The spring shutdown surprised EVERYONE. No one could have foreseen just how swift and thoroughly our every day lives could be changed. Perhaps the most surprising was people’s reaction to the sheer amount of FREE TIME they suddenly found themselves with. Previously such a precious, rare and valuable commodity, everyone was suddenly filthy rich with an abundance of free time and ideas and plans that been put off because of a lack of FREE TIME were suddenly popping up everywhere. Renovations. Books. Binge watching. Bread OH GOD the bread. Productivity and projects were flowing so freely and spreading across social media like wild fire as people lavishly spent their free time.
One of our engineers decided to spend his quarantine period building something he had come across on YouTube in order to spend his free time and keep his practical engineering skills sharp.
QUARANTINE CHRONICLES pt.3
The Quarantine Quadcopter
Stuck inside with an abundance of free time, Brad Dagenais one of our Control Specialists, was browsing through YouTube for what felt like the millionth hour when he came across a video “Walking my Raspberry Pi Drone with a Python Script”. Our engineers are notoriously confident, so naturally, Brad’s reaction was “Pfft. I can do that.”
And of course, like any good programmer should, Brad already had a raspberry pi laying around the house. He researched and found an online guide to help him through building the actual quadcopter. The design he settled on includes a Navio2 flight controller that is a lid to a Raspberry Pi 3B that would be able to incorporate autopilot functionality.
He had the brains in the raspberry pi but needed to purchase the flight controller online and then had to find a store somewhere in the pandemic that could supply the rest of the mechanical and electrical pieces he needed. This would have been hard to do in Windsor, but fortunately Brad had the opportunity to travel outside the region and was able to safely find everything he needed at a single store along the 401 as he traveled to one of our essential customer’s facility up outside the GTA.
Brad spent over a month building the quadcopter at his home on the weekends and troubleshooting and configuring the raspberry pi and flight controller during the evenings off work in lockdown at his hotel. He kept himself motivated by watching epic drone camera footage on YouTube that got him inspired in the first place and even practiced flying it in a simulator in his hotel room.
Eventually, it was time for action. No more simulations, no more configuring it was time to fly. The quadcopter was going to break quarantine!
The maiden voyage went…okay before it crashed into a tree. Luckily nothing was broken beyond repair and it was still able to fly so Brad launched it again. The second flight saw the quadcopter reach about 100ft high…before Brad lost control and it crashed into the ground and smashed into pieces.
The quadcopter after its crash. The design features on a 250mm frame, has a 2.4ghz receiver, 4in1 45amp speed controller, 2300kv motors with a 4cell lipo battery at 2200mah.
It wasn’t quite able to fly after its second flight. Nevertheless, Brad is encouraged by the project and is planning to return to the project in the near future. He has plenty of ideas already and plans to incorporate a GoPro to his new system to be able to capture photos and videos. we can’t wait to see and share what the next voyage of the quarantine quadcopter will bring!