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Anyone know of any microcontrollers which can communicate via radio?

Discussion in 'Microcontrollers, Programming and IoT' started by j4cobgarby, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. j4cobgarby


    Sep 18, 2018
    I'm designing a drone, and I'm looking for a cool microcontroller to use for the main controlling. I want to control the drone via radio commands so that I can control it from a fairly long way away.

    Does anyone know of any microcontrollers which can send data and receive data over radio signals? Similar to the I don't want to use the Micro Bit though.



    PS: I would love if the microcontroller came in a development board option, and/or can be easily programmed over USB, but this isn't necessary.
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009

    well that's what all drones already do
    what is it that you want to do differently ?
  3. j4cobgarby


    Sep 18, 2018
    Well my one will be made by me -- I just want to make a drone.
  4. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    I hear this sooo many times and really wonder if the realisation as to the amount of technology and know-how that is packed into these things is given a moments thought.

    Have no idea how you think you can improve these designs without having even an inkling of what is involved.

    There are kits are available if you want to go that way. Try Hobbyking for starters.

    Cost will be way in excess of what one can buy "over-the-counter" though and there is no guarantee they will work as you might expect.

    Basically the same for almost anything mass produced these days.

    There are some that cost thousands as these tend to have special features.
    hevans1944 and davenn like this.
  5. j4cobgarby


    Sep 18, 2018
    I do realise how much technology is in microcontrollers. Have a look at the Micro Bit to which I linked - that can communicate over radio, and it's pretty small. I'm not looking for anything the size of a fingernail by any means, just a microcontroller. I understand why it's difficult to make, which is why I'm having a hard time finding such a microcontroller, and why I'm posting here, in the hopes that someone may know of one.
  6. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    It is a fact that the quads carry several uC's for differing operations, not just one.

    Here is a link to one quad build using, not stand-alone uC's BUT a series of ready made modular boards.

    Be aware your requirement for long range is a feature not normally required or allowed by law in most countries.
  7. kellys_eye


    Jun 25, 2010
    ALL microcomputers can communicate over radio. They are usually separate things anyway. The microcomputer will use a serial data signal that is fed to a transmitter circuit that does the rest. More specifically it will be a transceiver as you need bi-directional communications for a drone.
    I'd forget trying to make one and consider hacking an existing model if you want to make yours unique in any way.
  8. VenomBallistics


    Aug 30, 2018
    How this is done at the hobby level is we do NOT jack around with the RF control side of the system. You will not achieve the reliability and versatility of a proper radio like the FrSky Taranis ... X9D or Q7.
    either of those and a receiver like their X series is a plug and play connection to most flight control boards.
    KK2 board is self contained but antiquated.
    current gold standard seems to be a cleanflight or betaflight loaded F4 ... its configured via USB through a chrome app.
    Personally, Ill recommend getting an all in one (AIO) F3, or F4 so you have your critical telemetry data video feed ready. just add an FPV camera, video transmitter and antenna, and a set of goggles Eachine 800D is an excellent entry level goggle system.
    Now, we get into the drone itself.
    Start with the frame size your going for. 250mm - 300mm has the most product support.
    On a sheet of poster board, use a compass to draw a circle with a diameter of your desired frame size (say 275mm)
    next, make a 90 degree X intersecting the center point of that circle and extending past the circle.
    Where the lines of the X intersect the circle is where your motors will go.
    make a template of your motors bolt pattern (2205 probably) and transfer this to each mount point where the shaft aligns with the X circle junctions. It would also help to mark the bolt pattern where the leads from the motor get to lay straight, pointing at the desired ESC location. Draw out the frame as you wish from there, only the motor positions are important so X form, H form or I form are all acceptable.
    As you draft this frame, make sure you have areas at the center for your radio receiver, FC board, VTX, camera and battery.
    You can add "floors" with spacers to gain more real-estate for gear too.
    once the frame draft is done, cut it out, use it as a template to transfer to Delrin, Carbon Fiber, FR4 circuit board material ... plywood if you like ...
    as you get close to finishing this machine, invest in DAL brand propellers. They can take the thank you sir may I have another kind of abuse you read about in Oliver Twist. ... you will need that trait above any other attribute.

    Now, I know that this isn't exactly the answer you seek.
    to work from components you'll need to get a gyro talking to an STM32 F4 MCU which has to handle the S.Bus feed from the RX while running mixer and PID functions to send servo commands to each of your ESC's. Then you'll have to figure out how to operate it without destroying every LiPoly you own until you can establish some kind of telemetry either via control uplink or video downlink.
    On Screen display via FPV is optimum in that it keeps your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.
    Its a great way to fly after you get past the Stevie Wonder impersonation phase and stop making yourself airsick while standing on firm ground and then you'll have to hammer out some way of facilitating adjustments via USART USB or whatever else you choose, because you WILL have your best guess at PID and control volumes puked in your face in the first few seconds of flight.
    I guess you could tweak firmware code but you can already lose a few weekends of your life with drone tuning when its easy to access.
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