Quad-Copter: Free at last

The quad has come a long way in a short time since the previous post. After a fair bit of reading, adjusting and testing, I was finally able to get my custom flight control board working with the MultiWii software, and the initial results are better than expected.

I was able to get it working initially with the flight software by converting the data to PPM Sum at the receiver, and it worked fairly well in testing. This required the use of an additional microcontroller to receive the signal and convert it, so was not ideal.
Below is a short video showing the Quad-Copter while I attempt to learn the controls and work out some of the details on my custom controller. There are many things that still have to be tweaked, tuned, adjusted, and implemented but at this point, it is looking pretty promising for a custom rig:




After some more looking at the RCSerial protocol built into MultiWii, I was able to build it into my sketch and communicate directly with the flight control board using serial data via APC220 radio module, and my customized XBox controller. I had some troubles finding examples of direct control using the RCSerial protocol, so here is the working but incomplete sketch I have been using. In the next video, the flight control board is closer to completion, with the rf module, gyro/accel and magnetometer all soldered into place, and is using the 'Angle' and 'Mag' modes in MultiWii:




This mode is a lot easier to fly in, and after a few more flights like this, I'm comfortable that this setup is going to work pretty well, especially after some tuning and adjustments. As can be seen, the motor mountings are bent a bit, and the propellers also have some big cracks in them due to previous crashes, but it flies fairly well regardless. The throttle is being hard limited to 3/4 just for safety indoors, and I'm not getting close, so it will be interesting once this thing is outside. Additional features like low battery detection needs to be added, and some extras like GPS, a barometer, or an LCD screen may be added too, but a few bugs need to be worked out first. And yes, that is in fact a breadboard plugged into the Arduino Mega like a shield in the first video.


Details of flight controller on Summary Page:


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