Open Source Multicopter Controllers

If you search for the latest in affordable flight controllers, there is no way around the community projects. As an open-source project, all source code and hardware plans are freely available for anyone to produce, use, modify, and redistribute in accordance with the GNU GPL License Agreement, which requires only that the open-source nature of the project must be maintained by all who redistribute it. These are the products that will take over the DIY multicopter market for sure.

Today I received the Open Pilot CC board, which is the first commercially availible board from the Open Pilot team. I had the software installed allready, and after hooking up the board everything came to life without a single problem.

The CopterControl platform has been designed to perform the following functions:

  • a MultiRotor controller with auto-level, including TriCopters, QuadCopters and HexaCopters
  • a Flybarless Helicopter controller with auto-level
  • a Fixed Wing UAV controller

The CopterControl hardware has the following features:

  • Powerful STM32 32-bit microcontroller running at 90MIPs with 128KB Flash and 20KB RAM
  • 3-axis high-performance MEMs gyros and 3-axis high-performance MEMs accelerometer
  • Tiny 36mmx36mm 4 layer PCB for superior electrical noise reduction and flight performance.
  • Software support for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Direct high speed USB support with no drivers required, a truly plug and play device.
  • Spektrum satellite receiver support
  • Futaba S-BUS hardware support
  • Innovative Flexi-port technology for superior port flexibility
  • 4Mbits on-board EEPROM for configuration storage

A detailed review will follow when the mikro Y6 is ready. This looks very promising!

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Development of the Micro Raven 140

I have always wanted a really small UAS, and since the Raven 740 worked so well, I decided to bring the same airframe down to micro size. It’s still in the early stages of development, but I have gathered most of the parts, and the last piece of the puzzle will be the OpenPilot CC board.

On the hardware side I have been inspired by the great performance of the Shrediquette Bolt, so there is a resemblance in the power system.

  • OpenPilot CC controller
  • NMEA complient GPS
  • Futaba FASST radio system – S-Bus
  • Robbe and DragonPlate carbon materials in frame
  • 6 Robbe ROXXY BL Outrunner 1815/25
  • 6 10A ESCs
  • AirAce 3-blade propellers
  • 3 cell 1050 mAH LiPo battery

I wish to set up a 4th axis on my mill, and this build is a perfect excuse for me to finnish that project.

I will also try a version built up from plates (1st picture) with protected propellers.

New multirotor Y6 in flight

Dimensions 740mm motor to motor. 380mm height
Frame material Carbon fiber
Weight 3000g with battery and camera (GH2 w 14mm lens)
Camera mass Up to 1000g
Motors AXI 2217/20 (6)
Controller MikroKopter with navi and GPS
Radio system Futaba
Transmission technology FASST  2,4GHz
Fail Safe Hold / Come home
Battery LiPo 14,8V 4500 – 6000 mAH

Preview of the new Y6 design

I have flown the Okto for 1 year now and it is time for an upgrade. There are some nice frames on the market, but in the end, I decided to design my own.

Amazing video shot with AP multicopter in Spain

I found this great video on the homepage of Photoship One. Juan Jesus Fernandez of www.helifilm.es has made an amazing video with a mkTR camera gimbal on an Oktokopter. Enjoy!

New frames for the MK Okto

Okto airborne

I have recently been trying to find a suitable frame for our new AP platform. I still use the Joker for AP work, but that era is coming to an end, and I will use multicopters in the future. Multicopters have less moving mass, advanced sensor technology and little vibrations, which all are good things.

The variety of frames is huge. Different configurations ranges from simple 2 and 3 motors with servo tilt, to quadro, hexa, octo and variations like my current favourite the X8. X8 uses a frame with 4 arms. Each arm is equipped with 2 counter rotating motors and the front of the craft is in the center between to arms. This setup also gives me the safety of motor, propeller and controller redundancy.

My current favourite is the 600 Bagherra from 1001copters.com in France. It’s designed by Cédric Bourgoin and consist of high grade aluminium frames. The weight is just below 500g. Best of all it has the option to fold the arms for easy transportation.