The YMFC-3D V2 flight controller enables everyone to create their own Arduino drone.
Quadcopters, or “drones” as they are sometimes inaccurately known, seem to be getting a lot of attention currently. There are, of course, many off-the-shelf components to control your flying contraption, but if a stock flight controller (FC) isn’t geeky enough, you can always turn an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) into one.
That’s exactly what Joop Brokking has done. As the creator puts it, “I made the YMFC-3D [Your Multicopter Flight Controller] V2 flight controller software so everybody can build their own Arduino quadcopter and having a great learning experience.”
The video below explains things nicely, but to summarize, his Arduino software is divided into three sketches that attempt to automate much of the configuration procedure. First, a setup program is loaded into the Uno, which outputs specific steps for the user to go through to set up the transmitter and gyroscope. Next, a separate program is employed to help calibrate the electronic speed controllers, commonly known as ESCs, that directly power the motors. Finally, the actual FC program is loaded into the Arduino, so you can actually test out and fly your ‘copter.
For more information, as well as source code, you’ll want to check out Brokking’s website. He also has information there on his earlier version, which is meant for those already experienced with radio controlled flight and the Arduino.
One neat thing about a build like this is that, in theory, one could program the Uno to do all kinds of tricks, like control an LED strip while in flight or turn a servo. This concept could, it would seem, even be expanded to maneuver other kinds of RC vehicles. On the other hand, one would need to be careful not to tie up too much processing power and quite literally “crash” your system!