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Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:03 AM

I write this thread to ask you guys "is it possible to build a quadcopter like what I will say."

The quadcopter will have Arduino UNO, 1 bluetooth Receiptor, 4 coreless motor, 3.7V 20c lipo pin, and the size flame of the quadcopter is about 20cm x 20cm.

To control the speed of the coreless motor, I use this:

The mosfet I will use is IRF540.

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#1

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:19 AM

Put a diode (1N4001 for ex) across the motor to protect the transistor. Attach the diode across the motor terminals with the cathode connected to the battery side and the anode connected to the transistor side. Make sure that diode is connected as described and not reversed or your motor won't run.

The reason for the diode? When that transistor disconnects the motor (which acts as an inductor), current is still flowing in the motor and needs to go somewhere. If there is nowhere for the current to go, the voltage quickly builds up across the motor and could blow your transistor. Not good.

What does the diode do? The diode shunts that current back to the other motor terminal and back through the motor, dissipating that energy in the resistance of the motor's windings. Voila! The transient safely dies out and your transistor is safe.

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#16
In reply to #1

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 1:44 PM

Building a quadcopter entails a lot more than just driving four motors to provide lift. The platform is inherently unstable. You need gyro and acceleration sensors (3 axes each) and feedback loops to maintain stability and to allow six axis control (3 translation, 3 rotation axes). Driving motors is the easy part.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f6a9/522225a98956d390f3d342244868867c472c.pdf

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 1:49 PM

Yes. Here I am addressing his circuit question. If he blows those transistors, the rest is moot.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 2:34 PM

Sorry, my reply was meant for the OP, I failed to scroll all the way up before hitting the reply button.

I totally agree with your post: when the current is switched off by the transistor, you will get a voltage spike from the motor's inductance. Good point.

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 1:55 PM

If two of the motors (each corner) spin CW and the other two corner motors spin CCW, will that not help stabilize the flight platform? Can he not use speed controls to each motor to control pitch, yaw, and differential lift?

I am just saying that most quads I have seen (the one or two at Best Buy) don't seem to have a full gamut of NASA-style flight controls on them. K.I.S.G. (the stupid guy left the building already).

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#26
In reply to #18

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 6:14 PM

You are correct, the speed of the four motors is what keeps the quadcopter flying, but you need the sensors in the flight controller (3-axis gyro and acceleration) to make it stable.

A key to stability in a feedback loop is low latency. A very skilled pilot with quick reflexes might be able to fly a quadcopter without the sensors and feedback loops, (maybe a large quadcopter), but I'm sure most, like myself, would be repairing damage from multiple crashes.

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#2

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:39 AM

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:47 AM

Thank you for your answer. I want to ask you one more thing: is the motor strong enough to make the quadcopter fly (when it connects as the picture)?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:49 AM

That all depends on the motors, the props, the battery's capabilities and the weight of the quadcopter, none of which we can see from here. Apart from these considerations, yes, that circuit will drive a motor.

As you're driving it with a PWM signal, that diode is even more important because you're effectively switching that transistor on and off many times per second. That's a lot of transients for that transistor to bear.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:55 AM

That needs to be established by practical testing, which cannot be carried out from here.

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#13
In reply to #2

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 12:49 PM

great explanation and schematic... I enjoyed reading and learning. btw, is that diode symbol on the schematic positioned correctly?

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 1:17 PM

After looking at it, it's correct. Otherwise, it'll bypass the motor.

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#3

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:46 AM

Just an aside: as weight constraints are pretty severe on quadcopters, consider using an Arduino Nano. Same performance but much lighter. Buy one without the headers and solder directly to the board for even more weight savings.

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 11:56 AM

Yeah, I was going to suggest the Bareduino for the same reason. Well, that and $.

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#42
In reply to #3

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/12/2017 2:26 PM

Arduino Nano. Weighs 6 grams versus the the Uno's 25 g.

Obverse side.

-----

Reverse side.

-----

Also consider the Pro Mini, made by Sparkfun Electronics. Weighs 2 grams - less than the weight of the Uno's headers.

It has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analogue inputs, an on-board resonator, a reset button, and holes for mounting pin headers. There are two versions: one runs at 3.3V and 8 MHz, the other at 5V and 16 MHz.

These are lightweight enough where it becomes feasible to use multiple controllers, each given its own subsystem (such as a camera gimbal).

Whatever else you do, you will need to increase your battery voltage. 3.7 V doesn't give you enough headroom.

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/12/2017 3:07 PM

Awesome. I just hate soldering #10 wire in those little tiny holes. LOL

I think you might be able to use #20 gauge wire, just fine.

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#45
In reply to #42

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/12/2017 4:10 PM

Thing about the Pro Mini is that it comes without built-in USB circuitry, so an off-board USB-to-TTL serial converter must be used to upload sketches (Arduino's name for 'programs'). For the 3.3V Arduino Pro boards, this can be a FTDI TTL-232R-3V3 USB - TTL Level Serial Converter Cable or the SparkFun FTDI Basic Breakout Board (3.3V). For the 5V Arduino Pro boards, use a TTL-232R USB - TTL Level Serial Converter or the SparkFun FTDI Basic Breakout Board (5V). The Pro Mini is intended for permanent installation once you've uploaded the program and no longer need USB capability. This won't stop you from using a TTL-to-USB converter, which you can remove after programming. If you need the USB present full-time, use a Nano instead for an additional 4 grams of weight.

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#8

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 12:03 PM

Simple tests: (1) Set up your circuit as Andrew Westman described with a diode bridging the motor terminals, (2) attach the motor with prop to a test stand with a load cell (hint: there are any number of load cell applications using Arduino, with suitable load cell amplifier breakout boards), (3) record the (negative) weight output of the load cell at various Arduino control settings, (4) multiply the result by 4. That number is the final weight your 4 motors can lift. Good luck.

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#9

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 12:17 PM

What transistor are you using? You're showing a symbol for a bipolar transistor but your labels suggest some kind of (MOS)FET.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 12:20 PM

I will use irf540 mosfet... is it good

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 12:27 PM

They can handle up to 22 amps, but do you need something that heavy-duty? Remember, you've got severe weight constraints. How much max current do the motors draw individually? If under 5 amps consider using IRLML6344 (pdf).

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 12:47 PM

Grumman had similar severe weight constraints in the 1960s-70s. That's why the Apollo lunar landers didn't have seats for the crew.

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#15

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 1:40 PM

Personally, you are going to have heating issues while running the coreless motors on a ~3 V supply. Yes they are efficient motors with internal and external magnet relative to the "basket" coil. They will not effectively dissipate heat.

Do you feel you can generate sufficient rpms using PWM to control watts?

Wouldn't that work even better with a higher voltage (say two LiPO batteries in series) and shorter pulses? Just a hunch, but it is your experiment.

What did you get off the Arduino forum about PWM motor drive?

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#20

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 2:40 PM

There is a device called an ESC, or Electronic Speed Controller, which is made to interface a PWM signal to a motor. You need one for each motor and the motors have to be 3 phase AC.

https://oscarliang.com/build-a-quadcopter-beginners-tutorial-1/

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 3:17 PM

Good suggestion, I would build a kit first, to understand the systems and components involved....

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 3:37 PM

I would be concerned about the added weight. Integrated high-performance brushless DC motors might be preferable as these would eliminate the extra weight of the outboard electronics packaging. BDCMs typically require a higher battery voltage however. He's running only 3.7 volts which in any case does not give his electronics much headroom, especially the Arduino. A full charge gives him only 0.4 V to play with.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 4:13 PM

I think, unless he puts more volts into this thing, it is epic fail from the get go.

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#28
In reply to #23

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/11/2017 7:58 PM

That battery voltage won't be 3.7 volts when those motors are running even if it's fully charged. The voltage will sag considerably if he draws a lot of current, and quadcopter motors are current hogs. High output for a short time. Unlikely the Arduino will function reliably under these conditions.

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#35
In reply to #28

Re: build a cheap quadcopter

04/12/2017 9:04 AM

It will not function at all when Vcc drops below about 3.4 volt.

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#24

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/11/2017 5:24 PM

This reminds me of my recent experience at the local University for the annual Science Olympiads I was helping out with.

My niece was in several events of which one was a hovercraft competition. Pretty much everyone who made one failed on the simple concepts of how much motor power and battery capacity they needed for the fans they used.

Pretty much everyone came in with small low powered 5 - 10 watt motors running off 2 - 4 AA or a single 9 volt battery and their hovercrafts went nowhere fast.

Then came my niece last who, as with her dad, is into RC helicopters, planes and quadcopters so she actually knows what it takes to make something fly.

Her solution was a ~ 100+ watt electric RC jet motor on a 4 cell 3+ Ah high C rate lipo battery. She won because hers actually got off the table and moved!

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/11/2017 5:50 PM

It's nice to win, or premier what you know... but at this level, it's gaining experience and knowledge.

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#27
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Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/11/2017 6:14 PM

I agree but why work at reinventing the wheel when you can work up from there to something new and useful for the same time and efforts put in?

Quadcopter Kit. $89

I know I couldn't build one for that price and wouldn't even bother trying given what is involved just in making a workable stable control system.

For me realistically I would be more apt to get 3 - 4 of those kits and reconfigure them to have 3 - 4 fans in each corner so that it could do some serious lifting plus fly on a much larger battery system as well.

One control board running 12 - 16 motor drivers and fans on one larger lightweight frame.

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#30
In reply to #27

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/11/2017 9:22 PM

I don't know if having more fans buy you any more efficiency, but it does give you reliability. With a quad, if anything fails you lose control, but with 6 or 8 you have redundancy.

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#31
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Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 4:56 AM

Not looking for efficiency but raw lifting power!

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#33
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Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 7:08 AM

We know what your getting at....

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#36
In reply to #33

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 9:06 AM

NEW MOVIE OUT IN THEATERS JUST IN TIME FOR EASTER WEEKEND:

"DEATH WISH VII" or "Will he rise again?"

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#32
In reply to #27

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 7:05 AM

I'm talking about the Science Olympiads

Where one has to learn to crawl (learn the fundamentals) before they can run...

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#34
In reply to #27

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 9:03 AM

My dad used to fold up newspaper into a solid hollow multi-faceted object, a dodecahedron.

Next he would apply a small amount of lighter fluid to part of the newspaper, and light the object with a match or cigarette lighter (Zippo that he had). It always flew off high and carried on the wind, and somehow never managed to start a grass fire. I think the old man knew which way the wind would drift the newspaper aircraft.

Cost about $0.01 if that much. Enjoyment by me: immensely interesting and thrilling, as I was still a tyke of about 6 years of age at the time.

By the way, our family was not in debt, and lived on a 260 acre farm back then, lived well, and household income was in the $3000-$6000 range yearly. That was pre-1960. Times have changed, and most decidedly not for the better. Anyone who thinks so (as far as fiscal standing of our nation) is totally foolish and deluded.

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#29
In reply to #24

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/11/2017 8:22 PM

Just this afternoon I was just looking at a BDCM for quadcopter service. 400 watts peak draw - a shade over 1/2 HP - two would fit in the palm of your hand. There's some serious tech out there.

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#37

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 9:20 AM

In the essence of saving "ink", for my input, I'd refer you to my posts (particularly Post #11) > here.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 9:37 AM

Why didn't that design use ducted fans?

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#40
In reply to #38

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 1:22 PM

Dunno ... ... probably couldn't figger out how to fabricate the ducts (light enuf) out of plywood... or whatever he had lying about!

[Looking at it, he was in TOO much of a hurry to get FLYING!]

Or, he might have read about THIS guy's struggles, and decided to wait until HE worked out the kinks...

EDIT! ... looks like somebody has figgered it out...

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 1:27 PM

Some stiff plastic sheet, like those used with overhead projectors? (remember those?) They probably still carry that at Office Despot, or something like it.

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#39

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 10:39 AM

Look here.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-a-Arduino-Based-Quadcopter/

There are several other instructables for arduino based quadcopters and I have seen a few that were three motor varieties.

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#44

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/12/2017 4:05 PM

I agree with Rixter on using the ESC and brushless motors. The circuit you have could drive a brushed motor or a brushless one with the commutation built in but that is not what is typically used for quadcopters for a reason. I am not sure that using a brushed motor or even a brushless one with built in commutation would work for your use.

Quadcopters typically use motors as Rixter mentioned that are essentially 3 phase AC. These are sort of low resolution stepper motors if you will, and although positional accuracy isn't needed speed accuracy is. Quadcopters as others have mentioned are inherently unstable. It is the ability of the mcu to precisely control the speed of the motors and feed that back that allows them be in stable flight at all.

With the 3 phase approach the ESC can run the motor at a precise speed and adjust the speed very fast both up and down. The ESC's provide breaking on the motor as well as acceleration. It is possible to also apply brake force with a brushed motor but the circuit you have won't do that. You could add a breaking resistor but you will not have control over how much brake is applied that way which is necessary for the speed control you will likely need.

Brushless motors are also more efficient tend to be smaller and weigh less so you can fly longer, or at all.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/13/2017 12:07 AM

after reading a lot of comments , i thing my circuit cant make a quality quadcopter.

So i have another :

i will build a quadcopter with 4 brushless motor, 4 ESC , 1 lipo pin,1 arduino UNO,1 module bluetooth HC05.

the way to control motor like this video http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-a-Arduino-Based-Quadcopter/

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/13/2017 12:18 AM

What's the battery voltage? I can't read it from the pic.

Is that a Class 1 Bluetooth device? Range about 100 metres or 328 feet.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/13/2017 12:46 AM

the lipo pin is 7.4V and the bluetooth HC05 is 100 m range

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/13/2017 1:18 AM

Excellent.

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#50
In reply to #48

Re: Build a Cheap Quadcopter

04/13/2017 1:46 AM

Btw, as you're using the HW30A ESC, the transistor circuit (and diode) no longer applies. You supply the PWM signal to the ESC via one of the control leads. You have calibrate the ESC to use the Arduino's particular flavour of PWM. There are various resources online that tell you how.

The Uno is fine but you're getting a lot of dead weight for the functionality. The Nano is 1/4 the weight and has the same (actually slightly better) functionality. It's also cheaper than the Uno.

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