How to Build your Own Agriculture Drone

Different types of drones are available in the market to select from according  to  your requirement. If you are interested, you can build your own drone .Building a drone by yourself is a good learning process and fun.Use of drones for agricultural purpose has proved very fruitful. Here is a step by step tutorial to build a drone for farming. So, let us start!

Supplies to be needed:

Following supplies are needed to build a drone for agricultural purpose.

  1. The drone frame (Aluminum X-frame (1-inch by 1-inch aluminum, 3.5-inch long arms with ¼-inch aluminum motor mounts)
  2. Motors (Gartt ML6011 340 kV Brushless Motors)
  3. Electronic speed control (YPG 100 Amp Brushless ESC, 2 to 6S LiPO)
  4. Pixhawk flight controller kit (flight controller, GPS, power module, radio link
  5. Laser range finder (A range finder is necessary to adequately hold the low-altitude flights needed for crop spraying)
  6. One 6-to-12 channel radio
  7. Propellers
  8.   Batteries Two (2) 18,000 mAh batteries ($350 each
  9. Connectors

Things to note:

A range finder is necessary to regulate the low height flights for crop spraying. Laser -type range finder is suitable.

  • The ardupilot software (versions 3.5.5 and up) keeps automatic area-following functions that will work with the laser range finder and sprayer functions are available (versions 3.4.4 and up).
  • The “loiter” function works well for spraying operations which controls height ,and forward speed during flight.

Note the following when selecting ESCs (electronic speed controller)

  • Slow-start helicopter ESCs from YPG perform better   without the box with no programming needed.
  • Most homemade drones currently use 24-to-28-volt systems.
  • The winding may damaged if the bolts protrude too far into the housing ,take care about bolt lengths when mounting the motors.
  • Use two or more batteries at same time
  • Airplane-type speed controllers may not work well without substantial programming, make sure the ESCs are helicopter rated.
  • Do not use the power module to transmit full battery power because large-current flows can de-solder connector tabs.
  • Use a separate battery lead for each battery.
  • When soldering wires to support the high amperage flow,make sure they have enough contact, that can occur in these drones (80 to 200 amps), Use high-quality solder (60/40) and a large high-watt soldering iron (greater than 60 watts).

How to assemble:

When you collect all the parts which you require, it’s time to put them all together! Read on to discover how to build a quad-copter drone:

1. Fixing of the motor of drone on frame

Fix the motors with screw using screw driver.

If you’re building a drone from a kit, you may find that the motors come with mounts that make it easier for you to affix them to the frame.

2-Fix electronic speed controllers (ESCS)

Attach your ESCs to the bottom of your drone’s frame. This will free up more space for other parts to be fixed on top.

3-Fix the landing gear

You’ll need to fix landing gear to your drone to absorb the shock when it lands on solid ground to avoid costly repairs.

Be sure to opto for a material that’s both flexible and strong, such as plastic, so that it absorbs the shock and doesn’t break.

4-Attach your flight controller

A flight controller is an essential for any drone. This allows your drone to stay stable while flying and make sense of all the shifts and changes in the wind.  it’s easier to get a ready-made controller.

While  mounting flight controller  to your drone, make sure to attach a piece of sponge underneath the controller to reduce the vibrations coming from the drone.

5- Connect ESCs to remote control

You’ll need to connect your ESCs to your flight controller and also connect your drone to the remote control first. An online  tutorial is suggested to complete this step.

Once you’ve done this, you can connect LibrePilot to your drone and check that everything is working via the software.

6- Connect Librepilot to your drone

The software Librepilot enables you to control and test UAVS, you can check that everything is working through the software correctly after the job is done .

7- Have a test flight

Now that all the hard work is done, it’s time to take your drone for a test flight! Don’t forget to choose an open space free from buildings, crowds  and aircrafts to avoid any unfortunate incidents.

 

 Safety precautions during operation:

  • Always remove the props while you are calibrating ESCs.
  • Be careful when working around Carbon fiber props to avoid a serious injury.
  • Always test a newly built drone for correct operation without the propellers.
  • During initial testing you can attach a large weight to the bottom of the drone or fly under a large and enclosed tree canopy for safety. image via thehindu.com

Disclaimer: Expert guidance must be considered to complete the project in terms of safety.

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