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Arduino Quadcopter : The ULTIMATE guide to building your own DIY drone! [Updated 2019]

Published on 
April 20, 2017

Building an arduino quadcopter is no doubt, challenging. 

That being said, arduino is arguably the best tool for rapid prototyping with one of the best communities and learning material out there.

With enough learning, persistence and patience, building an arduino quadcopter is within anyone's reach.

This guidebook is an intelligently arranged collection of resources designed to take you step by step from absolute beginner with no clue about the workings of a multirotor or arduino programming to building your very own arduino quadcopter.

Read on! 

The Definitive Arduino Quadcopter Guidebook ContentsRecommended prerequisite and how you should use this guideChapter 1 : Understanding the arduino quadcopter - Multirotor fundamentalsChapter 2 : Arduino Quadcopter - What are the hardware and parts required to build your arduino quadcopter?Chapter 3: Learn how to solderChapter 4 : Learn arduino programming with C and power electronics Chapter 5: Learn how to program the arduino as your flight controllerChapter 6: : Learn how to build your arduino quadcopter from ready made projectsChapter 7 : How to build advanced autonomous aerial robotsConclusion

Recommended prerequisite and how you should use this guide

The following are the prerequisite skills you will need if you want to build an arduino quadcopter absolutely from scratchwithout copy and pasting someone else’s code.

  • C/C++
  • Arduino and arduino programming libraries
  • Basic power electronics

We’ve included how to get these skills in Chapter4.It is important to make sure you at least have a basic understanding of themto build your own arduino quadcopter.

Ideally, you should go from Chapter 1 all the way to Chapter 6 (Chapter 7 is a bonus!). That being said, we’ve also included somepre-made arduino builds(with pre-made code)that you can followstep by step to build your own arduino quadcopter inChapter 6.

Though you can technically follow the builds and copy paste the code,bear in mind that if you truly want to understand what you are doing, make your own tweaksand actually be able to fix errors if you encounter any, start fromChapter 4before going toChapter 6.

Remember that with this guide, you are not merely assembling a quadcopter with a pre-made flight controller.You are building your ownDIYarduino flight controller!

Chapter 1 : Understanding the arduino quadcopter - Multirotor fundamentals

If you are absolutely new to multirotors or need some brushing up, the following resources will help you get started with how multirotors work and the principles behind them

Chapter 2 : Arduino Quadcopter - What are the hardware and parts required to build your arduino quadcopter?

In this chapter, you will learn what parts would make up your quadcopter and how to pick the right parts to build quality multirotors that can fly really well. 

a.) Choosing the right frame/body for your arduino quadcopter

Ready-made frames:

  • Best quadcopter kits : Use the frames, motors and propellers minus the flight controller for ready-made quadcopter frame, motors. ESCs and prop setup for your arduino quadcopter.

Build your own frames:

  • Frame made out of duct tape:

  • Frame made out of plastic box:

b.) Choosing the right motors, propellers and ESCs for your arduino quadcopter

c.) Batteries

d.) Arduino : Your flight controller

Most of your work will be done on an Arduino Uno board. However, if you are new to arduino, here are some recommended readings:

e.) Transmitter and receiver

Chapter 3: Learn how to solder

Soldering skill is essential to build any device from scratch, your arduino quadcopter included. The resources in this chapter will help you master exactly the skills you will need.

Chapter 4 : Learn arduino programming with C and power electronics 

In order to truly understand what you are doing, you must master arduino programming with C and basic power electronics before you go about following a pre-made arduino quadcopter build in Chapter 6. Use the following resources!

Free Courses

Books

Blogs

Forums

Chapter 5: Learn how to program the arduino as your flight controller

This chapter is where you truly start to learn how to program your own multirotor!

Chapter 6: : Learn how to build your arduino quadcopter from ready made projects

You don't have to always reinvent the wheel from absolute scratch. The following resources are great to follow step-by step and learn how to build your own arduino quadcopter before venturing onto your own custom builds  

Chapter 7 : How to build advanced autonomous aerial robots

So far, you have learned how to build a basic arduino quadcopter with stabilzation features. In this chapter, you'll take things one notch further. You will learn to build autonomous aerial systems!

Conclusion

Ideally, you should be going from Chapter 1 to Chapter 6 in a sequence. However, if you are already familiar with the concepts in certain chapters, feel free to skip them.

Most beginners would love a "quick" solution to building their own arduino quadcopter. To reiterate what we already said earlier, you can do a quick build by following the pre-made plans that we have listed in Chapter 6.

While you do not have to attain mastery, we recommend you at least be familiar with SOME of the basics of arduino programming and power electronics in Chapter 4 ​to gain maximum learning and understanding out of building an arduino quadcopter.

Moreover, being familiar with the basics will enable you to make your own tweaks and get yourself "unstuck" should you stumble upon any​ roadblocks and errors along the way.

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