Blimpduino 2 is a very low cost open source autonomous blimp.
It consists of an Arduino M0-based blimp controller board with on-board WIFI and laser sensors.
Two vectoring differential thrusters and one lifting propeller. Simple but exciting 😉
- Control board: ATMEL ARM M0 powerful processor
- 100% Arduino IDE compatible (Arduino ZERO native USB port)
- 4 motor outputs. Max. output current: 1 Ampere
- MPU9250 Nine-Axis (Gyro + Accelerometer + Compass) MEMS MotionTracking sensor
- Built-in USB port Lipo Battery charger. Just connect your blimpduino to any USB port and any 3.7v Lipo battery will be charged.
- Lidar sensor to measure height (automatic altitude hold)
- Starboard/Port green/red leds + 2 status leds
- Control it using your smartphone/tablet via the free jjRobots APP (Android /iOS)
- OPEN SOURCE Arduino coded. Python code to control it available (thoroughly commented)
- 100% Harmless
- Powered using a 1 cell LIPO battery (3.7 V)
- Two SERVO outputs.
- Increased WIFI range (up to 60 meters)
- Battery status/ Heading angle/ Height value telemetry
Above: The elements needed to create your blimpduino: A small Lipo battery, 3 brushless motors + propeller, the control board and a balloon!
Blimpduino control board
The blimpduino control board is not just a motor controller. Mounting a ARM M0 processor, it has a powerful 9250 MPU, laser LIDAR sensor, OPENMV connector, 2 servo outputs, Lipo charging module (via USB)… everything needed to make any balloon flyable
Remote Control APP freely available for iOS and Android devices
Video of two blimpduinos (two quite different balloons) controlled for first time by friends in the “cross the hula-hoop twice first” challenge
Frequently asked questions
Can I use my own balloon with the blimpduino?
Yes, of course you can. Just attach the blimpduino gondola to any balloon* and the sensors onboard will make flying it very easy.
The balloon will keeps it altitude automatically and the navigation will be assisted by the sensor onboard the blimpduino.
Just pick a balloon big enough to lift the weight of the blimpduino gondola (aprox, 33 grams) but keep in mind that the bigger the balloon, the less agile it will be.
How long does the battery last?
It will depend on the way you fly, the more aggressive, the less it will last. For a 300 mAh Lipo battery (the small one), you can fly your blimp for up to 20 minutes. The 500 mAh battery lasts up to 35 minutes.
After draining the battery, you can connect the blimpduino to any USB port and re-charge it within 30 minutes.
Is it dangerous? Can it fly away?
The propellers mounted on the motors has a diameter of 45 mm. And the DC motors in charge of spinning them are powered by 3.7V.
Even when they are delivering their maximum power your fingers are safe. But keep your hair away from the propeller anyway! 😀
Where can I fill /refill the balloon? How long does the balloon will last inflated?
Almost any party shop will fill with helium any balloon you get there. And refill it for a small fee.
Depending on the quality of the balloon it can last inflated for up to 3 weeks.
Avoid latex balloons as they leak the helium way faster than a foil balloon.
We have created a list of stores where you can buy a balloon or fill/ refill it. Tip us if you know any other
Can I modify the Arduino code/ frame / increase the motor size / use a bigger balloon… for my purposes?
Of course. The blimpduino is 100% Open Source.
The arduino code has been profusely commented to help to understand and modify it.
The gondola 3D parts files are available to everyone and the electronics schematics can be freely accessed.
If you have questions, ideas, MODs… please get to the blimpduino community to share them with everyone.
If you need a bigger balloon, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I attach things (a flag? a servo with a hook?) to the blimpduino gondola?
If the balloon is capable of lifting the added weight the blimpduino control board will do it best to make it flyable.
Can I attach a FPV camera to the blimpduino?
Of course you can. There are many FPV mini cameras available nowadays. The 36″ balloon can lift a mini FPV camera without problems and the control board already has a connector ready for the OPENMV camera
Can I co-pilot the blimpduino with someone else?
Yes! This is something we wanted to include. Just connect another smartphone (using the control APP) to the Blimpduino´s WIFI network and co-control it. E.g: One can control the altitude and the other the heading.
Blimpduino COMMs protocol details
Blimpduino control board SCHEMATIC (v 0.1)
Blimpduino community (for questions, Mods, add-ons, Code…)