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Build your own DIY remote-controlled blimp for flying for sport or for commercial use.

This is a showcase of a DIY Blimp project.

I created an indoor blimp demo that leverages TI LaunchPads and BoosterPacks. I wanted to combine my passions of remote-controlled (planes, cars, boats, helicopters and quads) with my engineering background and work. I started the build with a blimp kit that included the envelope, fins, gondola, dc motors and a few 3D printed parts for tilting the motors.

I programmed the 5529 LaunchPad to take inputs from the user joystick and push buttons. The 5529 translates the joystick motion into differential PWM outputs for the right and left motors which I modified slightly from the Rusell McMahon algorithm I found here:

Modifications included altering the code to allow for motors to be reversed for better control. The 5529 also gathers information on the RSSI, receiver 3V power rail and the transmitter 3V power rail to provide some insights through the LCD display to the user.

There are 3 servos in the blimp: rudder, motor tilt and a payload(optional). The rudder servo controls the lower vertical fin which is attached to the upper fin through a thin carbon fiber stick taped to each. The motor tilt servo is inside the gondola attached to 2 - 3D printed gears (one on the servo the other mounted on the wood dowel that the motors are mounter on) to control the attitude of the motors. The optional payload servo was to allow me to drop small leaflets as the blimp fly’s overhead.

The transmitter is powered through a BOOSTXL-BATPACKMKII BoosterPack. Providing the regulated 3V and 5V rails. Additionally the code could be modified to use the on-board fuel gauge device to display the remaining mAh instead of voltage for the transmitter battery.

The gondola is mounted to the envelope through dowels and pieces of clear straw taped to the gondola and the envelope. When the envelope is filled with helium it is just slightly negatively buoyant so that under no power it will automatically fall to the ground.

The receiver G2 LaunchPad is programmed to translate the received data package and send the appropriate control commands to the motors and servos. It also communicates back to the transmitter the current battery voltage of the 3V supply rail which is directly connected to a 3.7V Li-poly battery from the BOOSTXL-BATPACKMKII kit.”

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