Indoor fun with a tiny ArduCopter quadcopter

Do you have an Ardupilot Mega and shield and want some fun for little money? check this tiny quad... my last drone in family...

Some specs:
- Size : 26.5cm (10.4 inches) from motor to motor
- Motors : 18-11 200kv 10 gram motors
- Props : 4x2.5 (standard CCW props)
- ESCs : Turnigy 6A
- Battery : 3S610 (or 3S800)
- Sonar : Maxbotics LV-EZ0 [optional]

The nice part about this frame is that it use standard kite parts, so it´s very easy to construct and it´s perfect for some radical tests.
Itried to find a bit different design that also make the quad less simmetrical (it´s very easy to loss the orientation with a quad) and I wanted to do as small as posible to flight indoors...
At this size and weight it´s very safe and robust also. The props use prop savers and this help a lot in crashes...
I am not very good writing... so I took a lot of photos during the build phase and I created a build log:

This code supports a sonar for altitude hold and also has a battery alarm (2 alarms).
Thisquad works with ArduCopter code, but because how main board is mounted, actual code doesn´t work. This is the code that I used with this quad :
(as zip format: )
note that this will be integrated on main Arducopter code. Now is temporarily in a branch.
ThePID gains are different than in standard ArduCopter, so you need to Initialize EEPROM on Configurator or put this ones manually:
-Stable mode: P : 4.8 ; I : 0.12 ; P_rate (D in configurator) : 0.4 ; Yaw : (4.5 ,0.15 ,2.8 )
-Acrobatic mode : P : 0.75 ; I : 0.1 ; D : 0 ; Yaw : (2.4 ,0.2 ,0 )

OK, but was all so perfect like in the video? I don´t believe that...
Yes, you are right, but fortunately this design is very crash resistance... and this part is also fun...

After all this battles I only needed a few drops of ciano in the crash with the lamppost :-)

What´s the real size?

On center, standard arducopter frame, on left, old ArduIMU quadcopter part III, on right-top this project.

And what about the automatic aerobatics on video?
I am starting to test a new function to do automatic aerobatics (Automatic Aerobatic Procedure). The idea is that you enable this function with a switch in the Tx to make an automatic predefined aerobatic and then automatically recover to a stable mode.
Thisis actually a proof of concept but works very nice. One limit here is the maximun rate of the gyros, in our case 500deg/s. If we exceed this, the IMU get confused...
An interesting point to note is that the IMU doesn´t loose the orientation in this hard movements...
Thestory is that I have never feel too much confidence doing flips manually with quads. Then I start thinking that with an automatic code we can get a precise timing and controled movement so maybe this could help to do better aerobatics. I started testing this function outdoor, on an open field but I was improving the code and got more tightly maneuvers, so tight, that I ended up doing flips with a quad inside my room!!!

Here is the code I was testing : (AAP function:
AAP.txt )
I implemented this functionality as a state machine where there are three kind of states:
- fixed commands for a limited period of time. (example : Apply a throttle command)
- fixed commands until we reach some IMU state (example : roll until we reach a certain angle)
- And a mix between this categories and a control (example : Throttle command + stable mode on roll, pitch, yaw)
There are many things to test and improve here but the basic concept works very nice...

If I can get a bit of help from a friend, I will probably made a carbon fuselage for this prototype...

Enjoy this “Science & Fun” mix...

Jose Julio.
Arducopter Team
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  • Mine is 265 gr... may be too heavy because I feel that the battery last no more than 5 minutes ¿what about yours?
  • 246gr.
  • thx again Jose Angel. Another question, how weight is your quad with battery?
  • @Pizcolq I have the LVEZ0 as suggested by JoseJulio (still haven't tried it). Arducopter wiki sonar section, recommends the Maxbotix LV-EZ4 or XL-Maxsonar EZ4. I suppose is a matter of precission vs price.


    I have soldered with a minimum inclination to avoid the contact with the shiled pins. Apparently it works ok although I haven't performed full test.



  • thx Jose Angel. No I have not used sonar. I wanted go step by step, so next is activate magneto and buy the sonar. I am doubtting bettween the XL and LV EZ0 ¿which one do you suggest?

    About magneto, I have tried to solder in the place you tell, but I see that the magneto components contact with shield solder pins ¿doesn´t it a problem?
  • @Pizcolq Agree. After several days/weeks, I realized that it has no sense trying to trim on your radio just observing the movements of the quad in the first 10cm of high. After solving the yaw (either tilting motors or triming radio) try to get it to about 1 meter and leave the radio sticks in the normal position.... in this point check where the quad is going and try to trim the controls to solve it (or if you are in the limits of the radio trim, modify accel offsets in the configurator).


    No special configuration for the pirates. Just adjust your settings in the new config.h. You can use CLI for most of the configuration and configurator for the PID settings (I just use the JoseJulio's PID settings and it flights ok.)


    I have soldered the diydrones magneto like the wiki suggest ( Only 1 flight with the magneto but I dont see special differences. I think that both codes supports it but in indoor is disabled by default.


    My next step: install the sonar. I think that if the sonar is defined in the indoor code it is used in the stable mode. In the pirates code you need to change to altitude hold in the radio. #Pizcolq, have you used the sonar?


    Thanks to the community!


  • Congratulations Jose Angel. Me too, at last!!! after a week trying and trying I could fly today my Tinycopter. I am not sure the reason why it didn´t flight before. Probably because I was so afraid, and tried to flight it just 2 cms over the floor so it was really nervous. Today I decided to elevate it at 1 meter and the result was excelent, really smooth and beautifull flight.


    Jose Angel, is it necesary to change anything in the code/cnfiguratr, specially about PIDs values, to use the tinycopter with ArdupiratesNG code?

    I have the DIYdrones magneto but still not instaled, mainly because I not sure which is the best way to place it. Do you recomend me to install it? does the indoor_copter code support it? and what about the ArdupiratesNG?


    Thks to Jose Julio and everyone

  • After two months working in my "@JoseJulio's tiny" clone, today I have been able to perform a very stable flight! No acrobatics yet :)

    I have also tested the new ArduPiratesNG code which supports the APM between the front motors and it is also very stable.

    It would be great to incorporate the acrobatics code inside the ardupiratesng version.

    Thanks to @JoseJulio and all the arducopter community. Because of you, I'm a new fan of the multirotor world.
    This domain may be for sale!
  • Jose, great work! I was wondering if you could explain me a few things:

    when doing the auto aerobatics, do you need to be in ACRO mode?

    You seem to have not implemented this function in your zip file, so my question is how do you trigger such function? Are you using a switch on the TX or with a preset stick movement? If it is the first, do you think it would be possible to trigger it bu using predefined stick movements (eg. Airelon left-right) more or less like a combo in street fighter... :)?

    Thanks and very inspiring!



  • Developer

    @pizcolq, yes like Sebastian said, CLI don´t work on this version of code...

    One think we could do is to take the last NG code and make the update to support this quad. The only main difference is the support for the tiny quad X mode where the board is pointing forward. But this is an easy change in the code (only a mix in the ouput)



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