Build an Arduino shield for Quadcopter – Arduino Adapter


I have been searching for ideas of making a Quadcopter Arduino flight controller Adapter to sit my Arduino nano board and the GY80, also have some header pins for motors and receiver to make the cabling tidy. There are a lot of Arduino shields people have designed for the Quadcopter.

I didn’t follow any of the designs. I actually didn’t follow any planned design, and solder the parts on the veroboard as I go along.

My Arduino Quadcopter flight controller adapter Design

Here is my own build. I deliberately left some empty space on the top right corner, so I can extend the board if I want to for example for the GPS module or ultrasonic sensor and so on.


arduion nano quadcopter adapter IMAG0967

This design has a few disadvantages, and there are some quick fixes I applied. Here are some thoughts.

BEC voltage input

The ESC BEC voltage input should have been all disconnected except one of them. There are people arguing about this, saying multiple voltage supply could cause problem if they have voltage difference (which is very likely since they are different voltage regulators although very small). It’s impossible to separate the connection from the back because of the soldering, therefore I snapped off the voltage header pins for motor 2,3 and 4, so only the signal and ground pins are still there.

I should actually utilize these BEC 5V voltage supply. For example, backup (secondary) voltage supply for flight controller in case the first one dies (when the motor 1 ESC has power issue). And the rest of the BEC could be servo power supply for the camera gimbal.

Motor and Receiver header pins position

motor pins should be placed on all four directions for easier access. Receiver pins should be placed in one group. I realize it doesn’t require an additional power supply pin for it, as they can be powered from the channel voltage pins.

Microcontroller Socket

To implement GPS or sonar on an Arduino nano, UNO or pro mini, we need an additional Microcontroller to interface with the GPS and sonar modules, then pass the data to the flight controller board using i2c.

A build in socket, or some sort of I2C connection pins to the flight controller would be really handy.

2 more motor pins (to run a hexacopter)


Design By Other People

Here are some design (mostly PCB design) by other people.

An interface adapter board for the Arduino Nano made by Yorbid

The board can be used for a Tri- and Quadcopter with optional camera roll & pitch stabilization.
It uses the 3.3VDC output from the Nano as a power source for the sensors. No automatic WM+ reset is available if the I2C bus freezes with this option.

Yorbid Nano interface board

Round adapter board by Warthox. A proven board originally designed by Warthox. The board can be used for a Tri- and Quadcopter.

Warthox original round board

This is an adapter board based on Ilmar’s round adapter board. The board can be used for a Tri- and Quadcopter with optional camera roll & pitch stabilization.

Connections for battery voltage monitoring with a buzzer are available. The board can be powered with a separate BEC and has a power available + status LED.

Pepetone nano1 shield

This “commercial” available PCB is an upgraded version of Warthox his round adapter board. The board can be used for a Tri- ,Quad-, Hexa, & Y6-copter together with all the features of the MultiWii1.6 version. It has an on board 3.3V regulator.


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16 thoughts on “Build an Arduino shield for Quadcopter – Arduino Adapter

  1. Hey!
    I am trying to build an quad using Arduino Mega 2560 using multiwii and i want to ask you if you have to connect all the grounds from the ESC to Arduino? Or you can connect only the signal pins?
    Thank you.

  2. Hi Oscar
    I built a multiwii board with Arduino nano and MPU 6050.I compiled and uploaded the mw v2.3 on my board on a h-copter but when i arm it, when it want to flying it give yaw to left or right(sometimes left , some times right) without any stick .so it’s very Unstable.please help me.This is my source code:
    Please see it.Is there any problem in my source code?
    Thank you and sorry for my bad English.

  3. Hi Oscar
    this is the part of arming in the source code:
    /******************************** ARM/DISARM *********************************/
    /* optionally disable stick combinations to arm/disarm the motors.
    * In most cases one of the two options to arm/disarm via TX stick is sufficient */

    and in MW conf app on PC my yaw change from 1000 to 2000 but my board isn’t arm!!
    can you help me?

    • Hi,
      What is your MINCHECK?
      your throttle must be lower than MINCHECK to arm. I usually have it at 1100.
      Lowering will make it less likely to arm

      Also, calibrate your ACC first too.

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