Helicopter/Howard Community College/Fall2011/550 Helicopter

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Problem Statement[edit | edit source]

Learn to fly the Parrot AR Drone and put together a R/C motor and ESC and mount it.

Team Members[edit | edit source]





Summary[edit | edit source]

Weekly Reports

Poster[edit | edit source]

Mounting the Motor
Working on Flight Area

Flying into the Danger Zone...

Story[edit | edit source]

The full team did not meet until Wednesday of the first week where we took a look at the quadcopter. Doing a quick web search pointed out the app that is used to control the drone. Using the app, Rhea tried to control the drone but after the initial connection the signal would be lost and the drone would be stuck hovering without any control. The group moved on to working with the Arduino, ESC, and brushless motor. While Rhea had a setup leftover from a previous project, Waleed and Truong each received a motor and ESC from Mr. Foerster and needed to put it together. Unfortunately, the butt splices did not seem to work as well for them as it did for Rhea. The week ended with everyone focusing on either the arudino and ESC/motor or working on the quadcopter.

Working with the Aruduino and ESC/Motor became the primary focus for the team with the secondary being working on flying the quadcopter and finding ways to improve safety. While programming the Arduino to control the motor was not a problem, although the length in time for the motor to respond was, getting the motor mounted was. Brought up as a safety issue by Mr. Foerster, Rhea, WFalak and Truong worked on mounting their motors. Both succeeded through trial and error, resulting in better odds they would keep their fingers. Faissal continued work on improving safety for flying the AR Drone, especially for first-timers. He measured out a possible space behind the classroom outside for a area that would covered by netting that allows for safe flying for both the person controlling the drone and the drone itself.

Decision List[edit | edit source]

Material List[edit | edit source]

  1. Parrot AR Drone
  2. Apple iPhone 4
  3. Hacker Brushless A10-13L
  4. Thunderbird-9 Brushless Speed Controller
  5. Soldering Iron
  6. Electrical Tape
  7. Duct Tape
  8. Butt Splices

Software List[edit | edit source]

  1. Arduino Programming Software
  2. MS Paint

Time[edit | edit source]

Flight Time: 72 min

Motor Mounting: 4 Hours

Programming Code: 3 hours

Measuring for Flight Cage: 2 hours

Total time: Approx. 10.2 hours

Tutorials[edit | edit source]

Connecting the ESC and Motor required different methods for each team member as the butt splice method did not seem to work a second time. One option became to simply cut off the ends of the connectors for the motor, expose the wire, and bind them together with the ESC connectors. This still had the problem of being exposed wiring so electrical tape is the best option to use to wrap the wires while still allowing the flow of power and commands from the ESC. The other option is similar but requires soldering the ESC and motor connectors together then wrapping them with electrical tape. The key is to ensure that the connection between the two ends is solid while also ensuring that the user is protected from possible electrocution.

Flying the quadcopter takes practice and the tutorial videos on the AR Drone site provide good instruction on the basics of flying. The main key is practice flying to the point that the user doesn't require looking down at the device to see the controls. Focusing on the drone is key to advanced flight. If and when the practice area comes together, initial flights should focus on flying in circles, back and forth, and changing altitude while practicing the former.

Next Steps[edit | edit source]

The next phase of this project should be focusing on completing the flight area outside so that future pilots can have an area to test their skills without fear of breaking the drone or injuring spectators. Investigation into the battery problem and ways to extend flight time through augmenting the battery or removing unnecessary features from the drone to improve battery performance. As for the Arduino and ESC/Motor, better understanding the control signal being sent between the ESC and the motor would make it easier to write code that would allow for more precision in control over the speed.