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build your own Arduino remote control and create commands for the Parrot AR Drone

Nodecopter remote

Nodecopter remote is a little project for building your own remote control with Arduino and controlling a Parrot AR Drone.


npm install nodecopter-remote


You can see an example on hooking up the nodecopter-remote in example/index.js. If you want to execute the example, you need to cd into nodecopter-remote and run npm install to install the dev dependencies. Then you can execute the example with node example/index.js and have a working remote, given that you are connected to the drone via WiFi and have your Arduino connected.

The remote that is exported is an event emitter.

The events emitted by the remote are:

var events = [
, 'land'
, 'up'
, 'down'
, 'clockwise'
, 'counterClockwise'
, 'front'
, 'back'
, 'left'
, 'right'
, 'animate'
, 'animateLeds'

These events have the same name as the methods on the drone client, so binding them 1 to 1 is easy. (See bottom of example/index.js).

There is one case you might want to code for: When the drone crashes or is flipped over, it goes into emergency mode. This is either disabled my creating a new client or by calling client.disableEmergency() which allows you to start flying again.

You can see one way of handling it in example/index.js, i.e. by proxying the takeoff method and always calling client.disableEmergency() before takeoff.

If you have used the provided diagramme, you can just use it out of the box. If not, you can override the pin map. You can also override the default animations.

An example of overriding the defaults:

  var remote = new Remote(five, {
      takeoffLand: 7
    , button1: 8 // joystick button left 
    , button2: 9 // joystick button right 
    // pins for the joystick 
    , frontBack: 'A0'
    , leftRight: 'A1'
    , upDown: 'A2'
    , turn: 'A3'
    }, [
      'flipLeft' // animation on the left joystick 
    , 'flipRight' // animation on the right joystick 

Available animations:

// led animations 
  'blinkGreenRed', 'blinkGreen', 'blinkRed', 'blinkOrange', 'snakeGreenRed',
  'fire', 'standard', 'red', 'green', 'redSnake', 'blank', 'rightMissile',
  'leftMissile', 'doubleMissile', 'frontLeftGreenOthersRed',
  'frontRightGreenOthersRed', 'rearRightGreenOthersRed',
  'rearLeftGreenOthersRed', 'leftGreenRightRed', 'leftRedRightGreen',
// move animations 
  'phiM30Deg', 'phi30Deg', 'thetaM30Deg', 'theta30Deg', 'theta20degYaw200deg',
  'theta20degYawM200deg', 'turnaround', 'turnaroundGodown', 'yawShake',
  'yawDance', 'phiDance', 'thetaDance', 'vzDance', 'wave', 'phiThetaMixed',
  'doublePhiThetaMixed', 'flipAhead', 'flipBehind', 'flipLeft', 'flipRight'

N.B: you need to inject your copy of johnny-five into the Remote constructor now. Take a look at the updated example. The example will work.

building the remote

You can find an image of the finished remote in example/remote.jpg.

If you want to reproduce the remote exactly, I created a Fritzing diagramme that shows you how everything is wired up. Fritzing is an open-source software available on all major platforms and can be downloaded at

hardware components

The components you need:

  • 3x 10k resistors
  • 2x PS3 style joysticks, preferably with push-button functionality
  • 1x regular push button
  • a few cables
  • breadboard
  • Arduino Uno (others might work, but I only tested with the Uno)


The code is licensed under the MIT license.