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Buy and Adapt a Toy Verti Bird / Whirly Bird / Chopper Command Helicopter to use a  joy Stick for a special needs person


If you want to purchase the good old Whirly Bird / Verti Bird  / chopper command you once had as a child - you will be pleasantly surprise that it still exists!    I like the one with a rotating propeller blade that has a round outer band to it so it won't pose much risk when a child leans in to far while another is playing and  gets hit in the face or eye. 

If you want to know how to convert this toy over to a wall adapter so you don't have to buy batteries for it anymore - give me an email at support@scienceshwareware.com

The only thing about these toys is that if a child puts their hands on the prop while it is moving and brings the propeller to an immediate halt, it could deform the shape of the rotating power transfer spring inside the chopper so that it vibrates really really bad and you will not be able to use this toy any more until you solder on a new spring. 

Command Force Chopper Countdown  chopper command whirlybird toy flying helicopter vertibird

Is a little cheaper and allows you to move and stack crates as shown in this picture.  Again you will notice that the toy chopper helicopter flying in the air has thy "safe" type of blade with a plastic round ring on it that minimizes risk of a child getting hurt in the eye or face.








 whirly bird vert-bird adpated special needs computer controls joy stick Click on this thumbnail to see a big picture of this adapted flying helicopter


OBJECTIVE:   Allow a special needs / handicapped / disabled  child to fly a toy helicopter.   (click on picture above)   This toy  actually flies and picks things up and has COOL sound effects.  Do this by creating  a set of computerized controls to replace the standard control levers provided with the Chopper Patrol Toy Helicopter.  This will allow regular and special needs children to fly the helicopter using a computer mouse, joystick,  or adaptive switch. 

In the first picture on the right you will see a black box on the end, this is a 5V 2Amp power supply.  The red box next to it is the Lab Jack  data acquisition and control module.  It is powered by USB from a computer.  I wrote   LabVIEW software that reads the joystick position and controls the helicopter accordingly.  The software also reads adaptive switches for special needs kids so they can make the helicopter go up or down or forward or backward.  For more info on the LabVIEW software see the section below.

This is a photo of a child using a head switch to control the Toy Vertibird / whirly bird / chopper command helicopter.  This is a very fun toy helicopter to fly because it has a little cargo hook to pick up objects and set them down.  (Unfortunately many special needs kids don't have that fine of motor skills so they just like to fly it around.

whirly bird helicopter special needs kids with joy stick in classroom

To accomplish toy conversion, you will need to cut the off the existing controls to your chopper.  This takes a leap of faith!  I felt nervous because I knew that once I cut that control unit off, there was no turning back!  There are two controls for this toy helicopter.  The first is the voltage control to the propeller motor which has a range of 0 to 5 V DC operating range.  Then you will need to take apart a CD-Rom drive to get the moving parts out of it. 

TOY CHOPPER COMMAND HELICOPTER PITCH CONTROL:  The small DC motor in the picture controls the horizontal position of the assembly.  It is controlled by 30 millisecond pulses at 5 volts using the Labjack and LabVIEW software.   This assembly makes the whirly bird toy helicopter fly forwards or backwards.

 TOY CHOPPER COMMAND PROPELLER CONTROL USING NPN POWER TRANSISTOR 1: The propeller is driven by a small 5V DC motor located under the turret.  The top transistor in the picture  is driven by the Labjack by using a 0 10 volt DC signal which is controlled by LabVIEW.

CD-rom assembly adapted to do whirly bird helicopter pitch control  cd-rom control assembly adapted to control helicopter pitch

  • IBM compatible PC with USB port
  • Lab Jack data acquisition / control system
  • An analog joy stick
  • An old CD ROM drive
  • 2 Power Transistors
  • Power Supply
  • Piece of  plywood or plastic
  • Soldering Iron
  • 20 AWG wire or smaller

DPDT relay H-bridge with indicator controls CD-rom dc motor assembly       H-bridge using DPDT relay to control small DC motor on CDrom assembly



Here is a screen shot of the graphical user interface  is used for controlling height and pitch of the helicopter.

If you're interested in getting a copy please send an email.  

I'm trying to figure out whether or not to go ahead and put  in an encoder so the computer will be able to track the chopper position, and do automated PID control loop movements.    

computer controlled helicopter special needs switches