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Let’s Build an Open Source Quadcopter – Part 1

Let’s Build an Open Source Quadcopter – Part 1

A high performance multirotor copter that may be created by starting from a premade base and an Arduino Mega based board, that may receive the commands from a model aircraft’s remote control, and that supports telemetry via smartphones.

The Control Board

In order to manage the quadcopter’s engines we created a generic control board for multirotor copters (and RC models in general) that we named Fly Control board; it supports command software such as MultiWii and MegaPirateNG. Our board’s features are:

  • ATMega 2560 microcontroller;
  • support for MegaPirateNG and MultiWii firmware;
  • up to eight outputs for the engines;
  • 8 inputs for standard RC receivers, and compatible with PPM receivers;
  • four serial ports for debug/Bluetooth Module/OSD/GPS/telemetry purposes;
  • three servo outputs for the control of a gimbal system (pitch, roll, trigger);
  • I²C-Bus for the addition of sensors and devices;
  • connector for a GPS module;
  • it is compatible with IMU GY-521, GY-86 modules and external ones;
  • connector for a FTDI USB/serial converter.



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The circuit diagram is a very simple one, since the board is simply a collector for all the elements that depend on the ATmega microcontroller that is assigned to their management. Its heart is the Atmega2560, the same found in the Arduino Mega boards; a 3.3V power supply stage is there as well, for possible additional devices. The rest of the hardware is a set of connectors and signal LEDs. In addition to the microcontroller, the other crucial element is the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit, that is to say the platform detecting acceleration, movement on the three axes, etc.) module that we preferred not to directly implement on the board; instead we supplied a dedicated connector on which to insert the desired module; this will allow you to use even IMU modules that are more recent in comparison  to the one we presented here. Both the board and the software support different flight configurations: from simple aircrafts to multirotor copters.

 

UP NEXT:

The Flight Software

The Control Board

 




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