This project is a RC quadrotor helicopter (quadrocopter, quadcopter, quadricopter, etc). It's a RC helicopter that uses 4 rotors.

Watch it in 720p

You need some pre-requisite skills:
  • How to use Arduino, enough to get started
  • Soldering, wiring, basic electronic skills
  • Basic hand tool operation
A quadrotor helicopter flies with 4 spinning propellers on a + shaped frame.

When one rotor spins faster than the rotor on the opposing side, the faster side will have more lift, and thus the helicopter will tilt. When the helicopter is tilted, the air is being blown slightly sideways instead of directly down, and the helicopter will move.

The propellers also need to be in counter-rotating pairs, two spin clockwise and two spin counter-clockwise. This way, the helicopter does not spin on the vertical axis since the rotational enertia is cancelled out. But when the pair that's spinning in one direction is faster than the other pair, the helicopter will spin on the vertical axis. This is how the helicopter controls its direction.

We will be building a flight controller circuit that contains an accelerometer and gyroscope sensor so that a microcontroller can detect undesired changes in the helicopter's angle, and adjust each rotor's speed accordingly to counter the variation. This microcontroller will do this hundreds of times per second, keeping the helicopter stable in the air.

The flight controller is a completely open source circuit. The circuit schematic and PCB files are provided. The flight controller is completely Arduino compatible. The source code is a modified version of AeroQuad (open source Arduino based quadrocopter control code). The flight characteristics can be adjusted using AeroQuad's configurator utility.

Attached is a diagram that shows you the direction of spin for each motor, remember this diagram! You won't be able to fly if your setup does not follow this diagram.

This microcontroller will also take input from a RC radio receiver, so you can control the helicopter from the ground using a RC radio transmitter.

This helicopter will use four brushless motors. Each motor will be controlled by an ESC (Electronic Speed Controller). The ESCs will be controlled by the microcontroller.

A lithium polymer battery will power the entire contraption.

Summary of Downloads:
  • Over 100 pictures in all the steps
  • Step 9 contains flight controller circuit and PCB files
  • Step 10 contains bootloader and core for microcontroller
  • Step 12, 13, 14 contains demo Arduino sketches
  • Step 26 contains the flight control software
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deepak4514 days ago

if anyone has made it can you plz mail me the information how to make it in easier manner

mail me at deepak.electrical@gmail.com

memal15 days ago

Hai .. im memal raj i have same like helicopter . its not flying .. so anybody have technical idea pls give

bravesofts15 days ago

hi there: is it possible to make the same project by using the pascal language .

i'm a delphi programer but i have never test this language in the electronics projects

finally thx.

with all kinds of regards: bravesofts.

skarthi4801 month ago

how much weight it can lift..please give me ur mobile or mobile number i want more details i am going to do this for my finel year project...

my details

phone:9942497717 , 9655867717


wmharris1013 months ago

Awesome explanation! We put together a little infographic to make it easier for people to visualize the difference too:


modernbishal4 months ago

The PCB is really making me difficult, do we have any other alternative please..

or can we get it in the market?

Thank You

Please Reply...


i want to caliberate the flight control board with out remote. how to make the FCB belive that i'm using a remote by actually using an arduino.

HamzhB7 months ago

Hi there I have a quad assembly and testing program, but after what I mean by a motor that is connected to port d 6 Flayt control engine speed when Tratel between 1750 and 1800 to 1200, but the rest are I Zhstnd parts:

Nano's control Flayt Speed Contra Emacs 30 Amps Fvtaba 6 channel radio control Emacs engine 2213 2200 mAh lithium-polymer battery 3Sl And the quad is x Engine and engine calibration, and I even got Flayt Test and again I had a problem like this in the links below to see video software Please helphttp://uplod.ir/9dvyai16anxg/arm...33.mp4.htmhttp://h1.asset.aparat.com/public/user_data/flv_video_new/685/909a206786b90312c1d2fe682f3d71532052749.mp4

hamzh.shahabadi@gmail.com or masih.azin@yahoo.com

jaegertitan7 months ago

How much did this project cost you?

RAJNARAYAN7 months ago
lgallegos41 year ago

hi i have an arduino uno how can i use that to make the quadcopter. i already bought the frame and cables but i havent bought any electical things i need to use the arduino

remzak lgallegos47 months ago

You can buy an ardupilot or similar system. Look up "Arduino Quadcopter"

remzak remzak7 months ago

At a mining mum you need a gyroscope and custom code. There are tutorials online.

stuffdone2 years ago
Great looking project. I was wondering if anyone has tried this basic design using shrouded or ducted fans in place of open propellers?
remzak stuffdone8 months ago

Search edf quadcopter on YouTube.

_MeRKeZ_1 year ago


That's a great share. Thank you so much. I want to ask a question. I want to build a quadrotor with a camera. I want to control the angle of camera. Is it possible?

remzak _MeRKeZ_8 months ago

Search "quadcopter gimbal" on the internet. You can make one with servos.

AndrewH710 months ago

Nice build! I'm thinking of building one but maybe using a prebuilt controller instead of the Arduino. However, as the final aim would be to lift a raspberry pi and digital point and shoot camera (total weight 400g) will the configuration you've made lift an additional 400g mass comfortably? Thansks!

remzak AndrewH78 months ago

It is possible, though you would want a light battery, possibly a 4 cell lipo, and larger props to improve power. I recommend the KK2.1 board for a prebuilt flight controller.

yogeshmane1538 months ago

can you give me the working source code for quadcopter,because code given in github was wrong .....

if anybody have code for ATmega644PA please email me on yogeshmane153@gmail.com

thanks .....

BennyS11 year ago

you give some diagrams here but they are not clear . i can't read component names . i face difficulty to arrange components as shown in figures .they are very small . so can you provide neat and clean diagram frank sir plzzzzz


BennyS11 year ago

Hi Frank Sir

This article is very useful to make quadcopter. I read all steps and follow all instructions .

I buy all components mention in this step 9. but question is this how can i assemble solder connect all components. i don't have any complete circuit diagram.

so can you provide me a complete circuit diagram of quadcopter to join all components.

lgallegos41 year ago

hi i have an arduino uno how can i use that to make the quadcopter. i already bought the frame and cables but i havent bought any electical things i need to use the arduino

vibhor921 year ago

this the video of the error i posted earlier

vibhor921 year ago

I am using a nanowii board for QUAD + with D2830-11 1000kv motors, turnigy plush 18 Amp ESC's and a zippy flightmax 3S1P 5000mah battery
the TX-RX is a turnigy 9x V2

I am able calibrate the throttle individually for all the ESC but when i arm them, 3 of them work fine but the 4th one keeps on doing 'beep'-'beep' with an interval of about 2 seconds

The rest 3 motors work according to the throttle but the third one(bottom one) keeps on making that noise no matter what i do

could anyone tell me what the problem is?

i want to download this file but it is asking to create a pro account.my parents will not allow to do this.if it is free i am happy .I am requesting all members of instructables.com
ntrung12 years ago
Thanks for your great instruction. But I wonder why you set OCR1n =pw*2? in step 13? Wont it immediately jump out of the loop?
And can you let me know what kind of logic analyzer you use?
Thanks a bunch! :)
frank26080115 (author)  ntrung12 years ago
pw * 2 doesn't change pw at all, it only "returns" a number that is twice what pw was, but pw is not modified.

I use Saleae Logic as the logic analyzer.
This Quadcopter is excellent. I had been really looking forward to if you would be so kind to tell me, where do you ask for the frame kit, fans and motors. I really want to do this job it's just my favorite one thanks for sharing.
Amazing :) wish I had that much talent
surya 6192 years ago
can we move the helicomper in the left and right direction
nikhil p2 years ago
I have a Multiwii Microwii flight controller and I am able to arm the motors but not disarm them.

Thanks for the quick response,
nikhil p2 years ago
Hey Frank,

I finally finished making the quadrotor but I was wondering how to turn it off.
It's kind of a stupid question but are you just supposed to unplug the battery or is it necessary to install a switch
frank26080115 (author)  nikhil p2 years ago
Safety the quadcopter (it's a stick command). There is a LED that indicates safety. Once it's safe, unplug the battery.

A true kill switch that can handle that much current is not feasible
eromero52 years ago
where do u put the 12 gauge sandard cord wire
theargha2 years ago
How do you use the battery monitor and battery charger ?
namdari902 years ago
i cant use avrdude is there any other program to use the bootloader and please if you can explain how to use avrdude and plz plz upload the docs in any site other than google code because i cant use google code if you can please email it to me
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