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Jan 31, 2015, 10:19 PM
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Dynamic Propeller Balancer Build


Hi All,

I recently build a Dynamic Propeller Balancer, and much to my surprise, it worked better than I ever expected. As such, I decided to document the build, create a couple of videos on its usage, and publish my results for others that would want to replicate this "rig."

The software and Idea of this device came from a diydrones post by Frank Albertsma, who did an amazing job at writing the initial software. You can read his post, as well as some of the details and links to software here:

http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/ba...ment%3A1139898

Below, you can see the "rig" that I build, the circuit diagram I used to create my version of this great tool, and a few videos which I will post, that provide every detail of this build, as well as instruction as to how to properly tune the device, and use it with great results. I am hoping that others will build it, improve it, and maybe even make improvements to the code etc.

Recently I decided to take on the project, and basically re-write the whole thing from scratch! Here are some of the features of this software which I developed (Should still be considered work in progress, as I am constantly adding/revising it, and LOVE feedback!)
  • -Real time Analysis of Imbalance, with real time feedback on a polar graph of the direction of Imbalance.
  • -Very fast updates, using a Teensy (and a pro-mini) and an ADXL345, both running at "full blast :-)" at 115200 Baud to PC.
  • -Real time Vibration Analysis using a real-time graphic plot for immediate visual feedback of Vibration levels and Configs.
  • -Comprehensive "Four Point Balance" functions with graphical and accurate feedback
  • -Real time FFT analysis! Shows CLEARLY vibration levels, as well as frequency of vibration.
  • -ESC control functions, that allows the operator to fully control and program an ESC for experimentation etc.
  • -Comprehensive Accelerometer filtering, with complete operator control. This uses very sophisticated DSP Algorithms!

Any questions, comments, suggestions....ask!

----------------------

Below, you can see some photos of the "rig" as well as a PCB schematic I used to create the very simple circuit board. The device uses an Arduino Pro Mini, along with an ADXL345 Accelerometer to achieve it's great results. There is also a few resistors, an PNP transistor, and a Photo-detector pair, that detects the RPM and location of the blades. Again, all details provided in the schematic below. Most of the parts were cut on my CNC machine, including the small circuit board I used. One could easily do this with a perfboard, and a few blocks of spare wood.

Be on the lookout for a set of videos that will fully describe it's operation.

Cheers!

EDIT: Attached the Gerber Files for the VERY simple Circuit Board...

EDIT: 3/31/2015: Initial Release of DPBalance Program is here!
More information on the build, and how to initially use it is posted on the following Thread:

EDIT: 5/15/15 ==>PRE- RELEASE 1.3: This one has an installer since some folks had issues with missing DLL's. Some cosmetic things to fix, but wanted to have folks using the DSP functionality, CAUSE IT IS AWESOME! :-) Watch the video below to see how to use DSP filtering....

ALSO: POSTED NEW circuit board with Teensy Support! I have also attached the Full gerber Files which you can simply upload to OSHPark if you want to make a board....if you go this route, please let me know, so that I can send you the .hex file for the Teensy!

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...3&postcount=80

File Download is at following URL (Can't attach to thread as it exceeds the limit...) http://www.cncguitar.com/Balancer/DPBalance1.3.rar

How to Load Teensy Firmware:
You need to get the teensy loader application. You can get this, and a lot more information from here:

https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/loader.html

If you have never used a Teensy before, please have a read of the page here:

https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/first_use.html

Once loaded, simply choose the teensy.hex file below, attach your teensy to your USB port, and upload the firmware. You can then use the DP windows application to connect to your teensy and create some perfectly balanced Props! If there are any issues, please ask...
Last edited by cyborgcnc; Jun 17, 2016 at 03:54 PM.
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Jan 31, 2015, 10:20 PM
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cyborgcnc's Avatar

Videos on Build and Instructions


Instructional Videos.....

EDIT: NEW VIDEOS POSTED ON NEW SOFTWARE
DSP Filtering for Dynamic Propeller Balancing (18 min 32 sec)
--This is for up and coming DSP Filtering Functionality

Dynamic Propeller Balancer Calibration (16 min 53 sec)
--This is a video on initial Rig Calibration

Four Point Dynamic balance (16 min 25 sec)
--Video on doing a Four Point Balance
Last edited by cyborgcnc; May 07, 2015 at 09:39 PM.
Feb 01, 2015, 03:42 PM
Registered User
Awesome work. I need to build one of these.
Feb 01, 2015, 04:45 PM
Registered User
look forward to seeing the live demo, now if you could just incorporate a device that automatically sands and polishes the heavier side as you are balancing it......that would be a real winner!
Feb 02, 2015, 03:01 PM
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cyborgcnc's Avatar
OK...Posted the final video in the series, where I am hoping it makes the whole process simple and straight forward....again, any questions, please ask!

@swervyn: Yeah, The automatic sanding Jig will be done next! :-)
Feb 02, 2015, 04:45 PM
Registered User
Rod Cole's Avatar

Parts List for Dynamic Balancer


Are these the correct components?

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9836
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11114

Thanks
Last edited by Rod Cole; Feb 02, 2015 at 04:51 PM.
Feb 02, 2015, 05:04 PM
Hovering my 85" Katana
Robert Youens's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Cole
Rod,

Glad to see you working on this. It is very interesting.
Feb 02, 2015, 05:40 PM
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cyborgcnc's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Cole
Yes and no..... the Arduino is a 5V version...here:

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11113


So to clarify, ADXL345 is Correct, the pro-mini I use is a 5V version, as they come in 3V and 5V. 5V also has enough current to supply the small Laser pointer I have mounted, so you do not need a separate 5V supply...this is why I use it. Hunt them down on Ebay, MUCH cheaper!

So you either stick to 5V or 3V, but I chose 5V for both....your choice...

Also, the ADXL345 I linked below, has an on-board regulator, that will also allow you to run it off 5V. The one from Sparkfun, besides being 3 times more expensive, requires 3 V.

like here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221243030773...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

and here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Arduino-...item35dd6d9f14
Last edited by cyborgcnc; Feb 02, 2015 at 05:55 PM.
Feb 02, 2015, 06:13 PM
Registered User
Rod Cole's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Youens
Rod,

Glad to see you working on this. It is very interesting.
You know me. Can't resist a good hardware challenge and it is one of the more interesting projects I have seen. Fortunately, I don't have to write any code, just hook it up and learn to use it.

I had ordered the 3.3 volt version and I was able to alter my order to the 5 volt version of the Arduino Pro Mini.
Feb 02, 2015, 06:55 PM
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cyborgcnc's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Cole
You know me. Can't resist a good hardware challenge and it is one of the more interesting projects I have seen. Fortunately, I don't have to write any code, just hook it up and learn to use it.

I had ordered the 3.3 volt version and I was able to alter my order to the 5 volt version of the Arduino Pro Mini.
AGAIN, make sure you voltages MATCH...really, that is all! Do not try to power a 3V something, from a 5V supply....and it should all be good....

Worst case, you can get a cheap 50 Cent regulator, and drop the voltage down, if you wind up getting the wrong voltage versions.....let me know and I can help with the design...
Feb 02, 2015, 07:58 PM
Registered User
Rod Cole's Avatar
Thanks. I like the eBay prices much better. Canceled with SparkFun and ordered the ones you recommended below.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cyborgcnc
Yes and no..... the Arduino is a 5V version...here:

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11113


So to clarify, ADXL345 is Correct, the pro-mini I use is a 5V version, as they come in 3V and 5V. 5V also has enough current to supply the small Laser pointer I have mounted, so you do not need a separate 5V supply...this is why I use it. Hunt them down on Ebay, MUCH cheaper!

So you either stick to 5V or 3V, but I chose 5V for both....your choice...

Also, the ADXL345 I linked below, has an on-board regulator, that will also allow you to run it off 5V. The one from Sparkfun, besides being 3 times more expensive, requires 3 V.

like here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221243030773...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

and here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Arduino-...item35dd6d9f14
Feb 02, 2015, 08:20 PM
Registered User
zenman's Avatar
This is really quite interesting. Would love to build one of these! Thanks, and nice work!
Feb 03, 2015, 12:06 AM
Registered User
zenman's Avatar
I just ordered the parts listed, Still need the photo detector. Is the software still available?
Feb 03, 2015, 05:33 AM
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cyborgcnc's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenman
I just ordered the parts listed, Still need the photo detector. Is the software still available?
Yes...look at my first post, and go to the diydrones link...you just
Have to page through to get the software...all there.
Feb 03, 2015, 09:37 AM
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cyborgcnc's Avatar
Notes on the photodetector:

Really, anything will work, including the pair from Radio Shack, which is what I am using:

http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack...frared&start=3

or JUST the transistor:

http://www.radioshack.com/infrared-p...frared&start=1

Using just the transistor you will then need a small laser pointer to trigger it, as it works great with that also, and you do not need the infrared....like I said,anything will really work.

Also, when mounting your accelerometer, hit the read sensor button on the software, and make sure you get as close to 0 readings as possible ( around +,- 2 or so is OK....but do not mount it on some weird angle! keep it flat!). This will confirm that you are mounting it level, and it will help in the calibration and overall accuracy of your rig....so the more level the better when it comes to mounting it.
Last edited by cyborgcnc; Feb 03, 2015 at 10:42 AM.


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