Archive for August, 2015

Bachelor's Thesis: LaunchPad Flight Controller

August 24th, 2015 4 comments

I recently got my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. As I wrote in an earlier blog post I decided to implement a custom flight controller on a Tiva C Series TM4C123G LaunchPad for my project.

Currently it supports several different modes including acro/rate mode, self level mode, heading hold and altitude hold. Below is a series of videos demonstrating the different modes:

The source is available on Github: as usual including the report I wrote.

I would really recommend anyone that is interested in this sort of thing to read through it for a deeper understanding on the fundamental theory and how it is implemented on a flight controller in practice.

It consists of three parts. The first part presents a theoretical model and the equations used to estimate the attitude and altitude of the quadcopter. The second part describes how the system is implemented on the microcontroller and lists the hardware used for the project.

The final part measures the performance of the flight controller by logging the data in real time. This data is then compared to the simulated results based on a theoretical model simulated using Simulink.

Flight modes

In total there are four different flight modes supported by the flight controller. The first one is acro/rate mode, which only uses the gyroscope to stabilise the quadcopter. This mode is mainly used for advanced pilots and acrobatic manoeuvres. In this mode the aileron and elevator stick inputs indicate the desired rotation rate of the quadcopter. Thus, if the user wants the quadcopter to rotate fast clockwise along its roll axis the aileron input can be put all the way to the right.

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