Hi everyone! I am finally ready to show off something I've been working on for months! It's a motherboard (which I am calling the MAXboard) that all the various electronics for a multirotor aircraft plug into. It eliminates pretty much any possible wiring mistakes, and all soldering. It makes it much easier to build, repair, and upgrade your aircraft.
This is an open source project, and am I running a Kickstarter campain to get some funds to continue development. I am also really hoping to get the support of the DIY Drones community to help me test it and work out bugs.
There is also a frame I designed to go with it as well as a ground station I think you'll like. I'll post more information on those, as well as some videos, soon.
For more info, or to help support the project, please take a look at my Kickstarter. Thanks! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1703258614/maxrotor-open-source-plug-and-play-modular-quadcop
The dual battery part was just for powering the APM via the 2 batteries but I think it's a bit overkill. I usually fly 2 batteries (or 4 in my octo) for better C rate and a little redundancy in case one cell goes out.
Steve, I have been pretty surprized at the interest in the bare PCB reward. I did think about a reward that included the parts but ended up shelving it. I'll look into making parts kits. Also, I looked at the part you speficifed for flying dual batteries. That appears to be a pretty nice design but the current is limited to about 3A. In my experience, multirotors need more like 20-40A (my heavy octo goes over 100A!) If I do add a redundant battery connector, it will likely be a simple parallel arrangement.
John, I have done some GPS testing, but certainly not enough. I am hoping to get more feedback on that during the beta program. Keeping the GPS further away from everything would be better, but would complicate the frame and assembly, which I had hoped to avoid. It's worth noting that the MAXboard has a large ground plane between the GPS antenna and the rest of the electronics that should block a lot of interference. Also, the board is shown upside down (so you can see the components) take a look at the kickstarter, or go back through the comments to see how it is mounted to the frame.
Very interesting idea Michael. Have you done many tests with the GPS on that board yet? My concern would be it's placement among all the other EMF producing gear. Also if all that gear is face down how is it going to get reception? Seems these days the best placement is on the end of a non-conductive rod high above everything else.
I also fly with dual batteries. Can add one of these if you really want dual battery redundancy. http://www.cermark.com/products/SMART-FLY-BatShare.html
Michael maybe that could fill the missing price point in your scale. Supply the board and parts. I think it will lower the $75 estimate considering you would be buying in bulk.
Sayan, Wow! That sucks! But please don't think I am one of the lucky ones! I wrecked the very first Octocopter UtahAerials got (the only aircraft I didn't design myself) it was about $8,000. Actually, out of probably ten designs I've produced, all but four are gone. I definitely am getting better at it though.
Anyway, I will try to get a second, parallel battery connector in there. That part of the board is pretty tight, so no promises, but I will try. Thanks again for your input!
Michael, this again makes me think that modern UAV world is only for lucky people. Confusing, yes.
As for me, I had at least three battery-dependent crashes. After two of them, there appeared to be a cell with no power and maximum resistance. Just a dead cell which broke the whole current chain.
Third one was because of instant power drop: I flew up on 95% and in seconds in fell below 15%. This caused some motors to stop.
Now I never fly on a single battery. In addition to power durability, this gives ability to use 2 cheaper 20C batteries instead of one risky and expensive 40C.
BayAreaCrasher, the RC receiver I'm using (the EzUHF) does support a recieved spectrum read out. I could pretty much do what you describe with that. I'll give that a try. I can use the spectrum analyzer at work to see if there are any other obvious RF emissions as well. It will take me a little while to get to that.
Steve, I think component cost to populate a bare board will be around $75 give or take. Most of that is due to the number of connectors, at a buck or two each, it adds up. When the boards are ready to go out, I'll better prepare a shopping list for Bare PCB backers.
Schumixmd, There are cutouts in the frame so the sonar, optical flow, and downward LEDs are unobstructed. You can see the cutouts in the middle of this picture.
I didn't have the patience to read all the comments.
I just want to ask about sonar that is pointed down, but the main board is fixed on top of the frame, the same to the camera.
There are obstruction on their way so I don't get how they are working.
Michael I will get the bare board option but do you have some estimate of what the parts cost and if they are solderable by a human? :-)