The infamous DRONE project

I started once before but sidestepped it in order to pursue other, less ambitious projects :slight_smile:

I understand there is a power issue which must be dealt with because originally I wanted to build one (like everyone does) with an L293D and 4 brushless hubsan motors i bought online and was quickly alerted to the fact that those motors draw quite a bit of power and i needed ESCs and a flight controller. As I didnt go too much into it, I dont remember all the details, but basically I wish to simply compare parts between a kit and parts I could buy. So i found this kit on amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Hobbypower-Controller-Telemetry-Quadcopter-Multirotor/dp/B01MSNGPZ5/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1526655976&sr=8-5&keywords=Arduino+drone+copter+kit

which has:

  1. Flight controller (APM2.8)
  2. GPS module (which is extra)
  3. Power module
  4. Mini OSD module (which i think is extra)
  5. Radio telemetry (for communication?)

So the gps module is only if you wish to add gps functionality which I dont. I dont plan to have it go to a specific coordinate, I just plan to move it from a remote.

The mini OSD from what I understand is a module that lets you connect an on screen display for FPV, which I wont have since i wont even have a camera.

So am I right to think that the basics I would need is:

  1. A flight controller module
  2. Power board module
  3. Radio telemetry module of some kind

And a second and final question, with a kit like the one from amazon, where is the remote and how does it communicate with the drone. I understand the telemetry module is responsible for this and it comes with 2 antennas (one for ground and one for air). I assume you plug the air one into the flight controller but what do you do with the ground unit and how do you use it to communicate with the drone in the air?

tks

That kit is parts for an FPV (First Person View) drone. By definition you can't do FPV without a camera and if you'd not intending to fly FPV then that kit isn't what you need.

It doesn't include any transmitter or receiver for control, they must be added separately. The telemetry is only to send data from the drone to the ground, it can't be use for remote control of the drone.

Steve

Got it. So even for that kit, a user of an fpv drone would still need to buy a radio comm set, right?

I've seen many drone kits with radio receivers that go for $100 or more dollars. From my little experience in arduino comm I'm guessing RF would be the goto option (cause BT is so short range) but definitely not the 433Mhz RF, so what options for comm are there that might work for a drone that might go as far as 300-500meters tops?

Marciokoko:
Got it. So even for that kit, a user of an fpv drone would still need to buy a radio comm set, right?

I've seen many drone kits with radio receivers that go for $100 or more dollars. From my little experience in arduino comm I'm guessing RF would be the goto option (cause BT is so short range) but definitely not the 433Mhz RF, so what options for comm are there that might work for a drone that might go as far as 300-500meters tops?

If your thinking of building a remotly controled model of some sort, you do need to have an understanding of the basics, appreciate that an out of control 'drone' can cause very serious injuries when they run into humans.

RF is an abbreviation for 'Radio Frequency' so Bluetooth is RF as well.

but definitely not the 433Mhz RF

Why do you say 'definitely not' ?

433Mhz (and 868Mhz) are frequencies where the stupid long range RC control systems operate, 40km+.

Yes I understand an out of control drone is dangerous. I've had my share of nicks and cuts.

OK so the reason I thought 433Mhz was not good enough is because the rf modules sold for arduino only go for about 10cm but that would obviously be because of the power and not the frequency. So I would need higher powered remotes.

I know BT is rf but the BLE modules I've used (hm10) only go for a out 80m.

So what rf module could I use for at least 150-300m?

Fairly obvious at least to me that it is not possible to build an rc unit for less that what the purchase/ delivery price already is.

A Flysky FS-i6 with an i6 "B" receiver can be had for around Aus$65 and has been tested in open country to at least 2klm.

A good set of gimbals will set you back that much before you even start on the rest.

The B series receiver includes iBus as well as standard servo control and there are changes that can make the transmitter, 6 into 10 channels.

OK so you really need a pro remote transmitter and receiver in order to pull off even a homemade drone?

And how do we "program" that transmitter/receiver to interface with arduino?

Marciokoko:
OK so you really need a pro remote transmitter and receiver in order to pull off even a homemade drone?

And how do we "program" that transmitter/receiver to interface with arduino?

1......Really it is a cost and logical move considering the complex arrangement of rc.

2 .....Don't have to. Programming is done by reading either the PPM output or iBus output of the receiver.

Masses of info out in Google land covering nearly every aspect one can imagine.

OK so the reason I thought 433Mhz was not good enough is because the rf modules sold for arduino only go for about 10cm

Seems an odd conclusion then that all 433Mhz modules are low range.

but that would obviously be because of the power and not the frequency

Not 'obviously' the power at all. How well a module works, and its range, is mainly a function of the modulation type and the receiver.

As @bluejets suggests there are heaps of tutorials out there on doing this and even complete radio control systems based on the Arduino Pro Mini.

However, I would suggest you use purchase a ready built system, designing and building your own so that it is safe does require a fair bit of understanding of things RF.

Marciokoko:
originally I wanted to build one (like everyone does) with an L293D and 4 brushless hubsan motors i bought online and was quickly alerted to the fact that those motors draw quite a bit of power and i needed ESCs and a flight controller.

The L293D is not a Brushless DC (BLDC) motor driver. You can use it with brushed DC motors as used on many micro-multicopters and nano-multicopters but not the more efficient BLDC motors used on larger multicopters. Since you generally don't need to run the motors in reverse, a simple MOSFET is all you need for brushed DC motors. The ESC's (Electronic Speed Controls) drive BLDC motors.
You can use an Arduino as a flight controller. The main purpose of the Flight Controller is to translate the Throttle, Elevator, Aileron, and Rudder signals from the RC receiver into power level signals for the four motors. Adding an accelerometer and gyroscope allows the Flight Controller to stabilize the multicopter, making it easier to fly.

So with an Arduino and 4 motors and 4 mosfets I should be able to do something that might at least lift up and hover for a few minutes and maybe turn a bit and land, without hurting anyone. Oh and a gyro and axlrometer.

Marciokoko:
So with an Arduino and 4 motors and 4 mosfets I should be able to do something that might at least lift up and hover for a few minutes and maybe turn a bit and land, without hurting anyone. Oh and a gyro and axlrometer.

Not quite that easy. You will also need a battery, and a frame on which to mount everything. And some wires and discrete components (resistors, mostly).
A gyroscope and accelerometer will allow the flight controller to stabilize flight but won’t allow you to maintain altitude or position or avoid obstacles. Using just those two is sort of like walking around with your eyes closed and your ears covered. Your inner ear will still tell you which way is up and if you start moving or turning but not what direction you are facing, how fast you are going, or what floor your elevator is at. You can add more senses (barometer for relative altitude, magnetic compass for absolute orientation) but for a simple flight controller you would typically hook up a radio control and put a human in the control loop. The human provides the senses and feedback to hover and fly around obstacles (with practice).

Yes of course i would need batteries and frames. I understand about the altitude sensor which would be nice for altitude hold indeed.

As for the rc remote, so I could buy an RC remote and somehow program it to work with a 433MHz RF arduino module?

No. You could buy a 2.4GHz RC transmitter and also buy the correct 2.4GHz receiver to go with it. Then you could get them to work with an Arduino which is programmed as the flight controller.

Steve

If you are hell-bent on 433mhz then you could buy a module type radio ($150 and up)and fit one of the new multi-protocol modules ($50) and match it up to a basic controller ($60 and up) but you are back again to a low range unit.
There are claims of range in some adverts but if you look closely they are primarily meant for 50-100 metres but even then, terrain dependant.
You could make your own controller with Arduino, plenty of stuff out there but that also depends on your ability.
My original suggestion (2.4g) stands as the best for price alternative.