JIT Jamboree Jubilation

Zoe at 1kHz sampling, 8s flight from Andy Baker on Vimeo.

If you are interested in what triggered the transformation, have a look at these comments.

The net results are I’m getting perfect data reads at 1kHz sampling and alpf set to 2.  And that’s as good as the sensor can possibly provide.

So Zoe is good enough for the Cotswold Jam on Saturday (sold out, sorry), and my employer’s Engineering Conference the following week, and hopefully the Raspberry Pi Birthday Party in early March.

There’s probably some PID tuning to be done that might stop the low-frequency wobbles due to the gyro PID I gain being a bit too enthusiastic.  That would then curtail the drift too.

I’ll post more videos if that turns out to be true.

A spoiled spoiler

So the spoiler in yesterday’s photo was another quadcopter flight controller to the left of the keyboards, pending the release of a fantastic new range of quadcopter frames which is being launched next month.  More on that once I’ve got my grubby mitts on one.

But that A+ controller has now been flushed down the pan with the launch of the Raspberry Pi Zero, smaller than an A+, double the memory and just as powerful in every other way.  I really have know idea how they halved the size of the PCB and yet kept all of the function.  And it’s £4 (yes, that’s not a typo, four quid for a computer that runs Linux happily!), and free if you buy this month’s copy of the MagPi magazine.

So I now need to redo the design for the beret board, to shrink it down to the Pi Zero size!

If you’re in the neighbourhood, pop down to the Cotswold Raspberry Jam in Cheltenham on Saturday and see the Pi Zero for yourself!

Never mind the quality, feel the drift

Yet another confidence building test flight from Andy Baker on Vimeo.

I’ve flying Phoebe virtually every day the weather allows in preparation for the indoor demo flight for the CotswoldJam on 26th September 1pm – 4pm at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham.  I can confidently say she’s safe.

P.S. Sorry about the video quality, the camera really didn’t the shoot in the shade with sunshine back light.


Phoebe’s “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents P1$$ Poor Performance” as my german teacher used to say 30 years ago.  So I’ve been doing periodic testing in preparation for safety approval on Wednesday to fly at the Cotswold Jam on the 29th.

This morning, I realised there was once further micro tweak I could do which might have a significant effect.  What do you think?

PPPPPPPP from Andy Baker on Vimeo.

This is a 12s flights (3, 6 and 3s at ascent @ 30cm/s, hover and descent @ 30cm/s).  To put this in context, previous good flights I videoed have lasted for less than half this.  The tweak was simply to change the initialisation code measuring the angle of takeoff.  The drift is more than it would be indoors as there was a breeze.

The code ‘s up on GitHub.

Random bits and bobs

Cotswold Jam and Cambridge Robot Wars

Unless I manage to break Phoebe before December, I intend to take her to the Cotswold Jam in September (where I’m one of the founders / organisers) and the Cambridge PiWars in December.

The code I’ll be running there will most like what I uploaded to GitHub yesterday.

Until then?

Over the next couple of months, I’ll probably just enjoy flying Phoebe and Chloe, and perhaps treat them to some new batteries – primarily so the colours match the rest of their frames!

I might add an angular (rather than motion) control version so I can show the difference in behaviours at the Jams.

Otherwise I’ll try to keep my tinkering to PID tuning unless the A2 appears leaving me enough spare CPU’s to play more with threading (QCISRFIFO.py), Kitty and Kitty++.

What I won’t be doing

I won’t be adding a human into the feedback loop – no remote control – sorry to those of you who have nagged me to do this.

I also won’t be blogging as much as I’ll have less to blog about, other than flight videos.  Also it’s clear from the blog stats people are starting to get bored…

Blog bandwidth usage

The underlying decline actually started in February but hidden behind the Build Your Own Automomous Quadcopter – Bill of Materials, Assembly and Testing (BYOAQ-BAT) articles in February, and the fact PC World included me in their 10 insanely innovative, incredibly cool Raspberry Pi projects article in March.

Blog bandwidth

Blog bandwidth

So I think for a while it’s TTFN but no doubt I’ll be back.

Cotswold Raspberry Jam is back!

After a couple of months searching for a new location, we’ve found the perfect new home – the new Computing Sciences department at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham.

The next Jam is likely to be on the 26th September, assuming the builders have finished their work – yes, the location is absolution brand spanking new. Updates on what’ll be in the next Jam will be on facebook, Twitter, and on the website.

Very, very excited!

27 months later…

It’s been 27 months since I first mentioned a quadcopter project on this blog.  And finally, I think I can say this initial phase of this project is finished and as good as it can be.

There’s a few bits and pieces I should do with HoG just to tidy up:

  • I want to get a longer video – probably at the local park – to prove how well behaved she is.
  • I’ll try her with flight plans that involve horizontal movement but I’m not expecting any surprises there – with motion processing, a hover is just a special case of movement – if hover works, then so will movement
  • I may add the ability for her to fly in circles – that’s a little different as it involves a fixed angle along one axis and a fixed velocity along the other – but again, other than calculating angles and speeds to give the size of circle required, there’s little else to do.

I’m struggling to get excited about using the magnetometer / barometer to refine orientation and altitude – I don’t think she needs it for the purposes she’s designed.  Likewise, I’m not bothered about adding GPS.  But I do have everything I need should I change my mind.

I will probably add the laser tracking as this will give me the ability to control her:

  • 2 lasers on opposite arms pointing at the ground but slightly inwards used to attain and maintain a fixed height
  • a third laser in my hand to guide her around at that fixed height.

I hope to be able to show her at the next Cotswold and Cambridge Jams but I’ll need a lot more flights between now and then to be confident she won’t misbehave and fly into anyone.

As for now, I’m feeling a little deflated, demotivated and just a bit tired.  Time for a break.