Another drone to hack

We got another H8 mini drone to replace the one that blew off into the woods…. Our goal is to hack the controller to try and control the drone using Arduino. More in a later post.


Ethan’s new drone

Here is Ethan’s new drone that he brought along last week. I hope that Ethan can make a post telling us more about it.

It is amazing that you can get such a great drone at such a reasonable price!!!

It will be fun.



Robotic meArm Construction

Hi Bob, I have been working on the construction of the meArm. I was going to upload the photo of the arm in this post but there is an upload limit of 1 MB so I won’t be able to do so until this limit changes which would be really worth doing if possible!

I am going doing a report on this arm so I will integrate the report with this post

Robotic meArm

Date: 25/3/17


To create a fully functional robotic arm.


  • Laser Cut Wood Arm Peices
  • 4x Servo Motors
  • 1x Arduino Sensor Sheild
  • 1x Arduino Uno
  • M3 Screws of Assorted Size
  • M3 Nuts


The Arm consists of 5 arm pieces:

  1. The Base, on which the Torso is connected and is the arms turning D.O.F. (degree of freedom (Horizontal pivot point)).
  2. The Torso, the hub of the arm in which the arm stems off. It holds the servos that control the movement of the of the lower and upper part of the arm.
  3. The Lower Half, this part of the arm moves the grabber in a forward and backward motion.
  4. The Upper Half, this part of the arm moves the grabber in an up and down motion.
  5. The Grabber, this is the part of the arm that clasps the object for movement via the arm.

Each of these parts were connected the servo enabling each of the five joints to be electrically controlled D.O.F (degree of freedom).


P.S Once again I can’t add any photos because of the limit but if you change it I will add some!



Accelerometer Led Switch

Hey Bob,

I really enjoyed working with the Arduino 101 on slowing down the readings of the Accelerometer to a more observable pace.

Here is what we come up with:

#include "CurieIMU.h"
 int ctr = 0;

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(9600); // initialize Serial communication
  while (!Serial); // wait for the serial port to open

// initialize device
  Serial.println("Initializing IMU device...");

// Set the accelerometer range to 250 degrees/second

void loop() {
  float gx, gy, gz; //scaled Gyro values

// read gyro measurements from device, scaled to the configured range
  CurieIMU.readGyroScaled(gx, gy, gz);
  if (ctr>499) { //take each value every 499 readings
  ctr=0; // reset count to 0


now I will have to work on implementing the LEDs into the project!



EDP: requirements determination – What is a drone?

The start of the EDP is the specification/challenge: the ‘Who?’, ‘What?’, Why?’ So we want to build a drone? There are lots of different types of drones. Early on before we start designing our drone we need to determine three things:

What is a drone?

What are the components of a drone?

What do we want our drone to do?

These three questions are interrelated: our mission determines the hardware we need.

So what are the parts of a drone? Some parts are obvious: you need batteries, motors, tx/rx receiver, a little computer chip to control the motors. To find out more, we did a Google search for quadcopter kits/plans. Our goal was to understand the parts of a quadcopter and what they do.

We discovered a wide range of parts we needed to learn about:

Brushed/brushless/coreless motors

Electronic speed controllers (ESCs)

1s or 2s batteries

The ‘blink of death’ LED

flight controllers

Flight controller systems (multiwii, etc.)

transmitters/receivers (TX/RX)

The bit that you hold that has joysticks and antennas (there are several different systems -DSM2, etc.)







There is lots of stuff to learn, but I think I have learned enough to start to answer the question of who, what, why?

Drone unboxing: another drone deconstruction

In order to learn more about how to make a drone, I wanted to get a drone and take it apart, perhaps remake the drone by making a new chassis and seeing if it would fly. Towards this end, I got this drone for $AUS17 (free shipping) on Banggood:!F1022061959201206U5

I will post more pictures/information later on the unboxing and first flights with the drone.

More deconstruction: a dead drone

After the lost drone, another of the same model was purchased. A basic quadcopter with cheap FPV camera. Unfortunately this one soon stopped working, so we had another set of parts for disassembly. The hope was that we could fix it; if not, it would be fun and another opportunity to learn.

When we took the drone apart it was obvious what was wrong: there were scorch marks on the reciever board (picture?). Something had let the smoke out, as we all know that it is the magic smoke in electrical devices that makes them work, and when you let the smoke out, they no longer work….. We could identify some of the parts on the receiver board. The antenna was obvious. The main chip was obvious. There were various diodes, etc. There were four medium sized chips. As the quadcopter had four motors, they were likely transistors (FET- field effect transistors?) to control the motors. If you ran the motor current through the main chip it would have too many milliamps and overheat the main chip, causing it to burn up. The scorch marks were near one of four transistors, suggesting that a motor had stalled/jammed and thus drawn to much current, overheating the FET. A brushed motor draws current intermittently each time the brushes go past the contacts. If they get stuck touching the contacts, they draw power continuously, generating more heat in the motor and the FET. We considered soldering a new FET on the board…. it may be possible, but is a challenge, as we mostly do through-hole soldering. That is assuming we could even get the chip.

Another alternative is to get a new receiver board. Similar receiver boards cost between $10 and $20 dollars. We have a couple of clues to track this down: We know what the brand and model of the quadcopter is. We can see a part number on the receiver board: 0z-dm26zr . Can we find it? If we can, getting the quadcopter up and running should be simple. If not, we will think about building our own drone.

Beginnings: a lost drone

It all started with a lost drone. As sometimes happens with drones, a silly teenager flew a drone into the forest never to be seen again. So we had an extra controller. We took it apart to see what was inside and to see if we could recognize the parts (Picture?). We did recognize several parts: joysticks (just two rotary potentiometers at 90 degree angles). There was a chip we did not recognize (the TX chip?).