Installation and Use

Installation and Use

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App Installation

The PingLocust Controller and Slave both come in free and paid (Pro) versions. The 2 versions are identical, except for the free versions being limited to 3 minutes connection time. It is recommended that you install and use the free versions first for testing and evaluation.

It is NOT recommended to use the free versions in a real application as they will disconnect after a set time and your vehicle will be uncontrollable.

It is recommended to use the free and Pro versions as a matched pair - do not use a free version with a Pro version. Doing so may cause your link to be unreliable.

PingLocust Controller Free
PingLocust Slave Free

PingLocust Controller Pro
PingLocust Slave Pro

PingLocust Disclaimer - Agreement



Quick Start
Controller Screen
Slave Screen
Whitebox
Connecting Using Internet Data
Auxillary Apps
General Hints
About Safety



Quick Start (WIFI) - Read Warnings Below

This Section is provided for a quick and easy introduction to the PingLocust Control system. The following procedure is not meant to be used in the actual operation of the real RC vehicle. It is meant to familiarize the new user with the functions of the 2 app components of PingLocust, as well as their proper operation.

The following assumptions are made:

  • Whitebox is optional. If Whitebox is used, Control and telemetry will be possible. It Whitebox is desired, see Whitebox for instructions on how to use Whitebox. If Whitebox is not to be used, skip step 11.5
  • Wifi will be used. The range will be typically less than 20 meters (subject to your WIFI router)
  • Normal preparation of the mobile devices will not be done. Link may be slow and unreliable.
  • Both Controller and Slave have been properly installed on 2 separate devices.

    Quick Start will activate the digital video feed and GPS location display. It will also touch on some of the options available on the Controller and Slave apps. It is not, by any means, comprehensive.

    For "proper" operation, see Using Internet Connection.

    The Quick Start procedure is as follows (note step 11.5 is skipped if not using Whitebox):

    1) Switch ON WIFI for both phones.
    2) Switch OFF Mobile Data for both phones
    3) Start PingLocust Controller on the controlling device
    4) Start PingLocust Slave on the slave device
    5) Make sure the 2 devices are connected to the same WIFI router by checking the Global IP address shown as item 2 in both Controller Screen and Slave Screen.
    6) If the Global IP addresses are different, then exit the apps, correct the problem, then go back to step 3.
    7) In Slave, tap Options (button with 3 dots) then select Preferences, Set Control IP Address.
    8) Select "edit/new" and enter the Controller "IP Local" address (item 1) as displayed - no spaces.
    9) Exit both Controller and Slave Apps.
    10) Re-start Controller app.
    11) Re-start Slave app.
    11.5) If Whitebox is to be used, you must have previously paired with Whitebox (see Whitebox procedure). In Slave, tap Options then Connect to Bluetooth. If this fails, try pairing procedure again and retry the Quick Start procedure. The Whitebox status LED should start blinking in blue indicating a live connection.
    12) In Slave, tap Options then Connect to Controller. The Controller display will start updating with the Slave's video feed and telemetry information. Controller commands will start feeding into the Slave app. If not, go to Step 5.

    Note the following features and functions for the Controller Screen:

  • Telemetry info from Slave (item 10)
  • Controller Status Info (item 5)
  • Touching the "ATT" (item 18) toggles the attitude display.
  • Left Control Pad (item 8). Touching the pad then swiping up and down controls the throttle channel (mode 2). Left and right controls the rudder. Releasing will center rudder. The location, shape, and behaviour of the control pads can be user-configured, see Options button (item 18)
  • Right Control Pad (item 9). Touching the pad then swiping up and down controls the elevator channel (mode 2). Left and right controls the aileron. Releasing will center both controls.
  • Recording (item 16) on/off. This records the video, GPS, and the telemetry.
  • Options button (item 18) shows the options menu.
  • Timer button (item 19). Touching starts and stops. Long press will reset.
  • Slave Location (item 6).
  • Controller Location (item 7).

    Note the following features and functions for the Slave Screen:

  • Options(item 3) button shows the options menu.
  • The position of the proportional channel is displayed (item 4). This is user-selectable, see Options.
  • Console status display(item 5) shows the time in seconds and milliseconds for each message.



    Controller Screen

    1 Controller's Local IP Address
    2 Controller's Global IP Address
    3 Status and Distance to Slave
    4 Video Feed (to zoom in and out, see 14)
    5 Controller status and other info (see below)
    6 Slave Location (in Google Maps)
    7 Controller Location (in Google Maps)
    8 Left Control Pad (for Mode 2, Throttle and Rudder)
    9 Right Control Pad (for Mode 2, Elevator and Aileron)
    10 Slave Telemetry (see below)
    11 Satellite Map/Normal Map Display toggle
    12 Map View Zoom out
    13 Map View Zoom in
    14 Map View/ Video Display Zoom Toggle
    15 Options
    16 Record Start/Stop
    17 Control Rates
    18 Attitude Display Toggle
    19 Timer

    Controller Status Content (5):

  • Signal Strength %
  • Control Device Battery Level %
  • Battery Temperature (degrees C)
  • Signal transmission latency (milliseconds)
  • Video Framerate (Frames per second)

    Slave Status Content (10):

  • Slave device IP address
  • GPS Status (Accuracy in meters/Satellites acquired)
  • Signal Strength %
  • Data amount used (megabytes)
  • Slave Device Battery Level %
  • Battery Temperature (degrees C)
  • Telemetry 1 (volts)
  • Altitude (meters)
  • Heading (degrees)



    Slave Screen

    1 Controller's Local IP Address
    2 Slave's Global IP Address
    3 Options
    4 User-selectable Control Channel feed
    5 Slave Console status Display



    Whitebox

    The PingLocust Whitebox is a plug-for-plug replacement of the RC receiver of any servo controlled vehicle/system (up to 12 proportional channels). In addition, Whitebox can send up to 6 telemetry (voltage levels) signals back to the Controller. Whitebox wirelessly links to the Slave app using Bluetooth.

    Whitebox is available as a kit - for more info, refer to the Whitebox page.

    Before you can use Whitebox, you have to pair it with the Slave app by following these steps:

    1) Unplug the power supply of your vehicle
    2) Unplug the existing receiver from your vehicle (if installed).
    3) Warning: Your vehicle may start its motors and servos unexpectedly. Install the Whitebox by plugging all desired channels into your vehicle system. It would be a good idea to remove props, disconnect tracks, wheels, etc. Hook up the desired telemetry connections.
    4) Power up your vehicle. Whitebox's status LED should show blue.
    5) Start PingLocust Slave on the slave device.
    6) In Slave, tap Options (button with 3 dots) then select Preferences, Set Bluetooth Connection.
    7) Tap Scan For New Devices.
    8) Select PingLocustSlave and pair it with your slave device. Enter "0000" or "1234" as PIN if prompted.

    When Whitebox is properly plugged in and paired, it may be used in the Quick Start procedure by executing step 11.5. It may be used in the Connecting Using Internet Data procedures.



    Connecting Using Internet Data

    This Section provides a startup procedure for the PingLocust Control system using Internet Data (3G/4G/5G or higher) instead of WIFI (as shown in Quick Start). This is the "proper" method of using PingLocust as Internet Data is faster (usually) and more reliable than WIFI as well as, of course, having a much longer range (> 20,000 km).

    Please note that this may incur additional expense from your internet provider for additional data use. Typical data rate while using the Controller and Slave will be around 5 MB per minute for each device. Switching off the video feed reduces the data bandwidth to less than 1 MB per minute.

    The following assumptions are made:

  • Whitebox is optional. If Whitebox is used, Control and telemetry will be possible. It Whitebox is desired, see Whitebox for instructions on how to use Whitebox. If Whitebox is not to be used, skip step 14.5
  • Both Controller and Slave have been properly installed on 2 separate devices.
  • Both Controller and Slave devices are capable of connecting to Mobile Data. This means they must both be equipped with an active SIM card.

    There are 2 methods of connection:

    1) Common Server

    2) VPN Service

    The Common Server connection is simpler and usually results in a faster connection. The VPN method is used when the Common Server method is impractical or impossible. The VPN method usually results in a slower connection but can connect devices which are much further away from each other. The VPN method may also connect devices on different service providers.


    Common Server Method

    To connect using a Common Server, both devices must use the same service provider.

    The procedure is as follows:

    1) Switch OFF WIFI for both phones.
    2) Switch ON Mobile Data for both phones
    3) Start PingLocust Controller on the controlling device
    4) Start PingLocust Slave on the slave device
    5) Make sure the 2 devices are connected to the same data server by checking the Global IP address shown as item 2 in both Controller Screen and Slave Screen.
    6) The first 2 numbers of the Global IP addresses (item 2) should be the same for both screens, if they are, then the devices should be able to connect - proceed to step 10.
    7) If the first 2 numbers are different, then the mobile devices have been assigned to different servers and will not connect. One device will have to be reassigned to the same server as the other.
    8) To reassign, disconnect data from one device temporarily by activating Flight Mode, wait a few seconds, then deactivating Flight Mode. The device should connect to a different server.
    9) Go to step 5. This should be necessary only a few times. You may need to try Flight Mode on the other device. If it looks that there are many more servers than 2, then this method may be impractical or impossible. In this case, use the VPN Service method of connection (see below).
    10) In Slave, tap Options (button with 3 dots) then select Preferences, Set Control IP Address.
    11) Select "edit/new" and enter the Controller "IP Local" address (item 1) as displayed - no spaces.
    12) Exit both Controller and Slave Apps.
    13) Re-start Controller app.
    14) Re-start Slave app.
    14.5) If Whitebox is to be used, you must have previously paired with Whitebox (see Whitebox procedure). In Slave, tap Options then Connect to Bluetooth. If this fails, try pairing procedure again and retry the Quick Start procedure. The Whitebox status LED should start blinking in blue indicating a live connection.
    15) In Slave, tap Options then Connect to Controller. The Controller display will start updating with the Slave's video feed and telemetry information. Controller commands will start feeding into the Slave app. If not, exit both apps then go to Step 3.


    VPN Service Method

    To connect using a VPN Service, both devices must subscribe to a VPN provider. The provider must be able to supply a "static ip" service or equivalent, which provides a common ip address which both devices can connect to.

    The procedure is as follows:

    1) Switch OFF WIFI for both phones.
    2) Switch ON Mobile Data for both phones
    3) Logon to the VPN service and connect both devices to the common ip address. Check with your VPN provider about the necessary procedure.
    4) Start PingLocust Controller on the controlling device
    5) Start PingLocust Slave on the slave device
    6) Make sure the 2 devices are connected to the same data server by checking the Global IP address shown as item 2 in both Controller Screen and Slave Screen.
    7) The Global IP addresses (item 2) should be the same for both screens, if they are, then the devices should be able to connect - proceed to step 9.
    8) If they are different, exit both apps then go to Step 3.
    9) In Slave, tap Options (button with 3 dots) then select Preferences, Set Control IP Address.
    10) Select "edit/new" and enter the Controller "IP Local" address (item 1) as displayed - no spaces.
    11) Exit both Controller and Slave Apps.
    12) Re-start Controller app.
    13) Re-start Slave app.
    13.5) If Whitebox is to be used, you must have previously paired with Whitebox (see Whitebox procedure). In Slave, tap Options then Connect to Bluetooth. If this fails, try pairing procedure again and retry the Quick Start procedure. The Whitebox status LED should start blinking in blue indicating a live connection.
    14) In Slave, tap Options then Connect to Controller. The Controller display will start updating with the Slave's video feed and telemetry information. Controller commands will start feeding into the Slave app. If not, exit both apps then go to Step 3.



    Auxillary Apps

    There are 2 additional apps included with PingLocust Controller which are installed when you install Controller:

    1) Video Player

    2) GPS Map

    The Video Player is used to playback the recorded video which is stored as a sequence of .jpg files in the picture folder. The basic playback controls are included. Swiping the screen left and right will perform a seek function. Tap on Settings (button with 3 dots) for playback options.

    The GPS Map is used to display the recorded GPS info which is recorded along with the video. Tap on Settings (button with 3 dots) for options. Use the Route functions to display an animation of the recording which shows the path and orientation of the recording.



    General Hints

  • Make sure both device batteries are fully charged before starting
  • Re-boot both devices to deactivate running services
  • Use the "Do not disturb" setting for both devices to minimize unexpected calls and notifications
  • Turn the "Sync" setting off to minimise background services activity
  • Disable Viber, Skype, and other similar apps which may interfere or slow down Controller or Slave
  • Disable Google Voice activation for Controller and Slave apps

    For the Slave vehicle/drone:

  • Check Controls response with throttle forced to low of with props take off for safety
  • Do a pre-flight check of the area which you wish to fly in for sufficient signal strength

    Important Operational Notes:

  • When using rates, possible non-response of the drone brain board may occur due to the rudder/ail/elev channels not reaching min/max levels. Functions like motor on/off, trim, etc. may not work. Set rates to normal when attempting these functions.
  • If heading display seems incaccurate, calibrate compass by doing figure-8's in all 3 axes.
  • On the Controller, if excessive pressure is used on the control pads or if too many fingers are used, the device may get confused and the controls may lock. In this case, the Controller will vibrate and the controls are set to neutral. To regain control, the fingers must be lifted off the pad mometarily then set down again.



    About Safety

    The flying guidelines below are general guidelines only and are not specific to any area:

  • Avoid flying beyond line-of-sight where possible
  • Avoid flying above 120 meters altitude where possible
  • Avoid flying above crowds, vulnerable structures, or equipment
  • Avoid flying nearer than 8 kilometers to an airport
  • Avoid flying nearer than 2 kilometers to an aircraft
  • Always test fly (check signal levels, latency, and reliability) before actual flight
  • Always obey local laws
  • Fly only in good weather and visibility

    PingLocust Disclaimer - Agreement