Hi all, I'm hoping that my question is not too open ended.

I'm interested in learning how to code the control systems for quadcopters. As a start, I would like to look into solving the equations and coding for hovering maybe? There are a lot of systems out there, and it is confusing. I'm hoping that the ArduCopter has open source code that I can look at, and that the good members here can point me to a suitable kit, perhaps a micro-drone, because I will be crashing it a lot.

If the ArduCopter group is not the right place to put this in, then I do apologise and hope that someone can point me to the right direction.

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Yes, it's all open source and all here. This is all in the menus at the top of the site. 

https://github.com/ArduPilot/ardupilot is the source code. There really are no "developement kits" for this.

Grab yourself a cheap frame, some motors, escs, some props, and a hawk [many of which now are going for about 60 dollars] and start coding away :)

Thank you all very much for the speedy replies, I will look through the documentation by Emin :)

Dear Craig,

Thanks very much for your reply. I assume the hawk you speak of is the onboard computer? The Pixhawk (or other similiar device)?

It seems like I would have to assemble this myself, so would you mind doing me another kindness by pointing me to a site or document on how to put the physical device together?

I'm terribly sorry for the beginner questions, because I am far more interested in the coding, my knowledge on electronics is terribly low.

Thank you again for your time, Craig. 

everyone was new at one time or another. 

There are many "beginer's guides" on building multirotors which can go a long way in helping you decide.or if you want to just jump in I'd suggest buying a used MR over at the classified section at RCGroups. You can get some great deals on some quads that are ready to "fly" or some that just need a flight controller, etc.

You're also going to need a Transmitter and Reciver to control it. As Chris is CEO of 3D Robotics he is going to want you to buy one of his Birds :) and they are extremely nice machines "Solo" but when I was new the last thing I wanted was an expensive starter machine since I crashed so much.

3DR also helped develop the Pixhawk and help with the software that runs it. [ArduPilot]

If you want to PM me I'd be glad to help you get started with everything. 

You might also be interested in reviewing this course (offered by Penn State through Coursera): https://www.coursera.org/learn/robotics-flight

It covers the mathematical representation of the control problem, which may help you to understand what various pieces of software are doing.

Thank you very much for your reply Tim, :D It so happens that I am taking that course, so perhaps great minds think alike and all that? ;)

I'm almost through the first part, and it's been quite challenging, and I really want to solidify the concepts in my mind, which is why I would like to have a kit to experiment with.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2691960 looks to be a good deal and only needs you to supply a hawk/GPS/RX/TX, Arms are still available and cheap :)

Thanks Craig, I have sent the seller a PM. Let's see what he says :)

The nice thing about these old frames is the arms are like 4 bucks each and the plates are pretty cheap as well. You can entire replacement frames for like 15 bucks [without the PCB on the bottom plate] on ebay so parts are readily available :)

The motors are fair [but the bearings tend to get noisy and chatter] but as a learner platform they are pretty good all in all. 

I'm not a fan of DJI to be honest, but they did a few things back then that were pretty cool and the old Flamewheels where one of them :)

If you don't mind a little soldering you can always just make one yourself for about 75 bucks





or if you prefer you can get complete kits for a few dollars more

complete kit


That's a sweet list you have given me Craig, thank you so much! I think I will get this one:


After talking to the seller from rcgroups, due to shipping unfortunately(I'm not from the US), I have to let that go. 

Just a few more questions if you don't mind Craig, this kit needs a flight controller and batteries, and I was thinking of these, will they be suitable, do you think?



Also, the other sensors like gyrometer, GPS, IMU, do they come built into the Pixhawk or do they need to be gotten seperately?

Thanks so much for your kind answers Craig.





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