AutoQuad M4 – Micro Flight Controller
The AutoQuad M4 is first in a new generation of AutoQuad flight controllers. It is designed to be scalable from pocket sized quads and up to heavy payload copters with up to 16 brushless motors by using expansion boards.
AutoQuad M4 offers a easy and affordable entry into the world of AutoQuad with Quatos adaptive attitude control.It it is fully software compatible with all AutoQuad features. And a number of new features including the Quatos adaptive controller makes the M4 a very stable, easy and affordable AutoQuad controller.
The 4 onboard motor drivers allows to 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.
In the Reference build section, you can find our Ladybird reference build based on a Ladybird frame with a M4 controller that costs around 150E to build, but still features on-board DSM2 radio receiver, GPS and full navigation capability by adding a small GPS antenna.
But AQ M4 can also be expanded to be the heart of a heavy payload copter with up to 16 motors by using expansion boards and CAN to control ESC32´s. It supports all core functions in AutoQuad, but has less connection options and especially less PWM channels available.
So its versatile and can be adapted from crafts that fits in your pocket to crafts that fits in your car…and to everything in between those 2 extremes. More examples below.
Features of the v1 (r4, r5) Beta Boards:
- STM32F405 MCU
- Native USB with 1S battery charging
- 4 onboard motor drivers for brushed motors
- Full 9-axis digital IMU with Altimeter
- Onboard Ublox7 GPS module
- Onboard Deltang DSM2 7-channel receiver
- Expansion board headers containing PWM, GPIOs, SD-Card, UART and power
- Onboard CAN bus transceiver
- Included Quatos license for hobby and recreational crafts up to 1kg. Upgrade, educational and commercial licenses available.
Features of the v2 (r6) Production Boards:
- CYRF6936 based DSM2/DSMX capable 12channel transceiver onboard (no telemetry at this point, but it could be added…)
- 3.3 supply from buck/boost converter. Should be enough to run both internal and external radio and BT
- Antenna for CYRF module now has a u.fl connector
- GPS backup battery
- Vin sense circuit
- Vbus pads for clean 5V supply (no need to supply onto Vcom via diodes or regulators)
- Option to mount Picoblade connectors for motors
- MAX-M8Q GPS/GLONASS module. (V1 had MAX-7W, which is GPS “only”)
If you need to identify the parts on the M4v2, OlliW has set up a very useful page for M4 Electronics.
Full autonomous capability
By connecting a small GPS antenna (you can make one for a few bucks) you can add full navigation and autonomous mission capabilities to your M4 nano-quad. Or, if you are using your M4 to control your big rig, you can use the standard 35mm patch antenna and get really excellent GPS reception even in challenging places.
Read more about GPS antenna options in the GPS antenna section
Quatos Adaptive control
Quatos adaptive attitude control is included along with every M4 controller. With Quatos, AutoQuad now offers unsurpassed stability and disturbance rejection in even the harshest conditions. All AQ controllers sold from October 1st 2014 will include a personal hobby use license for Quatos for crafts up to 1 kg. Ugrade licenses for heavier crafts and commercial or educational use will be available from Drone Controls, the company behind Quatos.
Read more about it on in the Quatos section of the wiki.
You can of course still use the PID controller without any limits.
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 8 PWM channels (including the 4 internal channels), SD-Card 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.
Read more in the M4 Expansion boards section.
Printable PDF of actual-size board can be downloaded here. Useful as a template for marking mounting holes on a frame, etc.
Use it to control your big rig
The combination of GPS receiver, CAN bus and expansion headers allows the M4 to be used to control a full-size rig with full nav capability, like shown below:
We are also working on several “Motherboards” for the M4 and other AQ controllers that we will release soon.
These motherboards can be connected to any AutoQuad main board via CAN bus. They add functions such as OSD, power distribution, signal distribution, power supplies, UART´s, Xbee socket and PWM channels.
The above board together with a SD-card expansion will make you able to build a 12 or 16 motor multi with OSD and full NAV and telemetry options without a lot of wiring hassle.
AutoQuad M4 component shortlist:
- AutoQuad M4 controller – available at flyduino.com and viacopter.eu
- A suitable frame; like a Walkera Ladybird or CrazyFlie motor mounts
- A suitable set of coreless motors. The onboard motor drivers on the M4 is good for up to 5A peaks.
- 1s Lipo battery
- USB cable
- DSM2 capable RC control handset
- Optional bluetooth
- GPS antenna
Media and Forums
Here is a presentation from the Hannover Maker Faire 2014 with information about M4