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Current State

For the latest information see blog.

Everything is mounted to the helicopter, except the proximity sensor – Maxsonar-EZ2 was not working as expected.

Sensor board is mounted and BeagleBone calculates heli’s attitude, rates and accelerations. Sensor board is now programmed to accept GPS modem (uBlox), so INS can work as full INS. But all fallback modes are still available for testing and semi automated flight.

There have been some short test flights to evaluate helicopter vibrations, test manual control and to test heading controller. But for now I am using a test stand to develop R, P and Y controllers for semi automated (and later automated) flight. The stand is also used to identify helicopter and to create mathematical model.

Helicopter looks like this (yes, almost everything fits into the body):


And here is the controller.

heli control

For some flight results, see Test flights.

5 Responses to Current State

  1. Thank you for sharing your work. Great job. If it is possible could you list parts with their corresponding price tags? You had already mentioned about important components, but having info about all would definitely be nice. Thank you.

    • Hi,
      Informing about price is useless. I am essentailly an end customer, so I pay full price for every item I buy. Plus many parts are available only in different countries etc., etc. Prototyped PCB boards are also expensive. But when it comes to important parts, here you have a list:
      INS Sensor board:
      accelerometer: ADXL350
      gyros: ADXRS450
      magnetometer: PNI micromag 3
      GPS: uBlox-5 based module
      MCU: MCF5213
      reg: derivatives of REG10X
      main computer:
      BeagleBone, common Linux distribution with an RT kernel patch
      enhancement board: reg: TPS5420, isolation: ADUM1410
      wireless: X-Bee pro
      proximity: LV-MaxSonar-EZ2
      some more sensors / cameras will come

      The rest are just capacitors, resistiors, inductors, …

  2. Thank you for your detailed reply. Well, in fact I am also an end customer just wanted to estimate the budget. I wish you success. I think at some point you will also upload video of the test flight.

  3. Mark Anthony says:

    Very nice work! This is my dream project.
    I don’t know if this could help but I’ve designed a Bluetooth Antenna that can have a span of 1Km using Class 1 Bluetooth CC2541+CC2590. Maybe this could help in making the control range a bit farther.

    • Thanks,
      Currently I am using XBee Pro (ZigBee). I have not tested maximum distance but it should be more than 1 km.
      What I would need is some hi speed long distance uni-directional transmission to transmit video (when I buy some camera :)).
      XBee offers Wifi Bee modules, so I could give it a try. Maybe in combination with XBee Pro 868 for very long distance control and basic telemetry.

      If you want an autonomous helicopter and do not have time or experience to design one, you could try for example Open Pilot + RC model (openpilot.org)