Posted on Feb 5, 2014

The system described here is a four motor rotary wing aircraft with 3 inch propellers. The overall size of version one is about four inches. A 418MHz digital radio is used for communications and control and an onboard PIC17 microcontroller and L293DD mosfet power chips drive the motors. The printed circuit boards form an X shape that serves as the

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frame that holds the motors, hence the name "PCB flyer". A second version of the flyer has been built using Astroflight Firefly motors with 16:1 gearboxes that turn 10 inch custom propellors at 2000 rpm. It uses Murata rate gyros for stabilization and is powered by a battery pack of four 2/3 size Tadiron lithium cells. The schematics and construction details of version two are described. The PCB flyer is a systems integration test bed that was constructed for exploring various approaches to communication, sensing, stabilization, and control. Exploration of algorithms and techniques for flight stability and semi-autonomous navigation requires a flexible and programmable prototyping platform. Such a platform is needed to validate physical simulations of both the flight characteristics and sensor functions. The system consists of two main parts, a custom transmitter on the ground for radio communications and control, and a flyer with onboard micro-controller, radio, and other peripherals. The motors are Watt-Age Sub Micro B2 motors with custom propellers similar to the B2 props but fabricated in both left handed and right handed versions. The battery is an eight-cell pack of 50 mAh Sanyo NiCads. Without motors or battery the flyer weighs 9 grams. The custom transmitter shown below uses a Great Planes Real Flight Futaba controller with a joystick port output plugged into a board containing a Microchip PIC17C756A...

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