DroneNet: The Quad Chronicles

Unmanned Hybrid-Vehicle System utilizing a Rover and a Quadcopter equipped with a regenerative charging system.

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Main Features Include:
For the Rover
Regenerative Charging System based on a Bedini Motor
Magnetic Neodymium Locking System for the quadcopter
Mecanum Wheels
Andymark 1200 oz-in 198 RPM 2-Stage Planetary Gear Motors
XBEE Pro 900 MHz on the Communication Controls
APM 1.5 just for real time navigation/GPS
Custom Made Motor Controllers
All custom embedded code able to handle up to 255 devices
Real Time monitoring from a control terminal
Touchscreen LCD for controls
Fingerprint scanner for authentication
Independent Speed Controls for all motors
FPV using a 200mW transmitter on 1268 mHZ
Custom made Frame/Shell
Monitoring Control panel
2-Way Mirror Film top
NeoPixel Runway Lighting \
GOPRO HERO3 on a Pan and Tilt System
Maxbotix SONAR
For the Quadcopter:
DJI F450 Frame
DJI 930kV Motors
10" APC Props
200mW FPV on 1280 MHz
XBEE Pro Telemetry
APM 2.6
DJI Landing Gear
Custom 3D printed landing feet with magnets in them
Frsky 2.

You will see everything from 3D Printing, Mechanics, Arduinos, PIC32's, Charging Systems, Quadcopters, Touchscreen LCD's, and all sorts of other things in this. This project ended up being one of the biggest projects we had to tackle. We started this for Senior Design and recently finished the class. We want to thank our sponsors for helping us with this project:

Duke Energy

University of Central Florida

Theta Tau-Rho Gamma Chapter Professional Engineering Fraternity 

and all of our other friends who have helped us along the way.

Now that we have finished and are graduating, they actually decided to let us keep the project and further develop it. We have always joked about making it into amphibious, well now we are actually going to do it. We are planning on sealing everything off, and using a system we came up with to be able to drive it on water.

I will try and organize the build log in sections to help with more details. Please feel free to ask any questions. I am currently working on trying to have all of our schematics and code out in the open. Right now, you can find a lot of our details here:

  • 1 × 4D Systems Touchscreen LCD 4.0" LCD Touchscreen from 4D Systems
  • 1 × 3DR APM 1.5 Used in the rover for real time location
  • 1 × 3DR APM 2.6 UAV Flight Controller
  • 1 × DJI F450 Fiberglass frame for the UAV
  • 4 × DJI 920KV Motors Motors used on the UAV for flying

View all 23 components

  • Schematics and PCB's!

    ironBit05/01/2014 at 17:12 0 comments

    Well what is more fun that designing your own PCB's for your projects? 

    Actually getting them back, soldering them, and seeing them work. I am going to try and compile all of our PCB's here in case anyone wants to see them. I can send the full eagle files if needed as well. 

    Here is the controller that we used for the Rover. It was designed in DesignSpark by Allied Electronics. 

    Displaying PCT_Controller.bmp

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    Here is the Mecanum IO Controller. We designed the Motor Drivers to be modular from the actual micro controller just in case anything went wrong, we wouldn't be down an entire board. 

    Displaying PCT_Motor_MCU.png

    Displaying PCT_moto_MCU_pcb.png

    fresh from fab! OSHPARK ftw. 

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    These are the Motor Driver boards. We put 2 IC's on each board, using a total of 2 boards. (left and right sides). I used Sparkfun's MonsterMoto as a reference and mostly just redid the routing on it and adjusted it to fit my sockets so it would mate directly to the controller board.

    Displaying PCT_Motor_Drivers.png

    Displaying PCT_Motor_Driver_PCB.png

    Displaying mecanumdriver.jpg

    The next set of boards are what we used for the Peripheral's on the Rover and also our communication handler for all the boards on the rover.

    Displaying PCT_Periph.png

    Displaying PCT_periph_pcb.png

    The boards were designed to stack on top of each other, very similiar to an arduino shield. They are connected via an I2C bus (the headers towards the back right). They are using a switching regulator power supply and each board is able to handle up to 3 amps for all of the servos. 

    Displaying 20140412_172146.jpg

    Last but not least, the PCB that runs the Bedini Motor. I will have to get some pictures of the PCB design once I get the files.

    Displaying bedini.jpg

  • And the Shell was Bourne...

    ironBit04/30/2014 at 18:49 0 comments

    We ended up getting a lot of attention for the project and were asked to present at the 6th Annual National Symposium on Renewable and Sustainable Energy. We decided it would be time to start looking more into aesthetics...

    And so the shell was born. Raymond Lueg created this masterpiece from the ground up out of 1/2" birch. When he finished, we started molding all of the sections together  to make it look like one solid piece of material. 

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    wetsanding the black primer....

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    And after some layers of paint!

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    After we painted it, we realized we wanted to do some more with it. So we took a router and routed out a front to imitate the Cylon Eye from Battlestar. For this effect we used a 2-way Mirror film so that it will look like a regular piece of mirror plexi, until we turn it in. (Also big thanks to Adafruit and their Neopixels!). I will go into a little more about the neopixels later on and what we did with them. 

    Displaying 20140415_111629.jpg

  • Our Second Prototype....

    ironBit04/30/2014 at 18:32 0 comments

    Well after we kept running into issues we decided to take a whole new approach. As much as we love the tank tread, we decided to go with something even more epic. We went with Andymark Mecanum wheels along with Andymark motors for them. This gave us tons of more freedom in driving and the ability to move in any direction we wanted. This became very important for us when we wanted to be able to "catch" the quad when landing. 

    Displaying 20140303_182427.jpg

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    We also then rebuilt the controller...

    I bent the plexiglass with a heat gun.

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  • The Beginning...

    ironBit04/30/2014 at 18:20 0 comments

    We started this project for our Senior Design Project. The project includes 4 Electrical Engineering majors. We decided we wanted to build something that was awesome, had a lot of real world applications, contained a good amount of design work and would be really fun to build. These are our early pictures and prototypes to show the progress throughout the whole build. 

    Here is the Initial Prototype platform...

    Displaying 20131013_193012.jpg

    We then scaled it up to a wider tank tread and ran into huge issues with the torque on our motors (which is why we ended up going to the mecanum wheels you will see later).

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    And the initial prototype for the controller..

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View all 4 project logs

Enjoy this project?



alireza safdari wrote 04/09/2019 at 22:27 point

Nice remote controller.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jasmine Brackett wrote 06/11/2014 at 23:36 point
Hello Ironbit, Nice work. It's a shame the images in your logs are broke. I would love to see more of the pictures. Who else is on your team?

Just thought I would let you know we've updated the submission process for The Hackaday Prize, so if you want to officially enter this project - login and use the 'submit to' under your project images on the left hand side.

Also, we're starting community judging soon, so now is the time to make sure you've added all the details to the project to give it the best chance of winning.

Got any questions? Give me a shout. Good luck.

  Are you sure? yes | no

ironBit wrote 05/28/2014 at 15:53 point
The rover has 4 Pb batteries. The bedini motor keeps that battery bank charged by switching between the batteries as they get low, then the bank charges the quad copter.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jake wrote 05/06/2014 at 19:57 point
How is the rover powered? Does it recharge itself or just the q-copter?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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