- JRL - http://www.jrl.cs.uni-frankfurt.de/web -


helicontrol_offen [1]HeliControl is a small nifty USB gadget, which can be used to steer miniature helicopters and quadcopters which can be controlled by an infrared remote control. This project was aimed at developing a cheap and easy to build IR remote control for helicopters which can be attached to a PC.

Note: This project is not commercial, you can not buy this device but you may build one on your own! Software and the PCB are licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), you can download both from this site (see below).

HeliControl uses infrared diodes to steer the following helicopters:

For these devices the IR protocols for Siliverlit devices and for Alien Air devices are known. Other helicopters could be made working if the protocol is known.


Hardware Description

Our design guidelines for PCBs:

Helicontrol PCB can be devided into 4 functional units:

Firmware for HeliControl

The firmware for HeliControl is based on Dr. Stefan Salewski’s free GPL firmware for AT90USB [12]. It can be build (cross-compiled) on your PC using avr-gcc compiler and must be programmed into the microcontroller (see below).

If you do not want to do this, you can use our precompiled firmware (.hex-file) which comes with our software release, you will only need dfu-programmer or Flip (see below).

Required Software

The Linux/Mac toolchain consists of:

All programs can be found in Debian (“apt-get install make gcc-avr avr-libc dfu-programmer”) and Fedora.

The toolchain on Windows uses:

Programming firmware into the device: Bootloader or ISP/JTAG

libhelicontrol C/C++ library

Required software

The Linux/Mac toolchain:

The Windows toolchain:

API description

See Doxygen Documentation of the helicontrol-1.0 API [25]


helicontrol_schematic Schematic (pdf): helicontrol-rev1-30-schematic.pdf

helicontrol_board PCB layout (pdf): helicontrol-rev1-30-board.pdf [26]

Download helicontrol-1.0.tar.gz [27] now! The package contains Eagle hardware schematics and PCB layout. See Hardware/Download above for a quick pdf preview.