Things have been quiet on the multicopter front owing to too much work and not enough good weather. What I did go flying I ended in a crash which broke 2 of the 4 Quadcopter arms. I decided, as the 3D printer churned out the replacement arms, that I would move straight on to my phase 3, as defined in previous posts, which is all about the APM flight controller.
I bought a cheap 'cloned' hardware kit from Hobby King and started putting it together.
This kit comprises the following:
- The APM flight controller board and case.
- A circuit board that monitors the battery voltage and current used by the motors, and provides a stabilised power supply to the flight control board.
- An OSD circuit board. This overlays video from the existing camera with data from the flight control board. It then supplies a composite picture, camera view and data view to the video transmitter.
- A pair of 433Mhz wireless modems, one which connects to the data port on the flight controller and one to connect to a laptop, tablet or smartphone
- A GPS and magnetic compass sensor which provides position and heading information to the flight controller card.
- All cables, cases and fittings.
I also downloaded the 'mission planner' software. Which turns a laptop, an Android tablet or a smartphone into a mission planning control tool for the quadcopter when its finally assembled.
But I need to recap.
Phase 1. The Quadcopter is firstly controlled by my 2.4Gb radio control transmitter, this was all that was possible at Phase 1.
Phase 2 added the video camera and video transmitter which offers the option of direct control but now by referencing the 'pilot's eye view' from the onboard camera.
Phase 3 replaces the earlier KK2 board with the APM controller board and the additional features shown above. This gives a machine which can also fly a pre-planned route, beyond direct line of sight range, and with some autonomy. It may also be flown from the ground but through a variety of selectable modes which use the onboard navigation information has a reference.
After much application of tie wraps and double sided tape the new configuration is nearly ready and will soon be available for a test flight.