MHV Quadcopter Workshop 1.0 (March 2013)

Developer: Stephen. With help from Tridge, Jack, Alistair, Andreas and Chris (Wolfe)

The purpose of this workshop was to guide a group of 12 attendees through the process of building, calibrating and flying APM-based quadcopters.

It should be:

The workshop itself is designed to be:

Lessons Learned

  • Always double check the correct parameters file is loaded.
  • Check the quadcopter is calibrated correctly before flight testing.
  • Encourage the workshop attendees to use simulator software (such as CRRCSim) to learn the basics of flying.
  • Run a beta workshop beforehand with a few friends (particularly if using a custom hardware setup) to ensure all the bits and pieces fit together and are compatible with each other.
  • Don’t skimp out on the frame. Use a decent, strong frame.
  • A ratio of 1 expert to every 3 to 5 attendees will cover most technical issues encountered by the attendees.
  • It is very easy for attendees to get left behind in the build process. Schedule 1 or 2 small catch up sessions between the workshop evenings.
  • Make sure you have enough screwdrivers, soldering irons and other tools.
  • When ordering parts in bulk (such as motors and propellers) make sure the supplier has enough stock to cover your whole order.
  • Always check RTL mode works correctly (by holding the quadcopter above your head and enabling RTL) before relying on it during an emergency.
  • Fly well away from populated areas in case a quadcopter goes crazy and flies away.
  • Check vibration level in Mission Planner.
  • Always use telemetry radio logging.

Ideas For Future Workshops

  • Anti-vibration foam for APM
  • Use Gym for initial flying lessons - It’s safer. Maybe Dickson College.
  • Prop shrouds for safety.
  • Use AR Drone frame and PX4 electronics.
  • Use more solid frames from jDrones.
  • Use the Turnigy 9xR Transmitter - it already has the firmware and back-light modifications done.