VicaCopter 4

After spending 3 hours waiting for web pages to load, VicaCopter 4 is finally available for download. If U ever succeeded in building your own VicaCopter, U still probably wouldn't know half of what she can do.The idea with VicaCopter is to have a reference design that works but not to have you copy it exactly. It's mainly our own personal reference.It's amazing after all these years, VicaCopter is still the only English language source code for a fully functional helicopter autopilot that you can download without paying for. There is no support or warranty.Vicacopter uses a ground computer for flight control. An airborne microcontroller handles rate damping, PWM, & sensor capturing. The ground computer handles navigation & provides a simple instrument panel. Because you need a radio modem & ground station either way, it's the cheapest way to fly.VicaCopter supports 2 configurations:3 gyros & a sonar transducer for the minimal autopilot.6 DOF IMU, magnetometer, barometer, GPS for the full autopilotSome things VicaCopter can do:Can fly with under $100 of parts including a complete sonar positioning system.Automated landing & takeoffSonar position sensing for indoor flightGPS position sensing for outdoor flightGround station instrument panelUntethered communication from pilot to ground stationFully autonomous missions written in picoC scripting languageManual altitude & position changes from stick commandsCurved or linear pathsTurning towards a pointCamera trigger
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Jack,

    Could you comment what technique you used to calibrate your gyros? More specifically, how you determined the rotations necessary to align them with your accelerometers after they are all rigidly mounted. Also, did you take any steps to try to determine and correct for axis misalignment within a single sensor type - for example between x / y / z axes of the gyro?
  • VicaCopter of course. If U don't want the best, you'll have to look elsewhere.
  • Single rotor copters R very expensive & noisy. The servo burnout was either damage in the swash plate or a binding state in the neural swashplate mixer. Our taxes are going up by several thousand dollars every year & the money is vanishing. Single rotors require machined parts to do what tri rotors do electronically & have been much less reliable than tri rotors. Burned $10 on new landing gear daily. $10 on main rotor shafts weekly, $40 for new fuselage sides, $22 for new rotor housings & that was without a flybar.

    If U can afford a T-Rex 450, it certainly is smaller, has longer flight time & lifts more. It's also noisier & more dangerous. No-one besides VicaCopter ever got a T-Rex 450 to work without a flybar.

    If there was any money, I would build another T-Rex 450 with the latest autopilot/radio board, 3DOF IMU, bypassed servo electronics & operate it alongside the tri rotors. A lot of new techniques have come online which could make a flybarless T-Rex 450 UAV visually indistinguishable, cheaper & lighter than a conventional one & fly itself like a dream.
  • Developer
    Looking good. Master Crossfire, I've always wondered, what made you move from the single rotor UAV helicopters (Vicacopter 2) to the multi-blade helis? It seems like you had pretty good success with Vicacopter 2...actually it seems like you may have been the only one to get a single blade UAV heli to work (please tell me if you think there are other good open source examples out there).

    Was it the continuing cost of burnt out servos? some really difficult problems that couldn't be overcome re single prop helis? or was it just that you felt you mastered the single rotor and wanted to try your hands at a different problem?

    I ask because I'm working on a UAV heli with many ideas (and some code) taken from Vicacopter 2.
  • The README file has more information than the doc directory. The .sch files are opened with gschem. The .pcb files are opened with pcb. Since it doesn't have to make any money, it's not as well documented as the other fully autonomous tri rotors.
  • It look nice to begin with . But I looked at the code and also de doc directory inside. but could even not read the doc . Is that a doc you need a special linux reader ?
    May be its better for me to continue on easier project like the well documented UAD dev board. I bought the green one. so it could work on a tri or quad copter regarding de gyro vibration problem.
  • I think, the airframe is the easy part.
  • Oh yeah. The $100 doesn't include the airframe part.
  • Impressive project. I am somewhat skeptical of the pricetag though. Probably at least $40 for the gyros, $10 per motor, $10 per esc, and $15 for a battery and you've just gone over the $100 point even before a frame, brain, sonar system, and rc.

    Not saying it couldnt be done, but I'm quite curious about the details.
  • Jack, like Chris says, is very impressive work, and if you like, we would like to give us, more info aboute the hardware. In addition, we would like to inform, if you are willing, to manufacture and sell, the navigation system of trirotor.
This reply was deleted.