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Tutorial Guide to setting up SimTools for use with the Kangaroo motion controller

Discussion in 'SimTools compatible interfaces' started by BlazinH, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. hunijjang

    hunijjang It is my wife :) Gold Contributor

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    @BlazinH
    Hello

    kangaroo with sabartooth is 100% compatible with the SimTools? and also works fine to the 3DOF?

    How is the complexity more than jrk 12v12?

    Thanks
  2. 5natural5

    5natural5 New Member Gold Contributor

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    @BlazinH
    Thanks for very much for your reply. I'm in the process of obtaining switches and wires. I'll try everything you said when I've got it all wired up!
  3. 5natural5

    5natural5 New Member Gold Contributor

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    I have a short question, I'm trying to learn.
    Why is 4095 the maximum number output? Where does this number come from.
    Thanks!
  4. Kirk

    Kirk Member

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    If there are 12 bits of resolution, that would create 4096 possible values, ranging from 0 to 4095.
    2^12 = 4096.

    BTW: 12 Bit resolution is actually quite nice, many working setups only have 8 Bit (256 entries, or 0-255).
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. 5natural5

    5natural5 New Member Gold Contributor

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    @Kirk Thanks for your reply, your explanation makes sense. Learning every day.
    Can you (or anyone) help me understand something else: I have a motor with an encoder with index, a Kangaroo and a Sabertooth. The encoder is on the motor shaft, not the part where the motor arm is, but the part that rotates between the coils.

    I'm trying to get the motor arm to stay stationary in the center of its range of motion when Simtools starts talking to the Kangaroo. In Describe I set the origin to "first encountered index pulse" and homing to "use startup position".

    In the Simtools interface startup line I wrote "1, start <13><10>1, home<13><10>"

    I would expect that the motor would turn until the Kangaroo perceives the index on the encoder and then stop. This should happen within a degree of motor arm movement since the motor has a 90:1 reduction gearbox.

    However, when I press the "turn on" button in Simtools, the arm changes position (rapidly). The initial position of the arm becomes one side of the motion range, and the position the arm shifted to rapidly becomes the new center.

    To make matters stranger, I tried to remove all commands from the startup line in Simtools and the same behaviour is displayed.

    Do you or anyone have anythoughts on this?
  6. 5natural5

    5natural5 New Member Gold Contributor

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    @Kirk Thanks for your reply, your explanation makes sense. Learning every day.
    Can you (or anyone) help me understand something else: I have a motor with an encoder with index, a Kangaroo and a Sabertooth. The encoder is on the motor shaft, not the part where the motor arm is, but the part that rotates between the coils.

    I'm trying to get the motor arm to stay stationary in the center of its range of motion when Simtools starts talking to the Kangaroo. In Describe I set the origin to "first encountered index pulse" and homing to "use startup position".

    In the Simtools interface startup line I wrote "1, start <13><10>1, home<13><10>"

    I would expect that the motor would turn until the Kangaroo perceives the index on the encoder and then stop. This should happen within a degree of motor arm movement since the motor has a 90:1 reduction gearbox.

    However, when I press the "turn on" button in Simtools, the arm changes position (rapidly). The initial position of the arm becomes one side of the motion range, and the position the arm shifted to rapidly becomes the new center.

    To make matters stranger, I tried to remove all commands from the startup line in Simtools and the same behaviour is displayed.

    Do you or anyone have anythoughts on this? For example, how can I use the first encountered index pulse as a homing/origin?

    I tried to play around with the units command, but this created the same problem of a shifted center, though it did allow me to control the range of movement.

    Kind regards
  7. Kirk

    Kirk Member

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    I would break the problem into two pieces if possible, SimTools and Kangaroo.
    Using the Describe and serial software such as Putty or Arduino IDE serial monitor, I'd talk directly to the Kangaroo and see if it's receiving things like status updates when the motor moves, and I'd also ensure you've ran the Kangaroo's auto tune. If everything works that way, it'll probably be fine in SimTools.

    OK, assuming that it doesn't work too well that way either, I'd ensure that the dip switches are configured for encoders vs. pots, and that you have some method of determining the extents (range) of movement (stop switches, hard stops, etc.). The reason is that, while encoders are awesome, they are relative position devices, so on power up, "zero" or "center" are completely unknown. (as compared to a pot, where the voltage immediately determines position).

    A second thing about encoders is that they probably need pull up resistors, I'm uncertain if the Kangaroo has these built in (I have a kangaroo, but use hall effect pots, never tried encoders on it, but I need pull up resistors when attaching encoders to Teensy controllers, so I thought I'd mention it).

    Anyway, in the Kangaroo manual, I'd just do a triple check that you've done everything involving Auto Tune, that the dip switches are set correctly for encoders (instead of pots), and that things work (or don't) when using Describe.

    A second part of the dip switches will describe packet formats and the like: Those must match the plugin, and I'd ask it's author if there was anything precluding it's use with Encoder setup vs. Pots (I don't think their will be, but I'd ask). And, all that said, it's probably Auto Tune or Dip Switches being the issue.
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  8. graz

    graz New Member Gold Contributor

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    It's been a while since I've been on here, time gets away. But anyway I have been doing some work with the kangaroo/sabretooth combo. like I said earlier I have used some small timing pulleys and belts to be able to use most of the pot range, I got these from minibearings.com.au in Qld Aus and have a ratio of 2.5:1 . In other posts I have read on various sites regarding the kangaroo they have all said that if you get motor oscillation with no input you can change the deadzone under "all inputs" this doesn't work and it clearly states on the describe software settings that these settings only work with analog and RC mode, however if you change the deadband mv setting under the control tab you can stop the motors from oscillating. The rest of the settings in describe I didn't change after doing an auto tune.
    I did the auto tune using mechanical stops as I was using these anyway encase the sim got out of control, and in the end I believe it was easier than trying to move the motors manually to teach range.
    I will attach a vid of the sim in action. At this stage I haven't played around with the settings much, I just went with "Sim force GT" from the presets in simtool game engine and have changed the force to 20% . But I believe from how it is moving I should be able to get it working nicely.
    I was nearly reading to give up and buy the jrk's but I already had the hardware and wasn't willing to give up. I hope this will be helpful to others if you are going down this path but from what I have seen the jrk's are probably the way to go.

    Attached Files:

  9. graz

    graz New Member Gold Contributor

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    Maybe a silly question, but how do I upload a vid on here
  10. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    You cant upload a video here, but if you upload it to Youtube then use the video icon in the toolbar when doing a post here and add the url then it will insert the video into your post.
  11. Willem Pienaar

    Willem Pienaar New Member

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    Good day gentlemen.

    Me and a friend of mine and I have both decided to take up the challenge to convert our Sim Rig (Predominantly used for iRacing, Dirt Rally and X-Plane) into 2-DOF motion seats. We’re using an identical setup comprising of a Sabertooth (2X32), kangaroo, 2x potentiometers and 2X24 Volt wheelchair motors.

    My friend is a step ahead of me and we were able to get everything working on his setup. In his words “what an experience”. However, he had a power disruption over the weekend whilst his PC was powered up and since then we were unable to get the kangaroo/SimTools working as they use to.

    The kangaroo has been successfully tuned with the potentiometer voltage around 2500 mV when everything is in the neutral position. Both the motors can me manipulated from within the DEscribe software. The settings were unloaded and uploaded to the device (kangaroo) and it was confirmed that the kangaroo accepted the settings by powering everything down and up again and then re-connecting with Describe to verify the travel ranges. Everything is consistent with the values set during the tuning exercise.

    Next up is SimTools. Setting up a default profile seems straight forward (albeit what we initially thought).

    1. We set up the interface setting as described in the post "Guide to setting up SimTools for use with the Kangaroo motion controller" (refer to the top of this forum topic).
    2. We set the Pitch and Roll as Axis 1 and 2 respectively in the DOF 2 column.
      Question : This is a 2 DOF setup. Should values be set for DOF 1 and DOF 2 or only DOF 2?
    3. When we perform the output testing the only response we get is only one of the motors moved to an extreme limit when moving the Roll Slider. The motor then remains in that position. None of the other sliders have any effect whatsoever.
    4. Opening up DEscribe again after SimTools was closed, each time show that the Tune Parameters previously set have been reset (always back to the same values).
    5. The correct “Tuned” setting have again and again been unloaded to the device and each time it resets to the “default” values after a SimTool output test.
    We do not understand what resets the Kangaroo Tuned Values. I would not have thought that SimTools were supposed to do this.

    Did anybody else experience this behavior before?

    Eagerly awaiting your response.

    Will & Robbie
  12. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    Hi.

    First, think of each axis as one motor. Then you add dof’s to that motor. Normally you start with dof1 and then add more dof’s in order if more are desired.

    If you use independent roll and pitch motors, then even though you have set roll and pitch dof’s up on dof2 instead of dof1, it should still work. If your motors are arranged to share dof’s though, like as in a chair mover, then for each axis you must add all dof’s that will be mixed on that motor.

    Also, I’m not sure your kangaroo settings are resetting. I’m not familiar with the 2x32 model with the built in USB port but with other DE motor drivers, each time you start Describe, you must upload the settings from the device again. Are you doing that?
  13. Willem Pienaar

    Willem Pienaar New Member

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    BlazinH, thank you for your prompt response and for explaining how Axis & DOF ties up.

    After the Kangaroo was tuned, we’re able to power everything down and power it back up again, start DEscribe, connect and download the settings from the device. These values remains consistent to what they were set when the kangaroo was tuned. At this point we’re happy that everything is as expected.

    The issue we’re struggling with is when opening up Describe, connect and download the settings from the device, after performing the Output Testing via SimTools, returns different results to what we experienced as described in the paragraph above.

    P.S. I know it is illogical but it is almost as if SimTools overwrites or resets the Kangaroo setting we’ve set via DEscribe. Can this be possible and if/if not do you have any suggestions how this can be resolved.

    Are you a firm believer that the Kangaroo is the way to go. I've noticed in some of the posts in this topic, that there were some doubt especially concerning the "out of range" errors that occur during Tuning?

    Regards

    Will & Robbie
  14. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if this could be the issue for you, but it is a known fact that when loading data back into Describe, that it can be somewhat different than what was loaded onto the driver. I called DE because I was testing throttle curves and the data points would come back different than what I loaded. They assured me that what I loaded was still as loaded however. Do you notice any change in the motion after the settings came back wrong? If so, then you need to call DE and ask for Charlene. She can probably tell you what is going on.

    And no, I'm not a firm believer in the Kangaroo and have never used it myself other than bench testing. I had been using sabertooth 2x60s prior to the kangaroos release which I really liked though so I had high hopes for the kangaroo and decided to make a Simtools interface so others could try it. But it has thus far proven ineffective for motion simulators from what I have seen and most can't get it to auto tune without errors. The best I've seen from a kangaroo that did work used encoders though and not pots.
  15. Willem Pienaar

    Willem Pienaar New Member

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    Thank you yet again for your response BlazinH.

    I will contact DE to see if they can identify what the issue is.

    P.S. I was hoping that you will share a secret and tel us what do you prefer using instead of the kangaroo.

    Regards

    Will & Robbie
  16. Willem Pienaar

    Willem Pienaar New Member

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    I think we have it sorted. We found the solution involves adjusting the “start-up” parameters. The original values posted in this thread were:


    1,start<13><10>1,units4095=5000<13><10>2,start<13><10>2,units4095=5000<13><10>

    What we’ve been able to establish is that the t values 4095 and 5000 are the mV lower- and upper ranges the potentiometers function i.e. the range from one extreme to the other. In out setup the voltage over the potentiometer is around 2500 mV (2.5 Volt). We have thus set the upper and lower limits either side of 2500 mV. The revised start- up parameters now look like this:

    1,start<13><10>1,units2100=2900<13><10>2,start<13><10>2,units2100=2900<13><10>

    Note : The Voltage across the potensiomenters can be established from within DEscribe (or with a suitable digital Volt Meter).

    I trust this information will be of some help to someone.

    Thank you for all your inputs

    Regards

    Will & Robbie

    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    HI Willem, Its not a secret what I prefer using but its not available for public use because its specific to my rigs design. I wrote my own motion software on a PC long before the kangaroo was available. It was originally for flight simulator control using sabertooth 2x50 motor drivers (now obsolete and replaced by the 2x60s) that were controlled with TTL level converters directly from the PC. Since then though my rig and software has evolved into mostly a racing simulator with flight simulation being secondary.
    I’m glad you have come up with something that is working better for you now.:thumbs But I’m a little confused and would like to ask how you did it because I’m unaware of the methods you used. How did you establish the values were lower and upper mV ranges? Also how do you read the pot voltages in Describe.

    Thanks.

    Regards.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  18. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

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    @Willem Pienaar, I didn’t use the @ to address you in my last post above so in case you didn’t see it, may I ask how you established the unit values were lower and upper mV ranges? Since you want this information to be helpful, some background into how you came to this conclusion would also be useful. Also, how did you read the pot voltages in Describe? Are you speaking of the values in the kangaroos positioning tab?

    Upon viewing Describe again after quite some time, I believe I’ve stumbled upon a reason as to why the kangaroo has not been performing as expected. But you are all sorted now then?
  19. Willem Pienaar

    Willem Pienaar New Member

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    BlazinH,

    The values were acquired through the "Live Test" tab. As soon as you select the "Tune" button, the voltages for the individual channels are displayed.

    With my motors in the "neutral" position, I've tuned the pots to be around 2500 mVolts (2.5 Volts) before securing them.

    I trust the details provided will be of some help to someone else too.

    Regards

    Will
  20. McCorwin

    McCorwin Member

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    Sorry but I don't understand. I recently moved and I have not used my simulator for 6 months. I reinstalled Windows 10 and now it no longer works. With DEScribe it works but not with simtools (as if no command was sent). In addition when I add a plugin with the ZIP file, simtools tells me that it installed correctly but the plugin did not appear in any interface of simtool.... Sorry for my english :)