Hello guys, this is my first post. Does anyone know how feasible an arduino based wireless controller and reviever would be? I need to control 4 different motors, and i do not know where to start with this. I am planning on making a modified quadcopter, and i need help on how to get my input from the ground up to the arduino, which i want to control the motors. I will need 4 integers that i can vary using a controller of some sort. Where do i start?
It's actually very feasible and there are quite a number of ways to do it. You want to control 4 motors, are they going to be Bi-directional or just one direction. Seeing as you want to make a quadcopter, I'm assuming the motors will only need to rotate in one direct but also at different speeds. You will also need small motor drivers, so you will most likely need to make your own with H-bridge chips, the smaller the better with weight, but they need to have heat sinks.
How far are you planing to go? The distance will tell you what transmitters and receivers to get because, they all have different ranges. Xbee would be the farthest, and bluetooth and/or IR will be the shortest.
Get a cheap multi-channel RC transmitter and receiver. Connect the servo outputs from the receiver to Arduino digital inputs. Use pulseIn() to measure the pulse widths.
I am building an Arduino based system for controlling N-Gauge model trains using these Deltino devices http://www.deltino.com/. They are physically identical to the Deltang devices http://www.deltang.co.uk/ which are controlled with regular 2.4GHz R/C equipment.
The Deltino/Deltang devices are very small and include an Atmega 328, a Cypress 2.4GHz transceiver and a H-bridge - everything in a single package. Small size is essential for N-Gauge trains. I believe my system will be capable of controlling 12 to 20 trains in real time from a fleet of a hundred or more.
If the small size is not important there may be cheaper options - but not by much, I suspect, unless you are prepared to make breadboard Arduinos.
As far as I know the NRF24xx transceivers are similar to the Cypress one and are more common in Arduino circles.
Another option that I have read about but not tried is the Moteino http://lowpowerlab.com/moteino/ - but it doesn't include a H-bridge.
If the control input is coming from a human operator, I would go with the conventional RC transmitter / receiver system as groundfungus suggests. That should work reliable to beyond visual range.
If you're taking input from some other controller then one option is to use an RC transmitter with a trainer input and supply your digital ppm pulse train to that. You do have the option of using a completely different type of radio transmitter/receiver, but in that case the choice would depend on what range, data rate, reliability and latency/jitter you need and how much you're prepared to pay. You will be hard pushed to beat the price and performance of a simple cheap RC transmitter/receiver system.