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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chapter 3: The Controller

Channels
RC controller transmitter have not really changed much externally over the years in terms of the basic controls.  The term "Channels" refer to the number of directional controls on the controller.  Quadcopters normally require four channels of control (Throttle, Yaw, Pitch, and Roll).  On a four channel transmitter, there are two control sticks, one beside the other, controlled by your left and right hand.  

Modes
But exactly what the sticks control can vary.  These variances can be up to four combinations, called "Modes".  But the two most popular modes for quadcopter controllers are Mode 1, and Mode 2.   The difference in Modes 1 & 2 are illustrated below. 




It is very difficult for the average person to switch between these modes.  But Mode 2 is definitely the most popular in quadcopters.  The flight tutorials on this site will be illustrated using a Mode 2 controller.  Those with Mode 1 controllers can still follow along.  But keep in mind that hand movements shown in the videos may be somewhat reversed for your controller.

Rates
A gyro stabilized quadcopter can only be controlled to tilt a predetermined maximum tilt in any direction.  If you push the cyclic (pitch/roll) controller to its maximum in any direction, the quadcopter will not and can not keep tilting until it flips over.  The gyro sensors will prevent that.  The maximum deflection that it will tilt varies from quadcopter to quadcopter.   

The tilting of the quadcopter is the primary means to control the speed of the quadcopter.  The maximum tilt provides the maximum speed it can fly in steady level flight.  Some controllers allow you to select varied amounts of that deflection.  The varied amounts are called "Rates" and are selectable in terms of the percentage of the maximum rate.   For example, indoors it might be better to limit speed of the quadcopter, so selecting a lower rate (say 40%) may be advisable.  But outdoors on a breezy day, you may need that speed to fly into the wind.  A rate of 80% or maybe even 100% might be needed.

It usually takes the same amount of time for the quadcopter to achieve the maximum tilt of each rate.  Thus for a lower rate, the quadcopter will tilt and react slowly.  Lower rates are advisable for most beginners, giving the beginner time to react.  Tilting reaction at higher rates may be very quick, allowing the quadcopter to turn and stop rapidly.  But such rates may be inappropriate for the beginner as it is very easy to overcompensate at higher rates.

Trim
When flying your helicopter, you might notice a tendency for it to constantly drift in a particular direction. There are two principal reasons that can cause this. The first is there may be wind pushing the quadcopter in that direction.  In that case you'll need to compensate for the wind as you fly by either slightly tilting the cyclic control towards the winds, or pointing the nose of the quadcopter also slightly toward the wind (crabbing).

But another cause may be that the gyro sensor are a little bit off in their understanding of a true level position. Thus they may be constantly compensating (tilting the quadcopter) trying to achieve an incorrect level position.  This can be easily corrected through application of the "Trim" buttons on the controller.  There normally are four for throttle, yaw, pitch, and roll trim.  Throttle and yaw rarely require adjustment.  But pitch and roll may need to be corrected after every battery.  This depends on if the surface that you're using to initialize the sensors is really level (more on intializing in a later chapter).

18 comments:

  1. I have just received a WLToys V262 quad. I know nothing about these yet. Is there a particular process for charging to battery. The directions that came with it are vague to say the least. It is very frustrating. Could someone advise me please.

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  2. Anonymous,
    The white plug on the battery is for charging, and is plugged into the charger. The charger has two lights. The green light just indicates that the charger is plugged in and has power. The red light indicates the battery is being charged. When it goes out, the battery has been charged and the charger is no longer supplying power to it. It may be removed from the charger at that point.

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  3. I just got a V262. When I charge the battery, by the time it reaches 75 to 90 minutes, both the green and red lights start to flicker, but the red light never goes out. I stop charging at 90 minutes as I don't want to damage the battery. Is this common or is my charger defective?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The flickering starts when it gets close to full charge. The charger supposedly will prevent overcharging. Give it some more time (try two hours) to see if the light goes out.

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  4. Any recommendation on Mode 1 vs. Mode 2 or does it come down to preference?

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  5. Mode 2 most definitely, unless you live in Australia where Mode 1 is prevalent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bagaimana mengganti antara Mode 1 dan Mode 2 ?

      Delete
  6. my Hubsan controller is sending only a limited about of power to the right front prop.

    I know it's the controller cause it's the same for the Estes Proto-X and my 3 Hudsans

    Maybe a stuck trim???

    Any way to fix this? thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am new, I am happy to have found your site. This is filling in some missed background information.

    ReplyDelete
  8. im also new and have learned a lot of things that i should have before crashing so many times like ive done thx

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  9. hi my controller display shows no lcd display, only blue light. is it broken? well i presume so as it doesnt work ! anyone had this ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The information displayed on the lcd's of most beginner's quadcopters are really of little to no use (I've never payed attention to the lcd info). What is more important is to make sure that your quadcopter binds with the transmitter and allows control of the quadcopter. See in the right column Tutorial #1, Initialization, Binding, and Trimming.

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  10. Does not bind to transmitter. I received it last week, just trying it now. I turn on the transmitter, red blinking light. Turn on copter, all lights blink rapidly, then slow down to 2 blinks every couple of seconds. I shift the throttle up to the front, then to the back, then up again, nothing. I've tried shifting it up, back, and up back 2 times. Still nothing. What am I missing? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the copter needs to be turned on first then the transmitter
      you have to have the right order

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  11. Thanks for the time and effort you have put into this site. It is excellent. I am sure that many will fly quadcopters well and safely because of your work here. I, too, am a newbie so I plan to drop by often to learn more about the hobby a step at a time.

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  12. I have my fist quadcopter and it seems to drift fast to the rear and left. Is it normal to have to hold the pitch and roll after the controller is trimmed to the max? If there was a motor or prop problem how do you diagnose and tune? This is a great site!

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  13. Hi, since i updated my FW my right stick is working back to front all of a sudden?.
    so right is left and forward is backwards etc.
    i uploaded the older FW again but it has not fixed my problems and it makes sense now why i have been crashing the moment i take of.
    i have done the recallibration plugged in to the PC many times but no luck?.

    is there any way to reverse the sticks movements or reset the controller to when i brought it i am stuck.
    thank you.

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  14. I just got a Syma d63 drone runner
    And I have no idea what
    Binding is
    I never had to do it my old
    Helecopters

    ReplyDelete