It's a tiny quadrotor helicopter!

Update Feb 25 2012: Warning, I may have discovered a bug inside the CadSoft EAGLE 6.1.0 software that may make the PCB look slightly different. My design files are meant for 5.11 so use that instead. You have been warned.

Main Features:
  • X mode flying
  • MPU-6000 gyro & accelerometer sensor for flight stabilization
  • USB battery recharging on the transmitter, the copter plugs into the transmitter to recharge
  • When the copter plugs into the transmitter, the user can synchronize to a random radio frequency
  • Controlled using a Wii Classic Controller, which plugs into the transmitter
  • Running a modified MultiWii firmware, which is open source, written with Arduino and Processing
Dimension Specs:
  • Square center body is 1.5" by 1.5"
  • Propellers are about 45mm in diameter
  • Diagonal motor to motor distance is 110mm
  • Motors are supposedly "X-Twin" spare motors, they come with the propellers
Electrical Specs:
  • Flight battery is a single Li-poly cell, 3.7V, 350mAH, 20C
  • Controller battery is a single Li-ion cell, 3.7V, 1000mAH
  • Uses ATmega128RFA1 microcontroller for both copter and transmitter
  • This particular ATmega has a built-in 2.4GHz transceiver, 16 possible channels, 250kbit/s or 2mbit/s max depending on the standard being used.
Design Highlights:
  • The "arms" and "body" are connected by locking slots, making them easy to build and repair
  • Motors slide right into the arm
  • Two layer 1.6mm thick FR4 PCB used (this is the default for a lot of PCB manufactures), the components are all on a single side (easy to assemble)
  • All open source project, schematics + PCB + code all available. Heavy use of Arduino and Zigduino involved.
This is actually the 2nd such tiny quadrotor helicopter I've built. The first one worked well and I'm extremely proud of it, but it did have several flaws, enough flaws to justify a remake. This Instructable documents "version 2", but you may see pictures of "version 1" in some places.

Step 0 Come up with puntastic name
Pico... Copter... You get the idea. This project was originally named "PalmQuad" since it's small enough to fit in your palm, so if you might see some mention of this name in the code or pictures.

I originally finished building "version 1" in November, and wrote the Instructable in November. Then I went on vacation for a few weeks, and also school just started. Now it is February and I just finished "version 2", but since I've already written the majority of the Instructable, I have some bits of "version 1" text that I'll just cross out like this, and then update it with the changes in "version 2".

All project files are available to download in this instructable "step". It contains files for "version 1" only for reference purposes, please only use "version 2" files. Although I really recommend you only take my concepts and design everything from scratch yourself instead, just so there's absolutely no mysteries in your project.

If you are wondering about the lack of a flight video, see step 6 for an explanation.

Oh and I noticed that "AdBlock" stops Instructables from showing you all my pictures, so please turn it off.
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sallydaw1 month ago

I'm new to the site so I don't quite get it, only premium accounts have access to the pdf file? My cousin would love this, though

kamhagh4 months ago

only if i had money and acsses to those parts... !

Awesome project :D

Angela_5 months ago


dsirotic1 year ago

I don't understand how you made the circuit board and receiver.. You just took a PCB you had laying around, took all the componets off of it, and BOOM! quadcopter! Can you explain this to me?

They were custom designed and ordered from on online PCB manufacturer. BatchPCB is a popular one. He then soldered all the necessary components on.

pharmsunil8 months ago
rock9252010 months ago

I ordered the PCB's and built this. This is an advanced user project. The chip packages are QFN and a challenge to solder. Total cost was approx $200. I could not get parts of the TX code to compile, and had to modify. The author considers this a "old" project and does/will not support or help.

rajesh k1 year ago

how to make pre account.... i want this download

james261 year ago

Brilliant you made one! I bought one of the Hubsan branded ones which is fantastic, far easier but far smaller than the massive 5 foot bladed gas powered 60 size XCEL I had in my youth - that things was lethal!

Nifty way to charge it and avoiding RF interference. I am impressed, did you get three or one gyros in there?

Call it 'Quaddy' or 'Quadtastic!" or "4play"

teettotti1 year ago

i wanna this pdf and iam not haver premium account

plz can any one send to me
on teet_totti@yahoo.com


BIGDOG19711 year ago


Will you sell this project as a kit?

How much you will charge for one?

I want one for me.


first time to know about ATMega128rfa1..
and i wanna get one.

Very nice man. Less of a project than I would have imagined it to be actually.

Tridibesh1 year ago

I dont have the wii remote controllers can I use any thing else? How to use it?

Bongmaster3 years ago
want :0 how much? :3

Hit us with that price :3

i want one too :D
1dog789 1dog7892 years ago
how much would it cost to buy one from you?

does it fly???

1) can you add a wireless camera on the picopter 2) can you add a gps module on the picopter 3) can you controll th picopter from anything other than the wii classic remote
I have viewed this project you have built, and was quite interested in making one my self, would you be able to help me out with getting the PCB's and programing it?
you did a great job with this powerful DIY quadcopter
sir,i'm getting more confusion at the time of programming.can u show me how to install every code into picopter.from so many days,i'm working on it.i'm completed the hardware stuff fully,but totally failing in programming.please give me a installation video or step by step installation.kindly thanking you
Tharun48182 years ago
can you give step by step instructions, its for my son's school project and i want to thelp him but unfortunately i only to operate a computer
ckhurana462 years ago
sir ,
from where to get those 2 green plates 1 for quadracopter and 1 for transmitter and what is there plate number .plz tell fast i wanted to make and sir as i wanted to order somethings at digikey.com there are comming 3 options all are same but there is comming tape and reel,cut tape and digi reel. which one i should select...... plz tell fast sir plzzzzzzzzzz
ckhurana462 years ago
sir plz tell me name of all parts and their types used in making picopter.plz mail me the list at ckhurana79@yahoo.com . plz tell me fast. i love makin this type of things
How much did this project cost?? My friend got one of those really cool Parrot AR Drones and i want to build something similiar so we can do cool stuff with them. Maybe even launch this thing off of the botton of the big one. Where did you order the custom PCBs?? would love to build this!
diwib2 years ago
Just fyi:
I ordered all parts at Digikey, Sparkfun & ebay and ended up paying 190 euro incl. shipping to EU and printing 3 qc/tx pcbs. I was expecting something among 100 euro but I didn't want to go back after ordering the first parts :)
Batch ordered, a kit might cost something around 150 euros I'd guess.

It's amazingly easy to find everything you've listed here; no exotic parts or anything, in fact, hardest part is finding a cheap li-po.

Do you have any idea how much payload this thing can carry? Or what flight time you achieve with whatever battery you're using?

Impatiently waiting for my orders... 8)
Any chance you have the parts list still? I seem to be overlooking it or just don't know where to look. Thanks.
would you consider makeing this as simple kit that can be bought. You would make some serious cash.Also is there a way that bluetooth can be implumented into the circuit somehow.
PGTBoos3 years ago
great little device, like to see it flying

Maybe i got an idea for you to use different propellers.
The problem with these propellers is that people put their fingers to near to it, or they get damaged when you hit something during flight, Maybe you remember thse kid toys :

i think if you raise the outer circle a bit (strip of thin hard sheet) it would improve the blade too (better earodynamics for end of proppellor.)
raykholo3 years ago
Very neat.

Instead of using jumper blocks, have you considered these plunger switches?


They're less of a hassle and they'll fit the same footprint assuming you're using 2 * thru hole .1 inch headers. If you're using SMT headers for the jumpers, still doable but will require bending the switch pins and perhaps a dab of hot glue.
sachin4563 years ago
hi,sir i need quadcopter's blank circut's print can iget it sir
please sir please sir help me
sir can you write the list of parts used in the circut board
if you can't find this stuff on here, what makes you think you can build this thing?
sir can you write the list of parts used in the circut board
A complete product and a true feat of engineering. This is excellent!
gu2n_ok3 years ago
hai frank you make all this by your self .... wow it's cool i want the make this where i can get the component???
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