Playing outside

While we are waiting for our prototypes to arrive, the ETA is the 18th of may which is a looong wait, we thought we would play around with the Crazyflie outside now when spring has finally reached the south of Sweden. The drawback with a quadcopter this small is that it doesn’t work that well when it is windy outside but the upside is that it is pretty durable which makes great for some crazy testing :-). This Monday it was very calm outside and we got the idea to throw it in the air and try to make a “throwing start”. From the beginning we thought, no way, but it actually worked better then we thought. Here are some of the clips of  the more successful attempts :-)

We also bought one of these very popular key chain spy cameras to try and get some on-board action footage. We removed the electronics from the casing, removed the battery and connected it to our battery instead. We even removed the mini-USB connector to save weight. It all ended up in about 25g including the Crazyflie which is OK. Now it is really starting to look as an insect of some sort…

Frame from onboard video footage

We managed to take a short on-board video but the camera doesn’t handle the battery voltage drop and resets pretty easily as soon as you hit the thrust. Maybe it is possible to power it from our stable 2.8V instead because now it is pretty useless. Also the view-angle is to narrow as well as the framerate being too low to get any good footage. We seem to have gotten the 808 #14 model which isn’t supposed to be the best. At least the Crazyflie is looking pretty mean with it attached :-). Further investigations will be done when we have some time left over.

15 comments on “Playing outside

  • Hello
    your project is really good
    we are exposing drones on Eurosatory
    i would like to show a video and a crazyflie if possible. we already have contacts in security/defense interested with a small drone like crazyflie.


  • I was wandering about legs of the board(for motor mounts).
    They seem to be very fragile. Do they break?

    • The PCBoard is very solid so the ‘legs’ are really not that fragile. We have managed to break them 2 times only and that was very violent crash when the copter fall in a very precise way. The PCB always broke at the same point (at the junction between the central part and the ‘legs’) so we modified slightly the shape for the next prototype which should prevent it from happening again (the junction is now larger and cleaner).

  • when you build a quadcopter, how do you decide which motors are to be used?I don’t wanna end up wasting my money, so thought of taking expert advice, before taking a step forward. Planning to make a 10cm (motor to motor-diagonal) quad.

    • Well I whish there was an easy answer to that. We have been testing many different motors until we found one that is right. For us, since we currently don’t have the knowledge or money it takes to design our own propeller, it was mainly about the work matching the motor to the propeller. On the market there are plenty of motor/prop combos which work fine but not yet for micro-quads. We hope to be able to change that when we can offer our motor/prop as spare parts.

  • I really like your project,and want to watch your video,but i am in the Mainland China,can’t log on the Youtube. So can you upload the video to other websites? Eg the it like the Youtube in the China.

  • You guys have done a great job! Looking forward to purchasing one. Keep up the good work

  • Btw, are you guys using a standard PID-Controller? Or are you doing some sort of cascaded control.. e.g. Angle + Angular-speed control?

    I’m asking because I’m actually quite amazed by the stability, and I have actually never really achieved very good results with standard PID-controllers.

    Although I’ve used pretty sophisticated PID controllers (incl. Anti-Windup, and D-term implemented with a integrator in order to cope with noise problems) I’m still experiencing the best results with cascaded controllers.

    I don’t know if you guys have Skype, but If you’d like to exchange some technical stuff I’d be pleased.

    My email should be visible to you, so feel free if you’re interested.

    • Hi Florian,

      We started out with a single PID controller but we have moved to a cascaded PID controller. With the cascaded controller we experience, as you, a little bit better stability.

      We don’t have that much time to exchange technical stuff right now but maybe later when all the release work is done.

  • Hi!
    Is this an open source project? Are schematics, and firmware source code available?

    • Hi Matjaz,
      We are going to release schematic and firmware when the copter is released.

        • We have been trying to get it ready within the first half of 2012 but it might be hard to meet that deadline. A lot depends on how the new prototypes turn out. We are working as much as we physically can to get it ready ;-)

  • The 808-18 is a much better 720 video recorder and is not much bigger than the 14. retails for around $40.
    Would be amazing if you could have it record to SD or bluetooth to a handheld device!

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