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Control an RC Helicopter using LabVIEW and NI myDAQ


The main objective of this project is to show you can do fun things using stuff you already own. LabVIEW and myDAQ are really powerful tools that make any type of application easy to approach.

We modified the remote controller of a cheap RC helicopter and plugged it into the myDAQ to be able to control it in a better way using a computer. In our case, we used a Wii remote connected to our computer to interface with the VI that controls the helicopter. The wii remote can be replaced by a joystick, a game pad, or simply the computer keyboard and mouse. (Student's common stuff)


  • 9 V Battery
  • 3  160 Ω Resistors
  • 2  0.1µF Capacitors
  • 2  10 kΩ Resistors
  • RC Helicopter
  • Wii Remote (optional)
  • myDAQ
  • LabVIEW

Set up Hardware:

First, the voltage controlled variable resistor has to be built. To do this, glue the top of an LED to the top of a photoresistor. Put some electrical tape around it so that no light gets into it. Add a 160 Ω resistor to the positive terminal of the LED. Repeat this process three times to end up with three voltage controlled variable resistors.

Next, wire each OpAmp as a voltage follower in order to provide the current needed by each LED. Supply the OpAmps with the 9V battery.

Since the myDAQ only has 2 analog outputs and needed a third one, we are using the digital output 3 (which is the internal counter of the myDAQ) to generate a PWM signal. A low pass filter has to be built with two capacitors and 10k resistors in order to filter the PWM signal and get smooth DC value. This is a really easy and quick way to obtain a 3rd analog output from the myDAQ using a digital output.


Remove the potentiometers from the remote control and replace them with the photoresistor.

Diagram below explains how everything should be connected.


Software Instructions:

Inside LabVIEW we created 3 tasks one for each channel to manage the outputs of the myDAQ (2 analog and 1 digital PWM).  A control in the front panel is wired to each task. Using the Read Keyboard VI we mapped each control to a keyboard key. We used examples for this. We established experimental limits so that the myDAQ does not output excessive voltage to the LED.




Use GlovePie software to link any human interface device (Wii Remote, Joystick, PS3 Controller, etc) with keys of the keyboard. Or use the Wiimote VI’s to interface everything using labVIEW. (Google search Wiimote labview)