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Jan 02, 2012, 09:27 AM
Registered User
Build Log

Quadro from Finland (self made stabilizations)

Hi all and happy new year!

I managed finally to get my Quadrocopter flying! It has been a long project, I think almost two years of building, testing, frustrating, then exciting about it again. And repeat that 10 times.

My approach was DIY, probably because at that time when I started the project there were no MultiWii's or HK's boards. Later on it became clear that I couldn't use anything "existing" and I had to succeed in the project by myself.

I started with Sparkfun's IMU-sensorboards with Analog Devices gyros and accelometers. That time I didn't have gyro for yaw and neither compass. I believed that I don't need them. However it became clear only few months ago that I need one. The first flights were.. yeah you could call it flying, but maybe spiralling is more precise term for the first flights.

Beginning from the first versions, I've wrote the software myself. Before this quadro project I tried to do a two-wheeled-balancing robot but failed in it. So the base was very promising. The first versions were quite rubbish, I was not paying attention to the things I should had. The obsolence of yaw gyro is a good example of this.

I used XBee chips for the control at first. A very good idea, but somehow I always got some problems with the chips. I won't do a list here, but I strongly suggest the version 1 of XBee if you really want to use them. My idea was to use them for telemetry but then I realized that a) I don't want to take my laptop out and b) what is the use of the data?

So I abandoned the XBee and moved to regular RC-receiver. What a shocking surprise that RC receivers work pretty well!

I also replaced my sensors with a complete board called Mongoose. I used it only for the sensors and replaced the software with my own version. However the reason why I bought it was that it has 3 axis gyros, accelometers, compass and even barometric pressure sensor and it's priced well! In this point of project I realized that the reason why I'm building a quadro is not to get one ready but to learn how it works, make it work and maybe be proud of myself.

On new years eve it flew. Longest flights were something between 3-5 minutes. And I was proud.

Here's a crappy video from one of the first flights. There's some mumblejumbe Finnish it the beginning. Don't bother about it, check the fireworks in the background

My first quadrocopter @ New Years Eve 2011-2012 (1 min 9 sec)

It has quite good PD-stabilization & neutralization loops for all axes; even for yaw. Compass is not yet in use but the drift is so minimal that I don't believe I need one until there's an autopilot with a GPS.

So for beginners: there's gyros which take care of the actual "balancing" and accelometers which are used for taking the quadro to "zero angle". If you have only gyro's the copter will slowly "fall" because gyro's tend to behave that way.

The heading lock works also really well. It locks the heading when you start the motors and when move the yaw stick 25% or more. So if I command little yaw the quadro rotates slowly and when I release the stick it corrects the heading automatically. It's supernice feature (you start to respect things when you don't have them and suddenly you have them..)

I'm using motors&props&speedcontrollers from HobbyKing. Battery is something like 3400mAh 3S. Props are three-bladed GWS with two of them counter-rotating. No tilting of the motors to fix the yaw - motors are pointing straight up. The body is carbon tube (probably 12mm thick) and motor mounts are sparkfun's dingdent's-pcb:s and some veneer.

I was so reliefed, excited and proud on new years eve when it flew and I still am. Finally I overcome all the problems (knock knock on the wood) and the feeling was (sorry to use this word) massive. Totally shocked, peacefull and really really happy.

And I thought flying a quadrocopter would be boring! Now I feel it's half of the fun with building time (when I forget the nights at my basement with oscilloscope and a headache). I'm waiting to get airborne again but at the moment there's a blizzard outside Finland, finally we get some snow on ground - but the winds are 7 m/s at the moment..

I will do some more videos and I have thousand plans for this copter, and for a new one (it should be something that nobody has, or atleast I haven't seen any). If you want I can post videos etc. here.

If you have any comments, questions or you're struggling in same situation, don't hesitate asking!
Last edited by tzouni; Jan 02, 2012 at 09:48 AM.
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Jan 03, 2012, 02:26 PM
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nice setup heres my latest

New Year New Build Multiwii 1.9 Barometer setup tests and Maiden Flight of 2012 Quadcopter N3M1S1S (6 min 41 sec)
Jan 04, 2012, 03:11 PM
Registered User
Now there's a web page for my quadro:

Waiting for better weather to get new flying experiences. Envying people with indoor-capable smaller quadros
Jan 04, 2012, 03:27 PM
Suspended Account
Originally Posted by tzouni View Post
Now there's a web page for my quadro:

Waiting for better weather to get new flying experiences. Envying people with indoor-capable smaller quadros
no need for envy my friend if you like it that much just click on my name for full build instructions for free you could knock up a mini frame real quick and put the electronics on and start flying indoors within 2 weeks?

will go check out your site
Jan 08, 2012, 05:32 AM
Registered User
Freezy greetings from Finland, a calm day in winter means cold day

-15 celcius Quadrotor (0 min 37 sec)

Flying in -15 celcius, that's 5 degrees fahrenheit. Been practicing few batteries and now I can do 360 spinning without massive panick. Also sky-flying is fun.

Have to admin that Quadrocopters are more fun than I though of!

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