Author Topic: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)  (Read 3727 times)

syrinxtech

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Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« on: October 30, 2016, 01:29:41 PM »
My partner in crime (brother-in-law) and I have combined two of our favorite pastimes, Moteinos and drones, together.  I purchased a DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone and proceeded to crash it and break the camera.  While we had the camera off the drone we decided to build a telemetry prototype using a Moteino, an Adafruit GPS module, an Adafruit 10 degree of freedom (DOF) Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), a 1200mAH lipo and an Adafruit charger.  Another Moteino on the ground is used to capture and record the various pieces of flight information being transmitted.

Attached are two pictures of the board attached where you would normally see the camera gimble.  We've only had one chance to fly it and because it only weighs about half of the normal camera weight, the controls feel normal.  We can measure altitude, speed, height, barometric pressure, temperature, compass, acceleration, etc.  When I get some more time I'll upload some of the graphs that we did showing speed and altitude.

The next goal is to start making sense of all the spatial data and possibly turn it into something graphical in nature.

TomWS

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 03:29:01 PM »
Another cool project!
How is the GPS signal quality (since it's hanging get upside down under the other electronics)?

One project I did a while ago was a variometer that used an audible signal to clue the pilot in to whether the aircraft is rising or falling (or steady). It should floating around somewhere (no pun intended) on the forum.  I'm sure I still have the code if you're interested.

Tom

syrinxtech

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 04:22:21 PM »
Thanks.

We had a minimum of 6 satellites and a maximum of 8 satellites during the initial flight, which was in a heavily wooded area so I felt good about that.  The nice thing about the Adafruit board is that it has a battery-backup which saves the GPS data so it makes booting up and initial acquisition much faster.

I'm uploading a slightly modified picture of the board with the components labeled.  I'm also attaching a graph of the speed tests we did along a stretch of open land.  Given that we still had trees, power lines and a road to deal with, we could open it up full speed but I think we did good for the area we were in.  According to DJI specs, the Phantom 3 Standard has a top speed rating of 35 mph.  In our tests we saw a max speed of 24.5 mph.

Tom, I've love to take a look at your code and see if I can use some of it in our project.

TomWS

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 09:16:56 PM »
Tom, I've love to take a look at your code and see if I can use some of it in our project.
Turns out I posted the code in the thread: https://lowpowerlab.com/forum/projects/moteino-variometer-for-rc-sailplanes/msg5967/#msg5967
It uses the delta pressure to modulate sounds at the base receiver.   This was for an RC Sailplane but seems like a reasonable thing for a drone that already has a barometric transducer on it.

I'm too much of a newbie to Drones to jump into this so I'll applaud you from the sidelines.  For your sake, you should hope it stays that way!  I'll be a royal pest otherwise! 

Great project!  Keep us informed.

Tom

syrinxtech

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 09:30:44 PM »
Tom,

I would encourage you to jump in both feet.  Given your proven abilities in other areas on the various boards here, I know you would be a valuable asset to trade experiences with.

TomWS

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2016, 09:42:23 PM »
Tom,

I would encourage you to jump in both feet.  Given your proven abilities in other areas on the various boards here, I know you would be a valuable asset to trade experiences with.
Sorry, flattery won't work.  The problem is: So many projects, so little time!  Besides, I'm looking forward to your video where 10 hypertelemetried drones decide that one of them must become the 'leader'!  Only the 'correctly' telemetried one will win!  Boohaha!

Happy Halloween!
Tom

syrinxtech

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2016, 10:49:21 PM »
Don't mistake respect for flattery.....I'm still new enough at this game to spot who has been doing this for awhile.

I like the challenge though.....will work on that.

What I really want to do is interface with the Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) for each of the motors so I can cut power to them and deploy a chute if anything goes really bad on the drone.  I used to be into high powered rocketry so I'm familiar with deploying chutes for large objects and I think that owners of drones costing many tens of thousands of dollars would rather bring it down via parachute instead of watching it either flyaway due to interference or a radio malfunction or crash into the ground because of a catastrophic failure.

syrinxtech

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 11:48:35 AM »
Well, in the interest of being able to get telemetry data at longer distances I converted both the transmitter and receiver to LoRa radios.


Also, added a piezo buzzer which I'm going to use as an audible tracking device.  Once I determine that the UAS isn't moving (no change in GPS, altitude, speed, etc, for a predetermined time), the buzzer will turn on and periodically beep.  I need to do some more testing but in a quick test around my house I could hear the beeping at 85 feet.  I'm sure I could stretch that further without any form of amplification.




Felix

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2016, 12:38:01 PM »
@syrinxtech,
So you're using the buzzer to alert you that you lost the link with your UAV?
But 85ft seems like a very low range, especially for LoRa (Long Range).

syrinxtech

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2016, 01:22:34 PM »
The buzzer is to help locate the UAS if it crashes and is not in plain sight.  As long as the telemetry board is functional it will transmit it's GPS coordinates which should get you pretty close.  I wanted to add an audible buzzer in the event the UAS landed in tall grass or in a tree.

The 85 ft range is for the audible buzzer, not the LoRa radios.

Felix

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2016, 01:26:11 PM »
The 85 ft range is for the audible buzzer, not the LoRa radios.
I see, dohh :)

TomWS

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2016, 05:18:05 PM »
The buzzer is to help locate the UAS if it crashes and is not in plain sight.  As long as the telemetry board is functional it will transmit it's GPS coordinates which should get you pretty close.  I wanted to add an audible buzzer in the event the UAS landed in tall grass or in a tree.

The 85 ft range is for the audible buzzer, not the LoRa radios.
Perhaps you could add a xenon flash lamp in case you lose it at night  :)

Cool work!

Tom

syrinxtech

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2016, 08:42:45 PM »
That's a cool idea Tom. 

Worth checking out.....

Of course, to make my friends at the FAA happy, I have to say that unless you have a specific waiver you can't fly at night.  But, I guess it's possible you lose the unit near dark and don't find it until after dark.  Technically you're not flying it :)

syrinxtech

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2016, 08:54:23 PM »
Just to see how variable the GPS coordinates in a non-moving sample, I set the GPS to record the coordinates every 2.5 seconds and wrote them to a file.  The board never moved and I collected over 11,000 samples.  When I plotted the coordinates on Google maps there were points that appeared in 2 of my neighbor's yards including both the front and back yards. 

To remove the outliers I added an "index" column to the data and removed the top and bottom 1,000 samples, sorting them both smallest-first and largest-first.  The attached file is what I ended up with after massaging the data.

With at least 100 ft. of audio buzzer and keeping the coordinates tight (8 decimal places), I should be able to find the UAS if it gets lost.

TomWS

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Re: Moteino and Drones (sUAS, UAV, whatever)
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2016, 11:55:55 PM »
Interesing. Was WAAS enabled?