There are variety of control boards that can be used to control different electronics and sensors that may be needed to complete an element of the Team Drone Challenge. Below are some options:
Arduino – There are many types of Arduino boards and they are all very similar. Depending on what you are looking for your board to do, or how many components you wish to hook to your board can influence which board you choose.
There are a few ways that an Arduino board can be programmed. The easiest way is using the Arduino IDE. The software can be found here: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software or on the Windows App Store. Some helpful tutorials can be found here: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage. There is a lot of support online for Arduino so if you have a question, Googling it can be quite effective. Some Arduino board options can be seen below.
Arduino Mega 2560 – This board has 54 digital input/output pins (15 can be used for PWM outputs), 16 analog inputs, 4 UARTs, and can be powered via USB cable or by the power jack.
Arduino Uno – This board has 14 input/output pins, 6 analog pins, and can be powered via USB or by the power jack.
Arduino Nano – This board is very small which makes it desirable since it hardly takes up any space and is very light weight. This board has 14 digital input/output devices. This can be powered by a micro USB or by some of its pins.
Raspberry Pi – Raspberry Pi devices are a little more complicated since they are basically mini computers (where Arduino boards are referred to as microcontrollers). There are also many different types of Raspberry Pi boards.
Raspberry Pi boards can be a slightly harder option as they require some minor knowledge of the Linux operating system. There are still many useful tutorials online, some which can be found here: https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/projects/raspberry-pi-getting-started. When using a Raspberry Pi one will have to create programs from scratch using languages such as Java, Python and C++. These programming languages are extremely popular and lots of support can be found online. One advantage of these boards is they have many capabilities and some have the option to use Wi-Fi so they can be controlled remotely using a laptop. Some Raspberry Pi options are listed below.
Raspberry Pi Model 3-B+ – This board has a 64-bit processor, 1 GB of SRAM, 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless LAN. This model has 40 GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) pins that can be used to interface with sensors and electronics.
Raspberry Pi Zero – This board has a 1 GHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and 40 GPIO pins. This board can also be purchased to have Wi-Fi capabilities. Its small size can make it appealing as it can do many of the things that the larger Raspberry Pi boards can do, it just has less memory, so it may not be able to run programs that the larger boards can use.
If you have another board you are using, we would love to hear about it, please leave a comment below. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below as well.