Laser range finders can be useful on UAV as altimeters and can make autonomous landings easier to perform. However adding a laser range finder to your UAV can be a little tricky. You might want the laser to be positioned far away from your flight controller, meaning you don’t want to use I2C, and you might not have a serial port to spare. This interface board uses the robust CAN bus using to connect a range of popular Lightware lasers to the common Pixhawk autopilots and others.
The laser altimeter is utilising UAVCAN which is an opensource, MIT licensed, lightweight protocol designed for resilient intra-vehicular communications. The CAN bus can also be used to re-flash the firmware meaning if you change out your laser model you can still use this board. Supplied preconfigured for a laser of your choosing, this adaptor board is compact, lightweight and has numerous screw mounts designed to be easily removed if space is short and you want to mount it directly with double sided tape.
Building things that fly is hard. The constraints on small, battery powered, radio-operated gear already presents a challenge, but adding weight, balance, and aerodynamic constraints takes it to a whole new level. Sophi Kravitz rises to the occasion and discusses each challenge of building a blimp from start to finish in her presentation at the 2018 Hackaday Belgrade conference.
One of the pleasures of writing for Hackaday comes through the incredible array of talent and experience to be found among our colleagues. We all do our own work, but one is humbled by that which flows from the benches of those one works alongside. Just such a project is the Remote Control Mini Blimp from our colleague Sophi Kravitz. It’s a game involving an obstacle course and a set of remote-controlled blimps. The challenges in such an endeavour have been pushing the limits of what is possible with off-the-shelf components.
So after a series of versions, she had a PCB with left and right motors on two arms and a lift motor pointing downwards, which she suspended beneath the helium bag. Her controllers are simple enough 3D-printed joystick housings, with another ESP8266 within. The blimp ESP8266 forms a wireless network to which the controller connects.
The BeagleDrone is fixed-wing autopilot project based on the BeagleBone and the IMU cape. The IMU cape provides a 3-axis magnetometer, accelerometer, gyro and a barometer on the BeagleBone’s I2C bus. There is also an AVR micro on the I2C bus that handles output pulse timing of the 8 servo channels and input pulse timing on the 4 radio signal channels. Two of the BeagleBone’s UARTs are exposed via FTDI-compatible connectors to allow connection of external modules like GPS and telemetry. It also has a regulator that provides 5VDC for the BeagleBone, AVR, and servos from the RC battery.
The BeagleBone provides the power of Linux in a footprint that is acceptable for RC and the Black has now made the platform even more affordable. With Linux’s extensive libraries and utilities almost any feature should be quickly realizable and development enjoyable. And unlike an autopilot powered by an 8 or 16 bit micro-controller, there is no need to worry about code and data size or overloading the processor with whatever crazy navigation features you can dream up.
I enjoy flying electric RC planes whenever I get the chance and building a fixed-wing autopilot for the BeagleBone has been on my list for a while now. Of course, there’s no reason that the BeagleBone couldn’t also control a multi-rotor aircraft. A flying Linux box is going to have very few limitations!
AlienWhoop flight controller for Tiny Whoop, Blade Inductrix, Eachine, BetaFPV, and other micro brushed quadcopter frames. Fully complete and hand assembled in the USA. Best in class flight controller running BetaFlight 3.2 release candidate (upgradable)–no surface mount soldering required.
UAV flight controller [..] using the ESP8266EX Tensilica Xtensa system-on-chip, the EM7180+MPU9250+MS5637 (Ultimate Sensor Fusion Solution) for motion sensing and low on-resistance (20 mOhm) n-type DMN2041L MOSFets to drive up to four brushed motors using PWM signals