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Starting out with the Elev-8 - Observations and questions

homosapienhomosapien Posts: 145
edited August 2017 in Robotics Vote Up0Vote Down
Recently acquired and assembled the Elev-8 v3. Will post my observations and questions in this thread for reference of other people just starting out.

My setup
- Elev-8 v3
- 2 3300mAhr lipo batteries
- Spektrum DX7 transmitter
- Spektrum A8000 receiver
- FlightController v2.0.1
- GroundStation v2.0.1
- 80204-ELEV-8-v3-001.SPM used via SD card setup Spektrum transmitter

Notes on build:

- Used on-line tutorial/assembly instructions. Went together easily. Would definitely recommend reading entirely through at least once before beginning build to understand the reasoning behind each step.

- The power distribution board really IS just a distribution/connector for the ~12v lipo. In the standard build, you will have extra/unused barrel connectors (3 pair) as well as 3 unused 3-pin .1" connectors (you will only use 1, to deliver ~12v to the FC PCB). These will probably come in handy later as I add other options that require a ~12v source.

- I added a loosely zipped zip tie through each vibration mount - will hopefully keep the vibration mount from getting lost if a hard landing jars it loose (saw it happen in a elev-8 video).

- As of 8/12/17, the build tutorial on the Parallax site does not appear to be quite in sync with the FC v2.0.1 software. The Parallax build tutorial shows 2 flight modes, apparently there are actually 4. The mode can be determined by observing the FC PCB LED. Green means disarmed, red means armed. The LED also blinks an additional color to show the flight mode:
- white blink = assist mode (altitude hold) (depending on viewing angle, blink can look violet colored)
- blue blink = stable mode
- yellow blink = manual mode
- red/yellow = auto-manual mode

-In my setup, on the Spektrum DX7 switch 'D' is the gear switch (3 position). To have the flight mode correctly display on the transmitter when the gear switch position is changed, I needed to go to the GS Radio Setup tab, flight Mode Switch area and put "Assisted" in the top box, "Stable" in the middle box, and "Manual" in the bottom box. I also changed line #1617 in the 80204-ELEV-8-v3-001.SPM file from "display="ASSISTED"" to "display="STABLE"". Before I made these changes the transmitter would show incorrect flight mode (but the LED on the FC PCB was the colors as detailed above). It was a little confusing until I figured the LED on the FC PCB always showed the correct mode color (as listed above), regardless of that the transmitter was telling me. Basically you can just use the FC PCB LED to determine current flight mode, or diddle with the transmitter programming and/or Flight Mode Switch in GS to sync up the transmitter with the correct mode. After I realized I was flying in the stable mode and switched to the assisted mode, it was MUCH easier to fly/practice.

- Flight time with one freshly charged battery is 14+ minutes.

- As noted in another thread, the audible low battery alarm is default off. It can be turned on in the GS software and uploaded to the FC. Even so, pretty difficult to hear built-in piezo over the sound of the quad.

- When connecting the battery to the elev8, I always get a 'pop' from the battery connectors as they come together, assume this is the caps on the ESC's rapidly charging up. Hope this is normal and will not cause problems down the road...

My questions:

-It appears that there is a 4th flying mode, auto-manual. I have not yet figured out how to activate this mode (and not that I will need it until quite a bit more of practice). I can probably find it by delving into the code more, but anyone want to give me a hint on how auto-manual mode is activated?

-I have flown indoors (barn) to test what I can do in the calmest (least wind) conditions. The elev8 still seems to jink around a fair amount, with constant adjustment with the sticks I can keep in probably a 6'x6'x4' box. I have not had much practice, I think with more practice, I could hold it in a 3'x3'x3'. I did do calibration of gyro and accel. Is constant control normal and position holding variability normal , or can I trim in to do better position hold without constant control adjustments?



  • 2 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • With absolutely zero wind you should be able to keep it pretty still with very little control input, but it will never truly position hold - any air current will carry it. If you're practicing in an enclosed space it might even be worse than outside on a calm morning, because it moves a *lot* of air and will create turbulence as the air circulates. (Unless you're in something the size of a gymnasium).

    Auto-manual is similar to stable, but when you push the sticks past 60% (I think?) it switches to manual. When the sticks are moved to less than 60% it goes back to stable, and will re-level itself regardless of orientation, so it's a safety for learning flips. Don't try it unless you're flying over really tall grass, or are "3 mistakes high" as they say. :) You activate it by changing one of the flight-mode positions in the Groundstation software, then set your gear switch to that position in flight. I'd really only recommend this for when you get good, or with a smaller quad (they flip faster).

    Also - the low battery alarm will rapid-flash the LED red and yellow as it beeps, so there's a visual indication too. If they'd made the on-board piezo buzzer louder the vibration would probably have interfered with the sensors.
  • Here's what it looks like:

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