Design, Build, Test, Iterate

Archive for June, 2011

DIY PCB Etching: Overview and Production of Ferric Chloride

I liked the look of the LED-outlined propeller, so I decided I would etch my own PCBs to make it easier to light up all three propellers. I’ve spent the last week researching DIY PCB etching methods and doing some unsafe home electrochemistry that has left me with minor chemical burns in various spots all […]

Tricopter: Improving Propeller Visibility

Due to a lack of materials, I had used small pieces of duct tape on the tips of my propellers to increase their visibility. A friend made the point that white yellow (more visible than white) paint would work a lot better, but since I won’t have any for a while, I decided to see […]

Google Voice Search

Google now has a voice search function! Some of my results: “Google” – “google” “tricopter yaw control” – “fuddruckers optical” “Mark Zuckerberg” – “mark zuckerberg” “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” – “the 44 seasons” “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” – “valdez 4 seasons” Clearly pronouncing words separately seems to help a bit. Now they just need to have the […]

Tricopter: Wireless Communication With XBees

The short story: Lowered baudrate to 19200, and wireless communication works! The problems that take me the most time to solve have the dumbest, simplest solutions. Bah. A fascinating video of the tricopter turning on. Almost worthless since it’s not flying, but it’s the first video of the tricopter in a decently working state. I […]

Tricopter: Debugging

I spent three solid hours trying to figure out why I could no longer control my tricopter. I checked my code over and over again and even put in the 5V regulator in case the problem was caused by the 5.5V output of the ESCs with which the Seeeduino is powered. Then I tried running […]

Tricopter: Wireless communication works!

I finished high school today. We screamed, took pictures, and destroyed a clock with a pickaxe when it struck 3:05. I’ve already received my 3.3V (576-2228-ND) and 5V (576-1143-ND) linear regulators from Digi-Key in the mail (along with 20ft of 1/4″ heat shrink tubing), though it seems I won’t need them anymore. It turns out […]

New Domain Name!

I finally have my own domain name,! My blog at will no longer be updated. At first I tried to register, but they didn’t let me because I don’t live in Germany (.de). Oh well. After some research, I decided to go with Namecheap as my registrar. They’ve reasonable prices and the […]

Tricopter: Electronics

(Disclaimer: the photos are blurry because my cell phone camera can’t focus on anything closer than 3 feet.) This is the underside of my Seeeduino Mega protoshield that will hold most of my tricopter’s electronics together. I wired up my accelerometer (BMA180) and gyro (ITG-3200) a few days ago without too much trouble using their […]