Make an Open Source Drone
4.5 (763 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
5,464 students enrolled

Make an Open Source Drone

A fun project in which you learn about drones by making one. Use the Pixhawk or Multiwii AIO flight controllers
Highest Rated
4.5 (763 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
5,464 students enrolled
Last updated 10/2019
English
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Current price: $69.99 Original price: $99.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 8 hours on-demand video
  • 3 articles
  • 5 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Understand the different types of multi-rotor drones.
  • Understand flight terminology.
  • Understand the principles of drone flight.
  • Understand the roles of propellers, motors, flight controller, ESC in drone flight.
  • Understand the use of LiPo batteries and their use.
  • Understand the use of GPS in drone flight.
  • Understand how to bind a radio receiver and transmitter.
  • Understand the necessary drone pre-flight checks.
  • Understand the basic safety and legal requirements involved in recreational drone flight.
  • Assemble a quadcopter from parts available in the market.
  • Upload the MultiPirateNG firmware to the Crius V2 flight controller.
  • Use the open source Mission Planner software to configure a drone.
  • Practice flying their quadcopter and fun while becoming better pilots!
  • Learn how to use the Pixhawk flight controller.
Requirements
  • Windows computer
  • Basic electronics tools (please see free list of tools in section 1)
  • Be comfortable working with electronic components
  • Willingness to persevere despite set-downs (like broken propellers resulting from a drone rough landing)
Description

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PLEASE READ: We have just updated this course! We have published a new section in which we show how to upgrade the drone so that it uses the Pixhawk flight controller in place of the Crius AIO V2. During the upgrade, we retain most of the existing drone components. Find more information about the course and the upgrade in the first section (free to watch).

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Welcome to "Make an Open Source Drone", a course that will teach you how to build a quadcopter from scratch!

Playing with drones, and especially quadcopters, is fast becoming a very popular hobby. As a hobby, it combines state of the art open technology with large open spaces. It even gives me a great excuse to get out of my lab and get some sun!

While you can just go to a shop and purchase a drone that is ready to fly, by doing so you miss out on all the fun and knowledge that comes with building your own flying machine. I admit I have done that myself. Getting my ready-to-fly drone out of its box and flying it was fun, but only for a short period. 

Soon after the first excitement settled, I realised that I didn't know much more than before I opened the box. I was also unable to do anything more than what the drone was programmed to do, to begin with. 

That is why making your own open source drone is such a great way to have fun while learning. 

in this course, my co-instructor Aristofanis and I will help you understand drones and how to build them. You will learn about their mechanical and electronic components and how they interact. You will learn about the software that provides semi-autonomous flight capabilities to drones. 

Motors, flight controllers, Electronic Speed Controllers, batteries and chargers, receivers and transmitters, and so much more, will all make sense as you progress through this course and go through the process of assembling your drone. 

By the end of the course, apart from being able to assemble your drone, you will have the confidence to perform repairs and to extend its capabilities.

Along the way, you will learn about the principles of drones and many design and performance details for each of the components and software. With this knowledge, you will be able to go on and construct your own drones, configure and program them, all while having a great time doing so.

The course starts by explaining the basic principles of drones. 

You will learn about the types of multi-rotor drones, flight terminology, principles of drone flight, and we will introduce the basic drone components like propellers, motors, the flight controller and more.

Then, you will get into the actual construction of the drone. You will solder the Electronic Speed Controllers to the motors and assemble the drone arms.

You will then solder the ESCs and battery to the power distribution board, and start the assembly of the drone frame.

After that is the radio control subsystem. You will learn about the different types of signalling, connect the radio receiver to the flight controller, and connect the GPS module.

Next, you will learn about LiPo batteries and battery chargers, safety and maintenance. 

With a fully charged battery, you will continue with the firmware and software. You will learn about the MegaPirateNG firmware and how to upload it to your drone. 

You will learn how to bind your radio transmitter and receiver, and then how to calibrate your new quadcopter using the open source Mission Planner software.

As always, we save the best for last! At the end of the course, you will learn how to calibrate the Electronic Speed Controllers and attach the propellers.

And in the end, you will be able to take your drone to a field and launch it, starting to build-up your pilot skills!

As with all Tech Explorations courses, we are here to help you in this exciting learning journey. As a student of this course, you will have access to the Questions and Answers board and interact with the instructors. You can ask questions, and make comments or suggestions. 

Please continue by having a look at the list of parts that you will need in this course. You can find it as a document download in the next lecture

Who this course is for:
  • Intermediate-level maker looking for a fun outdoors activity
  • Anyone interested in drones for recreational use
Course content
Expand all 85 lectures 07:48:10
+ Multi-copter drone basics
12 lectures 01:27:04
Roll, pitch, yaw
05:07
Controlling the motors
04:58
Procuring the right parts
16:41
Terminology
07:43
Propellers
08:41
Battery and charger, Part 1
10:03
Battery and charger, Part 2
08:21
Flight controller and its peripherals
04:22
Other tools and things
05:56
Conclusion
01:08
+ ESC and motors
5 lectures 26:37
Introduction
00:48
Preparation
03:54
Attach the connectors to the ESC wires
14:36
Attach connectors to motor wires
06:09
Conclusion
01:10
+ Power distribution board assembly
5 lectures 30:40
Introduction
00:43
About the power distribution board
02:36
Solder the ESC power wires
07:42
Solder the battery wires and connectors
19:12
Conclusion
00:27
+ Main body assembly
5 lectures 16:15
Introduction
00:32
Attach the motors to the arms
04:40
Attach the arms to the power distribution board, Part 1
06:51
Attach the arms to the power distribution board, Part 2
03:27
Conclusion
00:45
+ Flight controller and peripherals
11 lectures 01:08:06
Introduction
00:59
The PWM and PPM signalling options, Part 1
04:25
The PWM and PPM signalling options, Part 2
09:12
Setup radio receiver and flight controller to use PWM
07:11
Connect the GPS module to the flight controller, Part 1
10:19
Connect the GPS module to the flight controller, Part 2
03:50
Connect the GPS module to the flight controller, Part 3
02:51
Connect the GPS module to the flight controller, Part 4
06:30
Attach flight controller to chassis
09:04
Connect ESCs to flight controller
12:54
Conclusion
00:51
+ Battery and charger
4 lectures 17:44
Introduction
00:21
How to charge the battery
11:52
Attach the battery to the frame
05:13
Conclusion
00:18
+ The firmware
4 lectures 07:40
Introduction
00:46
Clear the EEPROM
02:40
Download and install the firmware
03:48
Conclusion
00:26
+ The transmitter
4 lectures 12:39
Introduction
00:26
Binding receiver and transmitter
03:07
Understand the transmitter basic operations
08:40
Conclusion
00:26
+ Mission Planner
6 lectures 22:40
Introduction
00:40
Download and install Mission Planner
04:48
Mission Planner setup, Part 1
07:33
Mission Planner setup, Part 2
07:47
Test the GPS module
01:25
Conclusion
00:27