sides as well as the
bottom of the unit
(Figures 3 and 4). The
case is translucent so that
status LEDs can be seen
without the need for light
pipes or external
indicators. The only
connector sticking out is
the SMA connection for
the GPS antenna.
Opening up the case
(as Dave Jones of the
EEVBlog would say —
Don’t turn it on, take it
apart!) shows a very
tightly routed PCB (printed
circuit board) with a lot
packed into a small
package (Figure 5). All of
the connectors are nicely
made and seemed pretty rugged.
The first step to installing the Quadrino was to remove
the OpenPilot flight controller I had previously installed on
the quad (Figure 6). I was never very happy with the
magnetometer on this flight controller and had no luck
getting GPS controlled missions to work correctly. I pulled it
off, then used a knife and alcohol to remove any residue
from the double-stick tape. I also unbolted the GPS mast
mount and put all of these into my drone parts tub.
While the basic hookup does not use the bottom
connectors of the flight controller, I’m sure that I’ll want to
experiment with them at some point. The flight controller
can be bolted to an airframe, mounted with an available
RobotShop mounting kit ( www.robotshop.com/en/
lynxmotion-Quadrino-nano-mounting-kit.html), or stuck
down with double-stick tape. I elected to use the tape, but
with no space for wires to exit the bottom of the flight
controller, I needed a cutout in the flight deck of the quad.
I centered the flight controller on the quad and marked
its perimeter on the side with the connectors. Be sure to
check that the forward arrow is indeed facing the front of
Using calipers, I measured the offset of the connectors
and drew the outline on the wood. You could also
photocopy the bottom of the flight controller and use that
to transfer the pattern.
To create this odd-shaped cutout, I used a few simple
tools and some elbow grease. First, I used a small step drill
and my drill press to hog out most of the central material
36 SERVO 10.2017
Figure 4: The bottom of the flight controller has
even more expansion options, with as many
Figure 5: Black solder mask makes it difficult to see the traces, but
the PCB is well laid out with great silkscreen legends to help
identify the ports and chips on board.
Figure 3: There are two serial ports and three I2C
busses available to the hacker for modifying the
Figure 6: The OpenPilot flight controller has a similar footprint,
but has proven to be less developed than I’d hoped. I’m saving
this controller for another project though!
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