Micro Motor Community

STEM Project: Need Recommendations and Suggestions

#1

I posted back in December issues I was having with some SciSky F3 boards and FS-i6 radios, and despite all the help I was unable to get things working properly.

So now I’m back, with my tail between my legs, looking for suggestions on FCs that are definitely compatible with the FS-i6 radios. The radios and cost per drone are my only real barriers.

I’m trying to keep the per drone cost at around $30, which would include frame (3d printed), motors, props, and FC.

I keep the batteries and radios for future classes and let the students take the drones they’ve built.

Current Cost Breakdown:

I look forward to any help that can be provided!

#2

Looks like you got frsky flight controllers instead of flysky. Easy mistake to make.

This is probably the best of the flysky integrated flight controllers:


Pricy little thing though.
The other option would be standalone receivers: https://smile.amazon.com/Flysky-Receiver-2-4Ghz-Transmitter-Quadcopter/dp/B01M75FQIO/
And cheap no-rx flight controllers: https://smile.amazon.com/Semoic-Flight-Control-Brushed-Quadcopter/dp/B07M74NVSR

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#3

Not knowing other details about your STEM class, allow me to suggest a completely different approach.
I can see that keeping the cost low is important and also note that you let the students keep the drone.

My key questions for you are:

  1. Is it really necessary that you use a Betaflight FC?
  2. And is it really necessary that you use 8520 sized motors?

If the answer is “not really”, then I would suggest using toy quads such as the Eachine e010.

This would also mean you need to forget about the FS-i6 controller and spend a little more to buy the Jumper T8SG. The beauty of the Jumper T8SG is that it is a multi-protocol controller that is able to control many of the popular and cheap toy quads with precision as well as Flysky, Frsky and DSM/X protocols so you can also control the Betaflight FCs with no problem.

The Eachine e010 costs $18 and you have the option of having your students take it apart and transplating it onto a 3D printed BOSS frame to get a completely different flying experience. With the BOSS frame you can maintain the same 6mm motor size or go up to 7mm motors. I don’t think the tune of the e010 FC will handle 8mm motors well but you can test that out.

In this video I’m flying the Eachine e010 modded with a $12 camera so it is fully capable of being upgraded into an FPV Whoop.

At the end of the class, when your students take home the drone, they will be able to fly it at home using the toy controller that Eachine e010 comes with. I’m just wondering what good would it be to the students for them to take home a Betaflight FC drone when they don’t have a controller to fly it with.

That’s all I have to share so far and I hope it is helpful although it could be quite a deviation from the road you’ve already started down.

#4

What’s the overall goal that you’re trying to reach with your students. Are you focusing on the self expression of 3d design facilitated by 3d printing, an understanding of the embedded system that makes these drones fly, exposure to the different electronic components and how they work together …

I mean I get that building a drone touches on all these and more … but are you trying to keep it in the land of general exposure or are you drilling down with more focus on a particular part of the process?

I ask because there are many combinations of components that would fit your budget… but each specific combination is going to come with its own quarks and challenges. If one of those options happens to align with your goals … then that’s the one which is the best fit for you.

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#5

The Lite version doesn’t support all the protocols that full T8SG (/V2/Plus) does. It’s limited to FrSky and Futaba.

#6

Oops, thanks! Edited my post to recommend the Jumper T8SG.

#7

Yeah, I’m completely new to drones, and RC in general. I like the cheaper options you linked, as students still have to solder, which is a big part of my intended learning objectives.

Thank you for responding and and giving some viable options!

#8
  1. BF is not a requirement. As of right now, I am the one using it to flash bios and setup. I’m not making the students do this themselves, unless they have experience or strong desire to do so themself.

  2. The 8520 are not required either. I’m a complete novice and learning as I go. I picked the 8520s from an instructable guide.

I like the idea of the e010, in dismantling and rebuilding. I also like the fact it comes with a radio so students have one to take home with the completed drone. Unfortunately, the FS-i6s need to be implemented somehow, as it was a pretty good chunk of money that I can’t justifiably put in a closet to collect dust. Is there an online RC resell site that I could post them on to try and recoup some of the money?

I did purchase a T12 (at Benedikt’s suggestion) in an attempt to pair it with the SciSky F3, but was unsuccessful. Admittedly, my enthusiasm and wherewithal as deteriorated rapidly over the past few months.

I will definitely keep this option in mind, though. Thank you!

#9

As you stated, all of the above.

But, primarily, I want students exposed to the electronic components and to develop soldering skills. General exposure is the idea. My STEM class is an elective that does not tie into any specific curriculum. I have free reign to cover whatever topics and concepts I want, and our students (like most) thrive on doing. I figured drones would be an exciting hook into developing soldering skills and learning about the different components.

If a student were to show interest in developing their own frame that would be another avenue we could explore, further exposing them to CAD programs and 3D printing.

#10

You can try listing them on Ebay and RCGroups and see how it goes. If you have to stick with the FS-i6s then go with the Tiny Whoop form factor FCs with the FlySky protocol. The light weight of 6mm motor quads reduce a lot of damage from crashes and save you a lot of money and the time and aggravation of repairs.

#11

The bwhoop b3 pro combined with the nfe_silverware firmware project has been used in many stem classes. It’s a sub 20 dollar drone that comes with everything including a cheap toy transmitter kids could take home. The learning process would even include a look at raw code from my firmware project, compiling this code and flashing it to the stm microprocessor on the drone. I even have “tunes” all worked out for changing over to 3d printed frames, and an entire series of 3d printable frames and matching diy vacuum formed canopy 3d printable molds using milk jug plastic to form which go with the frames. All the information to complete these projects is posted here in this forum and everything is shared publicly. Just take a look at the NFE Boss series frames. My time is slim to dive in and assist you every step of the way but there is a ton of documentation and a huge community support base and following for all these projects - assistance would be easy to find. The end result produces arguably one of the best flying and best looking micro drones around with complete user adjustability on the super cheap which is also heavy on they diy, inspiration, and learning. The NFE series of diy projects is basically a complete stem drone curriculum… it was for me personally so I shared it all with the community, and it turned out to do the same for a lot of other pilots entering the hobby too. I was a novice when I started with no background in 3d design, computer programming, or advanced soldering. Now I write my own firmware, design hand assemble prototypes and even manufacture my own flight controllers and escs, and have become part of a drone company. It all started with flashing the firmware to toy drones, vacuum forming canopies out of milk jugs, and 3d printing frames. Each of these 3 I knew nothing about when I started.

The only drawback with this bwhoop approach is there isn’t much soldering if that concerns you. There are other board options compatabile with these projects though which involve a bit more soldering including some boards with open source designs where a student can get one pre made but one day potentially hand assemble one if they advance in the hobby where all schematics, parts listings, and pcb files are shared publicly.

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#12

Going with a flashable e011c or bwhoop pro as a test bed and perhaps later as parts for a boss style conversion is what I would suggest as well. These can fly with the included toy remote but control is much better with a hobby grade transmitter.

This is where the existing i6 transmitters can come in, if you add a module that plugs into the trainer port in the back, such as the irange irx6 module which is 6-7 dollars, then most toy protocols including e010 and bayang become available.

Disclaimer: I only have personal experience binding an i6 with irx6 to a e010 but youtube is full of videos showing the other protocols working

#13

Once I went down the Silverware path, I’ve never looked back. It’s brilliant from a STEM point of view, like @NotFastEnuf mentioned, with the coding aspect and expansion opportunities. I have an FS-i6 (non s) that works great with the IRX6 module for my E011C, so that is by all means a possible route. In terms of soldering, you can make a few opportunities for yourself, with the programming cable and motors (they come with plugs but you can take them off) being solderable. If that’s not enough, there are options for making your own boards, though that would be very difficult for less experienced solderers and more expensive.
IMO, the experience of building up a quad with Silverware is a far better learning experience than Betaflight, owing to the less plug and play nature of it and more DIY background. With so much support on this forum, keeping the drone in flying condition is easy yet useful for developing valuable skills including troubleshooting and other electronics skills. There are a good number of side projects that you could do, such as adding a buzzer or LED light. If you have extra toy controllers left over, you can salvage most of the parts from there.
Good luck with the project, I’m sure it’d be hard to make something like this boring.

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