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Old Oct 17, 2011, 07:21 PM
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WiiTOL, MultiWiiCopter based VTOL software

With the enormous following of Alex's code for multicoptors built around the Arduino Pro Mini / Wii Motion Plus combo, it was only a matter of time before folks started building VTOLS around this affordable and flexible platform. RCvertt, leadfeather, and foam and tape have all ventured down this path. It has been an exciting adventure to watch their builds unfold, and to help with the code development along the way. I had the pleasure of working alongside leadfeather in the evolution of his F-35, manipulating the code based on his feedback. There are two tri-copter templates available (one with tail motor yaw control, one with individually tilting front motors for yaw control) as well as a quad-copter template (yet to be test flown!). We are working towards having Alex include the VTOL models in the standard code, but for now it is available as a branch and can be downloaded here. This thread was created as a starting point for those who wish to build an Arduino based VTOL of their own, to take what we've done and expand on it, to ask questions and offer up ideas to better the code, and to show off your WiiTOL creations!
  • Overview; resources required to build and fly a VTOL
Building and flying a VTOL (except tail sitters) is not easy, but it can be very rewarding if you succeed. Here are some resources and skills you may need:

Patience and the ability to plan and think ahead
Materials such as foam, tape, glue, carbon tube; and a place to work
A computer for running the required software; Java, Arduino, Multiwii
RC aircraft airframe scratch building or kit modifying ability
Tools: basic hand tools, drill, soldering iron, others????
Flying skills: 4Ch helicopter and 4Ch fixed wing proficiency, recommended that you build and fly a multicopter first before VTOL
A good radio and some cash
  • Software, links and step by step instructions
Download the Arduino software here. This will allow you to open, modify and download the .pde files (commonly referred to as 'sketches') to the Atmel processor.
Download the latest VTOL sketch and graphical user interface (GUI) here. The first post of this thread includes some great links for wiring and board orientation.
  • Building or buying a good breakout board
The most basic setup consists of an Arduino Pro Mini 16MHz from Sparkfun (as well as many other vendors) and a Nintendo Wii Motion Plus add-on module. Good places to find these are pawn shops and game resellers. Ebay is another source, but many modules sold are clones and performance varies. A USB to FTDI adapter is also required to download sketches.

Here is a great tutorial on how to assemble the components above.

Several members here on rcg (Warthox and JussiH to name a few) have created 'shields' to ease the burden of wiring the receiver, Wii Motion+ and esc's to the arduino. Yet another option is an all-in-one board, which includes the processor, gyros and accelerometers all on one circuit board, therefore minimizing wiring for a neat installation with a small footprint. My personal favorite is the MiniWii from ViaCopter.
  • Airframe considerations
  • power and electronic considerations
  • Building protocol to minimize pain (matching software and airframe, matching hover and forward flight cg etc.)
Building protocol to make it as easy as possible:

1) Make sure the Wii board is installed in the correct orientation if possible. Cass has now mad it easy to compensate for non-standard orientations.

2) Determine the fixed wing cg. This is not changeable without airframe changes so it becomes the anchor for your design. Design the helicopter portion to coincide with the fixed wing cg.

3) Set up the copter/hovering operation first... before installing any of the servos for the control surfaces or the tilt servos.

3a) Copter: Make sure the gyros are providing the proper control corrections. Low throttle, props off to check this. If everything is whacky recheck the Wii orientation or change the orientation in the code.

3b) Copter: Make the required reversals in Tx for each channel (if required) for proper control response; roll left input give copter roll left etc.

5) Test the tilt servos for proper direction before installing to the airframe, then install.

6) Ready for test hovering. If hovering is good and controls correct proceed. Get the yaw trimmed by mechanically adjusting the tilt of the fans. Save the rudder Tx trim for forward flight.

7) Before installing control surface servos check direction of movement and place the servos accordingly to get coordinated hover/control surface movement.
  • Tuning and tweaking
Tuning:

1) Adjust pitch and roll trim for hovering (if required) in the Tx. Then set the control surfaces to neutral with the hover "trimmed in" and the sticks neutral.

2) Adjust the yaw in the Tx so that the motors pull equally in forward flight. Do this by taxiing and get the jet to taxi straight, especially at high throttle. Mechanically adjust the tilt servos to get neutral yaw in hover, never use the Tx to trim the yaw hover as it will mess up the forward flight.

3) In hover flight the front motors can be tilted slightly forward to give a slight nose up hover; looks scale. For fast hover the motors should be tilted about 45 degrees forward. In forward flight, the fans should be pulling in line with the wing.

4) I use a little offset in all my motors to counter prop torque when not using counter rotating fans. Each of the three fans are tilted a little to compensate for this torque. In forward flight I retain the main motor offset to; again; compensate for prop torque in forward flight.

If you decide to add accelerometers (Nunchuk, etc.) then here is a great tutorial on how to tune autolevel.
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Last edited by cass3825; Oct 20, 2011 at 06:00 PM.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:17 PM
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United States, IL, Park Ridge
Joined Apr 2010
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Hi !
Thanks a lot - great work.
To complete full fly controller we need only WiiFixWing = ordinary airplane.
Tom
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 10:36 PM
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I think a complete "how to" would be useful for guys getting in to VTOL. I think this may need to be be a sticky thread
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 10:43 PM
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United States, IL, Park Ridge
Joined Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadfeather View Post
i think a complete "how to" would be useful for guys getting in to vtol. I think this may need to be be a sticky thread
+++1
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 12:40 AM
Retardedly intelligent
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beavercreek,ohio
Joined Jan 2007
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+++2

I found it pretty difficult to understand the arduino stuff. A sticky and an updated how to would be very awesome! oh, and does anyone have a good how to guide on the multiwii GUI , I still have alot of questions on what it does and how it works?
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 06:56 AM
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Here is an outline of what I think a "how to VTOL with Wii" should include.
  • Overview; resources required to build and fly a VTOL
  • Software, links and step by step instructions
  • Building or buying a good breakout board
  • Airframe considerations
  • power and electronic considerations
  • Building protocol to minimize pain (matching software and airframe, matching hover and forward flight cg etc.)
  • Tuning and tweaking

I think the GUI really needs a good video to demonstrate how to use it.
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 09:53 AM
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Excellent suggestions! I will get busy rounding up the software and electronics related items, but will need help with the VTOL airframe/building items. I know the code inside out, but I'm not much of a builder or pilot! In fact, it's my lack of piloting skills that got me interested in building/programming Arduino based flight stabilization systems!
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 11:03 AM
vtol fan
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Joined Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadfeather View Post
Here is an outline of what I think a "how to VTOL with Wii" should include.
  • Overview; resources required to build and fly a VTOL
  • Software, links and step by step instructions
  • Building or buying a good breakout board
  • Airframe considerations
  • power and electronic considerations
  • Building protocol to minimize pain (matching software and airframe, matching hover and forward flight cg etc.)
  • Tuning and tweaking

I think the GUI really needs a good video to demonstrate how to use it.
Good point,Sir!!!!!
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 06:31 PM
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United States, CA, Saratoga
Joined Dec 2000
594 Posts
Dan,

I can see you have really thought this out. I'm subscribed and eagerly looking forward to what you and Billy put together.

Bob


Quote:
Originally Posted by leadfeather View Post
Here is an outline of what I think a "how to VTOL with Wii" should include.
  • Overview; resources required to build and fly a VTOL
  • Software, links and step by step instructions
  • Building or buying a good breakout board
  • Airframe considerations
  • power and electronic considerations
  • Building protocol to minimize pain (matching software and airframe, matching hover and forward flight cg etc.)
  • Tuning and tweaking

I think the GUI really needs a good video to demonstrate how to use it.
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 10:27 PM
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I have edited the first post to include the suggested "how to" list, and have begun filling in the blanks. I will continue to add to this based on all of your input!
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cass3825 View Post
I have edited the first post to include the suggested "how to" list, and have begun filling in the blanks. I will continue to add to this based on all of your input!
This is gonna be a really useful thread. I'll pitch in where I can.
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 11:25 PM
Retardedly intelligent
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beavercreek,ohio
Joined Jan 2007
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hmmm, I may be able to contribute on the airframe considerations, question is what all would I put in a video?
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Old Oct 19, 2011, 12:42 AM
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United States, IL, Park Ridge
Joined Apr 2010
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Hi !
Some time ago I was playing with gyro only bicopter/VTOL but have to postpone it due pitch instability. I will come back to project with WiiVTOL controller.
In my build log http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1413924 is some pictures and videos, I will add new pics. this weekend (I have changed motor tilt plane to be closer to prop. plane)
Regards
Tom
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Old Oct 19, 2011, 07:42 AM
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Joined May 2006
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Here is something to get this section started:

Overview; resources required to build and fly a VTOL

Building and flying a VTOL (except tail sitters) is not easy, but it can be very rewarding if you succeed. Here are some resources and skills you may need:
  • Patience and the ability to plan and think ahead
  • Materials such as foam, tape, glue, carbon tube; and a place to work
  • A computer for running the required software; Java, Arduino, Multiwii
  • RC aircraft airframe scratch building or kit modifying ability
  • Tools: basic hand tools, drill, soldering iron, others????
  • Flying skills: 4Ch helicopter and 4Ch fixed wing proficiency, recommended that you build and fly a multicopter first before VTOL
  • A good radio and some cash
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Old Oct 19, 2011, 07:53 AM
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United States, IN, Granger
Joined Jan 2003
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This quality being the biggest one needed : Well next to CASH and lots of it
Quote:
Patience and the ability to plan and think ahead
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