How To Build a Cardboard Quadcopter

Step Seven – Software Setup

I chose to build this quadcopter around the MultiWii platform, mostly because I feel it offers the best combination of features and ease of use. It has the added bonus of being built on the twin powers of Processing & Arduino. It’s completely open source, and cross platform. You’ll want to become intimately familiar with the MultiWii website. For example, to learn how to arm the controller before it will spin the motors up 😉

I chose the Quadrino Zoom, which is about mid-range price-wise, because it has a full 10DOF sensor platform, and is very well laid out. Flying with mag-lock is great for beginners and lets you fly without having to worry about craft orientation. I wish it had a built in buzzer, and an on-board current sensor, but it’s a very nice out of box experience as far as controllers go.

Once you download the multiwii software and open it up in Arduino, head on over to the config.h file and change a few important things.

  • #define QUADX // our flight configuration
  • #define QUADRINO_ZOOM // our controller
  • #define MOTOR_STOP // this will keep the props spun down when throttle is at a minimum. Useful for throttle cut when you’re first crashing^H^Hlearning to fly.

You’ll also need to set the minimum ESC engage threshold. Again, see the MultiWii site for that howto.

Go Fly!

Wait! Not just yet, we need to set the PID values for this little quad. For the frame listed here, with the purple 850kV DIY drones motors and 10×4.5 GemFan props I’ve been using the following PID values:

  • Pitch & Roll P:7.0 I:0.020 D:0.020
  • Yaw: P:8.5 I:0 D:0

Your mileage may vary. Feel free to post questions in the comments below!