Introduction: Combat Drones Quadcopters Aka a Real Dogfight Experience

About: I studied Electrical Engineering and a lot of other things. I'm always driven by my passions. Please visit also my Youtube channel.

Welcome to my "ible" #37

We must admit the current battle drones on the market are a bit messy. It's very difficult to understand who is winning and who is losing. When one drone comes down, the other one follows up (crashing into each other mode) which is simply ludicrous!

Some battle drones use infrared sensors to simulate the dogfight, but, except for some flashing LEDs and for the fact that the drone is forced to land when one of the players gets shot, there isn’t anything that causes a “real” damage to the RC aircraft. In this way the game becomes soon boring and, as a result, players tend to crash the drones against each other to have more fun. This is a super messy way of playing this game (at least to me!).

With my Combat Drones I've created a few important features, that add fun to the game:

1) A mechanism that visually makes extremely clear that the drone has been shot (aka canopy hatching).

2) A visible counter (aka Strike 3 "Technology"), that uses LEDs that mark how many times the drone has been shot.

3) Sounds that alert the other player when he is under the fire of his opponent.

4) Last but not least, an important feature for the safety: you'll never lose control of your drone. My system simulates the ejection that occurs when the distressed pilot, realises he is not in control anymore of his own airplane.

The instant hatch of the canopy is the best trademark that establishes the aircraft is falling down.

I thought that adding theses unique features to the drones will add more fun to the dogfight, especially when played using the FPV (First Person View) system.

Step 1: Electronics - Shopping List

For this Instructable you need a decent size drone, with a decent number of functions...

The old large WLtoys quadcopters (V262) are perfect, because they are cheap (£34.99) and the pcb has a few connectors with different voltages/functions.

2x Arduino Nano Boards

1x Infrared Transmitter KY-005

1x Receiver KY-022

Jumper Wires Female to Female

1x 9g Servo

1x 3.7V Lipo battery (to power it)

1x Desoldering Pump (the lighter, the better)

3x 3mm LED (I chose the blu ones)

A plastic canopy (please check one of my previous "ible")

4x small permanent magnets (3mmx2mm)

Soldering on iron

Soldering wire

Fishing line

Hacksaw (to cut the lower part of the desoldering pump)

UHU Por Glue (Foam Friendly)

and a lot of patience.

Step 2: Testing One Component at the Time

At the beginning of this project, I've tried to wire everything together and, obviously, nothing was working.

So, I've decided to do some baby steps, starting from the receiver KY-022.

There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube about these sensors and the library you have to install to make them work. Just googling: "KY-022 infrared sensor", you can find some examples you can upload in a matter of seconds.

In the video I'm just switching on/off the LED there is on the Arduino board, using a TV remote control.

Step 3: Testing the Transmitter KY-005 With the Receiver KY-022

Continuing with my baby steps approach, I've tested the Transmitter and the Receiver units, connecting them to 2 Arduino boards.

To the one I've connected the KY-005 Transmitter, I've added a push button, that triggers the signal sent by the infrared sensor.

To the other Arduino board, I've connected 2 Yellow LED (you can use the blue ones suggested in my shopping list).

Once I press the push button, the LEDs go on. It's a good way to be sure that everything works properly.

Step 4: Creating My Strike 3 "Technology"

I thought to create something that makes extremely clear that the drone has been shot, without losing the control of it.
Adding this unique feature to the drones, will certainly add more fun to the dogfight, getting rid of all the hardware (smartphone/pc/tablet) necessary currently to play with some expensive "battle drones".

I mean, when the Drone gets shot, a LED goes one. It's clearly visible and you don't have to drive yourself crazy counting how many times you did so, or you don't need your smartphone/tablet to check how the game is going (like in the very expensive Star Wars Battle Drones).

When you hit for 3 times the other drone, the canopy of the drone is going to be automatically hatched (check the other step).

Step 5: Slotting the Desoldering Pump Inside the Hull

You basically have to keep a 45 degrees angle, placing the pump at the very end of the hull, otherwise you will not have space for the other electronic parts. The 9 grams servo is mounted upside down.

Using a hacksaw I've removed the lower part of the desoldering pump, covering the hole using a thin piece of plastic.

Use the UHU Por to glue the desoldering pump to the hull (which is foam friendly).

I used some fishing line because it's very reliable. I've poked the first small hole in the posterior part of the desoldering pump, (at the height of the button) and a second one on the button itself.

I've also made a big knot to block the fishing line.

The signal wire of the servo is connected to the Arduino board (which controls the receiver module KY-022). When the servo pulls the fishing line, the button is going to be pulled, releasing the shaft of the desoldering pump.

The canopy has been attached to the hull using some small permanent magnets.

The force exerted by the shaft of the desoldering pump (triggered by the servo), is so strong, that the canopy will literally flies away, avoiding the possibility of hitting the propellers.

Step 6: Putting All the Electronics Inside the Hull

Inside the hull I have been able to fit 2 Arduino Nano boards, connected to the respective sensors (KY-005/Tx & KY-022/Rx), the servo (connected to the Arduino board that controls the Rx), the 3 LEDs (3 Strike Technology - same board) and the battery to power the servo (in a reliable way).

Step 7: Using the Button on the Transmitter to "shoot" the Other Drone

The WLtoys quadcopters are perfect, because they are cheap and the pcb has a few connectors with different voltages/functions (please take a look at the descriptions, in the pictures of the V666 pcb).

Pushing the button placed on your transmitter, allow you to control the Tx (KY-005) sensor (when you are shooting at the other drone), via Arduino.

I did also a lot of other tests because I wanted to add some sounds.

Using my other "ible"...

I have created a sound unit I can use for different toys/projects, uploading the sounds I want and controlling it using an Arduino, or just a push button.

Whenever you press the button on the transmitter, the sound unit will produce 3 different sounds, so the opponent will know is under attack.

Step 8: Have Fun With My Combat Drones!

Due to my super limited budget, I've built just one Combat Drone (a fully working prototype, though).

Having a sponsorship from a RC hobby store would be really great!

If you like this project, please visit my Youtube Channel

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