This same method is used for all multicopters with 4 propellers and more. But
be sure to look into how tricopters fly. They
have a different way of turning, with a servo
on one arm, giving an extraordinary cool and
futuristic Superman-like flight.
I haven’t tried any tricopter kits, but they’re
available online, and there’s a good discussion of the pros and cons in the forums at
diydrones.com. David Windestål has posted
good videos and build instructions for his
Tricopter V2.5 at
rcexplorer.se (Figure H).
» Mikrokopter If you’re buying your first
multicopter, avoid products from Germany-based Mikrokopter. Their products are like a
magnet for newbies because of the impressive technical specifications and videos on
You Tube, but their products, pricing, and
level of documentation and service are by
far the worst, especially for people new to
the multicopter jungle.
Mikrokopter has a reseller program, so
you’ll find them in many places. If you really
need one, I recommend you get it from
mikrokopter.us, because that shop is run
by people who try hard to do well where
the original German shop does poorly.
IKK Plus 5.5e (front) Yaw Pitch Roll Gyro Gyro ref voltage
M6 M5 M4 M3 M2 M1
Building Your Own Multicopter
Once you’ve played with multicopters, you’ll
realize that building one is a project that you
could take on. Here are the basics:
» Batteries and Motors The real magic here
is the combination of the very powerful lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries and brushless
motors. These 2 components, with just a normal R/C plane propeller on the motor, can lift
themselves right off the ground, and so this
combination can make virtually anything fly.
Johanna Windestål (H)
» ESCs and Control Board A multicopter’s
flight must be controlled and balanced in a
certain way. The motors are controlled by
little units called electronic speed controllers
(ESCs), and these need signals telling them
how much power to pass on.
In a multicopter, that signal comes from a
special control board. The control board is
hooked up to a standard R/C plane receiver,
and possibly other peripherals such as GPS,
or whatever your imagination and wallet allow.
Probably the 2 most popular control boards
right now are HobbyKing’s Multi-Rotor Control
Board V2.1 (
hobbyking.com) and Multi RC
Shop’s KK Plus V5.5e Multicopter Controller
multircshop.com), both based on Atmel's
ATmega168 microcontroller chip (Figure I).
Arduino-oriented makers might prefer DIY
Drones’ ArduCopter system (code.google.
com/p/arducopter), with its ArduPilot Mega
board based on the ATmega2560 (Figure J).
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