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Thread: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availability)

  1. #461

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    I'm laughing because I've been there. I've been flying with friends on more than one occasion and had someone's plane go into one of our cars. Thankfully there's been no significant damage as usually the planes are styrofoam and take the brunt of the impact. I'm pretty paranoid with the quad when flying in anything but an open field, and if any kids come over to watch, I ask them to stand behind me (or the imaginary line I'm on). I figure if it has to go through me to get to them, I'm a lot less likely to hurt someone.

  2. #462

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Eltham View Post
    Jason,
    Almost all ESCs are "programmable/configurable" and people have figured out the protocols for this with some brands. It could be used to detect the ESCs and even configure them via code.
    Here is a site with the info & code for Turnigy ESCs (the ones in the ELEV-8 kit are this brand): http://www.frank-zhao.com/cache/escprogrammingcardhack.php

    I suspect that a number of them use the same protocol even, because people have mentioned being able to use programming cards from some brands with other brands.

    Cluso99: that board setup looks decent. Some comments: You might want to consider making the mounting holes on the main board a little larger so you can put rubber grommets in it and then fit a screws thru them for mounting to help reduce vibrations (the hoverfly boards have this setup, see what I'm talking about in this image: http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/at...4-IMG_4534.jpg ). Also, the sensor daughter board needs to be mounted solidly, I think you have those small holes at the opposite end from the connection header end that line up with the same size holes in the main board for this? Is the idea to solder in some posts?
    Roy,
    This code for the Atmega 328 only simulates the Turnigy programming card which cannot set the ESC upper and lower end points, at least my Turnigy card can't. Jason requires that the ESC upper and lower set points be established for his code to work correctly if I am not mistaken.
    Regards,
    TCIII

  3. #463

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Roy was just suggesting it as a way to verify the presence and correct operation of the motor controllers. Most of these ESCs have a "power on with full throttle" option to sense your maximum and minimum stick positions. I've already accounted for that in my flight code and setup program. I've just ordered a bunch of ESCs that work this way to test it on.

    Ken - Got your email. In prep for the board, I don't suppose anyone can tell me which pins the HoverFly board uses for the ESCs, R/C connections, gyro, and accelerometer? If you have a schematic or document with it just point me at that.

  4. #464

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Tom C:
    The primary thing I was hoping for with the code was a way to detect if an ESC was connected or not. Being able to program it was secondary. Also, I'm sure with a logic analyzer and some time we could figure out the rest of the protocol to be able to set the upper and lower points and any other thing. If we get enough cards/ESC pairs to test with we could determine all the protocols. They all have to work over 1 signal wire, so it can't be terribly complex, and it's likely to be very similar for all of them.

    Roy

  5. #465
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    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Jason:
    I have a plain (passive - no prop) servo pcb ~1.8"x1.2" that has a 16pin servo header with series resistors and individual 5V jumpers. See my website for a pic (link in signature). PM me your address if you would like one (normally 10-14 days by post from Oz but its xmas so maybe longer ATM). Alternately, Ken may not be using the one I sent to him if you are close to him. I am also using my Prop BaseBoard1 that this plugs into. Forget if I sent one to Ken too. Anyway I can send you one too if you would like.

    My new pcbs are in production but I will not see them here for 3-4 weeks (takes 2 weeks+ for the post)

    I have wondered if it would be possible to easily modify the extra channels on the RC transmitter to send a varying pulse width rather than on/off, perhaps as simply just fitting a pot instead of the switch. That way, you could dynamically vary some of the PID values.

    Code:
    I've also done a bunch of reading, and found that the small satellite receivers for Spektrum receivers can be used on their own - they're SPI, and the protocol has been reverse engineered. I plan to write a driver for it so it'll be "as many channels as you have" on a 3-pin JST. That's not a requirement, but it'd be pretty cool.
    Great - I have a Spektrum DX6i so I have a satellite rx. Oh for the time to try it!

    ESCs:
    It is my intention to next design a tiny pcb to control 4 brushless motors with a prop. Two boards can be stacked for hex or octa copters. This way we will have total and fast responsive control of the motors (and feedback of motor revs for logging). However, this is little way off yet.
    BTW this solves another problem too... that of power distribution. So the inclusion of the prop should not add any cost over separate cheap ESCs costs.
    My Prop boards: CpuBlade, TriBlade, RamBlade, www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index)
    Emulators (Index) ZiCog (Z80)
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd)

  6. #466
    Cluso99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Eltham View Post
    Cluso99: that board setup looks decent. Some comments: You might want to consider making the mounting holes on the main board a little larger so you can put rubber grommets in it and then fit a screws thru them for mounting to help reduce vibrations (the hoverfly boards have this setup, see what I'm talking about in this image: http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/at...4-IMG_4534.jpg ). Also, the sensor daughter board needs to be mounted solidly, I think you have those small holes at the opposite end from the connection header end that line up with the same size holes in the main board for this? Is the idea to solder in some posts?
    Thanks for the info Roy. I was aware of the vibration issue from the forums on other cpu solutions.

    The mounting holes are 3mm but a 2mm screw and grommets could be used. However, the pcbs are designed to mount in a Hammond 1551R/S 2"sq box to protect it. The lid is underneath the pcb, with the main part of the box sandwiched on top of the pcb. The base of the main part of the box needs to have openings cut for the servo connections. This box may in turn be mounted with the appropriate grommets or whatever for the vibration issue. Perhaps double sided tape will also work - I am trying this on my existing pcbs.

    The sensor daughter pcb is desiged, as you correctly determined, to have the other two pins on the other corners also soldered to the main pcb. While they can be in a socket, my preference is they be soldered. The 2 holes on the connector side are larger and will IIRC take 2mm screws for alternate mounting (perhaps they may be used with other pcbs).
    My Prop boards: CpuBlade, TriBlade, RamBlade, www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index)
    Emulators (Index) ZiCog (Z80)
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd)

  7. #467

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluso99 View Post
    My new pcbs are in production but I will not see them here for 3-4 weeks (takes 2 weeks+ for the post)

    I have wondered if it would be possible to easily modify the extra channels on the RC transmitter to send a varying pulse width rather than on/off, perhaps as simply just fitting a pot instead of the switch. That way, you could dynamically vary some of the PID values.
    I've got my hands full with the stuff I've got, so I'll wait for the new boards. My 9-channel remote does have additional analog controls, and they can be fed to any of the extra channels, or mixed with existing ones. I have one set to fine tune the throttle to help when hovering, but they'd be easy to use for PID tuning values too. That's a good idea.

    And I love the idea of a Prop doing the motor control. I've often thought about trying it, but I don't know enough about MOSFETs or protecting the Prop from the kick-back you need to sense to handle the timing. If you want any help with programming such a beast I'd love to be involved.

  8. #468

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonDorie View Post
    Ken - Got your email. In prep for the board, I don't suppose anyone can tell me which pins the HoverFly board uses for the ESCs, R/C connections, gyro, and accelerometer? If you have a schematic or document with it just point me at that.
    Yep, I'm on it. Trying to round up a schematic right now. - Ken

    Ken Gracey | Parallax Inc.| Direct
    : (916) 625-3010 | www.parallax.com

    Follow me on Twitter




  9. #469

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Ken, are the DXFs of the ELEV-8 frame the finished size or do the lines represent the cut line of the laser?

  10. #470
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    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonDorie View Post
    I've got my hands full with the stuff I've got, so I'll wait for the new boards. My 9-channel remote does have additional analog controls, and they can be fed to any of the extra channels, or mixed with existing ones. I have one set to fine tune the throttle to help when hovering, but they'd be easy to use for PID tuning values too. That's a good idea.
    Hey thats a nice feature. Guess that is what you get for a more expensive 9ch rc.

    And I love the idea of a Prop doing the motor control. I've often thought about trying it, but I don't know enough about MOSFETs or protecting the Prop from the kick-back you need to sense to handle the timing. If you want any help with programming such a beast I'd love to be involved.
    I have had this on the dwg board for some time. I have already seen code and understand the principles. The feedback loop is actually simple (a few resistors and cap IIRC). It is more an issue with pins - 6 control the 6 mosfets and 3 (or 4) for the feedback for each bldc motor. A few smarts have to be done with hardware to only use the props 30 pins while leaving 2 for comms. I have already found suitable Mosfets and drivers.

    I will certainly let you know when I have the boards on the way as I would appreciate some help. I just do not have enough hours in the day for the projects I have on my plate.

    By being able to measure the lift from each motor and prop combo (at first lift-off in hover mode) I think we could program the quad to do some interesting tricks in software Using a prop to control each motor and the multiple cogs at our disposal, some really fast responses could be done.

    BTW I must search for that info on the Spektrum slave receiver protocols. This would save a lot of wiring and pins. This will be a bedtime exercise when I surf the net from my Xoom as I wind down for the day.
    My Prop boards: CpuBlade, TriBlade, RamBlade, www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index)
    Emulators (Index) ZiCog (Z80)
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd)

  11. #471

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    There is also the Futaba S.Bus system - it uses a single data line to control an unlimited number of servos.

  12. #472

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    @JasonDorie

    >>My rapid ascent problem is more likely one of balance or vibration resonance. If the weight isn't properly centered, applying full power to all the props may make it tip.<<

    Are you Hit the maximum power output then ?
    It result in no headroom for corections in the ESC's, and tip on the heavy side ?

  13. #473

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    LTech - I'm not sure. It doesn't feel like maximum throttle, and even if it was, my flight control code evenly increases throttle on one side while decreasing the other side, so at least the decrease should work to level it. It may be that my PID terms need adjustment for this case where there is less responsiveness. It's better now than it was before - it's easy to correct manually, but it feels like the software should handle it better.

  14. #474

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Cluso - do you need to use all 6 pins to control the mosfets? There are only 3 phases, plus one pin for an "enable" that you could use or PWM. If each phase line selected the direction for that h-bridge, as long as you switched during the off side of the PWM you shouldn't have to worry about shorting. Does that make any sense? (and can that work?)

  15. #475
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    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Jason: Yes there are ways to reduce the output pins but all then require the addition of logic to decode the states. This aplies to both the mosfet drivers and the feedback pins.

    For the motors, each of the 3 pairs of mosfets in each phase requires the following sets of outputs... To describe the operation, I will use "1" for driving the P mosfet (+ side) and "0" for the N (gnd) and "X" for neither, for each half-bridge. Disregarding the overlap in switching, which can use the neither output, the following phases occur sequentially... 10X, X10, 01X, and XXX is none. Now you also need to permit reverse (ccw) if you do not want to change the wiring, so it requires X01, 01X, 1X0

    For (analog) multiplexing the feedback, all that is required is to determine each X location as it is this wire that the feedback will be sensed from (i.e. the undriven motor wire)

    However, for each of these cases, more logic has to be enlisted. That increases board size and cost and it soon becomes more sensible to use 4 cheap simple micros instead of the prop. But I really want to use a prop if at all possible.

    Adding a 74x86 per motor (14pin) would do the job with some resistors but I can use a 14pin AVR for $1 more and no prop at all.

    I just need to get my head around it again to see if I can find an alternative solution.
    My Prop boards: CpuBlade, TriBlade, RamBlade, www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index)
    Emulators (Index) ZiCog (Z80)
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd)

  16. #476

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    I thought it was possible to do it without using the X state at all - IE have PNP, PPN, and NPP states only. Connecting the positives together doesn't do anything, so there's no harm. That was my thinking at least - is this valid, or do you actually need the free-open state? (I can imagine you might need it for the feedback kick...)

    So my thinking, based on the above, was that you'd have 3-pins to specify N or P for that H-bridge, and just use a NOT gate to set the output on the other FET, then have a single pin for enable for the whole thing that you'd use for PWM, and just be sure to switch the bridge state when it was disabled so you didn't short it during the transitions.

    I fully realize my understanding of the problem isn't complete, so this might not be possible at all, I'm more asking if this can be done as simply as I think it can.

    Hmmm... Re-reading your answer, I think I get it - you do need one side to be un-driven so you can detect the kickback. You could easily do a 3-motor one (TriCopter) and pair them for 6 (Hexa), or do a 4-motor version using two Props. Less cost effective, but a lot simpler to code. They could even use one EEPROM if you made one boot the other (though that doubles the startup time). Hmm... You could do a single 2-prop board for 6 motors, too... I want to make one that's a tri-shape using a pair of co-axial motors per arm. A single 6-motor board would be great for that, but not so good for quad or octo configs.

    Would it be possible to use a diode and use the un-driven pins to read the kickback? IE, if you set the pin as an input, what does the MOSFET do in that case? Could you somehow multiplex the pins like that?

    I like the idea of the Prop doing multiple motor control, but I certainly see the challenge in it.

  17. #477
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    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonDorie View Post
    I thought it was possible to do it without using the X state at all - IE have PNP, PPN, and NPP states only. Connecting the positives together doesn't do anything, so there's no harm. That was my thinking at least - is this valid, or do you actually need the free-open state? (I can imagine you might need it for the feedback kick...)

    So my thinking, based on the above, was that you'd have 3-pins to specify N or P for that H-bridge, and just use a NOT gate to set the output on the other FET, then have a single pin for enable for the whole thing that you'd use for PWM, and just be sure to switch the bridge state when it was disabled so you didn't short it during the transitions.

    I fully realize my understanding of the problem isn't complete, so this might not be possible at all, I'm more asking if this can be done as simply as I think it can. [/code]
    No. You must have a small idle state between switching from P to N state or you will get a short across the power ground via the P & N mosfets. Also, only 2 wires are driven at a time. The third wire is the wire used for that section of the zero crossing feedback. And of course, you need to be able to reverse the direction in code for the 2 ccw motors unless you opt to set the motor wires swapped - which is what we do now, but its so much nicer in code.
    [code]
    Hmmm... Re-reading your answer, I think I get it - you do need one side to be un-driven so you can detect the kickback. You could easily do a 3-motor one (TriCopter) and pair them for 6 (Hexa), or do a 4-motor version using two Props. Less cost effective, but a lot simpler to code. They could even use one EEPROM if you made one boot the other (though that doubles the startup time). Hmm... You could do a single 2-prop board for 6 motors, too... I want to make one that's a tri-shape using a pair of co-axial motors per arm. A single 6-motor board would be great for that, but not so good for quad or octo configs.

    Would it be possible to use a diode and use the un-driven pins to read the kickback? IE, if you set the pin as an input, what does the MOSFET do in that case? Could you somehow multiplex the pins like that?

    I like the idea of the Prop doing multiple motor control, but I certainly see the challenge in it.
    I am looking at all possible solutions. The mosfets need to be driven, particularly the P one because you need to switch the gate to +V to turn it off and close to gnd to turn it on. Otherwise you use an N channel, but then you have to derive a gate voltage above +v by up to 10V depending on the mosfet. So you must have a switcher to create the higher voltage and that comes with a space and parts cost too.

    Unfortunately, the Quads have the most interest, so that lends itself to a quad board. 2x3 or 1x6 dual prop doesnt make any sense for Quad users.

    I am also trying to have the pcb fit the existing 1.8"sq size model too because it fits those cheap Hammond boxes for protection. The Prop GPS board parallax have is 1.8x1.85" so this should also fit with a real squeeze.

    The prop servo board I have underway was delayed for weeks because I was trying to squeeze the 4 sensors( gyro, accel, compass, press) all on the same pcb. In the end I gave up and decided to use a sensor pcb because I felt the sensor pcb could be used with other prop boards (or even non- prop boards in the hope they would transition to a prop later - just because its a better control chip than others being used). Also, I can use the Wii gyros & accels with my prop board too.

    Hope this helps Jason.
    My Prop boards: CpuBlade, TriBlade, RamBlade, www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index)
    Emulators (Index) ZiCog (Z80)
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd)

  18. #478
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    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    OOPS! Just realised I got this a little wrong. There are in fact 6 phases to drive a motor... using the P for +ve, L for -ve/gnd and X for no drive for each half bridge we have...
    PxLLxP <--- motor wire A
    xPPxLL <--- motor wire B
    LLxPPx <--- motor wire C
    My Prop boards: CpuBlade, TriBlade, RamBlade, www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index)
    Emulators (Index) ZiCog (Z80)
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd)

  19. #479

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    Today we're kitting up 22 sets of ELEV-8s. I was able to get this shot from the Tech Support guys, as the first kits are built out of our regular production cycle as a more extensive QA/QC process.

    Name:  ELEV-8 Kit.jpg
Views: 556
Size:  96.7 KB


    Now we will issue kitting jobs to build the ELEV-8 Crash Pack! Sorry guys, if you don't have the guts to crash please stay on the porch. This kind of product takes a pretty solid set of assembly skills and electronic capability (soldering, some Propeller knowledge, some patience, etc.).

    Ken Gracey

    Ken Gracey | Parallax Inc.| Direct
    : (916) 625-3010 | www.parallax.com

    Follow me on Twitter




  20. #480

    Default Re: Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availabil

    I have the guts to crash and I am ready to assemble!
    Fix it, if it ain't broke!

    D Rat

    Dave

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