Category Archives: Quadcopter

Onwards and upwards

It’s been a while since the last update on the Bioloid robot, and that has mainly been due to a recent distraction in the form of a racing quadcopter!

This is my first build or a drone/quad, and I wanted to create if from parts rather than a kit in order to learn more about the current technologies and options available.


The quad

I have chosen a 210 mm X-frame quad, which on hind-sight is maybe slightly too small for a beginner. Perhaps I should have gone for the larger 250 mm, but the 210 hasn’t turned out too bad, other that the limited space for electronics and the steep learning curve in flying!

For the flight controller, I originally used an AfroFlight Naze32AfroFlight Naze32 Rev.6 10 DOF, but then switched to an SPRacingF3 mini, as I couldn’t run the XSR receiver in SBUS mode, use Smart Port telemetry (in SoftSerial mode) and control the LED strip all at the same time with the Naze32. The SPRacingF3 also has a much faster CPU and more expansion options for future add-ons, but it comes at a much higher price!

The receiver/transmitter are both from FrSky. The Taranis transmitter is a great piece of equipment and so far seems like a good investment in general. Perhaps I will write another post focusing more on this in the future.

Learning about the various comms protocols (PPM, SBUS, SmartPort etc.) and how to wire up the electronics was an interesting challenge, since I was using a mix of hardware and most of the information was scattered around the net. However, once the hardware was connected I was surprised at how easy it was to configure the software. Both the controllers I’ve used supported Cleanflight, which is installed a Chrome browser extension, and getting it to communicate and control the FC was very straighforward.

As of now I have only flown line-of-sight a handful of times, and it is definitely a challenge, particularly as the sensitive throttle makes the altitude very tricky to control. Then again I have only been using the default PID controller settings, so tuning them may help.

A first-person view (FPV) camera and viewing system is definitely the top priority for future upgrades!


Pictures


Components

  • Chassis, main electronics & rotors
  • Comms
    • Transmitter: FrSky Taranis X9D Plus
    • Receiver: FrSky XSR
  • Lighting & power
    • LED strip: Lumenier Digital RGB Arm LED Board
    • Power Distribution Board (PDB): CC3D
    • Battery: Drone Lab 1500mah 4s 50-100c 14.8V LiPo