Monday, July 10, 2017

Flame Wheel Quadcopter

Part of my summer research is trying to find a good drone for my Introduction to Engineering class next year. I feel this list of requirements is suitable for this task.

The drone is affordable
The drone is student-built (this way students get a better idea of how it works)
The drone is flexible in its control system
The drone can carry a payload

Dr. Bulanaon suggested I look into the DJI Flame Wheel as a class drone. So we ordered one and I began assembling it after it arrived. The Flame Wheel was the second drone I had seen, so it was nice to have a change to work with it.

Open the box and you'll find bags of drone parts.
I needed to download the directions before I could begin assembling the Flame Wheel.  I also needed to watch a video to fill in the assembly steps not covered in the online directions. But after a couple of hours or assembly, disassembly, and reassembly, I ended up with this fine product.

Assembled and looking for an RC receiver.

The Flame Wheel is a generic drone, it's designed for any number of RC systems and batteries. So after a little more investigation, I've developed the following shopping list.

FrSky RX8R 8/16 channel, S Bus receiver
FrSky Taranis Q X7 16 channel, 2.4 GHz ACCST transmitter
Storm 3s 5,500 mAh LiPo (with XT60 connector)

The 16 channel RC control system will allow remote pilots to control the flight of their drone and the gimbal carrying the drone's imagining system. However, there will be an extensive setup procedure to unite the RC control system to the flight controller (NAZA Lite) used by the Flame Wheel. I'll update my blog with the procedure I went through, so keep your eyes opened.

The drone will be Bind-n-Fly, meaning the receiver will only respond to commands from the transmitter its bound to. This way, many students can fly their drones simultaneously without interfering with each other. Of course, with multiple drones airborne, students will need to work in teams of pilots and visual observers for safety. Otherwise, I think my students are really going to like the Flame Wheel. I know their teacher is.

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