M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Info and discussion about the autonomous Micro FC, suitable for nanos, micros and mini multirotors

M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby JussiH » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:07 am

Short answer: The M4 is a full Autoquad capable flight controller in NanoQuad package. It can either be a pocket-sized nanoquad with advanced nav capability or be the main flight controller in a full featured Autoquad with up to 16 motors and quatos adaptive control.

Here is what it looks like in rendering:
M4_demo.jpg

And IRL next to the AQ6....to give you an idea of size.

DSC02051.JPG

Dimensions are in the PDF below. Mounting holes are 2mm diameter.

aqm4v1r2 dim preliminary.pdf
(210.02 KiB) Downloaded 546 times


So, what can it do...?
It runs the same code as its bigger siblings. But it is also equipped with 4 onboard motor drivers for small coreless brushed DC motors, so that you can build a pocket sized Autoquad by just adding 4 coreless motors and a small frame. It is a direct fit to a Ladybird frame and can be combined with a number of other pocket-quad parts from Hubsan, CrazyFlie, Walkera, WLtoys, e-flite and many others.

Here is a few examples of pocket quads:

Walkera Ladybird frame, circa 45 grams with battery:

DSC02049.JPG

CrazyFlie motors and mounts, directly on the PCB arms - around 20-25 grams, depending on battery choice.

DSC02050.JPG

Foam/CF frame with Hubsan X4 shroud. Circa 45 grams with battery:

DSC02048.JPG


The M4 board is fully equipped with CAN bus, Ublox GPS and a 9-axis Digital IMU with altimeter. In addition there is an onboard Deltang DSM2 receiver, USB connection with 1s battery charging, pushbutton on/off switch and expansion headers containing GPIOs, SPI, UART, SD-card, I2C and power.

Expand it
The expansion headers makes it possible for the M4 controller to be very versatile and offer the same functions as a full AQ controller board with up to 9 PWM channels (including the 4 internal channels), logging and wireless telemetry just like its bigger counterparts. And with CAN and ESC32, you dont need to worry about PWM channels, but can control up to 16 CAN ESC´s directly from the M4 and fly your big rig with it too.

The expander below adds MicroSD card, UART (connected to a Bluetooth module) and a 3.3V stepup/down for powering the BT module or other peripherals. In addition this expander makes 4 PWM channels available to drive 4 PWM ESC´s or servos.

DSC02053.JPG


And here is an example of a M4 beeing used to control a full size quad from Kisssys using that same expansion board with CAN ESC´s


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79B1EN5Y_3U

For those that need a little bit more functions and ESCs, there is also a "AQ Motherboard" in progress:

DSC02058.JPG

The motherboard can be connected to any AutoQuad main board via CAN bus. So it works with AQ6 with DIMU and it works with the M4. It adds the following features:

Power distribution for 8 motors. Max 150A/35V.
Full OSD overlay with Altimeter, variometer, attitude, heading, velocity, current, direction/distance to home and messages.
2 switchable input video channels
2 audio out channels for synthesized audio messages that can be transmitted over FPV link.
Voltage and current measuring
2 Opto-isolated camera powersupplies, 5V/1A
12 PWM channels with 5V and GND, JST 0.1" 3pin servo connectors
12 CAN connectors with 5V and GND (JST-SH, 4 pin) Up to 16 CAN ESCs is possible at the moment.
2 CAN buses
3 UARTS, one is an Xbee socket
2 I2C Buses
2 LED drivers
Onboard STM32F4 processor with 1MB flash. Lots of CPU time available to play with.

So an M4 together with this Motherboard and a SD-card expansion will make you able to build a 12 or 16 motor multi with a very full featureset while eliminating a lot of wiring.

Of course the icing on the cake would be the Upcoming V3 ESC32. Its a complete redesign both hardware and software. It supports 10S input, high currents, CAN, USB and Active freewheeling which improves stability and efficiency by braking props on deceleration and collecting the braking energy back into the power harness.

Quatos adaptive control
The Autoquad M4 will come with a license included for the Quatos Adaptive attitude controller for hobby use in crafts up to 1kg. There will be an affordable upgrade path for beyond 1kg and for commercial crafts too.

The Quatos controller is adaptive instead of proportional like the PID controller. That translates into a much more stable and smooth flight and further increased wind and gust resistance.

Once set up, its also a lot simpler to tune than the PID attitude controllers. However, it requires to build a virtual model of the craft that describes the crafts mass and thrust distribution.

You also need to have a ESC32 in Closed loop mode, and you have to do a RPM vs Thrust measurement with your particular motor and propellor or use a known combination. We are working on building a DB with known motors, props and frames.

The team is working on documentation and tools for both the M4 and the quatos controller. But at the moment its very "beta". There is no graphical tool for Quatos mass distribution, so the mass distribution is defined in a XML file that is used to calculate moment of inertia terms and motor mixing parameters. Its not hard, but involves using command line tools available both on Windows, Linux and OSX.

And the big one....WHEN?
We expect to unleash a limited public beta of the M4 medio august with ready configurations for pocket-quads and thrust data for a number of known motor/prop combinations. The hardware is built and working, but we need a bit of time to get the tools tested, documented and released. A limited number of bare controllers, Kits and BNFs will be made available. A public announcement will be made in good time before they become available.

ESC32 V3 and the Motherboard is in internal testing with promising results. Fullscale production will begin during the late summer/early fall, provided no bugs or problems is identified in the internal testing now beeing done.
JussiH
 
Posts: 2103
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:25 pm

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby leopold1 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:10 am

Looks very promising. Any indication concerning pricing?
leopold1
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:43 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby boriss » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:09 am

Exciting stuff coming up ! Will you guys provide the GPS module with the M4 or up to us to decide on one ? If so any recommendations ?

Thanks

Boris
boriss
 
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:26 pm

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby kinderkram » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:30 am

There´s a UBlox GPS module onboard. Like with the AQ6 you will only need an antenna.
We´re currently testing a DIY 1$ dipole antenna with good results.
kinderkram
 
Posts: 2911
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:47 am

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby Astudillo » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:29 am

Quatos adaptive control
The Autoquad M4 will come with a license included for the Quatos Adaptive attitude controller for hobby use in crafts up to 1kg. There will be an affordable upgrade path for beyond 1kg and for commercial crafts too.


Will there be a Quatos license for the AQ6 boards as well?
And is there already a price indication on the licenses?
Astudillo
 
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:23 am
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby JussiH » Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:04 pm

We aim at a retail price of 100E + taxes on the M4 board. This is gonna be the public beta price too. This will include the Quatos hobby license for crafts up to 1kg.

For hobby use, the upgrade license for over 1kg with an M4 board is gonna be 100 USD or circa 80E.

I am very sure there will be quatos licenses available for already sold V6 boards but maybe not right away. We are focusing on this M4 beta run to iron out things and make sure everything is OK before there will be a big release including for the earlier boards.

M4 is all all about offering an easy entry into the world of AutoQuad with Quatos adaptive control, so the public beta release will probably revolve around something a Ladybird frame and similar reference builds and BNF´s that we will release a build guide for with "load-n-fly" parameter files and firmwares. To build that then only requires soldering 8 motor leads and putting together the frame with 4 screws.....very easy.

But Id like to stress that at this point, doing a new quatos setup requires you to measure the mass, geometry and thrust of your particular setup.

We will release some known setups for pocket quads and reference builds and data for known propellors and motors, but if you want to adapt Quatos to your own build, the process involves editing XML files, using Command line tools, doing thrust measurements and calculating thrust curve terms in a spreadsheet. No graphical setup tools for Quatos exist at this time and you have to build a thrust measuring rig to measure the thrust curve of your particular motor and props.

So quatos is very much at the moment a "beta" thing. But we are sure that the advantage of Quatos is significant enough that its worth the extra trouble for initial setup of a new frame.

But on the other hand, with a known refence build, the path to an excellently flying machine is very short.
JussiH
 
Posts: 2103
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:25 pm

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby boriss » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:39 pm

kinderkram wrote:There´s a UBlox GPS module onboard. Like with the AQ6 you will only need an antenna.
We´re currently testing a DIY 1$ dipole antenna with good results.


Thanks mentioned somewhere that the M4 need S1. This concerning whole board to operate and it can actually take more if the onboard coreless driver are not used ? Or a step down is necessary once going higher than S1 in all cases ?

Thanks

Boris
boriss
 
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:26 pm

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby kinderkram » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:02 pm

Boris, the M4 itself can only take 1s. If you want to use modules that require more you will need a step-down unit like the 5$ Pololu Jussi posted above.
kinderkram
 
Posts: 2911
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:47 am

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby leopold1 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:15 pm

Is it so that the M4 eventually will replace the AQ6?
leopold1
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:43 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: M4 - what is it, what can it do?

Postby kinderkram » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:27 pm

Here's a short video of todays Outdoor Maiden Flight. Unbelievable stable performance! :shock:
Position Hold and Return to Home is spot on even with a breeze. Watch her doing fast spins in gusty winds:



It gets a 3D fix within 30secs with a simple dipole GPS antenna.
It's now equipped with a BlueTooth module for wireless telemetry - works like a charm! 8-)
kinderkram
 
Posts: 2911
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:47 am

Next

Return to AutoQuad M4 Micro Controller

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron