ELEV-8 v3 Flight Controller Firmware v2.0.1 and GroundStation v2.0.1 now available!

This is the second major release of the ELEV-8 Firmware and Parallax GroundStation control software. GroundStation v2.0.1 is compatible with all v2.#.# Firmware, and vice-versa, per Semantic Versioning (adapted for v2.0.0 onwards).

Updated: Flight Control Firmware to 2.0.1
Updated: GroundStation for Windows to 2.0.1
New: GroundStation for Mac, 2.0.1

This was released on GitHub earlier this month (October), and is now being added to the download section our eCommerce website, indicating it is stable and supported.

Major Changes to Firmware from v1.0.2
-Implemented Altitude Hold in Assisted flight mode, with built-in altimeter or external PING or Laser Rangefinder sensor
-Added Auto-Manual mode - automatically switches from Stable to Manual when elevator/aileron stick moves beyond 50% normal range
-Implemented RemoteRX and Satellite reciever support
-Idle timeout implemented to auto-disarm after 10 seconds of <10% throttle
-Auto-Disarm on very low throttle - for Spektrum DXe
-Low-voltage alarm now defaults to off
-Miscellaneous bug fixes

Major Changes to Parallax GroundStation from v1.0.2
-Now available for Mac and Windows (re-built from the ground up in QT for platform cross-compatibility)
-Able to save and load flight controller preferences
-Improved UI works better on Windows 8/10 and high-DPI displays
-Implemented numerous safety features
-Miscellaneous bug fixes
Kyle M.
Mechatronics Engineer and ELEV-8 R&D for Parallax Inc.

Comments

  • 8 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Hi Kyle,
    I was at the Drone Workshop for Educators this past summer (2016) in Thief River Falls, Mn where we built the ELEV 8 drone. My question is... Can I use the Ping Ultrasonic sensor as an altitude hold? I see this post is from Oct 31, but not sure of what year it was posted. Therefore, do I need to update my firmware on the drone to make the Ping work? (assuming it will work as an altitude sensor).

    Also, any progress on adding GPS capabilities?
    Thanks,
    Roger
  • A ping sensor will help with hovering, but it has limited range, made worse by air turbulence, so it's only good to about 6 feet above ground.

    It would be possible to use something like this:
    http://www.robotshop.com/en/maxbotix-ez1-ultrasonic-ranger.html?gclid=CNfPtNWavtACFYdufgod6JgN5w

    They have lower resolution, but a little more than double the range of the ping. I haven't tried one of these, and it would probably need a bit of tuning to make it work.

    Heading hold is complete, so the FC now tracks magnetic north and will hold a heading indefinitely.

    I'm actively working on adding GPS support. I already have the flight controller configuring and reading the GPS, and I'm just starting work on return to home and position hold. I don't have an estimate for when that'll be ready - it's a decent chunk of work.
    889 x 611 - 193K
  • I have a question to elev-8 users.

    I see there are Spectrum users, are there some with DX8 (E version) transmitters ?
    Do they have elev-8 configs for it, so I can start with a working remote connection.


    Thank-you

    Daniel
  • homosapienhomosapien Posts: 145
    edited August 12 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Just finished assembly of a elev8 v3 (first flight this morning, no crashes yet!). A couple questions about the software -

    - In FC v2.0.1 "Low-voltage alarm now defaults to off" - I think this can be activated by changing line #89 in the prefs.ccp file from "Prefs.LowVoltageAlarm = 0;" to "Prefs.LowVoltageAlarm = 1;" (or really any non-zero number 1-254). Is this correct, the only change needed (and will not affect other operations)? Don't need to crash this expensive device. Why was this default set to off, seems pretty handy...?

    Jason, when you write "heading hold" is that the same as "headless" that I have read about other quad-copters, where the elev8 will maintain orientation to the operator, front always pointing away, or something different? "Headless" seems like it would be a great feature for beginning operators such as myself. Have just started looking at, and getting a handle on the FC v2.0.1 code, is the "heading hold" incorporated into v2.0.1?

    Thx,
    Nate
  • homosapien wrote: »
    - In FC v2.0.1 "Low-voltage alarm now defaults to off" - I think this can be activated by changing line #89 in the prefs.ccp file from "Prefs.LowVoltageAlarm = 0;" to "Prefs.LowVoltageAlarm = 1;" (or really any non-zero number 1-254). Is this correct, the only change needed (and will not affect other operations)? Don't need to crash this expensive device. Why was this default set to off, seems pretty handy...?

    I think the alarm defaults to off right now because it is hard to hear 200' away.

    I have been using:

    https://www.parallax.com/product/752-00014

    because it could be heard from a long way off.

    Infernal Machine
  • Changing the line you suggest would change the default, but if you've started the thing even once, it has saved the setting into the eeprom, so you'd still need to use GroundStation to enable it. You can change all of the prefs in GroundStation and write them back to the flight controller.

    The voltage alarm was disabled by default mostly because it's not terribly accurate, and it needs to be adjusted on each controller. As long as you're aware that it's not perfect (or very loud) it's quite useful. The Elev8-FC also changes the blink pattern on the LED when the battery alarm starts going, so you'll see the light quickly flashing orange/red.

    The voltage alarm Publison linked to is good, and I have one of these:
    https://www.amainhobbies.com/dys-digital-lipo-voltage-checker-w-warning-alarm-budepb-0002/p360824

    They're *loud* which is good when you're flying at a distance.
  • homosapienhomosapien Posts: 145
    edited August 12 Vote Up0Vote Down
    200' ! After all the time and energy, this elev8 will never be 200' away, I'm keeping this baby close! :)

    I also found that apparently the audible alarm can be activated via the GroundStation software, under the Systems Settings tab. I think that when you press the Upload Changes button in GS, a value is saved to the EEPROM, which is read whenever the elev8 is powered up and the prefs.Prefs_Load() method is called.

    Nate


    EDIT - Guess we were typing responses at the same time. The low volt alarm looks like a good idea. I'm waiting for the first crash to finalize my next order from Parallax. When building the quad, most of my thoughts were along the line of "I wonder how many spares of this part should I keep on hand..."
  • The things most likely to break (in my experience) are props, the landing gear, and occasionally the motor mount plates (though I had breakages with those when they were acrylic, and I think they're delrin now, which should be better). For low speed / low altitude flights over grass that should be about it. If you're flying high, fast, or near obstacles, then it's anyone's guess. :)
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