Building A Quadcopter! – Part 6 – How To Fly

Posted: March 14, 2014 in Hard Projects, Projects, Quadcopter
Tags: , , , ,

Welcome back! So, if you’ve read the title, you may notice that the last idea was a success! Well, sort-of. Lost on what I’m talking about? Catch up on the Building Quadcopter series with these links:

[ Part 1 –Theory and Controls ]

[ Part 2 – The Body of the Quadcopter ]

[ Part 3 – Bring the Pain ]

[ Part 4 – On Standby ]

[ Part 5 – PID problems ]

So when we left off last time, the main problem at hand was PID control. Through some testing, I found that the PID controls were working ( although, DA’ QCB controller was experiencing some windup ) With the PID controls verified, what could be the problem? The frame, motor, and/or propellers? This is where I was stuck until I tried my final idea to the problem:

SM450 Frame

SM450 Quadcopter Frame

Above, is a kit I found on a website called RC Timer. This kit includes a known, well designed frame, along with propellers, ESCs, and motors. All that I have to add is the control system. Instead of just throwing my custom controller on there, I decided to play it safe, and attached my KK2.1 board to the quadcopter. From here, the wiring was very simple, as part of the frame was a ‘re-enforced’ PCB board.

With everything assembles, its time to fly! Since I was busy the next few days, I was only able to do a few small hops inside. SUCCESS! It flys! It then started drifting backwards slightly. After some fine tuning with the ‘magic’ numbers of the PID controller, I was able to get mostly stable flight. Time to take it outdoors!

And this is where the problem happened. The quadcopter flew just fine. Did a few long hops, and practiced some takeoffs and hovering positions. After feeling confident with that, I decided to do a controls test, and tried to make the quadcopter tilt and travel in one direction. Unfortunatly, that direction was away from me.

Of course.

Before I had time to react, the quadcopter was gaining ground quickly, and rising steadily. By the time I realized what happened, it reached about 150 feet in the air, and lost communications with my transmitter.

And it plummed all the way down, crooked. And hit the ground hard:

SM450 Frame

The poor quadcopter after hitting the ground

And that ended the testing. Arms were broken, and propellers destroyed. I then ordered new propellers, and repaired the two arms. After two rare snow storms here in the south, I finally got the parts. I then decided to take a few quick hops inside, before trying again outside, learning to make sure the quadcopter wouldn’t lose control again. Even after using CA glue and Epoxy, one of the quadcopter’s arms just wouldn’t hold.

Troublesome Arm!

This arm has become troublesome

The troublesome arm that I tried fixing just wouldn’t stay fixed.  By this time, I finally got a cool thing in the mail that I will mention in a later post. With needing to order again, another part from China, that will take 2 weeks to arrive, I decided to finally postpone this project. I still have the other frame from the other quadcopter I tried building to test, and I will test that as soon as I can complete this next electrical project.

If when I test the new quadcopter parts on the old quadcopter and it doesn’t work, I will officially postpone this project for a future completion date. This would be the second time I will have ever done this, the first time was when I built my first electrical circuit, a model train timer. But that is another blog post for another day.

So that’s all for now, but stay tuned, I got some cool stuff in the upcoming weeks! Like my new electrical project, 3D Tetris. And a project that started out as a birthday present, that I may end up selling, if the construction goes well (parts are on the way now!)

 And don’t fret model train fans, I haven’t forgotten you! I just finished a new thing for the trains, and that will be showing up soon!

See ya next time!

– Eastern FireTail

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