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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Test Bench For QuadCopter

As mentioned in my previous post, I managed to free up some time on a weekend and started to progress this project. My first task was to build a test bench so that I can test out various modules/functions of a QuadCopter, such as the motors. See below for the final product.

QuadCopter Test Bench - Final
QuadCopter Test Bench - Final

The test bench is made up of the following:
Some support parts:

I'm not going to go into too much detail on the build as I want to keep this post short. There's room for personal preferences, so feel free to modify as you wish, this is only how I built the system.

Once I got all the parts in, it was simply putting it all together. Here's a high level diagram of the wiring.

QuadCopter Test Bench - Wiring
QuadCopter Test Bench - Wiring

Once the wiring is figured out, place the components where you want on the test stand and mark the outlines and drill holes. Grab your power tools and start drilling/cutting/chiseling.

QuadCopter Test Bench - Outline
QuadCopter Test Bench - Outline

Solder-up the power distribution board. The power switch hole needed a little chiseling as the wood was too thick for the switch.

QuadCopter Test Bench - Soldering_Power Switch
QuadCopter Test Bench - Soldering_Power Switch

Wire up the current shunt in the back. Make note, I didn't technically follow the instructions from the manufacturer exactly for the power meter. The "switch side" lug should have the GND of the power meter connected directly to the lug, but instead I attached it to the Kelvin Sense screw. It shouldn't matter too much, I will eventually fix this.
QuadCopter Test Bench - Back Wiring
QuadCopter Test Bench - Back Wiring

Add all the PCBs, solder the bullet connectors, attach the L-bracket/load cell, and finish up the wiring according to the wiring diagram. Here's the final image again once it's all done.

QuadCopter Test Bench - Final
QuadCopter Test Bench - Final

Currently the only thing working is the ESC servo tester to control the motor. Once powered up (assure throttle is in min position and ESC servo tester is set on "manual" control) play with the throttle to test the motor with different props and monitor the power. I can get up to 18A without doing any servo calibration.

Next blog post I will implement the HX711 load cell on the Zybo so that we can measure the thrust of the motor.

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