MSP430 based Quadcopter – Mind = Blown

[T]hanhtran, a RC group member,  created a four rotor flying machine using the MSP430F2274. The eval board is part of the EZ430-RF2500 development kit. His quadrotor consists of  four props and two gyros – the LPY550AL( pitch and Yaw) and LPR550AL(pitch and roll)  for control. The roll, pitch and yaw are analog outputs which get sampled by the MSP430. You can also use the gyro board from Wii Motion Plus clones if mounting those tiny SMD gyros on a PCB intimidates you.

Commands for throttle, rudder,  roll and pitch are obtained are received through a RC receiver. The output of the RC receiver is a PWM of ~20Hz, whose widths get sampled by the MSP430 through Interrupts and a Timer. The frame is made up of three pieces of aluminium tubing to hold the electronics and the motors.  The whole thing weighs just 118g.

His code is updated in Google code. The schematic and build log details can be found at the RC groups forum.

[Update 11/19/2010]

[T]hanhtran let us know that he cut 1.5″ from each arm bringing the total wing-span to 7″. Way to go [T]hanh!


  1. Awesome! I want one of those! :)

  2. This is so freakin’ cool. Why get the Parrot system when you can make your own. I’m doing this!! Thanks so much for sharing

    • Is this the one which Brookstone sells?

  3. dang, that’s gotta be one of the coolest msp430 projects out there

    • Thanks…

  4. Thanks very much for posting this project here Gerry! It looks like you know the project so well!

    Tiago, I want your robot :)

    Sun, hope you have fun building this one. The Wii Motion Plus gyro board works a lot better for this tiny quad.

    • Your welcome :) I’m building one too, so I know a bit about quads. Its based on the OpenPilot platform.

    • Post updated. Thanks for letting us know.

  5. Now…add small gps receiver and make it autonomous….

    Very cool and well done..

    Brian C

    • Thanks Brian!
      Yeah I had a small GPS arrived (9/16″ x 9/16″ x 1/4″) but I think I will save that for bigger out door quadcopter :) But before the it can really autonomously fly, I need to add some accelerometer so that the quadcopter knows its true angle (gyro has drift).

      By the way: here is the latest version:

      It uses the CC2500 as a receiver to receive signal from another CC2500 at the remote control console (the RC radio). It uses brushed motors so there is a lot less components one has to buy. The construction is also simplier (but not as efficient/powerful as the brushless motor version)


  6. What blows my mind is how no one bothered to clean up all that crap before taking a video that would be posted on the Internet.

    • You sound just like my wife ;).
      Yeah that does include a lot of stuff from the kids (2 & 4 years old) sharing my flying ground.

  7. Thanh,

    Thanks for sharing the code and all of the posts on the rc forum. I am slowly making my way through the 1000+ comments but I wanted to see if you had tried or thought about using alternate controllers besides the traditional 2 stick controllers?
    I was thinking of something like a wii nunchuck or a smartphone where the accelerometer controls orientation while the joystick or onscreen joystick controls movement.

    • Hi Doug

      I have tried to fly this with an Iphone and a free app (Iphly). The TI adapter plus to the Iphone headphone jack and I can control my quadcopter with this. However, I’ve not been able to do any good flight. I guess I’m not used to flying this way yet. Or I might need to slow down the control from the Iphone.

      The traditional 2-stick controller can offer precise control and use one thumb for 2 operation. With the iphone interface, all 4 controls are combined into one hand and one thumb. Still practicing. Will see how it goes

      • Please update us when you are done, Thanh. We’ll update with a new blog post. Thanks!

  8. Very Cool!! – Good Job

  9. hii want to make this as my final year project so where could i buy this or hve to make my own please help me contact me on my mail

  10. It looks great!

  11. Hello, Well put together submit. There’s an problem with the site with ie, could possibly click here? Internet explorer nonetheless may be the current market leading and a great part of individuals will omit your current great publishing for that reason issue.

  12. Awesome project!!!!!!!!!! Can u please tell me the application of quadcopter? or is this just a hobby project? Even i want to do this if it has any application

  13. Please reply Thantran… i want to do this as my miniproject. Can we do this as miniproject? or is this a major project.



  1. Community Highlights - September - The Official MSP430 Blog - Blogs - TI E2E Community - […] off with this MSP430 based Quadcopter created by […]

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