3 DOF Hover

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Study Flight Dynamics and Control of Vertical Lift-off Vehicles

The 3 DOF Hover system is ideally suited to introduce intermediate to advanced control concepts and theories relevant to real world applications of flight dynamics and control in vertical lift off vehicles. Students learn how to:

  • develop a linear-space model that describes the position of the hover with respect to the motor voltages
  • design a state-feedback control system that controls the roll, pitch and yaw of the 3 DOF Hover
  • design a linear position controller for the hover
  • implement the controller on the 3 DOF Hover and observe the performance of the system

In addition to teaching control concepts, the 3 DOF Hover can be used for research in various areas, including robust nonlinear control and adaptive control.

How It Works

The 3 DOF Hover consists of a planar round frame with four propellers. The frame is mounted on a three degrees of freedom pivot joint that enables the body to rotate about the roll, pitch and yaw axes. The propellers are driven by four DC motors that are mounted at the vertices of the frame.

The propellers generate a lift force that can be used to directly control the pitch and roll angles. The total torque generated by the propeller motors causes the body to move about the yaw axis. Two of the propellers are counter-rotating, so that the total torque in the system is balanced when the thrust of the four propellers is approximately equal.

The voltage signals going to the motors, as well as the pitch and yaw encoder signals are transmitted through a slip ring. The slip ring removes the need for wires and allows for 360 degrees free motion about the yaw axis. Furthermore, it reduces the amount of friction and loading about the moving axis.

Quanser-developed Courseware Included

The 3 DOF Hover comes with Quanser-developed courseware. The Laboratory Guide, together with a comprehensive User Manual, pre-designed controllers and a system model allow you to get your lab running faster, saving months of time typically required to develop lab materials.

  • Three degrees of freedom (3 DOF) - body rotates about pitch and yaw axes
  • Precise, stiff and heavy-duty machined components
  • Propellers driven by high-quality Pittman DC motors
  • High-resolution optical encoders for precise position measurements
  • Slip ring allows infinite motion about the yaw axis
  • Easy-connect cables and connectors
  • Fully compatible with MATLAB®/Simulink® and LabVIEW™
  • Fully documented system models and parameters provided for MATLAB®, Simulink®, LabVIEWTM and Maple™
  • Open architecture design, allowing users to design their own controller
Device mass  3.46 kg
Device height (ground to top of base)  45 cm
Helicopter body mass 1.39 kg
Helicopter body length 48 cm
Base dimensions (W x L)  17.5 cm x 17.5 cm
Encoder resolution (in quadrature)    8192 counts/rev
Pitch angle range 75 (± 37.5 deg)
Yaw angle range  360 deg
Motor / propeller force-thrust constant  0.119 N/V
Motor / propeller torque thrust constant 0.0036 N.m/V
Propeller diameter  20.3 cm
Propeller pitch 15.2 cm
Motor armature resistance 0.83 Ω
Motor current-torque constant 0.0182 N.m/A

Topics included in the Quanser-developed courseware:

  • Derivation of simple dynamic model
  • State space representation
  • State feedback control
  • LQR control design
  • Control parameters tuning
The 3 DOF Hover can be used to teach also other topics not included in the Quanser-developed courseware.

To set up your 3 DOF Hover workstation, you need additional components. Quanser engineers recommend:

for MATLAB®/Simulink® users  
1x Q8-USB data acquisition device¹  
1x VoltPAQ-X4 linear voltage amplifier²  
QUARC real-time control software  

¹ alternatively, you can use QPIDeor any equivalent NI DAQ device supported by QUARC
² alternatively, you can use two VoltPAQ-X2 amplifiers

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3 DOF Helicopter
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