Low Cost Arduino Based Auto-Stabilizing System

There are a lot of choices when it comes to picking a flight controller for your quadcopter.   If you are looking for a low cost way to auto-stabilize your quadcopter, this is the guide for you!

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Improving a Quadcopter’s Stability

Getting a quadcopter stable in the air isn’t trivial.  Stability of a quadcopter relies on the harmonious working of all of it’s parts.

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How-to Balance a Propeller

An unbalanced propeller produces excessive vibration.  This vibration travels through the entire airframe affecting the handling of the aircraft,  produces inaccurate readings by the sensors, and creates premature failure of motor bearings and parts.  A balanced propeller is paramount to a stable aircraft.  A balanced propeller produces less vibration and draws less current, which results in greater stability and extended flight times.  You should balance any propeller before installing it on your aircraft.  Balancing a propeller requires the use of a special tool, you guessed it a propeller balancer.  The propeller balancer that I use is the Top Flite Propeller balance.  It is essentially a shaft held by two magnets.  The magnets create a frictionless surface for the shaft to spin freely.  Read More…

Sensors

ArduPilot Mega IMU board

For Scout to auto-stabilize, it needs sensors to find its orientation in space.  No one sensor can do this on its own.  It takes several different sensors working together to calculate Scout’s orientation.  The sensors used to calculate orientation are gyroscopes and accelerometers.  More recently, magnetometers are being incorporated to calculate direction.

Conveniently, there are boards that incorporate all of these sensors together.  These boards are called inertial measurement unit, or IMU.  An IMU uses accelerometers and gyroscopes to measure and report the aircrafts velocity, orientation and gravitational forces on multiples axis.

Scout uses the ArduPilot Mega IMU shield.  I chose this board because it was developed to work with the ArduPilot Mega board.