QuadControl - A cheap, expandable controller

Over the past couple of months I've been working on the QuadControl MCU, the intention of this is to have a cheap, easy to use and expandable control board for Quads and Hexacopters. The features are as follows:

ATMega640/1280/2560 Processor, dependent on needs, the first prototype will have the 640 as it is cheapest - they can all be used on the same PCB as they have the same footprint and fuses etc. The intention is to use the 2560.

ITG3200 3-axis gyro.

ADXL345 3-axis accelerometer.

9 Motor/Servo Outputs, the standard four for Quads plus another two for Hexa's and three for camera stabilisation.

8 Receiver Inputs.

FTDI/ISP Connections for programming and bootloading.

Expansion capable, for further I2C sensors and a 3.3V GPS.

Small Footprint, at just 38x54mm it is about half the size of an Arduino Mega2560, and significantly less tall.

The first version of this has now been successfully test flown on my quad. All features appear to be working, which is promising! The board is designed to mimic an ArduinoMega2560, so will work perfectly with MultiWii and Aeroquad code - ArduPilot is, however, untested as I'm unfamiliar with it. I'm looking for a tester or two to help me verify the design (specifically with ArduPilot and on a Hexa). As there are two small issues with this design (FTDI pins aren't in the correct sequence/tracking error) I can offer it at cost price.

I'm now in the position of looking to produce more boards, and was wanting external input. What features would you like to see on a board like this?

Views: 1034

Comment by Anish on January 14, 2012 at 10:54am
Happy to be a tester :)
Comment by Ellison Chan on January 14, 2012 at 11:19am

Interesting, this is $99 USD, but then there's no magnetometer, gps and barometer.  The APM 2.0 is $199, with mag and barometer, gps, and all integrated into one package. (at least with a small mezzanine board)

This board may be smaller footprint as is, but when you add the all the extra sensors, that will change.

As for this board being Ardupilot compatible, the software will have to be changed.  You need to add the motor support not using the APM's pwm encoder, at minimum. It works easier the other way, Aeroquad supports APM1.0 already.

Comment by Rob Watkiss on January 14, 2012 at 11:27am

@Anish: Sounds good, I'll get in touch soon.

@Ellison: There's no reason why I can't add Mag/Baro into the next revision, in a comparable footprint. It's something I've been looking into, however I don't want to have an integrated GPS as that then leads to possible limitations with placement etc. and will increase the price somewhat - something I wan't to avoid at all costs! As per ArduPilot, I feared this would be the case but it's not something I intend to remedy. Cheers for your input.

Comment by UnmannedTechShop.co.uk on January 15, 2012 at 3:27am

Very nice, I agree about integrated GPS being somewhat limited to placement.


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