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Home✈️Aircraft🚁HelicopterHelicopter Main Discussion › Found an old gyro I made..
04-23-2009 02:07 AM  10 years ago
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caseyjholmes

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Found an old gyro I made..
Was sorting through some old junk today when I came across an old gyro I made a few years ago. It was designed for a 2 cell tail motor helicopter. I thought up and designed the circuit and programming myself. It consist of a surface mount Atmel AVR MCU sitting on a custom home designed PCB programmed via ISP for brain power, an old ceramic or peizo electric gyro sensor that I stole from another gyro just to play with. (back then, the sensors were not easy to obtain for experimentation as with todays' MEMS accelerometer technology)

I actually debugged and learned to read and program the sensor and voltage references and got it working with a tail motor driven by a tiny surface mount transistor straight to the power bus. I also included a small potentiometer (orange thing on bottom left of breadboard) for gain adjustment.

Did it ever work?
Yes!
After the "breadboarded" version, I "freeformed" this gyro. Meaning, I assembled the electronic components of the gyro without a circuit board. Glued them all together to make them very small and literally ran tiny wires to connect everything. I put it in a MIA bumble bee V2 or whatever it was and it held the tail in one spot without wag.

I don't know what the heck happened to the helicopter or the final gyro I made as they are buried around here somewhere, but here is a short video of the old dusty breadboard gyro I did find. The LED's basically blink to indicate what the pager tail motor is doing. (picture this as the multi color LED on those tiny all in one gyro units!) You can hear the tail motor as well. The sensor is the rectangular thing on the right. You can also see various programming connection cables and also a portion of a brushless speed control I made in the background. On some old RC groups thread I think there's a video of the heli in flight with the gyro on board and a better picture of the one I put in the actual heli.

Indeed I did have this contraption flying in a micro tail motor helicopter at one point in a smaller, more optimized package. I might just start playing around with a servo gyro one of these days. Not much to it electronics wise really. All in the programming. Felt good to fly my own gyro too!


Watch at YouTube

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04-23-2009 02:36 AM  10 years ago
Dr.Rivet

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What do you use to program AVRs?
Assembly or C or both? Can you point me toward free C compiler with documentation?
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04-23-2009 02:40 AM  10 years ago
caseyjholmes

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Portland, Oregon

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I use an AVRISP and C language
http://www.atmel.com/dyn/products/t...sp?tool_id=2726
I believe the software was included with the ISP connector.

Either that or I was using "Codevision AVR" evaluation version. I forgot. This was quite a while ago. The newer AVR's might be programmed in better and faster ways for less money. I'll have to see what the latest AVR MCU's have to offer before I start on a newer gyro. Some of them come in packages so small I can't even solder them. Smallest I soldered was a 4x4mm 11 pin mlp package.. made for robots to solder.
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04-23-2009 02:44 AM  10 years ago
700E

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Mississippi

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Wanna trade that for my extra Spartan?
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04-23-2009 02:45 AM  10 years ago
Dr.Rivet

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I'm not familiar with AVRs, but sometimes I play with PICs with MPLAB. It's a cute little project you did there.
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04-23-2009 02:49 AM  10 years ago
caseyjholmes

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Portland, Oregon

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Hehe
I don't think she can handle 760* a second with that ol' sensor.

Wouldn't mind sampling a few of the sensor units the Spartan contains though. I've played with a few of these in my day that are similar I believe.
http://www.parallax.com/Store/Senso...e%2cProductName

That is a tri-axis acceleromoete that could in theory be used along side a microcontroller to make a 3 axis flybarless system. Look at the tiny size of that thing!

For anyone that wants to start learning microcontrollers and gyro sensors and servo control and all that.. this is a good place to start.

That will teach you basics, but you will have to downsize later when you learn to smaller and more complicated MCU's and sensors to match today's current industry requirements. (like the spartan, mini G and GY520)
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04-23-2009 02:56 AM  10 years ago
Dr.Rivet

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sensor looks nice, but it says it's a tree axis accelerometer not angular accelerometer. Can it possibly work to detect angular acceleration?
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04-23-2009 03:00 AM  10 years ago
caseyjholmes

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Portland, Oregon

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Yes.
I've seen sensors like it fly robotic helicopters and airplanes.
It's a start to your own gyro anyways. If you really want the good stuff, open up some of today's gyros and find out what they are using as sensors.

Gyro sensors used to be hard to come by, but it seems all that has changed now with how many different gyros are on the market. I'm sure there is a good sensor you can just straight order from Digi-Key at some point. Shouldn't be hard to R&D a quick gyro board. The hard part is programming it to work like it should or better.
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04-23-2009 03:03 AM  10 years ago
Dr.Rivet

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04-23-2009 03:23 AM  10 years ago
caseyjholmes

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Portland, Oregon

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There is several sensors there now I'm sure would be good to try.
I have been browsing through there lately myself. It is likely you'd want to sample a few different sensors to see what was best for your application if you planned on a production unit.

You can use a program like express PCB or Pad 2 Pad (both downloadable free from their prospective sites) to make your own PCB's or go the route I did an put a PCB lab in your upstairs workshop for prototypes.

For me, I just have fun doing it as a hobby. There may come a day I try a gyro again made for servos though. Lots of different sensors on the market to choose from.

Here was that old brushless ESC I was talking about. Very simple design and operation, made from an Atmel ATMega8 chip and a few SMT transistors. Programmed it straight from my computer through the ISP. That was another fun one. Worked on small plank micro brushless motors.
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04-23-2009 03:34 AM  10 years ago
Dr.Rivet

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I've seen videos of people soldering SMTs by hand, but when I look at those suckers up close it seems impossible. Perhaps my vision isn't as good as it used to be and my hands shake a little bit

Could you please tell me what is the best way to identify small chips? I have a non-functional ESC from Align which has no obvious mechanical or thermal damage and for the life of me I could not find any data sheets for any of the components on the damn thing. I even tried to search for manufacturer logos to match the loos on the chips with zero success.
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04-23-2009 03:37 AM  10 years ago
Cul-tech

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Naperville, IL

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That is a very cool project.

And thanks for the link.

Mike
I Enjoy the Challenges of Rotary Flight....
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04-23-2009 03:39 AM  10 years ago
caseyjholmes

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Portland, Oregon

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Could you please tell me what is the best way to identify small chips?
There is a data sheet dictionary, but you have to pay for it. In fact there is a few of them. You give them numbers and they search every possible data sheet in the world for a match. I've been in them before a few years ago looking for chips in electronics myself. If you can't find it on Digi-key, it might be outdated or obsolete by now, or a customized chip. Or you can look in one of those data sheet dictionaries.. but I warn you! You will get lost in there

Sometimes a chip won't even be sold in this country or just plain won't have a data sheet. All kinds of crazy things that can go wrong with PCB repair.

Some of the numbers on the components are actual values of the component. In that case you can usually tell by looking at it what type of component it is, and read the numbers (or colors in the case of a through hole resistor) to a reference code for the value of the part.
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04-23-2009 03:52 AM  10 years ago
Dr.Rivet

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Here is a very nice board for simple UAV project that I would like to get. Please take a look and let me know if you think it's worth $200 not including sensors.

http://www.parallax.com/Store/Micro...e%2cProductName
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04-23-2009 04:12 AM  10 years ago
caseyjholmes

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Portland, Oregon

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It would be the easiest way to get going I would assume.
I've seen basic stamps using 2 axis systems to fly basic electric airplanes. The technology could only have improved by now.

I was flying heli's a week or two ago and saw a guy with a powered glider at the field with GPS feedback on google maps to his laptop. He could flick a switch on his TX and it would fly itself home on autopilot.

Similar things would be very easy with that propeller board, the 3 axis module and the GPS module. You could also add bluetooth and make it all wireless.

If your talking a heli, you will probably need more specially designed equipment.. but I could be wrong. That might just work on a Trex 450 or something if you could strap it on there. I'd probably put those parallax sonar sensors as well for altitude and landing accuracy. I doubt that board could process all that information that fast. Here is where you come in to the AVR's.
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04-23-2009 04:36 AM  10 years ago
Dr.Rivet

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Seattle, WA, USA

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Actually Propeller chip seems very capable little bugger with eight risk cores running in parallel and 20MIPS per core (if I remember correctly). Realtime processing for fairly complicated UAV sounds possible I think with this chip. I just don't have any first hand experience with it.
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04-23-2009 04:40 AM  10 years ago
Sonic88

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Murfreesboro, TN

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Man this is soooo COOL. I love stuff like this. However, given my soldering skills I would probably destroy it if I tried to make one.Procrastinators of the world unite ... tomorrow.
AMA #: 912822
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