Quadcopters

Hi! I am very new to this, but I am very interested in building my own quadcopter. One of the main issues that I've run into is finding the right flight controller. What I want to do is hook up an ultrasonic positioning system to a quad so that it can determine its location relative to other objects. I had heard that many people use Arduino boards to program their quads, and wondered how viable of an option that might be. Could one of the boards integrate all of the systems of a quad, including outside applications/parts? Budget isn't of high issue right now until I determine exactly which board might fit my needs, so I'm curious on my options. Thanks everyone for your help!

Could one of the boards integrate all of the systems of a quad, including outside applications/parts?

Yes. Use Google to search for ArduPilot Mega.

Thanks! So would that be the program that I would upload to an Arduino board? In that case, what board would you recommend?

what board would you recommend?

The clue is in the name.

ihall:
Thanks! So would that be the program that I would upload to an Arduino board? In that case, what board would you recommend?

If you would actually take your lazy ass to google and look the thing up I think you'd see real quick.

ihall:
Thanks! So would that be the program that I would upload to an Arduino board? In that case, what board would you recommend?

Did you use google and look the thing up? I think that answer becomes pretty obvious at that point.

I tried adding an ultrasound sensor to a small quadcopter but the small motors produced too much noise for the sensor to work. I don't know if you'd have the same problem with larger motors but it's something to be aware of.

HobbyKings sells all sorts of inexpensive quadcopters and quadcopter control boards.

David W. (the guy from Sweden on Testflite) like the KK2 board.

I have one of these MultiWii boards which has a spot for connecting Spektrum satellite receivers. The Spektrum system sends serial commands and it's possible to receive these commands rather than pulses from the receiver.

DuaneDegn:
I tried adding an ultrasound sensor to a small quadcopter but the small motors produced too much noise for the sensor to work.

These may work. They will certainly be immune to noise.

Many (most?) IR distance sensors don't work in full sunlight.

There are laser rangefinders which work well in full sunlight but these cost significantly more than the IR sensors.

From the datasheet...

When the detector surface receive direct light from the sun, tungsten lamp and so on, there are cases that it can not measure the distance exactly. Please consider the design that the detector does not receive direct light from such light source.

Implies that shading the sensor allows it to work in direct sunlight.

I'm very sure, none of those sensors would work well on a quadcopter outdoors when used in direct sunlight (even if the sensor itself was in the shade).

Not only would the sensor need to be shielded but the object (ground) need to be shield from the sun.

The IR from the sun overwhelms the sensor so it can't detect the IR from the sensor.

Thank you to the people who have actually contributed to this topic, your help is appreciated. I still have not gathered what board could possibly be used. Also, there seems to be some discrepancy on what type of sensor should be used. Could somebody possibly help clear that up? Thanks

ihall:
I still have not gathered what board could possibly be used. Also, there seems to be some discrepancy on what type of sensor should be used.

There's not a consensus on what board to use. You need to research the options mentioned and decide which option best meets your needs.

I doubt many people have experience with using ultrasound with quadcopters. I've tried this myself a couple of times and neither of my attempts worked.

When I use an ultrasound with a small quadcopter, the noise from the motors interfered with the sensor. I also tried a Maxbotix sensor with a flight controller based on a Propeller microcontroller. The flight controller used closed source software but it was supposed to support ultrasound input. When I used this flight controller (HoverFly Sport) with the ultrasound as soon as I switched to altitude hold mode the quadcopter flipped and crashed.

I think it's pretty clear from the many controllers based on the Arduino, the Arduino is up to the task of controlling a quadcopter. People also use the 8 core 80MHz Propeller microcontroller for controlling quadcopters. I mentioned the proprietary HoverFly control board based on the Propeller but there also open source quadcopter projects using the Propeller. Here's a link to one of these projects.

I believe there are also Raspberry Pi quadcopter projects.

I think most people using Arduino type boards purchase boards with the sensors already on the board. I linked to a couple popular boards at HobbyKing. If you want to start with a basic Arduino and add sensors yourself, I think you're in for more work getting something in the air. I think just about any Arduino can control a quadcopter.

Thank you, I appreciate your input