The last week we have been working hard on finishing the Crazyflie with the digital sensors, MPU-6050, HMC5883L and MS5611-01BA03. We are not so sure that the magnetometer, HMC5883L, will work that well due to the strongly magnetized motors just a few centimeters from the sensor. That will be one of the upcoming tasks to find out.
Within 3-4 weeks we will receive what will hopefully be the final prototype version which later can be used for the first batch of Crazyflies. Until then we have plenty of work with software both on the PC side and the firmware. Now it is pretty late, the clock just passed 00:00 and writing at this hour is hard. We will post some video to compensate for this short post later this week :-)
When we built the latest prototypes we built two different versions. One with the ST accelerometer LIS344ALH and with the ISZ-IDG650 gyros. The other one with BOSH accelerometer BMA145 and with the ISZ-IDG500 gyros. It turned out that the LIS344ALH accelerometer is very vibration sensitive and doesn’t work that well for an application as this. If we would just have spent some time on the Internet we could have found this information in before hand… luckily we made the hardware design work with both and the BMA145 is working pretty well, however now we no longer have an alternative :-(.
The ISZ650 and IDG650 works pretty well even though they are less sensitive with their ±2000deg/s output. We can’t see any direct stability issues compared to the IXX500 versions with ±500deg/s output. Maybe we will stick with the IXX650, that way we don’t limit the flip and loop speed to much. Not that the Crazyflie can do flips/rolls right now but we are very confident it will be able to in the future, judging from its agility.
We have also been working on getting the Crazyflie easier to control for beginners. With some slew rate limiting and thrust control we seem to be getting there. Now even Marcus can fly it without any problem. He used to hit the wall or ceiling all the time before :-).
We had to cancel our weekly Monday meeting due to illnesses but we have at least made some small progress we can write about.
The radio dongle code has been updated to flash either of the two LED’s when sending data or in case of bad transmission.
On our latest prototypes we discovered that the radio transmission went pretty bad on some copters as soon as the motors where turned on. This was not a nice discovery at this time of our project and we had not really seen it before. This kind of problem could require a big re-design of the PCB! After some debugging it turned out to be the PWM switching of the motors causing ripple on the digital supply voltage. It wasn’t that much, about 60mV peak-to-peak but enough to throw the radio off balance. After some tries with different decoupling techniques to get rid of the ripple, which showed only minor improvement, we increased the motor PWM frequency from 17kHz to 280kHz. That made the ripple go away, now about 10mV peak-to-peak, and so did the radio transmission problems, yeay!
It is now Monday evening which is now our official meeting day within the Crazyflie team. From now on we intend to post a progress update every Monday evening here at the Bitcraze blog. First of we can tell you that we have, since two weeks, received our second round of prototypes. For the second round of prototypes we did some small fixes and improvements which unfortunately did not all work.
We fixed an issue with the standby current which was 150uA, due to a misplaced diode, but was supposed to be below 10uA according to our design.
We moved the battery measurement point to the actual battery instead of behind the system off switch so we can measure the battery when it is charging as well. Unfortunately a design mistake made the standby current go up to 250uA instead. Fixed one issue just to introduced another one…
We have discovered a problem with the MAX16054 ON/OFF switch we use to turn the system on and off. If the battery voltage is above 3.5V it refuses to turn on but if it is below it works as expected. We sent a support message to Maxim and hope it can be solved fast. This circuit worked on our first prototypes and it seems to be due to the now removed diode we spoke about in the first bulletin…
Other then that we are getting close to a pretty well working flying PCB.
We have tested a couple of LiPo batteries in different sizes from Fullriver. We decided to go for the 170mAh 25C battery which gives us about 7min of flight time but doesn’t add to much weight.
We have tested a lot of different pager motors in mainly the sizes 6×14 and 6×15 mm. Many of them are not the best quality but we found a good one, 2.5ohm, 6x15mm motor which is of good quality and high performance.
What is left now is the motor mountings which has turned out to be a time consuming task for us since none of us has any direct mechanical/plastic experience. We also have loads of other tasks but let’s take it one step at a time.
There is a short video of the new prototype flying that somebody took when we visited Techfest if you want to have a look.