Reverse engineering the Syma 107 toy helicopter IR protocol

If you've played with the Syma 107, you'll know that it's an amazingly stable, fun and cheap ($16!) toy helicopter. Maybe a good platform for a micro UAV? Possibly, but you'll need to be able to hack into its control signals first. Kerry Wong to the rescue..

From Hackaday:

[Kerry Wong] bought a Syma S107G helicopter for his son. The flying toy is IR controlled and he reverse engineered the protocol it uses. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of thing with the toy. In fact, we already know the protocol has been sniffed and there is even a jammer project floating around out there. But we took a good look at this because of what you can learn from [Kerry's] process.

He starts by connecting an IR photo diode to his oscilloscope. This gave him the timing between commands and allowed him to verify that the signals are encoded in a 38 kHz carrier signal. He then switched over to an IR module designed to demodulate this frequency. From there he captures and graphs all of the possible control configuration, establishing a timing and command set for the device. He finishes it off by building a replacement controller based on an Arduino. You can see a video of that hardware after the break.

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Comment by Bob Wilkinson on August 27, 2012 at 8:40pm
I wonder if you could combine this with Kinect and build an "off-board" autopilot? It may be difficult to get attitude information though...
Comment by Jack Crossfire on August 28, 2012 at 12:22am

The advantage would be someone could easily repeat it, as opposed to this virtuoso soldering job:

As that guy found out,

The lack of roll control made an autopilot not worth the effort.


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