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Topic: Arduino Helicopter Autopilot (Read 10 times) previous topic - next topic

Ed Simmons

Hi all,

This is my first post on the Arduino forums, but i'd like to introduce you to one of my projects.

I have been developing a 'HeliShield' for the Duemilanove, along with the code to run full stabilisation of the helicopter, and mix the radio control signals etc.

I will soon be adding in autonomous features for dealing with loss of signal and suchlike.

There's a big write up which I am adding to as I progress with the work on my website, link in a minute, being the first post - it won't let me include the link.

I hope there are some Walkera and Piccolo users interested!

The current code and HeliShield are best suited to twin motor helicopters (one for the main rotor, one for the tail) although I am working on code for a 5 channel system (currently using 4) for a collective pitch heli, outputting all the control using servo pulses, thus doing away with the need for an onboard motor controller, as most people with a collective pitch heli will have a suitable ESC anyhow.

I hope someone will find this of interest!
Many thanks to the Arduino folk everywhere for all the demo code!!!


Ed Simmons

Here's the web address mentioned in the previous post.


I'll be putting the code online as soon as I fix my CMS. It currently has a special 'code mangling' "feature"

Calling all Piccolo and Walkera pilots - development kits for arduino helicopter control!!


Looks good.
Now I only wish that I could fix the damage that my old heli took the last flight....

Nice idea you've got there, keep it up!  :)

Ed Simmons

@ Archive555, what's the heli? Cheers!! Let me know if you'd like a PCB, I have a few first run prototypes up for grabs! They're not the easiest boards to solder, there's no solder mask or through hole plating - and it's double sided. But aside from that - it might fly!!

The PCB is coming together nicely, more revisions have been made to the layout and I'm planning to etch more PCBs soon.

There is a full UAV development board in the works, all made on one PCB, with all the sensors and the micro being available as SMT it seems an obvious progression. I will post details when more progress has been made, and the article will also be on my website...

Code has been improved, both for the Arduino and the Processing sketch. The serial control is nearly complete, all the control data is sent in a string similar to GPS output and checked for validity. All suspect data is ignored and the last good values are repeated.
The task of designing an interface to first display the sensor data was not particularly easy, but I have now added code for control.
One click of the mouse enables control, another click holds the position of the mouse to free you to do other things with your mouse without crashing the heli.

So far so good, next is to integrate the data being sent into the flight algorithms...



owning (and flying) 5 helicopter from 26g to 3800g I am very interested. However I don't think it will be that simple in the end. Tuning a helicopter for normal flight is complicated as hell, so such a system requires much work to get it right. There are some ready systems on the marked evolved over the last years (Helicommand, V-Stabi, GAUI GU-356, Gyrobot etc) so I guess you tackled a problem which will keep you busy some years. Also check the mikro copter project!

Best Regards,

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