Let's go fly a... quadcopter?


Progress Log

Since this is a hobby project, progress tends to ebb and flow depending on available time. Progress will be recorded here.

First (Unsuccessful) Outdoor Flight - June 30 2011

The weather was (almost) co-operating (looking back it was too windy, but I thought it would be fine). I figured I could try for an outdoor flight. It didn't quite work:

End result was a broken prop, a broken 7805 regulator (the heat sink stuck up too far and snapped a pin on the regulator), and a realization of the need for a roll cage (or at least something to protect the electronics that stick up).

First Successful Flight - June 29 2011

My first successful flight! This shows the result of an indoor flight, after tuning values had been determined. I really should not have flown indoors, especially on the first attempt: controlling the thing is quite hard, and I eventually hit a wall and destroyed a propeller. The next step is an outdoor flight, possibly this weekend if the weather co-operates.

Tuning - June 29 2011

The power distribution has now been neatly added above the battery, some software bugs have been found and rectified, and things are going well! It is now time for some PID tuning. After a few hours of experimentation, I found PID values which work for my craft.

The following video shows the tuning jig, with a successful test showing stabilization, steering, and recovery:

First Takeoff (and flip) - June 24 2011

Today was the first takeoff of the initial revision. This was the absolute first attempted takeoff, before any tuning has been done. It is essentially a proof of concept that the motors are strong enough to lift the frame / battery. As you can see from the video below, they are. (For the record, it starts to lift off at about 40% throttle.)

In addition to tuning, there is still programming (to get the motors responding properly, which they are not currently), plus some hardware (the power distribution harness is just dangling right now; it needs to be secured to the frame somehow).

Design, Planning, and Initial Implementation

This has been ongoing for about a year, starting spring of 2010.