PingLocust Whitebox

Installation and Use

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PingLocust Whitebox

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The PingLocust Whitebox is the hardware component of the PingLocust Control system and has the following features:

  • Plug-for-plug replacement of conventional RC receiver
  • Wireless Bluetooth connection to PingLocust Slave device
  • Supports up to 12 proportional digital channels
  • Supports up to 6 telemetry digital channels

    Whitebox is based on the LeafLabs Maple Mini board with the following specs:

  • STM32 F103RCBT6: a 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 microprocessor
  • Clock Speed: 72 MHz
  • Input Voltage (recommended): 3.0V-12V
  • 34 Digital I/O Pins (GPIO)
  • 9 Analog Input Pins
  • 12-bit ADC resolution
  • 12 PWM pins at 16-bit resolution
  • Dedicated USB port for programming and communications
  • 120 KB Flash and 20 KB SRAM
  • Integrated SPI (2) and I2C (2)
  • 7 Channels of Direct Memory Access
  • 3 USART devices
  • Four 4-channel Timers
  • Support for low power and sleep modes (<500uA)
  • Small package, low weight (4 grams)
  • 3.3 Volts power supply for powering the HC-06 Bluetooth module

    In addition, Whitebox also uses a HC-06 (4-pin serial wireless Bluetooth RF transceiver module) which allows it to connect to the PingLocust Slave app (see App Installation).

    Materials and Parts Required
    Tools Required
    Wiring The Positive Bus
    Wiring The Ground Bus
    Mini Board Layout
    Wiring The Mini Board
    Wiring The HC-06 Module
    Wiring The Servo Connectors
    Wiring The Telemetry Connectors
    General Hints
    About Safety

    PingLocust Disclaimer - Agreement


    This is the procedure (in the order provided) of how to assemble the PingLocust Whitebox. It is recommended that the builder read the General Hints and About Safety topics first before commencing construction.

    There is also a section on Installing included to help in operating Whitebox. When completed, refer to Installation and Use of PingLocust.

    Before starting, you must decide how many Control channels you wish to have a servo plug for (this can be increased later, as an upgrade if desired). For example, a drone may want 4 channels (thottle, rudder, elevator, and aileron) plus aux1 and perhaps landing gear, for a total of 6 channels. For a 4WD ground vehicle or boat, you may only need 2 channels (throttle and steering). Additional channels may be required for turrets, gimbals, etc.

    You must also decide how many Telemetry channels you need (also upgradable later). Usually, only 1 is required for main battery voltage.

    Materials and Parts Required

    1) Maple Mini Board, with pre-installed firmware. Source: Order PingLocust Products
    2) HC-06 Bluetooth Module. Source: Ebay or search Ebay for "hc-06 bluetooth" (no quotes).
    3) Servo Extension Leads (male to female), one per control channel. Source: Ebay or search Ebay for "Servo Extension Lead Wire" (no quotes).
    4) Resistors, 10K ohms, one per Telemetry channel.
    5) Resistors, 800 ohms, one per Telemetry channel.
    6) Fine hook up wire, core must be small enough to go thru the Mini Board holes. Different colors are recommended to make the wiring less confusing (red for power, black for ground, etc.)
    7) Solder wire for fine work.
    8) Shrink tubing: small diameter for single connections, medium diameter for Telemetry Voltage splitters, and larger diameter for Bus connections.

    Optional parts:

    1) Box - depending on application - simple plastic box to strong water-proof for military submarine applications. The box must have a window or hole to show the status LED of the Maple Mini. The Box must allow RF signals between the HC-06 module and the Slave device.
    2) Miniature plug/socket, one per Telemetry channel. This is to make it easy to use Whitebox in several RC vehicles.

    Tools Required

    1) Soldering Iron for fine work
    2) Wire cutters for fine work
    3) Wire strippers for fine work

    Wiring The Positive Bus

    The two soldering posts that came with the Maple Mini board can be used as the Positive and Ground Buses:

    Cut one post to the required number of positive connections:

    Connections = [Control Channels] + 1

    For example, for 5 Control Channels, the required Positive Connections is 6.

    Strip some hookup wire to the appropriate length and wind this on the short side of the post to connect all the posts together:

    Solder the posts together and trim excess wire:

    Label this as the Positive Bus. You will be making connections to this Bus as shown below:

    Wiring The Ground Bus

    Use the other soldering post as the Ground Bus. Cut the post to the required number of Ground connections:

    Connections = [Control Channels] + [Telemetry Channels] + 2

    For example, for 5 Control Channels, and 1 Telemetry Channels, the required Ground Connections is 8.

    Wire the post the same as the Positive Bus (above). Label this as the Ground Bus.

    Mini Board Layout

    This shows the Front side of the Mini board. Refer to this when connecting to the Maple Mini. Hole numbers/names are in yellow closest to the hole.

    Wiring The Mini Board

    Prepare 2 wires about 60mm in length. There is a positive wire and a ground wire - you may want these to be color-coded for ease of connection. The connections to the Mini must be done on the back side with the insulation as close as possible to the board. Trim the excess on the front side as close as possible to the board. Keep wiring clear of the front side so that the status LED light is not obscured.

    These are the connections from the Mini board(suggested color). Refer to the Mini Board Layout:

  • vin to Positive Bus (red)
  • gnd to Ground Bus (black)

    Front of Maple Mini board. Note location of the Status LED in the center of the board.

    Back of finished Maple Mini board. All wires inserted from here and soldered in front.

    Wiring The HC-06 Module

    Prepare 4 wires about 60mm in length. There are 2 signal wires, a positive wire and a negative wire - you may want these to be color-coded for ease of connection. The connections to the HC-06 module must be shrink-tubed. The connections to the Mini must be done on the back side with the insulation as close as possible to the board. Trim the excess on the front side as close as possible to the board. Keep wiring clear of the front side so that the status LED light is not obscured.

    These are the connections from the HC-06 to the Mini Board(suggested color). Refer to the Mini Board Layout:

  • RXD to 1 (white)
  • TXD to 0 (yellow)
  • GND to Ground Bus (black)
  • VCC to vcc (red)

    Wiring The Servo Connectors

    Prepare the Servo Extension Leads (one per control channel) as follows:

    1) Cut off the male-end plug leaving about 100mm long wires.
    2) Connect the red (positive) wire to the Positive Bus
    3) Connect the black (ground) wire to the Ground Bus
    4) Connect the white (signal) wire to the Mini Board pin as follows (use as many channels as required):

  • Throttle - pin 3
  • Aileron - pin 4
  • Elevator - pin 5
  • Rudder - pin 8
  • Gear - pin 9
  • Aux1 - pin 10
  • Aux2 - pin 11
  • Aux3 - pin 15
  • Aux4 - pin 16
  • Aux5 - pin 25
  • Aux6 - pin 26
  • Aux7 - pin 27

    5) Label each Channel appropriately.

    Label all servo sockets.

    Wiring The Telemetry Connectors

    For every Telemetry Channel, Wire a voltage splitter as shown below:

    1) Prepare 2 signal wires and 1 ground wire about 100mm in length each.
    2) Using the diagram below as a guide, solder the voltage splitter together.

    3) Connect the ground to the Ground bus.
    4) Connect the Input Voltage wire to a miniature socket (to be connected later at installation).
    5) for each Telemetry Channel, connect T to the Mini Board as follows:

  • Telemetry 1 - pin 6
  • Telemetry 2 - pin 7

    6) Shrink tube the whole assembly and make sure there are no exposed wires.
    7) Label each Channel appropriately.

    Resistors shrink tubed in yellow. Socket shown in green.


    Complete the assembly of the Whitebox by following these steps:

    1) Do a final check of all your connections, making sure they are not defective and are properly insulated.
    2) Double Shrink tube the Positive and Ground Buses. Make sure all contacts are insulated.
    3) Install the whole assembly in an appropriate box. Make sure the boards and sub-assemblies do not short-circuit even when the box is shaken or dropped.
    4) Make sure the box has adequate ventilation.
    5) Make sure the Mini Board's status LED is visible (thru a hole or window).
    6) Position all sockets so they are accessible.

    Positive Bus in red shrink tubing.

    Ground Bus in black shrink tubing.

    Position the servo sockets and telemetry socket together. Make sure the Mini Board status LED is not obstructed. The 2 boards must not make contact.

    Install the assembly in a suitable box. Custom 3D printed box shown with window for status LED on Mini Board.

    Secure the assembly in box against movement, vibration, and weather.


    1) Disconnect all power from your RC vehicle.
    2) Disable motors where feasible. This is to prevent unexpected running.
    3) Consider putting vehicle up on blocks (in case of wheels or tracks). In case or aircraft, temporarily remove propellers.
    4) Uninstall the old RC receiver.
    5) Replace all the servo attachments with the Whitebox sockets making sure the polarities are correct.
    6) Hook up the Telemetry Inputs using the pin sockets.
    7) Follow the procedure in powering and pairing Whitebox here.

    General Hints

  • Use shrink tubing where required.
  • Always try for a good solder join - avoid cold soldering.
  • When soldering to the board, insert the wire from the back of the board and solder on the front.
  • Conform to the recommended color of wires, where possible.
  • When positioning components, watch out for metal-to-metal contact.
  • Keep the HC-06 antenna clear of shorts and away from the Mini board.
  • Review all connections before powering up.

    About Safety

  • When installing, be careful of short circuits and unwanted metal-to-metal contact.
  • When installing, motors/servos may start up unexpectedly. Disable all moving parts.

    PingLocust Disclaimer - Agreement