If you’re curious maker or professional. And wish to get hands on experience to build or fly drone. Then, this post is for you. You can say its a beginners guide for drone programming. This can be very helpful to make some initial decisions to buy DIY Programmable Drone Kit for beginners. Almost a year back, I was searching online to buy drone kits. Soon I realized it’s not that easy, the spare parts are difficult to find in India. And with no guarantee for quality. Everyone has different pricing listed and in fact none of them has everything at one single place. I found it’s frustrating. Buying drone or quadcopter is bit expensive hobby.
Back then I started reading and reaching out to professionals aka Drone Experts in the region. They were busy and many of them spent lots of cash on burning components and learning. In the end, I did the same. And, decided to document my hustle to help new learners.
Drone is an lucrative technology to add to your skill sets. Also worth investing in long term as a technologist. Along with it you’ll enjoy every bit of it
In future post, I will share about different drones I built with several leading flight controllers out there in the market. I’ll share experience with comparison and flying experience. There are several factors need to keep in mind before dive into drone or quadcopter. When it comes to buying spare parts, make sure you know what you’re buying and why? Because you should know basics to make sure they fulfil your objective. You may want to fly for fun or want to implement use case or even build applications. Whatever, the reason could be. I recommend beginners to buy DIY Programmable Drone Kit which saves time and make learning smooth. Especially, in case if you don’t have enough time.
Typical DIY Programmable Drone Kit
Essential list of components or spare parts to build drone from scratch
- Flight Controller
- Battery & Charger
Types of Drones
According to Drone policy of India, drones are classified as
- Nano drones weigh up to 250 grams
- Micro drones 250 grams to 2kg
- Small drones 2kg to 25 kg
- Medium drone 25kg to 150kg
Now when you’re complete new then I recommend using programmable DIY Nano drones which are affordable quick and easy to fly. There are some really cool Nano Drones out there in a market like PlutoX and Crazflie2.1, both are great. I recommend PutoX for Indian users; it’s a programmable crash resistant drone with HD Camera. The reason is because it’s affordable at price point yet having freedom to code through its own Cygnus IDE. You can write API based C++ programs to implement your own ideas. Also there is support for expansion breakout board (X-Breakout Board), which lets us, add additional sensors. There are several features which lets, PlutoX best fit for implementing use cases. It’s not just a quadcopter/drone, its complete platform which includes flight controller, mobile App, Development IDE, API based programming Interface etc. You can easily find spare parts and buy online. Here is a link if in case you breakdown any part while experimenting.
For US & Europe, user’s maybe Crazflie2 will an option due to its availability. But it depends how you compare them including price, logistics, availability, government policy etc. I personally recommend PlutoX Drone Kit; my experience is so far great as a developer or tinkerer by myself. And I’ll be putting out lots of videos and blogs about it. I’ll even share some use cases built around PlutoX.
Comparison of Drones Features
|Flight time||9 min.||7 min.|
|SDK||API Based interface||Standard Developer interface|
|Communication||WiFi (60m)||Proprietary (1km)|
|Frame||Open Source & Modifiable||Standard Frame|
Introduction of PlutoX: DIY Programmable Drone
Features of PrimusX Controller Board
The following peripherals feature let’s PlutoX connect with your choice of sensors, actuators, motors etc with it. And don’t you think it’s awesome to build your own project around PlutoX Drone.
- 16 GPIOs
- 2 DAC Channels
- 10 DOF Sensor Suit
- 4-Mosfet Drivers
- 2 UARTS
- 20 Pin Header
- 4 H Bridge Drivers
- 11 Timer Channels
Programming Environment for PlutoX Drone
Installing Cygnus IDE for programming done using API based Interface
When I started my journey I thought drone programming means all about writing flight control algorithm. But later I realized, algorithm is a fixed firmware you can tweak and play around as you develop expertise. But as a newbie, I think focus should be more on use cases. The real learning could be to fly stable flight and understanding flight-and-aerodynamics, later-on finally write an application programs to let your Quadcopter/drone do what you want it to do. This off-course needs programming knowledge. Stay tuned for my next post. And will learn more about every component of Drone including its types, uses & selection criteria. Thanks for reading.