An 18-year-old cruise missile autopilot and flight-controller
This is something that I built 1819 years ago. My team should give you a clue if you watch my submission video on my extra channel to the. If I a in respect to the NPRM on remote ID, you may have a clue what this is I'm going to take the bits out of the box and and walk you through them, because there's a lot of stuff in here it's a lot of stuff that Doesn'T need to be seen, but this is a battery. This is a battery I made to power, this whole thing switch and that other book will show you in a moment, let's start with the core, the heart of the system. If I'm, a crime I sit up at the March is a lot of wires. A lot of leads a lot of you, because this was just ripped out of the craft that it came out of first thing. Some of you will recognize is this: is a PCM high tech, 72 megahertz receiver? There we go PCM old long, while look at the wire on this. Remember we used to fly these things on this great big, long, wire hanging out the back. How long was the way it was there's long way, long right, so that was a receiver radio control receiver, nothing special, except that I put some magic masking tape around it. I don't know why I did that. Maybe who knows so yeah? That was a receiver, and I showed you one battery pack there's another one.
There was quite a few battery packs in this setup here's another one, because there are lots of bits of electronics in the system and this to take basically to fill you in this is the multi pilot control flight control system that I built for my cruise missile. My low cost cruise missile that I built in 2002 to show the world that yeah people could already use drones for nefarious purposes if they wanted to, and in the 18 years since I built this, nobody has, I mean we haven't, seen no waves of people building Their own cruise missiles and attacking soft targets and in the western world so I'm, so pleased about that. I really am pleased, but at when we have the governments of today saying all you know, we've got to give you a remote ID, so you don't bad things. Well, people have another do bad things for a long, long, long, long, long long time. So if they'd wanted to you, think that have probably done it. By now I mean I've used aircraft, they've used pressure, cookers they've used all sorts of things to do bad things, but they haven't used drawings, yet I'm going to say yet because yeah in the fullness of time. Anything that can happen will happen. But this is just to show you what I built and how it really wasn't that complicated it would, despite the maze of wires that you see here now, some other which you'll probably recognize.
This is a GPS receiver, it's a bit tarnished the patch antenna splash on the back. There we go. It is a model eb, 85i and it's serial number: oh, seven, zero, zero, four, five, two so it's, probably 452 out of a batch, and there you go. These things were quite expensive in the day. They need a one who it's a refresh rate, but they worked. They work: are you lucky to get seven or eight satellites on that, but it was enough. It was enough. This GP is connected to this board here this little interface board. Let me just pull on a bits agency in a bit more detail case. You want to make one at home now. This interface board officer has a backup battery. It has an advice because I think they were TTL levels on I'm, not sure what the circuit remember was so long ago. I really honestly can't remember a lot of the stuff. I'M down here, we've got a little. Three volt regulator got capacitors resistors, so I don't really know what was going on there. This base was a power supply. I think, for the GPS, with a battery backup, in case in case, something interrupted. The past life that was a spike or some noise in the battery, would take over and keep the GPS going. So you kept the coordinates flowing through that connected on to this board, and this board was the heart of the part of the whole thing.
This is a very large component here is their microcontroller it's a you know today, you've got your Arduinos and things well. This was a precursor to that. This is a pic microcontroller and it's only eight bits, and it only has a paltry amount of memory and so forth, but the fastest thing on the planet quite slow by today's standards. But this basically read the GPS coordinates there's, a little voltage regulator circuit over here. That just took the battery voluntary delivery kit at a constant 5 volts to power. All us not a lot of other stuff on the board. Little crystal for the crystal oscillator here and this board had some status LEDs and things on it, and it also connected to Maui this board here as wise everywhere, you can see through the hole in the bottom of that board. It went off to this board and this was like a master override switch. Basically, I said we had the radio control receiver just gone and lost. How could you do that Bruce straight here on the bench someone I can't see it for the Miss anyway, so we had the radio control receiver, it could feed signals into here and so could the autopilot so could the flight control system there both signals into here And then those signals went off to the various servos that were part of the craft. So there are two ways of controlling this craft. You could radio controller like a normal model.
We could switch to the flight controller, which would then provide all the servo and pots to follow a pre programmed flight course containing altitude, heating's positions and so forth. Now and then I have safety, because this was a development system. This was not the final one. I used this was the last prototype and then I built one that was a lot tidier, the mr. for the actual craft. So this was a pre was a prototype and because I didn't want to run the risk of the CPU locking up or something happened to the CPU and then all signals being lost. I did not want to pass the radio control signals through this processor so that, if the processor locked up I'd lose all control. What so? What happened was that the radio control signals came into this board. The autopilot signals came to this board and then using a switch on the transmitter and a channel from the radio control. I could switch between either of those two things so yeah that worked really really well, because there were occasions the early in development. When this things, software bugs and things like that, this just stopped working, so I needed to take control back and safely recover the craft it's pretty pretty standard stuff. So this auto pilot II obviously know gyros, know accelerometers. This was way before the smartphone, the cheap smartphone components were available. So if I wanted to put accelerometers and gyros on, it would have cost many thousands of dollars and getting your hand on them getting hands on decent components back and at the turn of the century.
Was a rather difficult because it was all classified military stuff, so I used another model component nother thing that was available and the model flying community. It was. It was this we found the other, but under though that surprising how quickly stuff disappears. On this pinch, I know it's here anyway, I'll show you the first, but first this now some of you may recognize this. This is the FMA copilot. If it makeup on it is a flight stability system. It does auto leveling, basically that's all it does Auto live link. So if you cross that the nose dips, it'll put an up elevator for banks to the riders, will put a lift oiler and all that sort of stuff and it doesn't without any exhilarated or gyros you're, probably wondering how on earth can I do that? How does it know which way up it is without the accelerometers and the gyros well that's, where this piece comes, and this is a thermo pass, since it is a pyro sensor. Basically, what we've got here is some little windows there's a window there, the four windows so there's, one. Looking back one looking forward, one looking left one looking right: those are thermally, sensitive elements so that when the craft is flying normally level straight level, they all get about the same thermal reading, because they're looking at the horizon, so half that sky half at his ground And the sky is always a different temperature to the ground, usually in the daytime.
The ground is warmer than the sky and at night. Well. The way I cut me, which I rendered is now cuz it's not so long ago, but basically what happens is if you're flying on in the plane banks, one of the sensors, will look at the ground and one will look at the sky. So one will be hotter than the other, and that means the system can work out which way you've bent and put corrective control, and some goes if you pitch. If you pitch down or up one of the senses will start looking at the ground, while the other looks at the sky and the temperature differential provides a corrective signal. It goes into this other unit here and that then drives the servos, so is to restore straight, and it will flights a very simple system and surprisingly, effective I'm amazed, even cloudy days, the only time that doesn't really work very well. As on on snow. I think I wouldn't say she's snowing or when it's actually raining it's, not so flesh, but as long as it's doing neither of those they work at night. They work in the day, brilliant, fantastic little systems and they were not that expensive. So I used this to provide the equivalent of gyros and accelerometers to provide a stabilizing system so that when my flight controller inputted data for a turn, then the plane wouldn't dive, because this would keep the nose level. So do a nice flat term without climbing or descending, and likewise when I wanted to increase the parrot wouldn't, just zoom up would crime gently, because this would maintain a relatively constant pitch so yeah.
It worked incredibly well in a store, bought model, airplane components. These were no not even 200. I don't think at the time say that was it was pretty good. So really I didn't have to do a lot of work to make this whole thing go together. There was another component here which I sit aside. Indian here we go. This was just a two line, LCD that plugged into the main logic board here, and that gave me the ability to check out all the various programming parameters and there were some buttons here which plugged in these little buttons. So you could change stuff little switches that plugged in as way so you could sit modes and things from the aircraft, because there was no Bluetooth, there was no Wi Fi and there was nothing on of that sort of carry on. It was all done with switches on the panel and then I could upload a flight plan from a computer directly onto this chip, and so that was it. That was how I built the brains behind my low cost cruise missile, and it shows that you know. As I say, the component count is incredibly small. If you look at it, we've got one large process, so we've got a voltage regulator and some resistors over here we've got a couple of integrated circuits on the switcher board and of course the thing is that this switcher board isn't even necessary once this is only For the prototype, because the once the flight controller was debugged, you didn't need to switch back to the RC system at all.
If you want to fly a pre programmed course, you just in put the waypoints into the processor, flick the start switch in a white. We and it would end up wherever you had programmed it – to go to there's some players, simple heirs, so yeah. This say this capability has been around now, obviously have proven it for 18 years. In only 20 years, people could have done this bad stuff if they wanted to, but there's much easier ways to do bad stuff than to then to use models in these days with small drones, you know like I've, even a phantom. What will it carry it? Won'T, carry very much at all, so it's an awfully expensive way to deliver a very small payload and I don't I don't see people here doing it. I think you know it's it's been hyped out of all proportion by the media, but there you go what you might like to just see what I was doing 18 years ago and no, I didn't publish the plans. I did get a lot of requests for the planes form all sorts of strange countries like Iran and Pakistan, and I said no, no thank you. I'M, not interested in selling the planes. This was a proof of concept just to show that it could be done, and it certainly created a lot of what we say a lot of issues. For me, it rattled a lot of cages in Washington and I got a lot of feedback formally and informally from various agencies within the US government, and the informal feedback was very positive.
They were very happy that I'd raised this potential. The formal feedback was very negative. There, how dare I, how dare I show terrorists had to build a cruise missile, which I hadn't done at all. I just showed that the the potential is it because they already knew then you're, not gon na know these people. They would know what they can and can't do so. I wasn't helping anybody do anything bad, but I was preparing. I was preparing the world for the fact that you know this could be done there. You go you've, got comics questions. Anything you'd like to know, apart from, can I have the planes please didn't put them in the comment e christiany bit down below on this video. If you liked the video give it a thumbs up, I just thought it'd be something different for a change from the normal reviews, because one of the problems we have at the moment, of course, is that there's nothing coming here to China and a lot of the Products that I've ordered to review just sitting there not moving at all, so it may be some time before we get some new products coming out of China, so I've organized to go through my whiteboard video collection that I have filmed, but not edited up and posted. Yet and so we'll get some more of those whiteboard videos I've been promising for so long to fill in the gaps between the reviews, which weren't properly to be serious, but I think I'm going to see much more in the way of new product coming out of China for at least another month and then I have to catch up with a backlog so whatever month of theory and and basically whiteboard stuff, and maybe some more stuff like this, which I hope you find interesting.
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