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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RAJNARAYAN10 days ago
lgallegos46 months 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

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

remzak remzak19 days ago

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

stuffdone1 year ago
Great looking project. I was wondering if anyone has tried this basic design using shrouded or ducted fans in place of open propellers?

Search edf quadcopter on YouTube.

_MeRKeZ_6 months 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_21 days ago

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

AndrewH73 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 AndrewH71 month 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.

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

thanks .....

BennyS16 months 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


BennyS16 months 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.

lgallegos46 months 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

raghav kapoor9 months ago
karran swami11 months ago
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 parents will not allow to do this.if it is free i am happy .I am requesting all members of
ntrung11 year 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)  ntrung11 year 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 6191 year ago
can we move the helicomper in the left and right direction
nikhil p1 year 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 p1 year 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 p1 year 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
eromero51 year ago
where do u put the 12 gauge sandard cord wire
theargha1 year 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
nikhil p2 years ago
could i use Arduino mini for my flight controller instead of designing my own cause I dont understand how to design it at all

Thank you
Please Reply

frank26080115 (author)  nikhil p2 years ago
Yea, just look at AeroQuad Mini, or MultiWiiCopter, both of them actually use the Arduino Mini
so just to be sure instead of doing step 9 I would just substitute your microcontroller with Arduino mini and still follow the rest of the steps

Oh and can you give a link of the Arduino mini to buy because I'm really confused

Thank you
My previous comment has been there for a long time and you still havent responded
Please reply
jerbs nikhil p2 years ago
He replied right above you,

Aug 3, 2012. 10:22 PM
Yea, just look at AeroQuad Mini, or MultiWiiCopter, both of them actually use the Arduino Mini
Mirror992 years ago

Your Quadcopter is an excellent one. I was just wishing that if you would kindly tell me , from where did you order the frame kit, fans and the motors.

If you would be kind, can i have your email address.

frank26080115 (author)  Mirror992 years ago
I like the store Hobby King, that's where I buy everything

My email is on my website, in the title as an image so spam bots can't detect it.
Brensriffer2 years ago
Hi Frank,

Amazing instructable you've created! I'm currently nearing the final stages and am about to program but was just wondering about a couple of things as I'm new to all this and completing this for a school project.

Just wondering with the solder jumpers, if the solder jumps across the whole thing (3v3 and 5v as well as ser0 and ser1) or if you choose which to use, and whether all 4 LED's should be lit when it is plugged in for programming, as currently only LED-PWR and LED1 are lit


MajGreen2 years ago
I was extremely impressed by this project and I've decided to try to make one myself. I was hoping that you still have at least one leftover blank PCB because it would save me the trouble of having them shipped from elsewhere. I live in Ontario as well so you shipping to me would be far easier than shipping from the U.S most likely.

I plan to start building this in my school’s manufacturing shop so I would like to get my hands on a PCB sooner than later. I would earnestly appreciate a quick reply.

Sincerely, Alexander
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