When I built the “Stik Pusher” indoor plane, I installed some LEDs that I did not connect. My intention was to add an Arduino but I wanted to test and make sure the plane worked as expected before I did it.
The main purpose of the Arduino is to monitor the battery voltage, but all control signals from the receiver to the servos and ESC (speed controller) now goes though the Arduino. The Arduino flashes the LEDs located on the fin, motor mount and nose depending on the battery status. If the voltage drops to low, the motor is stopped to protect the battery, but the the control surfaces still works. This is similar to how a normal “cutoff” function in an ESC works. My ESC in this plane in very small and simple and does not have this function built in.
I have also connected a serial bluetooth module the the Arduino for wireless communication. I also plan on connecting an ultrasonic range finder pointing downwards to experiment with an automatic altitude holding feature. This requires tuning some parameters, and this is where the bluetooth connectivity comes in handy. Maybe later. I will also try to control the plane with a smartphone app or laptop using this bluetooth connectivity.
To extend the life span on LiPo batteries, they should be stored at the correct voltage. Most hobby chargers have a build in program for storage charging LiPo batteries, but mine did not. So I desired to make my own. Read more about how I made it on the DIY LiPo storage discharger page
This is a project I have been working on for a while now. The alarm clock features a large 40×7 LED dot matrix display and a easy-to-use user interface for adjusting settings. The clock is controlled by an real time clock module that keeps track of date and time. The time of this module is set using a built in GPS every three seconds if the GPS has a valid position FIX. Read more about this project here: Arduino based GPS alarm clock
When I want to make something I usually start drawing in SketchUp. Often the things I draw never becomes reality for different reasons, but some do. I have tried more advanced CAD programs like AutoCAD or Inventor, but i always falls back to SketchUp. It is a great tool for creating fast prototypes and testing ideas. SketchUp is special compared to other programs in the way that it only has a very limited set of tools. This makes it fast and easy to learn and work with. This also makes it hard to do some complex parts, but usualy, it is not a problem.There is also an “3D warehouse” where users can upload models. It is also possible to download other’s models into your own model. This is great when you want to add some common part to your project, like an Arduino for example. Why draw it again when others have already done it?
When I make my 3D models I save all general parts i think that I will have a use for in the future in a separate file to make them easy to copy. This file contains robotics parts, electronics parts, displays, motors, and some multirotor and Airplane stuff. Most of the things I have made myself but some I have downloaded from the “3D warehouse” and modified in some way.
The file is available for download here: SketchUpParts.zip (8MB)