What hardware combo is best for quadcopter project

I'm just starting out on a quadcopter project with the hope of learning a lot of useful things about programming as it pertains to autonomous robotics. I'm wondering if I could get some advice on a good place to start as far as hardware is concerned. I don't want a ready-made kit because I want this to be a learning experience, which will require that I get my hands dirty with installing and tweaking a set of libraries. Maybe I'm going about this all wrong, and in that case feel free to let me know a better approach.
I want to start a build with components that provide a base on which to make expansions of autonomous features as the project progresses. Is the board I'm looking for here the Arduino mega? And what are some good hardware combinations I can find on a budget?
Look forward to hearing what others have to say about a good place to start on this. Any feedback is appreciated.

Two of these on the same day :slight_smile:

This is not the best way to approach the issue. If you want to learn coding, you don't want to start from scratch with a blank Arduino and a bunch of parts. Buy a robot that is already put together and learn to program it at a high level.

Read the responses on this other thread, these are almost the same question... I give you the same advice. Probably want to start at a higher level.
http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=207608.0

Hey that is pretty helpful. I do understand what you are saying about the basics of flying rc as the proper place to start. With that said, what is a good ready-made quad to start with that allows me to mess with the programming and add autonomous features as I learn more?

Thanks for the help with this.

aberg004:
Hey that is pretty helpful. I do understand what you are saying about the basics of flying rc as the proper place to start. With that said, what is a good ready-made quad to start with that allows me to mess with the programming and add autonomous features as I learn more?

Thanks for the help with this.

None of the RTF quads really have any user options - that's how the manufacturer keeps you from screwing it up and blaming them. They control the quality to the point where you don't need to adjust anything and if the product doesn't work right out of the box, it's considered broken. In that other post, I gave a review of a nice beginner quad - it has three flying modes which are demonstrated in the video, but that's as adjustable as it is.

It is not terrifically hard to build a quad or hex with the Ardupilot modules, and if you want to experiment with programming, you could jump in that deep with some very basic flying skills, and the right equipment. Getting the right equipment and some flying skills is more complicated than it sounds.

I think someone with basic flying skills could fly my hex-copter without too much trouble, but that's after I've tuned it up. The first time I fired it up, it was not super easy to fly. Now that I have everything adjusted right, the GPS is working well, and the vibrations are eliminated, the auto flying modes work pretty well - but they don't work perfectly and you must always be ready to rescue the aircraft with manual flying. Drones are still primarily a model aircraft thing, not a robotics/electronics/programming thing. Most of the time, somebody is in control, not the computer all by itself. If you don't want to burn your credit cards, you're going to want to be able to do that - and computers always fail at the worst times.

You could fly this with some training as long as it's tuned right - it's an APM 2.5 hex-copter.