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Using a Mini Maestro to control a quadricopter

#1

Hi everyone,

I thought I’d talk a little bit here about my (crazy?) project of controlling a quadricopter using, amongst other things, a Maestro module.

It’s all explained here: bitoniau.blogspot.fr/2013/05/usi … ssion.html

I basically replaced the standard RC transmission system with a home-made one based on WiFi:
[ul][li]on the ground, I use a WiFi-equipped PC with a joystick to send commands to the Quadricopter[/li]
[li]in the air, the Quadricopter is equipped with a Raspberry Pi (hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor … 8_PA_.html).[/li][/ul]

This seems pretty overkill, but it opens the door to a lot of interesting things, like for example dual-commands: bitoniau.blogspot.fr/2013/07/qua … chool.html which works surprisingly well!

Anyway, thanks Pololu for the Maestro, it’s pretty awesome to use.

By the way, I’ve written a cross-platform C++ lib (for Windows, Linux and Mac) to control the Maestro using the serial interface. It’s here for everyone to use: bitoniau.blogspot.fr/2012/12/con … puter.html

Enjoy!

Jacques

#2

Hello, Jacques.

Wow! That’s a really cool project! The dual control feature seems useful for training others to fly. We plan to make your code available on our Maestro web pages as a Recommend Link. When it is posted, you can find it under the Resources tab of any of our Maestro product pages. For example:

pololu.com/catalog/product/1354/resources

We also plan to share this on our blog soon.

-Jon

#3

Hi Jon,
Glad you like it!
Feel free to link my blog articles and code anywhere on the Pololu site.
I hope it helps anyone interested!
Thanks!
Jacques

#4

What kind of battery pack are you using, and what is the maximum flight times you’re getting?

#5

I’ve got two power sources onboard. One for the quadricopter itself (motors, an controller) and one for the Raspberry Pi (with wifi and maestro).

The quadricopter can fly about 10/12 minutes on a 3-cell Lipo battery (typically 2200 MAh) like this one: hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor … &aff=61689

The Raspberry Pi can last I would say about 2 hours on a 2-cell Lipo (1000mAh). I haven’t measured that precisely and it depends what the Pi is doing, but it last a long time for sure.

To provide proper 5V input to the Pi, I use an UBEC like this one hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor … ction.html

Eventually I’m planning to only have one power source on the quadricopter. It’ll make it lighter. But for now it’s quite convenient to change the main power source without having to restart the Pi.