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Getting Started

Discussion in 'DIY Motion Simulator Building Q&A / FAQ' started by StebanJigs, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    @eaorobbie Simtools indeed appears powerful as you claim it to be. It sounds like everyone had their "thinking caps on" when they were planning simtools out! I didn't understand what "interfaces" meant since that's not in the old software and when all I have seen of simtools are a few screen shots. I really hope we end up with a winner with the kangaroo! I have been impressed with Dimension Engineering's motor controllers so I have great hopes for their motion controller! I'm getting my kangaroo out tomorrow so we can play! lol. Thanks
  2. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Ah yes the thinking caps were defiantly on and put on the right way not backwards like the other software. We owe this to our great leader, Yobuddy, his baby from early days showed great potential and Value1 and I have supported him to the ends of the Earth so this may be a good as it is. We have tried to stay away from confusing phrases like USO for example, a word that was made up, we used Ser for a Serial Interface, thanks to a suggestion from our beta testers, we do listen to what they want and consider all suggestion even if don't use them.
    Ok an Interface is any controller that can be connected over your network , Serial Port or like a the special ones SCN5/6's to us a better word and once you can start using it, i just seems to flow with ease.

    From initial release of the Kangaroo , I was sent a unit from a concerned User (MotionDave) who wanted this to be supported but due to down turn of the Mining Sector here in Western Australia, I was made redundant and now finally 5 weeks later I'm going back to work and will be able to afford to buy a sabertooth in the next couple of weeks and begin my testing, plus I have the free time now that I have finished my end of producing proper online documentation for the public release, just needs to be reviewed.

    The Kangaroo hooked to a 60amp Sabertooth has the potential to open up powerful 24v control to SimTools, making it feasible to drive big simulator without the massive cost and dangers of 240/110v systems. Making it within the reach of DIY guys who are not Qualified Electricians, as I state to people venturing into 240/110V have your power side of the system built by a qualified electrician, or you run the risk of electrocution or even burning ya house down and if a insurer finds out you built it and are not a Qualified Electrician your insurance is invalid and they wont fix or pay a thing. Plus here in Australia and I know America is the same you will receive a massive fine for breaking laws.

    I hold the Kangaroo in a high place right next to the Jrk12v12 I brought into life with Sims on this site in late 2009.
  3. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, JRK, SimforceGT, 6DOF
    Well thanks to this post reminding me what we can do http://www.xsimulator.net/community/threads/usb-servo-controller-card-with-kangaroo-x2.4844/

    My arduino code for my RC Sim Model could be used to get guys up and running straight away with a Kangaroo, it can be setup to drive the Kangaroo with servo inputs, ah a solution why we brainstorm setting them up directly.
    Let me know if you would like to go down this track, I will post a code and setting and wiring if needed.
    This will only be a tempory solution but guaranteed to have your sim running in no time.
  4. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, JRK, SimforceGT, 6DOF
    My temporary solution in brief.
    The Kangaroo can be driven with standard servo commands.
    So if setup the Kangaroo to run on servo commands and hook a Arduino controller, I would recommend the UNO R3, can be bought on eBay for as little as $10 and once we have a real solution you can create a Dashboard with it for you sim, another nice easy project and a powerful option coming to Sim Tools.
    You will need to wire it up as follows:

    Ard pin - Kangaroo Terminal
    5v - 5v
    GND - 0v
    4 - S1
    5 - S2

    Now you can flash the Ard with the supplied code.

    Now calibrate the inputs with Tune Mode 4.

    Open the Serial monitor in Arduino IDE and type in L0~R0~ to set the min for the calibration and then type in L255~R255~ to set the max.

    Complete the tune,

    Now you must edit the line in the Ard code:
    #define DEBUG 1 // comment out this line to remove debug in Serial.print lines

    To this
    //#define DEBUG 1 // comment out this line to remove debug in Serial.print lines

    And reflash the Ard with the changed code in order for SimTools to work correctly.

    Sim Test - Kangaroo.png

    Please note you will need to set the comport and when all entered correct Press Save.
    I have set this at 20ms but feel once tested we can lower this to 10ms.

    Now by starting the output testing and carefully moving the sliders the Kangaroo should come alive and follow the sliders if you axis assignments are correct.

    Let me know what ya think, this is a temporary solution till we get a chance to sort it out properly.
    If this is successful and you guys can provide better setup info for the Kangaroo , I will document it full into a DIY Tutorial, plus will give full credit to all that contributes to it, as said I can write it up, and publish it with thanks and credits to supports.

    Attached Files:

  5. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    @eaorobbie Thanks! But I think the solution is close at hand! Today I had to have a little talk again with Dimension Engineering's tech guys about their confusing documentation! But now I hope they got me lined out with the correct answers. I picked up the components I needed to test my kangaroo also. I'm going to check it all out for myself and if it pans out, I'll let everyone know what they need to do.

    @StebanJigs Hang in there cause we're just about there!:) I did get some information today that suggests the SER output text code that we came up with needs a minor tweak. Even though I don't have simtools, if the tweaked code will work for me, I have little doubts it will work in simtools now! I'm checking the code first myself this time. If it works, you'll be the first I let know.
  6. StebanJigs

    StebanJigs Member

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    Right on, you have been a great help with all of this @BlazinH and @eaorobbie, I will be sure to keep my eyes peeled for any updates you may have.

    Getting exited since I grabbed this new on the way home from work for $125canadian[​IMG]
  7. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, JRK, SimforceGT, 6DOF
    Sweet seat, Will look good on Sim. Red ones go faster.
    Thanks BlazinH, was just looking at other ways to deal with issue, cant go forwards , I look side ways, well done.
  8. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    Update: It looks like I'll be calling the tech guys back at D.Eng. tomorrow! But not about code this time. I'm having all sorts of issues just trying to get a tune atm. At first I kept getting a "no feedback" error after doing a manual range teach of the pots. But the motor moved a little. Now I can't get movement at all trying to teach. Tested pot output and it's fine. It's all very puzzling as well as frustrating! @StebanJigs, I'm feeling your pain! lol. I'll keep you updated. Nice seat btw!
  9. StebanJigs

    StebanJigs Member

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    @BlazinH I had that issue the odd time as well with the kangaroo saying "no feed" back, I believe I had to power cycle the unit before it would recognize the pots again. I think this might have been after going between software a bunch of times and connecting disconnecting in DEScribe and the unit gets confused.

    Just a thought.
  10. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I did the same thing after getting no feedback, going back, forth, etc. But I've power cycled til I'm blue in the face. Thanks though. One problem I often forget to consider is baud rate. I had previously used my controller at 38400 and it stores that until you change it again. Anyway, I'm just calling again. Another confusion in the kangaroo doc is the pic of the roo/tooth combo. It shows all the dips on the roo opposite of what is states in the doc! From now on I don't waste too much time, I just call, cause I never know for sure if their doc is correct. Only problem I really have with DE.
  11. telfel

    telfel Active Member

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    To reboot I had to remove 24v & USB wait for LEDs to go out
    DE said not to pull USB from PC dis between delink & roo
  12. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    @StebanJigs and other interested members. Some good news on the horizon it sounds from Dimension Engineering! I was informed today that a new bread of kangaroo's and sabertooth's are just around the corner. Still no higher amperage's than 60 but was told their new controllers will feature a built in USB interface. And a kangaroo 2 will be out hopefully sometime in the 1st qtr. of 2014. The first kangaroo was somewhat of a learning curve they said and the new kangaroo will feature many more tuning perimeters and should be better for use with our simulators! :cheers I gave them a little feedback that the current tuning method isn't the best for our purpose since someone could be hurt or equipment broken. We need other alternatives as well!

    I wasted another few hours today trying to get a tune with three different 2 year old SyRen50 with the kangaroo. After calling DE they have no idea what the problem is so I'm sending the SyRen's in to have checked out. Shouldn't affect most here though because I'm sure most are using dual motor controllers vs a single one. Also mine have an older firmware installed. However, I had little problems getting the kangaroo to tune with a 2X60 sabertooth setup.

    So I whiped up a little program today to test the simple serial code they said should work. It doesn't :confused:. After sending them my code to look over they said it "looks reasonable". That's nice to hear but of little help! @eaorobbie , @value1 , @yobuddy DE states "With simplified serial input, commands are sent and received as plain text. Even with no programming knowledge, you could connect the Kangaroo to a PC via a USB-serial adapter, open a terminal program and start typing commands." I'm not knowledgeable on the inner workings of terminal programs. But I'm sending dimensioned string data out from vb6's mscomm control to the kangaroo. Can anyone tell me if this sounds like it should be compatible with the output of a terminal program? I sure would appreciate some input to help resolve these communication problems we've been having. Thanks
    • Like Like x 3
  13. RaceRay

    RaceRay Administrator Staff Member SimAxe Beta Tester

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Great News. Thanks BlazinH!
  14. StebanJigs

    StebanJigs Member

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    @BlazinH thank you so much for all your efforts here, albeit a little disappointing they have new models coming out so soon after I bought mine :( oh well if they really are that much easier to use I could justify getting them.
  15. Brighton

    Brighton Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Thanks, i am gonna try that.
  16. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    Success! :D Communication problems with the kangaroo have been resolved! I now have perfect working control of motors using my simple vb6 test code. So now that I know the correct protocol, I just need to test if SimTools can handle the job without needing a plugin. I believe it should though. Since the release of SimTools is just a few days away (I hope), I want to test everything on the release version to make sure it works. If so, I will let everyone know how to set up SimTools, and how to use the DEScribe software to read and adjust the necessary settings, so the kangaroo will work correctly with SimTools output. I have tested this using the old motion software with an unloaded gear motor (using a vb6 program as a bridge), and the motor tightly follows the games output. While this is good news I do have a concern that it may not give the same results under load. My concern is if whether or not the kangaroo will clip the output if the called error reverses before it has achieved its last objective. The manual says you can use commands that will draw a 1 inch square box at 5 inches per second with a positioner, for example. Well if the positioner had a varying resistance to it's moving around, and it didn't make it 5 inches a second, will it still continue to draw the box, or will it clip the output. This would make an imperfect box, but we need that kind of reaction with our rigs to keep the keep them in sync with SimTools output. I think I shall check with DE on this.
    • Like Like x 5
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  17. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    Well done mate, we will wait with baited breath, keeping my fingers crossed.
  18. StebanJigs

    StebanJigs Member

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    @BlazinH I can't thank you enough for all the effort and insight you have brought to the table here, keep up the great work as its really appreciated.

    EDIT: If and when you have any code that you might want tested I will be happy to see if it works.
    • Like Like x 1
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  19. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    @StebanJigs Thanks for offering! I know how excited you are. But I need to try a few different methods to see which ones work best. Now that I have a kangaroo setup, all I need is SimTools which is a few days away. So be patient friend. I will test as soon as SimTools is released and then start a New thread explaining exactly how to get it working with everyone's different setups. Hopefully this will alleviate that "brain breaking" feeling you spoke of for you and others that have it, at least with this issue! So, get your rig ready!!!
    • Like Like x 3
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  20. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone. I thought I would post an update since it's been quiet here. I want to let everyone waiting know that my write-up on interfacing SimTools with the Kangaroo controller is already written. SimTools is slated to be released in less than two days now. If it's released when the countdown clock expires, then I should be able to download it about 2pm where I live. It may be a couple of hours after that before I'm able to get to my computer. However, when I do, I will immediately test the code for the kangaroo. If all works as expected, I will make final revisions to my write-up if necessary and then post it in a new thread as previously stated. If I run into problems, I will make a post here on this thread to let you know. But don't worry! We (members on this site) will find another solution if necessary. I can easily write a third party software solution with VB6. However, since SimTools uses VB.net, it would be nice to have a .net solution since the .net framework will already be installed on your computer. VB6 code would require you to also have the VBRun60.dll file on your computer. That's not really a huge deal though because its a free download from Microsoft and much smaller than the .net framework download. So we will make it happen, if not one way, than the other!
    • Like Like x 3