Quadcopter: more progress

Now I have the quadcopter fully wired up and operational. I had various wiring problems with it initially, which were solved by enquiries over at the AeroQuad forums. The first was that I had assumed all the motors should be wired up with the same polarity from the ESC, and that the AeroQuad software would take care of setting the direction (a quad needs two clockwise rotating impellers, say at the front and back, and two counter-clockwise, say at the left and right). This was not the case: the simple solution was to swap two of the three motor wires on the left hand and right hand motors. The front and rear motors rotate clockwise, so they need “pusher” props – I am using 8×6 types. The right and left require standard props – I am using 9×4 types. The other wiring problem I had was due to the fact that I’m using an older AeroQuad shield (v1.7) with newer software (v3.0.1) – the shield labels the motor ESC outputs in order as “Front Right Rear Left” but the software has a different order (it can in fact be changed in the configuration) – so I had to swap the ESC leads between the Right and Rear positions on my shield.

Here is a view of the wired up quad’s central pod, made with a RubberMaid food container that was a perfect fit.

Quad central pod, showing wiring and battery attachment.

Notice the on-off slider switch for supplying power from the battery to the Arduino and the motors. Also notice the battery mounted underneath the quad: this is a 2560mAh Turnigy LiPoly flatpack, attached by velcro strips. A view of the underside:

Showing the method of hanging the battery securely under the quad.

The AeroQuad software comes with a “Configurator” that is used to calibrate the sensors and the transmitter. I used this, and in the process found that one of the channels on my transmitter was operating in the wrong direction for the software. This was cured by using a software tool for configuring the HobbyKing 6ch transmitter, which allowed the swap of direction of any channel.

After calibration and fiddling about, I made several attempts to fly the quad, or at least to lift off vertically. It was not a success as the video shows:

After several crashes I found that the pusher props were loose, and the motor mounts had been bent out of line. So I had to fix those problems before continuing …

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