPo Batteries.
- Phoenix - Model Flight Simulator.
- Zenbot CNC Router - quality, under-$1000 machines.
- Fastener-Express - a good source for screws, ships fast!
You can click on the pictures to see larger 2000 pixel wide images so you can zoom in on the details.
Other stuff you will need...
If you are new to R/C flying, like I am, then you need to build up your support system, which is all that stuff that usually doesn't come with the ready-to-fly kits, and may not be listed on the parts list.
- LiPo battery charger and charging sack. You will also need a metal container, like an ammo case or metal toolbox for storing LiPo batteries at home. Apparently you need to handle LiPo batteries with about the same care you would rocket engines or sticks of dynamite.
- Battery tester to check your battery or batteries in the field. I saw one with a LCD display in use at the field - the display was small and hard to read so I got one with an LED display. The numbers are big and bright - very easy to read. $8.99 free shipping on eBay.
- Connectors for making power harnesses and adapting to batteries with different connectors. Your charger may not come with a connector for your current, or next, battery, so prepared to make an adapter for that too.
- Assorted servo extension cables - make sure they are Female/Female - to connect your receiver to the flight controller. You should also have a few Male/Female extensions on hand in case something just doesn't reach.
- Screws - don't buy them at the hobby shop.
- Software flight simulator which will connect to your transmitter. I use Phoenix, which has a quadcopter model and comes with a cable for the Spektrum. If the simulator keeps you from just one crash, it will pay for itself!
- You will need a field and a community of fliers, so join an R/C airplane club. Go out to the field when lots of people are flying and check out the planes and supplies. That's what gave me some insight into what I would need. This is also where you will find an appreciative audience.
- Soldering supplies and skills. Heatshrink insulation.
- Prop balancer.
The first official public flight of my quadcopter was on November 20, 2011 at the Alamo Radio Control Society (ARCS) Fun Fly day. These pictures were taken by Jim Witthauer, the ARCS Photographer. "Thanks, Jim."
I had a few earlier flights which crashed after less than a minute of flight time. I updated my pre-flight checklist, practiced a bit more on the simulator and hoped the really big ARCS field would give me plenty of room to practice.
I'm using 2.4.2 version of the software in stable/attitude mode with the default settings. I set the transmitter DR&EXPO settings for AILE and ELEV to +50% to reduce the sensitivity of the roll/pitch controls.
Click on the pictures to see larger versions.