Planning Next Steps

A project log for F450 Drone Kit with ESP

This is an esp-idf project in progress with an ESP32 flight controller/receiver and esp8266 D1 mini transmitter 10/03/2019 at 16:480 Comments

----------- Log Entry (10-03-19) -------------

Its time to outline data aquisition, filtering and control goals and implementation stages. As a first guess this is what is being experimented with first.

Acquisition : Gyroscope data will be stored in fifo at 1KHz rate, accelerometer data gathered at 20msec interval at which time data is processed through filtering, control loop and downloaded. Other data such as magnetometer, barometer, laser range finder, gps, etc. may also be collected if new hardware is added.

Filtering : The MPU6050 accelerometer data I am familiar with has a large high frequency component that we do not want getting into our feedback control loop, we should be designing toward a two pole low-pass filter with a cutoff frequency somewhere in the range of .5-2Hz. The gyroscope data will be used for the higher frequency flight adjustments, the lower frequency drift component may need to be filtered out. It may turn out to be useful to notch filter the servo motor control outputs for any observed system sympathetic resonance.

Feedback Control : Three 1KHz PID loops are necessary to control the yaw, pitch and roll axis which will use the gyroscope data. The inputs for each of these loops will be the result that we desire on each on each the integrated gyroscope axis - which can be imagined as something like the angle that we would like. The output of these loops will be combined up to generate servo commands to each of the four motors. Suppose for example we would like to move forward - the transmitter sends a servo pitch value that specifies a desired forward tilt to the craft. The control loop will speed up the back rotors, lifting the back of the drone (and creating force in x axis) until the gyroscope catches up to the forward tilt command, the speed and stability of this transaction is determined by the P, I and D loop multipliers. Gyroscope data is useful to keep the craft in a desired attitude (not rotating on x (yaw), y (roll) or z (pitch) axes). 
The accelerometer data provides information to the control loop that helps to imply an xyz point that we wish to maintain. For example, if the wind is blowing the gyroscope would not notice it (unless the drone was being twisted) but the accelerometer would notice an x or y acceleration. This can be somewhat controlled out with accelerometer data PID loops whose output is feed into the gyroscope PID loops just like transmitter pitch or roll inputs (ie I'm getting pushed to the right by a force so lean into it - P gain is how much to lean, I gain is how much to recover from a previous uncorrected push and D gain tells to loop closure to slow down once you start getting close). In software, PID loops are very simple - an error signal is generated at the input which is the difference between the angle that you want the quadcopter to be in and the angle that the gyroscope measures that it is in. The error then follows three paths. The P(roportional) path is simply multiplied by the P gain. The I path has an accumulator which is the sum of all previous error inputs which is multiplied by I(ntegral) gain. The D(erivative) path is the difference between the current error signal and the previous one which is then multiplies by the D gain. The output of the loop is the sum of these three, PID, paths which are combined with the other gyroscope PID loops outputs to generate motor speed commands. Tuning the loop gain parameters can either be done by simulation or tuning the actual system flight response.

BlackBox Telemetry : A data packet will be sent to the ground station for collection every 20ms (50 times per second). The payload frame will contain the filtered acceleration 3 axis data, slots for future use (magnetometer, status, estimated altitude, etc) within the first 50 bytes. Initially, 150 bytes will be reserved for the raw gyroscope datar, eventually we will use bits in a configuration word to determine the configuration of the payload (if for example we would like to collect raw motor servo data).

Milestones : First target is to collect all necessary data and blackbox it down to the ground station every 20mssec. The accelerometer data will be filtered. The gyroscope data will be sent down as raw byes from the mpu6050 fifo read. First test flights will probably be with the CC3D flight controller doing the actual work and the data being collected by the esp32 flight controller only reporting gyroscope and accelerometer data. Next step will be to start programming CC3D flight controller with PID gains of 1,0,0, which basically shuts off PID and sends input data to motors. Then lastly control motors directly from esp32 flight controller.