Quadcopter Hacked to Be Controlled by Hand

Introduction: Quadcopter Hacked to Be Controlled by Hand

This hack replaces analog potentiometers of the quadcopter's remote with digital ones. Digipots are controlled by an arduino, which uses data from flex and acceleration sensors attached to a glove. So, if your drone's (or any other toy's) remote uses analog potentiometers, you can hack it by following this instructable.

Step 1: Parts Needed

  • Digital potentiometer/s (at least 3 wipers are needed), their resistance should be the same as the analog potentiometer's. You can only measure their resistance when theyre removed, because while in pcb, they make a paralel connection to other parts, and the resistance will be unclear.
  • flex sensor
  • Gyroscope or accelerometer (preferably a gyroscope, but an accelerometer works too)

Step 2: Cut or Desolder Analog Potentiometers

This is so that your potentiometers dont make an paralel resistance. Read about it here http://embedded.fm/blog/2016/3/31/quadcopter-controller-buttons-and-joysticks

If you're cutting the contacts with a knife, make sure not to cut anything around, and later when soldering, check if the contacts havent reconected.

Step 3: Solder Wires to Remote

Solder the wires to the sockets where potentiometer contacts used to be. You will need 5V, GND, and wiper contacts for each digital potentiometer, or if they connect together without anything in their path, you can connect one of them to each section of 2 potentiometers, like mine was.

connect 5V and GND to supply slots in the remote, where battery contacts used to be

!!!!!!!IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!! - make sure each socket where a potentiometer was has a connection to 5V and GND, because it wont work properly if there is no connection. I tried connecting a wire just to the wiper and it got messy and uncontrolable. Theoricaly they all should still connect to 5V and GND, but something definetly wasn't right, and it only got fixed once all potentiometers had access to 5V and GND pins like they were before being removed.

Step 4: Connect Wires and Components to the Breadboard and Arduino

First picture shows how to connect accelerometer and flex sensor. Accelerometer's power is through 3.3V pin, NOT 5V. SCL pin should be connected to Arduino's SCL pin (the most left most pin from AREF pin) through a 330 or 560ohm resistor. SDA from accel goes to SDA in arduino (next to SCL pin) through a 330 or 560ohm resistor. Flex sensor is also on 3.3V line, because 5V is already powering the remote and digipots.

Second picture shows how to connect digital potentiometers to the arduino. Be mindful of the polarization of the digipot, the dot marking the corner must be in the same place as in the picture.

Step 5: Connections Are Done.

Step 6: Code

Everything about it is written in the comments in the code, except for useful links and videos.

Step 7: Tutorials, Blogs, Videos

Thanks for everyone who created these, they helped me a lot.

Step 8: For Anyone Who Wants to Make a Better Looking Circuit Design


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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is so cool! Thanks for sharing!

    Jonas Andriusiunas
    Jonas Andriusiunas

    Reply 3 years ago

    Glad you liked it, hope you control some cool toy with this :)