Arduino in Flight, an Arduino That Can Control a Helicopter





Introduction: Arduino in Flight, an Arduino That Can Control a Helicopter

I have seen many hacks to control an rc helicopter with an arduino but I have a helicopter using radio control (not ir led). With a couple parts I will show you how to build your own! Read the whole instructable before beginning this project. This requires no modification to the helicopter.

Step 1: The Parts and Tools

You will only need a few parts for this build:

- RC helicopter (I used a S032 ,but any will do) 
- Arduino
- NPN transistor

Soldering Iron
Helping Hands

Step 2: Understanding the Circuit

The helicopter's remote works by reading an analog signal coming from the potentiometer on the joysticks. If we were to connect the transistor to the joystick, the remote would think that the joystick was being moved. The arduino will control the transistor, in turn controlling the remote and that will control the helicopter.

Step 3: Add the Transistors

Now we will connect the transistors to the potentiometers. The 2 prongs on the potentiometer will connect to the the transistors's 2 side legs. The middle leg will be fed through the back and so will a ground wire connected to the remotes's ground.

Step 4: The Code

I decided that writing code for controlling the helicopter would not be useful because you all have different ideas on what to do with the helicopter. But running the "fade" example program and putting the throttle wire on pin 9 would have the helicopter takeoff and then land repeatedly.If you have any ideas please comment below. Hope you enjoyed my instructable. 



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    Where is your code? I cannot find it. Please let me know.

    1 reply

    I have not posted any code on this project yet. I just used the "Fade" example program that comes with the Arduino IDE to test it. It is supposed to hover in place and move up and down when you run the example.

    Thank You! I will change it immediately

    That is a pretty good idea using fade instead of writing a new program.

    hi ,dude but show us with more detail please .
    potentiometer has 3 pins and connected to remote and bjt have base emmmeter collector?

    4 replies

    I see what you mean, but the potentiometers in my remote had 2 pins connected to the main board (vcc and output).

    Does the potentiometres still connceted when you use the arduino? I mean does the VCC pins of the potentiometres still having current from the remote ? Or should I disconnect them?

    The VCC pin on the potentiometer is always on. If you connect the collector to the VCCpin and the emitter to the center pin on the remote.

    Hi again, thanks for your reply .

    I made another solution , I disconnected the VCC of the potentiometres :) so I have only my current commanding the 3 wires :)

    Hi Rohanmenon ,

    I have the same project here , but I have a problem .

    I have a back current from the remote to the arduino ! I dont know why , I m using pin 9 10 and 11 for out an analog signal to the pins of the 3 potentiometres of the remote.

    When I tested ( on OFF arduino mode) I have a current coming back from the potentiometres pins to the arduino ! this current is coming from the remote batterie .. I will now try to debranch the potentiometres VCC pins and test again.

    I just attached 2 servos to my Heli remote and used a pan & tilt example I found on Instructables and now my mouse can control the Heli.

    Here's the 2 servo instructable I referenced.

    Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooo much for posting this you saved my life! This is the best day ever omgomgomg thankyou!!!!!!

    Thanks for the feedback, xalpage! :D

    The only issue I thought of was to put sensors (like the ultrasonic) on the helicopter, you would need to have the remote on the helicopter as well. You could have an arduino nano on the helicopter communicate with an arduino on the remote but how they would communicate is unclear (ir lights?).

    I like it. Very good.
    Since you asked for ideas that I could say is to try it out also with an ultrasonic distance meter so it stops at walls, floors etc. You could also use an arduino nano instead of of thdse arduino uno. This way you should have less weight.