Making your own battery operated helicopter all by yourself is something really exciting. All you need to have for the project is little bit of skills and an imaginative mind. It is a real fun watching your helicopter flutter all around your living area and balcony. You can even have a track of its flight and control it as per your own wish by operating the remote control. Now, nunchuks are popular martial arts weapons that have two sticks connected with a metal chain. The spinning of the propellers of the DIY helicopter is based on the spinning and rotation of the nunchuk. What more, a nunchuk is used here as a remote of the helicopter. If this project interests you, then you can have a look at how it has been made, using a simple toy helicopter.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time required: Depends upon the skill and speed of the performer
Estimated cost: Depends upon the availability quality and quantity of the resources
1. Soldering iron
2. Solder wire
3. A toy helicopter
4. 9v battery with 9v battery clip and jack
5. TIP120 transistor
6. 4x AA batteries
7. 4x AA battery holder (optional)
8. 3x IR leds (optional)
9. IR detector or IR demodulator
10. Arduino logic analyzer
1. Infrared modulation is the key principle for running the remote control that will be attached to your DIY helicopter. Thus, manage to get hold or an IR detector or IR demodulator. This is a device that accepts only 38kHz modulation of Infrared radiation emitted from the sun and gives out low voltage output when it traces Infrared signals and gives out high voltage when no such signal is detected.
2. Arrange for a logic analyzer such as Arduino and connect its pin with the data pin of the IR demodulator. Similarly, the central pin(GND) of the demodulator must be connected to that of the central pin of Arduino. Likewise, connect the right pin of the demodulator with the 5v power supply port of Arduino. Connect the Arduino by means of the USB port and execute run.bat for windows operating system and run.sh for linux. Now, click on the “begin capture” button, choose the serial port that is being used by Arduino and opt for 115200 bps speed. Go for “Arduino Generic Logic Analyzer” when you are asked for “device type”. Likewise, enable options like “ Triggers”, check the “Automatic recording size”, press the “capture” toggle and lift up the throttle onto the helicopter’s remote.
3. At this stage, your transmitter will start functioning and the demodulator will send necessary output. There will be low voltage output when a signal gets detected by the modulator and high voltage in case of no signal. When the IR pulses are finally sent out you have to get the nunchuk handling part connected with the helicopter sp that it can be controlled with the same.
4. Now, when the software part has been managed the hardware parts are to be attended to. At this stage either buy a new battery holder or a discarded one and set up the wiring inside it for your battery powered remote controller. Cut off the tip of the nunchuk’s connecting wire to expose the different colored wires. The red one should be connected to the arduino’s 5v power supply, the white one with the arduino’s GND or middle part, the green one with the latter’s Analog 4 pins set at the right hand side and yellow wire to the arduino’s Analog 5 pins. Similarly connect all other parts of the nunchink such as the 3 IR leds, IR leds cathode, TIP120’s emitter, etc. to that of the resistor of the external power supply, arduino’s GND, its digital pin 2, etc. Get hold of the manual or dowlload it from the net of you have confusions regarding this and set up the connection properly.
5. The up and down movement of the throttle can now be controlled by changing the direction of the nunchuck backward and forward. Similarly, the left and right movement of your helicopter will be controlled by the X axis of this customized joystick and the forward backward movement can be controlled by its Y axis. Thus, you have a nunchuk controlled helicopter of your own now.
1. For setting up the connection of the nunchuk remote with the helicopter, follow the instructions manual or contact a knowledgeable person.
2. Using collective pitch rotor head ensures more better flight while the helicopter descends down.
Things to watch out for:
1. Avoid using head rotor base for the project as it is bulky and bigger in size and will not give your desired performance.
2. Never forget to test the connections you create with a tester damper at every move or your flight test might be the most unsuccessful one.