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Old Nov 06, 2015, 06:24 PM
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MotoLab Board Setup and Troubleshooting


Moto's Axiom

"I've done everything right and it doesn't work" usually means you haven't done everything right.

Pinout Diagrams





Pinout notes:

Pins marked "+" are LIPO voltage. LIPO input voltage is limited to 6S, depending on the regulator used. Pololu recommends an external 33uF 50V capacitor for over 20V inputs.
The LIPO IN pins are connected internally to the VBAT monitor.
All of the numbered pins are PWM outputs.
The LIPO "+" and BEC "V" pins on the Tornado have reverse-current blocking diodes to prevent powering ESCs from USB power. On Cyclone, only the LIPO "+" pin has the diode. None of the "V" pins should have an external voltage applied on the Cyclone.
Pins marked "V" are +5V ONLY. Do not connect anything over 5V to these pins.
To bypass the BEC "V" input diode on Tornado and output 5V on this pin, short the two-pad jumper below the PWM 1 input.
The Pololu switching regulator may be mounted on top or bottom of the board. Observe the orientation.
If using an external 5V BEC of any kind on Tornado (including a Pololu not mounted on the board), connect it to the pins labelled "BEC 5V IN".
SAT RX and SBUS use UART 2. The X4R ground, 5V and rx signal pins should be connected to the SBUS "G", "V", and "S" pins.
The "S" pin on the buzzer connection is the switched ground. Connect the + pin of the buzzer to either the lipo "+" or 5V "V" pin, and the - pin to "S".

SmartPort Telemetry

Cleanflight and Betaflight can send Smartport telemetry to the FrSky X-series receivers over a single wire. Connect TXOUT from either UART 1 or 3 to the S.PORT pin on the receiver. It only takes one wire because the ground connection is already made with the SBUS cable. The voltage divider for lipo monitoring is built into the controller.

To enable lipo monitoring over Smartport:

Enable VBAT and Telemetry on the Config tab
Select Telemetry -> SmartPort and AUTO on the ports tab for the appropriate serial port 1 or 3
Set telemetry_inversion=on in CLI (This is the default in later firmware)

The lipo voltage shows up in OpenTX as VFAS. The most useful telemetry parameters for me seem to be VFAS, RSSI, and RxBt (receiver input voltage).

New Firmware Sources

BorisB has added the MOTOLAB target to his Betaflight fork of Cleanflight. This is the recommended firmware. The repo for that is here:

https://github.com/borisbstyle/betaflight

The Betaflight hex files for the MotoLab boards are here:

https://github.com/borisbstyle/betaflight/releases

Cleanflight releases are available here:

https://github.com/cleanflight/cleanflight/releases

Boards have been shipped with various versions of Cleanflight or Betaflight as development has progressed. I'd recommend installing the latest stable version of either one from the links above when you receive a new board.

Installing New Firmware

The MotoLab boards all use the built-in USB device to make all three UARTS available for other purposes without conflicts. The built-in USB appears as a device using a standard called DFU protocol for flashing when booted from the bootloader code. When running Cleanflight or Betaflight, the USB appears as a Virtual Com Port (VCP) device. The two modes require different drivers, and both drivers must be installed for operation with Configurator and flashing. Windows by default installs the wrong driver for DFU mode and it must be replaced. If the replacement isn't installed correctly, the VCP driver will be replaced instead, so be sure to follow the directions.

ImpulseRC has a "driver fixer" program that will install correct drivers on your Windows machine, if it works. It doesn't work on all installations. Download and run the .exe and then plug your FC into the USB port. The program is here:

https://impulserc.blob.core.windows....iver_Fixer.exe

Cleanflight Configurator version 1.0 and later includes support for the DFU USB interface on the STM32F3 CPU. This allows flashing any board that uses the built-in USB port. The Configurator can send commands to reboot into DFU mode for flashing without connecting the boot pins.

Step 1:

Download the preferred betaflight_MOTOLAB.hex or cleanflight_MOTOLAB.hex from the links above.

Step 2

IMPORTANT NOTE: For Zadig driver installation, be sure to plug in the board with the boot jumper shorted to make it appear as a DFU BOOTLOADER device. Do not allow the Zadig program to install a driver for an STM32 Virtual Comm Port device.

Computer setup: Windows needs a driver for the STM32 in bootloader mode. Linux needs a udev rule and your user ID must be added to the dialout group. The Cleanflight docs detail this here:

https://github.com/cleanflight/clean...%20Flashing.md

Once that's done, close all programs, disconnect the board and log out of Windows or restart the pc. Then log back in.

Step 3:

Install Google Chrome browser from chrome.google.com.

Open Chrome and browse to chrome.google.com/webstore, and enter Cleanflight-Configurator in the search box. Install and open the Configurator application.

Step 4:

Now plug your board into a USB port on the pc (with the boot jumper open). A new com port device should appear in the list at the top of the page on Configurator when the board is plugged in.

If not, and you're using Windows, check the Windows device manager when you plug the board in. An STM32 Virtual Com Port device should appear under "Ports" and not under "Other Devices". If that's wrong, download and install the VCP driver from ST as detailed in this post:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...postcount=4351

Plug the board into USB and make sure you can connect (It should already have some firmware loaded) by selecting the correct com port at the top left and clicking connect.
If it connected all good, if not, try a different com port until you get the right one. Then click disconnect so that the "Firmware Flasher" tab will appear.

Step 5:

Click on the "Firmware Flasher" tab. Click on the "Load Firmware [Local]" button, and when the box opens up select the file downloaded before, "betaflight_MOTOLAB.hex", and click open.
The bar across the middle should now say "Loaded Local Firmware: (nnnnn bytes)"
Since we still have the board connected, go ahead and click the "Flash Firmware" button. The bar should change and say "Erasing" then "Flashing" then "Rebooting"

To confirm it all worked, go back to the main tab in Configurator and connect to the board for configuration in Configurator. You may have to disconnect and reconnect the board to get it to pop up.
Click on the CLI tab on.
Type: "version" without the quotation marks and hit enter.
It should pop up with the new version of Betaflight you just flashed.

Troubleshooting Flashing Problems

Sometimes Configurator will get into a state where it must be closed and reopened to successfully connect. If Google Chrome is open, it must be restarted also.

Most problems on Windows are due to incorrect device drivers. Two drivers are required, for DFU bootloader mode and for normal Virtual Com Port mode. The drivers shown below are known to work.

Recheck the drivers if the Configurator stops working, because Windows will automatically reload the wrong drivers during system updates.

The computer should be rebooted after driver installation.

This device should appear in the Ports list when the board is normally booted.


This device should appear when the board is powered with the boot pins shorted.


TCHTHSKY provided a nice connection diagram for the Cyclone:

Last edited by Moto Moto; Oct 31, 2016 at 10:55 AM.
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Old Nov 07, 2015, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davhed View Post
I have no trouble flashing the tornado in DFU mode using cleanflight configurator and the motolab betaflight hex, but I can not connect to the board to configure settings. I have tried every step in the main post three times, it seems that it's a driver problem that I can sort out. Any help would be amazing. Sorry I haven't read through all 255 pages of this thread.
The STM32 as used on the Tornado identifies as different devices in bootloader mode and normal mode while running Cleanglight. Two different Windows drivers are required.

The red led should flash when the board is powered. If not, the firmware isn't loaded correctly. If it does, then you may have the correct driver for bootloader mode but the wrong driver for normal virtual com port.

Windows has a tendency to install the wrong VCP mode driver. Check the Windows device manager when you plug the board in. An STM32 Virtual Com Port device should appear under "Ports" and not under "Universal Serial Bus devices" or "Other Devices". If that's wrong, download and install the VCP driver from ST as detailed in this post:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...postcount=4351
Last edited by Moto Moto; Nov 13, 2015 at 01:11 AM.
Old Nov 07, 2015, 04:57 PM
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BLHeli Passthrough Programming

With current versions of Betaflight or CLeanflight and BLHeliSuite, MotoF3 and Cyclone boards can do BLHeli programming through the built-in USB interface.

Please note that the Tornado has 5V buffered PWM outputs. The buffers provide surge protection and very reliable communication with the ESCs, but they aren't bidirectional and do not support BLHeli passthrough.

To read/write the ESCs they must be powered. Remove your props first.

On BLHeliSuite:

Click the "Select ATMEL/SILABS Interface" drop down and select "SILABS BLHeli Bootloader (Cleanflight)"

At the bottom of the page, select the com port that appears when the USB cable is plugged in. Then click "Connect". The box should change to "Disconnect" and a box labeled "Multiple ESC" with four boxes in it will appear if you're connected. If you get an error message you're not connected to the FC..

With the lipo connected to power the ESCs, click "Read Setup". A dialog box should appear stating "Found Multiple ESC configuration in SiLabs mode:" and show four ESCs. If you get an error, you're not connecting with the ESCs.
Last edited by Moto Moto; Jun 18, 2016 at 01:11 PM.
Old Nov 07, 2015, 07:40 PM
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Example Betaflight Setup on Configurator

Note (6/18/16): This is for an older version of Betaflight. Some of the settings won't apply to newer code, in particular the PID settings as the ranges have been altered.

This shows settings I've used on a Warpquad 230 with MotoF3 control board with a Spektrum-compatible SAT receiver. It's set up for switch arming with air mode enabled on the same switch on AUX 1. AUX 2 enables blackbox logging on the SPIFLASH device.

It's using the luxfloat PID controller. PIDs are slightly relaxed from defaults and balanced on pitch and roll axes for the x-frame configuration. Yaw P usually needs the most adjustment, I usually reduce it by half to 2. Control rates are moderate as shown.

I generally use mostly default throttle settings. These items are adjusted:

min_check - set just above the lower endpoints of the first four channels (pitch, roll, yaw, and throttle). Stick commands require inputs below min_check as does throttle operation. Your channels should be adjusted in your transmitter to be about 1000 to 1050 uS, with min_check about 25 to 50uS above the highest lower endpoint in the first four channels.

min_throttle - should be adjusted so that all motors idle reliably when armed. WIth the default settings for min_command (1000) and max_throttle (1850), BLHeli ESC calibration is not required. In that case, min_throttle will be in the range of 1100 to 1150.

The setting max_aux_channels defines the number of AUX radio channels that are processed. Reducing that setting to the minimum required ( 1 or 2 usually ) can reduce the CPU load.
Last edited by Moto Moto; Jun 18, 2016 at 01:14 PM.
Old Nov 08, 2015, 01:01 AM
David Cheney is offline
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I downloaded and installed STM32 Virtual COM Port Driver on my Win 7 box and I can talk to the Tornado in CF on port 8 at 115200 baud. The CLI reports "Cleanflight/MOTOLAB 1.10.0 Sep 1 2015". So far so good.

However, when I attempt to flash with betaflight_MOTOLAB_212c.hex I get the message "Failed to open serial port". COM8 goes away and the red LED stops flashing. Blue is still lit. If I unplug and re-plug the USB I've come full circle.

I guess I'm seeing what was flashed at ImpulseRC and haven't yet got what I need to flash? I didn't do any pin jumpering ... and am unclear on a second driver?

Ahhhh...

Used my wife's macbook pro and dfu-util. Back in CF:
# version
# BetaFlight/MOTOLAB 2.1.2 Nov 7 2015

Last edited by David Cheney; Nov 08, 2015 at 01:51 AM. Reason: got it working!
Old Nov 08, 2015, 03:22 AM
David Cheney is offline
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Alien Invader!
A few config questions..

I'm using an FR_SKY D4R-II jumpered so channel 1 outputs CPPM and channel 2 outputs PWM RSSI. I'm thinking I can route that to the Tornado RSSI pins and enable Analog RSSI Input in CF. Right?

I've enabled VBAT and telemetry output - can I see RSSI and volts in my Taranis?

I've enabled LED_STRIP and loaded LED settings, looks great!

Every time I Save and Reboot the serial port is closed but not re-opened - I have to re-plug to re-connect.
Last edited by David Cheney; Nov 08, 2015 at 08:07 PM.
Old Nov 08, 2015, 04:16 AM
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Old Nov 08, 2015, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Cheney View Post
I downloaded and installed STM32 Virtual COM Port Driver on my Win 7 box and I can talk to the Tornado in CF on port 8 at 115200 baud. The CLI reports "Cleanflight/MOTOLAB 1.10.0 Sep 1 2015". So far so good.

However, when I attempt to flash with betaflight_MOTOLAB_212c.hex I get the message "Failed to open serial port". COM8 goes away and the red LED stops flashing. Blue is still lit. If I unplug and re-plug the USB I've come full circle.

I guess I'm seeing what was flashed at ImpulseRC and haven't yet got what I need to flash? I didn't do any pin jumpering ... and am unclear on a second driver?

Ahhhh...

Used my wife's macbook pro and dfu-util. Back in CF:
# version
# BetaFlight/MOTOLAB 2.1.2 Nov 7 2015

If you want to use Windows you can. You'll have to jumper the boot pins so it mounts as a DFU device, and then use Zadig (as mentioned here) to install the proper driver. Then you can Flash with CF Configurator. You then unplug and remove the boot pin jumper, and plug back in to configure CF.
Old Nov 08, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Since I am so stoked about getting mine working I thought I'd be helpful and gather some links and info for others running into trouble with Windows implementations:

1) You need this program to install the driver that supports the virtual COM port and allows you to configure with CleanFlight Configurator.

2) {Latest stable CleanFlight Configurator should work just fine. This step is no longer necessary] Get the latest development version of CleanFlight Configurator here. From MotoMoto's "step 3" in his post on the Alien Frame thread:
Quote:
Unzip that zip file to a known location (hint, desktop works well).
Open chrome and click this link Chrome Extensions
Enable the checkbox on the top right that says "Developer mode"
Click the button at the top middle which says "Load unpacked extension" and select the folder you extracted to your desktop. Yes the whole folder, it should be named "cleanflight-configurator-development" unless you renamed it to something else.
3) Short the boot pins on the board and plug in the USB. Then follow these instructions for installing the DFU BOOTLOADER driver.

4) Download the HEX output for MOTOLAB from Boris here. If you would rather use CleanFlight you have to use a different procedure so follow MotoMoto's instructions on his post.

With the boot pins shorted and USB plugged in your Tornado will mount as a DFU device (using Zadig driver). When this is done you can open CleanFlight Configurator and you will be able to flash, but not configure, your board. After flashing you can unplug the Tornado and open the boot pins. When you plug the USB back in the Tornado will mount as a Virtual COM Port device (using ST driver), and you will be able to connect to it using CleanFlight Configurator for all of your setup and configuration.
Last edited by Davhed; Mar 08, 2016 at 09:50 PM. Reason: words. Update to CF Config
Old Nov 09, 2015, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tr41nwr3k View Post
I'm such a noob for asking these questions. Upon looking over the Tornado F3 FC. I notice a lot I'm not used too. I'm coming from CC3D.

Question 1 - The motors only require a 2 pin servo lead? If so, do I pull out one pin, and slide it next to the other pin, Than cut the unused side off?

Question 2 - How do connect the motors. I notice on a MotoLab TornadoFC picture that there is a ground, red v, than pin 1 with a ground behind it. SOOO confused.

Question 3 - Where do I connect the Alien RGB Ring to the board. It has a 2 wires coming from the Ring, and looks like 3 going into the FC.

Question 4 - I have a 5v step down that came from RotorGeeks, when I ordered an ESC set. It's just got 2 wires coming from it, red and black.

If anyone can help, please help, I'm SO LOST.

Thank You.
1) You can move the pins in a 3-pin connector. I replace them with a 2-pin instead, available here:

https://www.pololu.com/product/1901

2) Connect the ESC signal wires to the pins labelled 1-4 at the top. Connect the signal grounds to the pins in the adjacent row.

3) Connect only the SLED "S" pin to the signal on the LED board. Connect lipo + and - from the PDB to the LED board + and - pins.

4) Connect your step-down regulator to the "BEC 5V IN" pins at the top of the pinout drawing. Red is "V", black is "G". Use only a 5V regulator, not higher voltage.
Old Nov 10, 2015, 10:50 AM
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Tornado


Does the software loading process seem unusually complicated?
I realize this board may be the best thing since sliced bread, but if it takes 2 weeks of dicking around to get it to just function. I will just install my NAZE.
* Maybe if the process was streamlined and it didn't require a degree in computer science to load CF, people wouldn't be spending time on this thread and would be out flying.
Old Nov 10, 2015, 11:25 AM
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It's complicated because of deficiencies in the Windows operating system. On Linux or OSX, not so much. The advantage of this board is the three hardware UARTs, none of which is shared with USB.
Old Nov 10, 2015, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raholek View Post
Does the software loading process seem unusually complicated?
I realize this board may be the best thing since sliced bread, but if it takes 2 weeks of dicking around to get it to just function. I will just install my NAZE.
* Maybe if the process was streamlined and it didn't require a degree in computer science to load CF, people wouldn't be spending time on this thread and would be out flying.
I'd be happy to buy yours if you decide it's too much trouble.

Tinman
Old Nov 10, 2015, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raholek View Post
Does the software loading process seem unusually complicated?

I realize this board may be the best thing since sliced bread, but if it takes 2 weeks of dicking around to get it to just function. I will just install my NAZE.

* Maybe if the process was streamlined and it didn't require a degree in computer science to load CF, people wouldn't be spending time on this thread and would be out flying.

It was plug and play for me. I was hoping to run into trouble so I can solve it and help those of you having issues.

I used the ImpulseRC tool.
Old Nov 10, 2015, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raholek View Post
Does the software loading process seem unusually complicated?
I realize this board may be the best thing since sliced bread, but if it takes 2 weeks of dicking around to get it to just function. I will just install my NAZE.
* Maybe if the process was streamlined and it didn't require a degree in computer science to load CF, people wouldn't be spending time on this thread and would be out flying.
So just use the Impulse tool, takes ten seconds to load the file.

http://www.warpquad.com/ImpulseFlash.zip

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