Hackhawk Mark III: ESP32 TinyPICO as a brushless flight controller

My hacked Altair Aerial Blackhawk continues to serve as a great test platform for experiments in DIY flight controllers. So, when I heard the buzz surrounding the ESP32 line of Arduino-compatible microcontrollers (Dual 240 MHz cores, WiFi/Bluetooth on-chip), I knew I had to try one of these boards on the "Hackhawk".  

If you've been following the developments in the ESP32 community, you know that the smallest ESP32 board is the recently-released TinyPICO.  With its petite form factor, this board seemed to me like an obvious choice for indoor MAVs, and I wasn't disappointed.  This wiki shows how I got the Hackhawk flying with the TinyPICO, using my favorite IMU solution and some small additions to my platform-independent C++ flight-control firmware toolkit. 

Future plans for this project include:

  1. Finding (or designing) an IMU that will mount on the TinyPICO without sacrificing two of the GPIO pins to serve as power and ground.
  2. Switching from standard / old-school ESCs to DSHOT600, using C++ code I've already tested on ESP32 boards. (The ESP32's RMT signal module and FreeRTOS kernel make this especially easy.)
  3. Using the TinyPICO's on-board Bluetooth (or wifi) for real-time sensor telemetry, and possibly even control from a mobile device.

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Comment by Rana on October 22, 2019 at 6:07am

I have gone through most of your videos on this project and observed that the flight stabilization itself is at not at par with the Ardupilot based Pixhawk. However the flight stabilization is at par with APM code of year 2010-2011.

I appreciate your efforts and your time investment. I think you own a high caliber in programming and should consider to contribute in further developments in the current Ardupilot Code. See, wheel is alredy invented, one should only invent his own wheel only for the learning purpose and not for the world because world.

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