Which Arduino nano is best for creating a nano drone? Will it be compatible with 3.7 v coreless brushed motors?

  • $\begingroup$ The "Arduino Nano" is a very specific Arduino board... do you mean to reference that particular one? $\endgroup$
    – ifconfig
    Oct 29, 2021 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ I am yet to learn Arduino. Something like this deviceplus.com/arduino/… I understand there are variations in Arduino Nano for example Arduino Nano Motor Carrier Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense with headers Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense without headers as listed here store-usa.arduino.cc/collections/… $\endgroup$
    – Raster R
    Oct 29, 2021 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ That 'motor carrier' board is not an arduino, it's just a set of motor controllers, with a socket in the middle for an Arduino nano. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2021 at 8:07

2 Answers 2


Assuming that your goal here is to make this a hobby project and are not expecting it to be a plug-and-play toy, totally! Like is demonstrated in the tutorial you link to, it is entirely possible to use an Arduino as a basic multirotor flight controller.

However, there will always be external components you'll need to connect to the Arduino/MCU board (excluding exotic boards that come with large/fancy shields) including:

  • Some kind of control link receiver (the tutorial uses a Bluetooth breakout)
  • Some kind of motor driver (the tutorial appears to use TO-92 BJT transistors, an odd choice...)
  • IMU/INS of some kind (the tutorial uses a GPS breakout, another odd choice...)
  • Other components I'm probably forgetting

Because of this, most all (small) Arduino boards will work here. The Arduino/MCU only interacts with the motors/battery voltage through the motor drivers, so it shouldn't matter what battery voltage or motor size you use. (at least as it pertains to selecting an MCU)

More powerful/faster MCUs are necessary to implement complicated flight controls and algorithms to improve flight quality, but it's unlikely that you'll be doing that with your first DIY drone. An Arduino Nano should be fine.

NOTE: Generally, I think the aforementioned text tutorial isn't using a very good set of parts. In particular, the motor drivers (should probably be a little more beefy/well-cooled) and INS board (should almost certainly be an Accelerometer/Gyroscope/IMU and not a GPS) don't inspire confidence. Despite not being a nano-scale drone, this tutorial video from Joop Brokking is significantly more grounded in multirotor design/control fundamentals. You could likely adapt his project to a smaller drone frame/motors/etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Based on its name - Arduino Nano Motor Carrier - using it will it help reduce development effort for integrating with motors. Likewise will Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense help in reducing some effort. Is there any board which does that - comes inbuilt with things that eliminate or reduce external hardware as applicable from point of view of building a toy grade drone ? $\endgroup$
    – Raster R
    Oct 29, 2021 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ Will also go through ur link. Thanks for sharing $\endgroup$
    – Raster R
    Oct 29, 2021 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ Meanwhile based on the specs I see here store-usa.arduino.cc/products/arduino-nano-motor-carrier looks like the nano motor carrier is the easiest route to achieving what I want to try. Any thoughts? $\endgroup$
    – Raster R
    Oct 29, 2021 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ Before I answer... are you looking to make this a hobby project or are you just looking to buy a small drone and fly it? There's a large family of 3"-class drone hardware you can use if you want the latter. $\endgroup$
    – ifconfig
    Oct 29, 2021 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ The Arduino-branded motor carrier is in all likelihood too large and heavy to fit on a drone similar to the size of the linked tutorial. At that scale, you'd likely have to find a smaller one or solder your own together. $\endgroup$
    – ifconfig
    Oct 29, 2021 at 5:58

I think you'd want the "Nano 33 BLE" - not that you need Bluetooth Low Energy, but because it has gyro/accelerometers built in. Otherwise you'd need to add them as a separate board, like the GY-521

You could even go for the 'Sense' version to gain a barometer, which you could then use for an approximate altitude-hold function.

You will still need an external board to control the motors, as the Nano can only manage a few milliamps. The motor carrier board you link to looks good, although I suspect the '500amp' output current is a typo for 'milliamps'!

If you get the Arduino with headers, it should plug straight into the motor carrier.

You'll still need some form of radio receiver.

It's worth mentioning that the result will be significantly heavier than a board that is designed for a nano-quad, and could be pushing the limits of brushed motors. You might be better to use a purpose made 4-in-1 ESC board and brushless motors instead.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Robin for your reply $\endgroup$
    – Raster R
    Oct 30, 2021 at 10:39

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