cellphone helicopter

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by MWalden, May 7, 2007.

  1. MWalden

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    I wonder if any one has ever tried to design a circuit where their RC chopper would use cell phones RF signals instead of the regular RC chopper frequincies. As long as you have a cell phone account and use that particular frequency or design a circuit that would work in the same way a cell phone does. I believe a cellphone can switch frequencies when moving within cell locations so it would have to speak the same languages and things as a cell phone. Any if this is done then it would unlimit the range of tthe chopper except for gas restrictions.

    How hard would this be? Sorry if this is such an illogical question I am an ametuer. But this seems reasonable to me. It would be really cool to fly an RC chopper across the city. You would have to design a Video transmitter the would modulate the video information into the cell phone frequency as well. Man I guess this would be one hell of a project.

    These are the types of things that motivate me to learn more about electronics. I hope one day I will be able to build crazy stuff like this!
  2. mrmeval

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 30, 2006
    Use a cell phone. Take the audio output from the cell phone and decode AFSK signals. That would get you at least 300 baud and you could try for better.

    Soundcard modem is the closest I can find to a cheap alternative but I don't think you could imbed such a thing in a small enough package, still it's a start and you might find a small enough device that would be programmable enough to decode it.

    It may even be possible to have the phone do the decoding with the right program running on it and for it to send control signals out it's interface port to external electronics.

    Simpler than the above would be to use a touch tone decoder IC and just use the tone pad on another phone. This would give you 12 control signals. They would be on/off signals though which may not provide fine enough control.

    Or you can use whatever proprietary system the phone has and connect it via it's interface port to your project but that's...a pia.
  3. Tube Tech

    Active Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Consider the liability problems before proceeding. I wouldn't want to be your lawyer or insurer.

    I understand the desire, but I wouldn't let a thing with two spinning blades and a hot exhaust that flies through the air out of my sight, or near little kids or old coots. Easy to say when you live in the middle of New Mexico...
  4. MWalden

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    I would definately have a camera and video transmitter on board before I let it out of my sight.

    In case of failure or RF reception problems a program to safely land or return helicopter.

    The government have planes that do this they use in iraq and places for spying. I want my own.

    The worst that coould happen is I acceidentally run into someones car or head, But hell, you can do that at the airfields. And I do not see me doing that if I can see where I am goiing.

    Besides this is all just ideas it would be along time before I even come close to something like this.
  5. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    Excellent idea in theory, but what about in practice?. How will you implement a blind return or a blind landing?

    The US military tests things like these only in the middle of nowhere. They use them only in places where people are going to get hurt anyway.
  6. gootee

    Senior Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Maybe you could use the internet. Get an internet-capable camera/video phone. But you'd probably almost HAVE to also have an on-board PC (But they're getting quite tiny, and cheap.), and a high-speed datalink through the phone/internet (or maybe through a second phone, if datalink speed is a problem). [If you were really designing something like this, you would want to try to design it for the better technology that would be available by the time you finished the whole process.]

    Your biggest "practical" problem (besides reliability and liability, etc, et al) would probably be needing a larger vehicle, so it could carry more fuel and more weight and have a much longer range (unless you can program it to stop and buy gas. :) As long as I'm fantasizing, and it's already dangerous anyway, maybe you could use an electric helicopter, and have it fly near power lines to recharge itself with an inductively-coupled power-thievery setup; maybe a big coil of lightweight wire that you could deploy and retract when needed :)

    Why not add a small shotgun, and image-processing software with targeting, tracking, and automatic weapon-delivery? It could bring home birds and small game and you could live a life of ease, out in the wilderness somewhere. (Of course, you could just move near a mountain trout stream and have a low-tech fish trap and free hydroelectric power. But where's the fun in THAT?) Add a speaker so you could talk through it and maybe it could even bring women back for you. :)

    Seriously, though, it's very good that you are even thinking about such things.

    Design, or maybe just "engineering", itself, is sometimes thought of as the art of taking a problem that you don't know how to solve and breaking it down into sets of smaller and smaller problems, each of which you finally DO know how to solve. BUT, having a clever idea, to start the whole process, can be very important, too!

    I don't know your age or background, but...

    As you think of more and more possible design projects, like the one you mentioned here, you should eventually learn how to spot the potential "gotcha"s, more quickly, and then maybe ALSO eventually learn to come up with designs without as many (or any) of those.

    A little more experience at taking some designs all the way through, i.e. completely solving all of the problems, spec'ing actual parts, building and debugging them, and designing the necessary production processes and procedures, etc etc etc, as well as worrying about the economics each step of the way, EVEN if it's just on a hobby scale, might go a very long way toward making you an extremely valuable engineer and/or designer. And there's a lot of REALLY-cool stuff to learn about, and play with, along the way!

    If you were a youngster I knew, and were showing such signs of interest, I might say things like: Learn as much mathematics as you can. It's hard, at first. But the fun part starts AFTER you learn Calculus: Differential Equations! With those, you can model and analyze and understand many, many things, the "right" way. And with computers, they become simple "difference equations", VERY-easily programmable, if you need to implement them in "the real world", for an automatic control system or something, OR for simulation. And there's much more extremely-useful math, after that. You might love Electrical Engineering. If you're not very fond of mathematics, yet, don't worry! You WILL be! (After all, it's exquisitely beautiful, and therefore very easy to fall in love with.) And then you could have the necessary background to eventually be able to learn how to design and implement almost anything you can think of, or at least to figure out whether or not it's feasible to try.

    End of sermon. Sorry to have blathered-on, for so long, about all of that.

    Have fun!

    Tom Gootee


  7. MWalden

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    Yes, I want to be an electrical engineer. I am suppose to be enrolling in college this summer for fall. I have always had these crazy ass ideas in my head to build things all of my life, and you are right about math, the more I learned about math the more possible building those things seemed to me. I have always loved math took all the way to pre-cal in high school. Lately I have been reading electronics books. "Teach your self electricity and electronics" - McGraw Hill, and now I'm reading the Art of electronics that someone recommended to me from here. I know my ideas about the helicopter was a little far out, I was just making sure if I am on the same page (I believe that can be done from what I have learned from these books so far) and not thinking of impossible feats. I'm still along ways away from doing my own projects but the more I read the more interesting it is to me.

    Thanks for your input.
  8. gootee

    Senior Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Very good. Sorry if I was "preaching to the choir". It sounds like you're on exactly the right path, already. And I think I can say that you're ahead of where I was, at your age, on that path. Work hard, and stay ahead so you're not finishing homework at the last minute, and you should do extremely well. And if you can stay a week or two ahead on everything (you'll usually have a syllabus for each course, with everything spelled-out in advance), you'll blow them away.

    The Art of Electronics is excellent, for circuits, and should be very helpful to you. Good choice.

    Yes, your idea about the helicopter WAS "a little far out". But that was probably the best thing about it. Creativity and cleverness are your friends, and should be celebrated rather than apologized for, especially with your already-developing awareness of the question of feasibility.

    Keep at it. Good luck!