Simon D. Levy's Blog (32)

HackflightSim Rebooted

In earlier posts I described HackflightSim, an open-source quadcopter flight simulator built on the V-REP robotics simulation platform, using actual C++ flight-control firmware. After seeing the kinds of beautiful,…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on October 10, 2017 at 4:31pm — 2 Comments

Flight of the Ladybug: A 32-bit brushed-motor flight controller that you program with Arduino

This video shows the Maiden flight of the Arduino-compatible STM32L4 "Ladybug" brushed-motor  flight controller from Pesky Products (enabled by the Arduino STM32L4 package…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on June 2, 2017 at 9:30pm — 5 Comments

Cable-free flight simulator with Spektrum DSM satellite + Arduino

This video shows me flying our homebrew "Hackflight Sim" quadcopter flight simulator using a Spektrum DX8 receiver without a cable. The DX8 is talking to a…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on January 19, 2017 at 2:30pm — 17 Comments

Syma X5C hacked with Quanum Pico FC

This video shows me flying a Syma X5C quadcopter, with the factory closed-source flight controller replaced by a Quanum Pico 32-bit brushed FC.  I followed the directions in the "Visible Drone" chapter of this excellent new …

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Added by Simon D. Levy on December 4, 2016 at 3:30pm — 9 Comments

Hackflight Teensycopter

This video  shows the maiden flight of my new brushed quadrotor, a “totally DIY" project using my own C++

firmware  (Multiwii clone with hardware abstraction), 3DFly

3D-printed frame, and, best of all, a 32-bit brushed-motor…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on October 7, 2016 at 5:44pm — 25 Comments

Machine-vision prototyping with HackflightSim + OpenCV

This video shows a test flight of the HackflightSim quadcopter flight simulator, with a new feature: a simulated "companion board" (Raspberry…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on July 3, 2016 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

HackflightSim: A simple quacopter flight simulator using actual C++ firmware

In earlier posts I wrote about  PyQuadSim, a Python-based flight simualator built on top of the Virtual Robot Experimentation Platform (V-REP). Although PyQuadSim enabled some pretty cool projects, it relied on a…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on May 31, 2016 at 7:22pm — No Comments

130mm quad with simple C++ firmware, Part II: The firmware

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post.  As promised, I wanted to provide some information about the C++ firmware running on this little quadcopter.

Following in the Baseflight / Cleanflight / Raceflight / Betaflight naming tradition of the 32-bit Multwii lineage, I call this firmware…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on May 17, 2016 at 4:25pm — 4 Comments

130mm quad with simple C++ firmware, Part I: The Build

I wanted to try my hand at a true "DIY" project, designing and building my own micro quadcotper frame and writing my own firmware in C++.  In this post I will describe the frame and build; in my next post I will talk about the firmware.

Excluding stuff I had lying around the shop, (heat-shrink tubing, EC-3 connectors, velcro, cable ties, etc.) the cost came to just under $170:

  • 3D-printed…
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Added by Simon D. Levy on May 16, 2016 at 7:46pm — 21 Comments

STM32F1 Flash Memory

This video shows me checking the size of the flash RAM (memory) on an MRC Naze32 (ARM STM32F103) flight controller from MultiRC. Because I am loading my own firmware onto the board, I have to short the bootloader pins on the board, via some male jumper wires I soldered on.

These inexpensive FCs with onboard flash RAM are sold for use with the Blackbox logging feature in Cleanflight, but I wanted to…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on May 16, 2016 at 10:16am — 3 Comments

Altitude hold with MB1242 sonar

This video shows the 250mm quadcopter from my previous post, holding altitude by means of its MaxBotix MB1242 ulatrasonic rangefinder (sonar). The Flip32 flight controller onboard is running a modified version of the…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on January 8, 2016 at 3:13pm — 9 Comments

MB1242 Sonar + Flip32 + Bluesmirf = Live AGL telemetry

In a recent post I showed how to get live IMU telemetry from a Flip32 flight controller using an inexpensive Bluesmirf Bluetooth modem from Sparkfun. After getting that to work I figured it was time to branch out to some external sensors.

I…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on January 6, 2016 at 7:40pm — No Comments

Lidar SLAM for $150



Since posting the BreezySLAM package for Python and other languages, I've received several inquiries about supporting the Lidar unit on the…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on January 6, 2016 at 3:01pm — 6 Comments

Fliip32 IMU over Bluetooth

This video shows a Flip32 flight controller ($15 from re readytoflyquads.com) onboard a min 250 quadcopter, sending IMU attitude telemetry (pitch, roll, yaw) to my laptop via a Bluesmirf Bluetooth module ($35 from sparkfun.com). The Bluesmirf connects to the Flip32's UART via a four-pin jumper cable, also from Sparkfun ($.095).…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on December 17, 2015 at 11:27am — No Comments

PX4Flow mount

In my last post I showed a Flip32 flight controller talking to a PX4Flow unit using the I^2C protocol.  Once that was working, I wanted to mount the PX4Flow to a vehicle and make a more permanent cable connection.

For…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on December 8, 2015 at 10:52am — 8 Comments

Flip32 talking to PX4Flow over I^2

I added a few lines of code to the Baseflight firmware to get optical-flow velocities and sonar altitude from a PX4Flow unit connected to a Flip32 flight controller over I^2C.  In the video you can see the readout on the laptop showing the computed X/Y flow velocities (meters per second) and distance (meters), multiplied by…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on December 2, 2015 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

TinyEKF: Lightweight C/C++ Extended Kalman Filter for microcontrollers

Having received many positive emails about my Extended Kalman Filter Tutorial, I wanted to see whether I could write my own general-purpose EKF from scratch, suitable for running on a microcontroller like Arduino, Teensy, and the STM32 platform…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on November 20, 2015 at 11:43am — 40 Comments

ODROID + Flip32 Mini Quadcopter, Part II: Mounting and Flying the ODROID

In my previous post I had built and flown this little 250mm quad with the Flip32 flight controller on board.  I was waiting for the arrival of a tiny …

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Added by Simon D. Levy on August 31, 2015 at 11:37pm — 14 Comments

ODROID + Flip32 Mini Quadcopter, Part I: Basic Build

Following on the work described in an earlier post, we wanted to build an inexpensive quadcopter that could be controlled by an onboard ODROID U-3 single-board computer.

We were happy with the Naze32 / Baseflight / Multiwii Serial Protocol,…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on August 8, 2015 at 9:23pm — 5 Comments

Pixhawk + ODROID + MAVLinkAutoPylot

After we demoed a little five-channel "AutoPylot" program on a Naze32 with ODROID companion board, our friends at A2USA, Inc . asked us whether we could do the same for the Pixhawk that they use for flying their big birds.  We started modifying…

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Added by Simon D. Levy on July 26, 2015 at 2:31pm — 5 Comments

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