This is the second part of Arduino based drone series. In this part, we are going to make a Transmitter and Receiver pair of our own which is based on Arduino as well. In the first part of the series, we made the Flight Controller of our Drone which you can check out from here. In this tutorial, we are going to make two different circuits. The first one is for the Transmitter which will act as the Remote Controller of the Drone. We will send the controlling commands to our drone using this Transmitter. The second one is the Receiver Circuit which will be placed on our Quadcopter and will be connected to the Flight Controller. The Receiver circuit will continuously receive the signals that will be sent by our Transmitter and it will pass that signal to the Flight Controller which according to that signal will control the motors ultimately controlling the drone.
Both the circuits will be Arduino-based we will be using Arduino UNOs for the Transmitter and Receiver Circuit but other than that we will use NRF24L01 Radio Transceiver modules for the transfer of data between Transmitter and Receiver. Other than these we will use Joystick modules to give the commands.
So let's get to work straight away.
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About NRF24L01 Transceiver Module
The nRF24L01 is a wireless transceiver module, meaning each module can both send as well as receive data. They operate at the frequency of 2.4GHz, which falls under the ISM band, and hence it is legal to use in almost all countries for engineering applications. The modules when operated efficiently can cover a distance of 100 meters (200 feet) which makes it a great choice for all wireless remote-controlled projects. The module operates at 3.3V hence can be easily used with 3.2V systems or 5V systems. Each module has an address range of 125 and each module can communicate with 6 other modules hence it is possible to have multiple wireless units communicating with each other in a particular area. Hence mesh networks or other types of networks are possible using this module. So if you are looking for a wireless module with the above properties then this module would be an ideal choice for you. The NRF24L01 module works with the help of SPI communications. These modules can either be used with a 3.3V microcontroller or a 5V microcontroller but they should have an SPI port.
The advantages of using the NRF24L01 Transceiver module are:-
Low cost: The NRF24L01 is one of the cheapest wireless transceiver modules in the market.
Ease of Pairing with Microcontroller/Arduino Board: The nRF24L01 can be easily paired with a variety of microcontroller systems; MCU/ARM/PIC/AVR/STM32 by using the SPI protocol or an RF24 library when pairing with Arduino.
2.4Ghz for wireless communication flexibility: 2.4GHz operating frequency allows for higher bit rate usages rather than other lower operating frequencies. It uses GFSK modulation for data transmission as well, meaning the data transfer rate can either be 250kbps, 1Mbps, or 2Mbps.
High transmission range – The nRF24L01, when used with the right setup, can transmit wavelengths over several kilometers.
Endless Applications – Ranging from Wireless PC Peripherals to controllers and toys, the nRF24L01 is applicable to be used for many scenarios.
Though there are a lot of advantages that give this module an edge over other modules, there are some drawbacks of using this module as well which can be easily dodged but we need to keep them in check while using these modules. Some of those drawbacks are:-
It is a highly sensitive module that's why sometimes it catches noise from the power supply or other sources and amplifies that as well ultimately disrupting the original message. To keep that in check we need to make sure that we do not use very long connections. We can also connect a capacitor of somewhere around 10uF across the power terminals to control the noise.
It uses SPI communication that's why comparatively more pins are required to connect and use this module which is confusing sometimes.
It operates on a 3.3V power supply that's why it cannot be directly connected to some Microcontrollers that offer only 5V. In this type of case, we need to connect this module through 5V to 3.3V voltage regulator in order to save it from any damage.
But even after these drawbacks, this module is a great choice for applications like ours. To get some more knowledge about this module, you can have a look at its datasheet from here.