Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Planes that Fly Themselves!

I am fortunate to have received an ArduPilot Mega from Metanomy (www.metanomy.org)!

I gently (yeah right!) opened it and revealed.....
...and quickly went to work to assemble it....


...yeah yeah, female headers instead of male headers!! Not to worry, potato tomato

then programming! And its all good. Later, a little show and tell on how it works!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Clutter or research? You decide!

I'm still battling with making a good Electronic Speed Control for my three brushless motors! My main issue is the transistors I am using, and my microcontroller! I am using a good trusty and reliable MSP 430 LaunchPad I got from Dan, who also gave me the three brushless motors as well as other goodies! So the micro-controller is a low power device (good for battery life, hard for switching power transistors), and I therefore need a pull-up transistor... So ....

I am using as usual the power supply from an old computer, and some power transistors. I am using a smaller 2N5551 trusty transistor to pull up the 3V source from the MSP430 to 12V for the power TIP142 transistors (feel free to stop me anytime, I'm a novice at electronics!)

In the picture you can also see one of the brushless motors!

Through this research, I am learning a lot of lessons in electronics and how better I can integrate my lessons to the Flying Thing! Eventually I will get an ESC for my purpose, but there are no lessons learnt from getting one right away! Not to mention the cost of acquiring one!

More clutter later!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Airplane design

When designing the Flying Thing, I did a quick and dirty whip-up of what I thought would fly, hence the name Flying Thing! This is undesirable, and you don't need an aeronautical engineer to spell looming doom somewhere along the corner!

My next design is well researched, and I am still in the process of identifying suitable airframe based on the characteristics I seek: Endurance, payload, service, speed, you name it!

Obviously the key is always cost: Keeping it low that is!!

From above you can see (not the clutter I hope!) the Flying Thing's general design, initially had a t-tail. This is the conventional tail most aircraft have, though of late I've come to realise there's nothing conventional where aircraft are concerned!

I've now fitted the flying thing with a v-tail, after a crash left the t-tail smashed and badly damaged!

Now you can see clearing I was following no design, just experimenting! You will have a lot more fun if you just have it without formalising your fun! Of course observe general laws of physics where you fun's concerned!

Have a safe flight!

Make do with the electronics available to you

I am learning new things everytime I work on the Flying Thing prototype. Though scarce are the necessary electronics, I am making do with what is available, so as to prove concepts early enough prior to development of a stable and working monitoring aircraft.

 I received three brushless motors from Dan, and I've no way of making them work: I have no Electronic Speed Control (ESC). So I've embarked to built one using transistors. photos below.
The photo above.... I am using an old laptop's parallel port to fire transistors: Three half bridges (six transistors) to generate the required 3 phase signal....