IO Parts and Prep

Preparation - Safety First!

  • Make sure your ELEV-8 is OFF with the BATTERY DISCONNECTED AND REMOVED.
  • REMOVE THE PROPELLERS from the ELEV-8 v3 quadcopter's motors. They are NOT needed for this tutorial.
  • REMOVE the XBee, WX, or telemetry radio module if you have one plugged into the top of your Parallax Flight Controller.  This tutorial will blink status LEDs on the Flight Controller that are connected to the radio module socket.  Driving those LEDs with a radio module connected could permanently damage the radio module.

This tutorial will show you how to write and edit Propeller C code and the Flight Controller firmware using the SimpleIDE software. You will compile your code and load it into the Propeller microcontroller on the Flight Controller, then see the results.

Before you start:

  • Set up SimpleIDE - even though this tutorial is for the Parallax Flight Controller.
  • Make sure you understand how to load firmware onto the Flight Controller.  If you overwrite your firmware by completing this tutorial, you can always re-upload after you've completed this tutorial.
  • Make sure you save your current firmware (or at least know which downloaded version you last installed on your Flight Controller)!

What you will need:

A complete, tested, configured ELEV-8 v3 (Parallax Item #80300 or Item #80330) that has a receiver with at least 6 channels, such as:

Optional Mounting Hardware:

If you wish to mount hardware, sensors, or lights to the bottom chassis plate of your ELEV-8 v3, you will need hardware and/or adhesive, such as:

  • #4-40 screws, locknuts, standoffs, and spacers (Available in hardware packs here or here)
  • Right angle (L-shaped) brackets (Parallax Item #720-00011)
  • Zip ties
  • Hot glue
  • Double-sided foam tape

Optional Accessories for Connecting the Flight Controller to External Hardware:

If you wish to complete the optional activities in this tutorial, including connecting your flight controller to an external development board, you will need:

Optional Cable to Power Additional Hardware From the Power Distribution Board:

One of the easiest ways to add functionality to your ELEV-8 v3 (or any other sUAV) is to attach a development board such as an ActivityBoard, Board of Education, or Arduino + Parallax Sheild.  It is even possible to power any of these boards directly from the ELEV-8 v3's by building a custom adapter cable: