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Goodbye "Fly-by Wireless"!

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Our last challenge for the Human Drone Project was to replace the radio control with a joystick. After two months of trying, we finally got the great, real-time, lag-free control!

Goodbye "fly-by-wireless"!

For this proof-of-concept, we used a video game joystick and a microcontroller to interface with the flight controller. We couldn't escape, the programming had to be done in C++ (we tried with Python and it wasn't possible to get zero-lag).

In our flight test, we couldn't use the dummy as he refused to learn how to manipulate a joystick... So I did it myself. But I'm not that crazy, we've developed three safety measures:

Our system overrides the radio control, but we programmed one of the joystick buttons to, if necessary, send the control back to the radio, which was on standby with Alvaro on the ground. We also made a failsafe: In case of any failure that interrupts the communication between the joystick and the FC (no more heartbeat), the control is returned to the radio automatically and immediately. On top of that, we've also programmed a button on the radio so that the control can be picked up from the ground at any time. Not to mention that we were in constant contact via a Bluetooth intercom.

I only dared to do a super short flight, but now, with the logs, we can evaluate the results.




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12 Comments


Lalit Madhaba jena
Lalit Madhaba jena
Apr 23, 2023

Hi Sir,

you the so much talented. but i want to made this type project in my college life .and i do not know you help me to this project and i am also from India .i love you sir and your team.

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bakhshm
bakhshm
Apr 23, 2023
Replying to

I totally agree with Marcelo, this project is far too dangerous than it seems. I am 60% complete with my project with 30 years experience in Aerospace and still facing some issues. Safety comes first, and this project is no joke with little experience. There are so many electrical and mechanical challenges with this project that can hurt you. Appreciate your advice Marcelo. :)

Muneer

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bakhshm
bakhshm
Feb 09, 2023

Hi Marcelo,

I have been watching your videos, very exciting stuff. My name is Muneer, I am also building a human drone quad x design. I just finished my structure design, stress analysis and weight calculations for it. I just received my motors, and the ESCs, propellers, batteries are on the way. Also finished the FC programing and started building the structure. lots of fun, I hope it will work. Can you please advise me with your lessons learned during your POC built? What were your challenges? I am building it for fun and I am enjoying it already!

Thank you,

Muneer

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bakhshm
bakhshm
Feb 25, 2023
Replying to

Hi Marcelo,

Update! I have received all parts at last. Finished the programming in Mission Planner. I am running into a little issue, when connecting my motor, ESC, receiver and battery the motor keeps beeping 2 beeps at a time, and twiches a little and the receiver won't power up when connecting the ESC to the red, black and white wires. When I measure the voltage at the ESC wires, I am not getting 3.5V I barely get 1V. Did you run into this issue? Do you have a suggestion to solve it? Thank you Marcelo.

My motor rating is 50-100V with 230A at peak (120s)

ESC is 300A and 400 MHz

6S X 4 = 24S batteries connected in…


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Jose Ramos
Jose Ramos
Sep 19, 2022

How much of this project is open source? Will you be sharing the actual steps and resources, or will you be selling plans?

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Marcelo Lavrador
Marcelo Lavrador
Sep 19, 2022
Replying to

Hi Jose, this project is not open source at all. I will not commercialize it, and I made it just for fun. I don't share it because it is an extremely dangerous project to be developed as a hobby, and I don't want to be even pseudo-responsible for everything bad that can happen with people trying to do this. Even so, I love open-source and frequently share what I do without cost. But I want to contribute to people's well-being. See, for example, another project that I made in 2020 which is entirely open source: www.thehumancareproject.com.

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