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Question ProSimu T1000 3DOF and shakers/tactile transducers

Discussion in 'Commercial Simulators and Peripherie' started by The Iron Wolf, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    Hi,

    I am researching adding tactile transducers to my T1000 3DOF system. My goal is to get maximum information possible from each car wheel (lock, skid, surface). The biggest question is, where do I mount transducers on my system?

    I am considering:
    * mounting them at the sides of a seat (as attached in picture), but I am concerned that since they will be close to each other it will be difficult to tell front tires from rear tires.

    * mounting 2 transducers near the front actuators, and 2 at the sides of a seat?

    * mounting all four actuators at the base of a platform my system seats on? How hard do shakers shake? If they are strong, that feels like most realistic approach, no?

    And, couple of general questions:

    * Game Vibe vs SimVibe: does game vibe use telemetry from wheels in racing games (rF2 is what I care about)? I looked at some forum post, and it said "4 corners", but I'd really like as precise and realistic feedback from the wheels themselves, although just rotational speed might not be enough for that...

    * I am considering getting Aura shakers. Any strong arguments to go with Buttkicker shakers instead?

    I am new to tactile feedback, so any suggestions and opinions are appreciated. Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. Ads Master

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  3. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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    I can't tell you if gamevibe use telemetry from 4 wheels for sure, but if not you can use simhub which is free and which has four wheel telemetry. It's a good program with a good GUI.

    My experience is that left/right effects and front to back is difficult to separate. Often you will get vibration overspill unless you invest in good isolators and separate the platforms you mount the transducers to. From driving my real life car over bumps and cracks in the road it's not that easy to pinpoint (unless very big bumps) comes from so very separated effects might not be all that realistic. The vibrations travel through the chassis. Just a thought. From using a four transducer setup my self I feel that the area to best feel left/right separation is at the feet. I would definitely get the front transducers placed at the front near the pedals. The back transducers as close to your body left/right on the side of the seat or below. On my setup I can't really feel left or right separation on the back.

    I believe it might in part be because in the front you see or expect where or what your wheels are going over while driving the SIM so your visuals cues have an effect how you interpret where the vibrations come from. This might of course only relate to my specific setup. One good thing about using 4 transducers regardless is that they share the load of the effects. If you have only one transducer and run many effects you often loose definition because there is to much going on. Think of it how you arrange a Hifi system. Different speakers play their limited roles to better total result.

    I've two buttkicker mini-lfe and I'm not that impressed by them. They do have quite alot of piston pang (the moving piston hitting the top and bottom parts of the kicker) especially at Hz around 35/40 Hz. I prefer road bumps setup in the lower Hz ranges because over 60 Hz feels more like buzzing to me. I haven't tried the auras, but from reading specs I don't think you would get good effects mounting the transducers on the platform.

    Bottom line: recommending or recieving recommendations on transducer setups has for me been a frustrating experience. Mounting plays such a big part on the feel as well as preferred settings. Recommendations I've been given hasn't always translated well to my rig or expectations. So my advice would actually be the following. Order from a place where you can return the transducers if you are not happy. Order a few different transducers (aura, adx maximus and buttkicker mini life could be said to be comparable). Then experiment with placement. The importance here is primarily to find out what transducer gives you a satisfactory feel and force on your rig. When you find that out you buy more transducers of the type you like.
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  4. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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  5. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    Thanks for chiming in, very helpful inputs. I am currently going over GameVibe thread and will check the one you referenced as well, I like to read up before doing things. Truth is my expectations are low, because I feel like I am already getting almost everything from the motion even without transducers. But because motors are fairly low resolution (255 positions) I just feel like transducers might fill in a bit of tiny detail in between.

    Do you happen to own SimVibe? I wonder how good Game Vibe is compared to SimVibe.

    I'll let you know my impressions, ordered everything and now the biggest challenge is to mount shakers without ruining the frame :)
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
  6. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    @PetroVitallini - could you be kind to tell me what diameter bolts/nuts I need to use to attach LFE Mini to the metal plate? I'd like to get hardware before I get transducers, I think they're ~M6, right?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  7. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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    I'm not at home at the moment, but I believe I used M6 size bolts. This is a link to the mini-lfe manual: https://thebuttkicker.com/buttkicker-mini-lfe/ you find the PDF under specification tab. It says 1/4 inch holes which is 6,35 mm so M6 should do. If you want to get washers don't buy them to big or else you might get problems fitting them. I believe the buttkickers have sinkholes around the mounting holes as well if I remember it correctly.

    I use simvibe for my transducers, but haven't tried gamevibe yet because of regional formatting in my country/windows install wasn't compatible with it.

    Simvibe has a autotune functionality which is good for getting the equivalent of max/min values in simtools (it removes a selected percentage of peaks). I still find I change the tone used for many effects from the default because I find my preference to be more realistic. I will try gamevibe after I'm back home and have it updated. Hopefully I can get it to work. I also use simvibe for my gs5 seat so I have to use two different programs regardless.

    As with motion tuning it is smart to tune each effect individually to understand what the different settings does.

    As for mounting you can increase the forces felt by mounting them counter levered. This might also change the resonance on your rig which might turn out great or lead to anoying vibrations. My old racing seat looked like swiss cheese after I was finished experimenting.

    That said driving over a bump in real life makes you experience motion, but the micro vibrations (in lack of a better word) car is also a part of the experience of doing so. I feel that the transducers is another layer that improves the motion and increase immersion. Rumble strips is cool and rpm based engine vibrations is a great effect. It's better coming from a point of low expectations, but I find it a good addition to the rig and I miss it when I forget to activate the transducers. It makes the rig feel more like a grounded car and less floaty for me.
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  8. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    thanks a lot for all the valuable inputs.

    I am leaning towards going GameVibe route because I like lean and mean software, and from reading SimVibe/SC4 docs it seems to do a lot of stuff I do not personally need. I think I'll get GS5 eventually, hopefully someone will figure out signals by then so that I can use SimTools to control GS, but that's another story.

    I am going out tomorrow to get couple of metal plates cut and hardware, and transducers and amp arrive in two days, will let you know how it goes.

    PS: I might've idea about region stuff, I'll reach out to youbuddy, we had to fix it in the Crew Chief.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  9. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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    Oh and by the way. If you get unwanted resonance in your rig you can use this tone generator: https://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/ to run through the Hz range. It's useful because it is not always easy to reproduce an unwanted resonance vibration while driving the sim. This way you can visually and audibly inspect the rig while being free to move around the rig. Sometimes I've gotten unwanted noise because of a screw that wasn't tightened enough or metal parts clanking together. If you use an amplifier with DSP functionality you can pinpoint the Hz range where your transducer bottom out or you get unwanted resonance and adjust it.

    Just be carefull running to much volume on the tone generator as it can overpower the transducer. The buttkicker mini lfe goes is easier to get to bottom out around 35/40 Hz so take it easy.
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  10. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    Edit: just realized you do not use Game Vibe, sorry.
    Thank you Petro. Could you share frequency ranges you used for Vibes in Vibe Creator, and maybe share explanation why?

    Meanwhile, upgrade in progress.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  11. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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    Ah! You start with cable management right away. That is alot smarter than what I'm doing. My rig looks like someone dropped a bowl on spaghetti on it hehe.

    I haven't used vibe creator. Vibe creator is in gamevibe right? Currently using simvibe, but will try gamevibe during the next week after I upgrade simtools. I think I will be in a better position to "share notes" then. I'm using different transducers than you (buttkicker lfe, the big ones) which means there most likely will be differences even though we use the same settings.

    I do following changes from simvibe where small and big bumps default to 95 and 60 Hz respectively, to 50 and 30 Hz. This just makes the feel of the effect better.

    Thing is with transducers is that the produce different amount of shaking force at different Hz. Many start to be felt at 20 hz, become more powerful up to its peak and start to trail of significantly after 80-ish Hz and after that it's more like buzzing to me. These numbers will wary from different brands of transducers and also dependant on how you mount them. The shakers need to be able to shake the medium it is connected to. Think of it as the difference between a muted guitar string (which will produce a short thump-like sound) Vs a freely vibrating string that will ring.

    When I was experimenting with the mini life's, if I had enjoyable effects at 20 hz and above 40 to 100 Hz at a volume level that was sufficient I got crazy rattling at 35 hz. If I then lowered the volume level so that it didn't rattle at 35 Hz the other Hz ranges was to weak. I used and inuke DSP amp which made it possible to lower the decibel output at 35 Hz making the shaking power more uniform from 20 to 100 Hz.

    Also from experience when using simhub or SIM shaker wheels I did not have the same problems with the mini lfe's rattling as I did with simvibe. I suspect it has to do with different programs using different Hz for the same effects as default. Perhaps also related to the volume output on effects relative to each other being different between different programs.

    Hmm I'm rambling now, going to cut it there as I have written about stuff you didn't directly ask about.
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  12. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    ...but it was helpful and insightful :) Thanks.

    Nice you noticed my approach, I typically do a lot of planning, reading, thinking before I do anything. Screw ups are still unavoidable (had to go to hardware store 3 times rather than once, for example), but that's just the way I roll.
  13. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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    Glad I could share some insights about transducers. I have had many trips to the hardware store, vast amounts of nuts and bolts, metal brackets, plates and whatnot. Problem is that most of us sharing this hobby have different hardware, rigs and so on. Also describing tactile force that can't be conveyed through images and text makes it difficult to plan a build.

    I'm inspired.My next step will have to be to clean up my rig. It feels very messy as of now.
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  14. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    Well, more wires and stuff added to my rig, but now everything is tidied up, aside from maybe a bit of cable straps here and there. Also, the front mount is temporary, until I move to another type of pedals. When that happens, I plan to move transducers onto the pedal plate. The whole process of figuring and designing all of this was really fun and satisfying :)

    So, what do I think about transducers? Well, it depends on whether rig has motion capability or not. When I turn off motion, I must admit shakers add quite a bit of detail and feel of being actually in the vehicle, honestly I did not expect that.

    Now, with motion it is different. In my setup, I already get engine vibration, shift punch, road feel from the game physics via motion. And in my subjective opinion, that feels more realistic than what is coming from the vibro motors. For example, in motion I can tell which way engine rotatres. I would say transducers are a nice touch, but 97% of the info I get from the motion, and remaining is just a cherry on the cake. Probably the biggest improvement is that now when I am going over bumps/kerbs, I get more feel of the rear, like stuff is happening behind me. Probably, this is especially big deal to me, because my rig is 3DOF. RPM/Shift effects are nice, but I am realism freak and I do suspect those effects are somewhat artificial. I spoke to a driver who drove GT3, and he confirmed that there's not that much engine vibration (it is not 1932 after all), what was impressive is the sound of the engine (although one might argue vibration is the sound as well).

    Two lowlights is that to my surprise, neither Game Vibe nor SimVibe (from reading manual) communicates wheel lockup/skid. Those are the very effects I needed from the transducers. However, I am 100% sure wheel lockup can be implemented and will reach out to devs. Another lowlight is that 3D separation is not very clear, but I think this is just how real life physics is.

    The next step for me is to figure out frequency ranges for each vibe in Game Vibe, I feel like there's some potential there. Including some pics for mounting and wiring ideas :)

    BTW @PetroVitallini, I noticed uneven response across frequencies, but it does not bother me personally. Thank you for all your help!

    Edit 08/15/2019: I made a lot of progress with GameVibe settings, and to be objective I must admit transducers add to race car simulation a bit more than I initially thought. I'd say it is 90% motion, extra 10% is from the transducers. I still think that real solution is high resolution actuators and not transducers, which do feel much more artificial/fake compared to motion. Still, 3D bumps for sure add more volume feel to my rig, and additional road noise is nice.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  15. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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    Hello. Thank you for sharing pictures. Placement of transducers looks good! My front pedal plate is mounted on top of rubber isolators mostly to get better effect of the transducers, but it can also help isolating vibrations in the area you want. If you are going to do the same at some point just be aware that pedals which require more force to operate will make the isolators flex and you will push the pedal plate somewhat (isolators are usually not made to deal with forces on the horizontal axis unless you source some special isolators from industrial suppliers which can be expensive). I have heusinkveld pro pedals and under full breaking my pedal plate moves slightly forward. It's not a big problem as it is a rubbery flex which makes the brakes a bit softer, but still controllable. It can be a problem for some.

    I also feel that transducers have a more profound impact without motion. I think the clue is to not overdo it as with to much vibrations I sometimes feel that it lessens the motion cues as well.

    I know that alot of users of simvibe has said that they can't get enough curb feel. Berney Villers from simxperience (simvibe) has written in respons that in many cases this can be because there is no telemetry output. On some sims and some tracks (especially if they are not laser scanned) have no height data on curbs. Another reason is that people have unrealistic expectations as to how a curb or rumblestrip should feel. Some are more pronounced and some look like they should make vibrations, but don't. I believe some transducer software use canned effects. I would have thought that engine rumble would be quite noticeable in a GT3 car and that is what I have tuned for, but there you go. I wouldn't really know. Wish I could do a ride along in a race car at some point because I believe that would give valuable information on how to tune.

    By the way what is your main sim? I know atleast simvibe has different effects available for different Sims (I believe it is because of what and how the telemetry each sim provide). On iracing I know that simvibe has an experimental wheel lock up effect).

    Just a question, in iracing I can feel some slight motor rumble, but it's only felt when I redline the engine while standing still. I don't know how it is supposed to feel when an engine rotates on or the other way, but is this effect stronger in some sims than others?

    Oh, and glad you felt I could contribute :)
  16. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    My primary simulator is rFactor 2. I get pretty strong curb feel even with transducers. I mentioned that all my observations relate to my setup, which includes a choice of a simulator. In rFactor 2 I can feel RPMs in a motion system, I can also feel engine rotating while revving up at a standstill, just as it is felt IRL. Road surface, heave, bumps, shift surge is all felt in motion too - so essentially the only realistic add transducers did to me was more feel of a rear end.

    rF2 provides very rich telemetry at 100FPS and FFB data at 400FPS, including wheel rotational speed and actual wheel size, and surface type underneath the wheel, wheel lockup simulation via transducer is possible (I am one of the developeres of a Crew Chief app, and we detect lockups very reliably in my opinion). Skid is a trickier one...

    I did not try iRacing in my motion because I miss some features in iRacing that are available in other games, it is great game though no question, very polished. I do know, however, that iRacing has restricted telemetry (for competitive reasons), in particular, car world position (and orientation I believe) is not exposed. I can imagine how that makes life of tool developers trickier (I know from CC it is a pain). I certainly think that effects calculated from different games would be different, and I agree with you - some transducer stuff feel pretty fake to me (canned effects).
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  17. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    @PetroVitallini, if you have time - could you share frequency ranges you use for effects in SimVibe (and
    SimHub)? Thanks!
  18. PetroVitallini

    PetroVitallini Member

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    Yupp!

    I have had a problem getting a four corner setup working in simhub. I haven't tried that hard fixing it as I'm pretty satisfied with simvibe at the moment. I believe it must be something with my sound card configuration. Anyways, for simvibe I usually do the following. I have simvibe chassis. I do a autotune in simvibe then make a few changes from there. I have the following effects:

    1. Gear change. I keep this default.
    2. Impacts. At 75 percent Sensitivity. Rest default.
    3. Front and rear suspension bumps. Sensitivity 80 percent. Big bumps at 30 Hz. Small bumps at 40 Hz. If you have noticed a particurlar frequence that is anoying (as I've said a couple of times, the 35 Hz can be a problem) just space the hz around the bad value. Sometimes just one or a couple of Hz change can be enough.
    4. Front and rear suspension surges. Just like point number 3.
    5. Engine harmonics and load. Default at -9 Db.

    I don't like using road texture effect as it is constant and tricky to tune to a point where it is noticable without it having some really gnarly spikes if you go off road or hit a tall curb really hard. Engine and road texture are constant effects and I feel they get muddied toghether.

    I've started the work on cleaning my rig up and this takes most of my time right now. I feel like I'm pretty zero'ed in on my simvibe tunings. I need to spend some time driving the sim as well hehe. My motivation for doing tuning sessions ebbs and flows and I've realized it's better using the 80/20 approach. 80 % satisfied is enough or nailing the last 20 % is alot of effort for diminishing returns.

    If you are using simvibe I would advice you to download a few setups shared on the owners club online. Press +new on simvibe and choose owners club and choose those that match your sim and setup. There is quite a few which are general setups and if you find some you like, study the settings and incorporate those in your own setups.
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  19. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    Thanks @PetroVitallini.

    May I ask you couple of questions off this topic (this forum feels pretty quiet and Discord, which is my preferred way to communicate seems to be discouraged and people are steered to forum instead)?

    * Do you have experience with seat sliders? I want to install seat slider under my pedals so that my taller/shorter friends can enjoy my setup, but I am worried there will be a bit of freedom in the slider, and knowing myself that would annoy the hell out of me.

    * How do you turn off motion with SimTools without unplugging motors? I set intensity to %0, but I still feel there's a bit of motion. My setup does not allow easy disconnection of motors.

    I appreciate you sharing your info for setup, but what I am interested the most is frequency ranges, as you mentioned for bumps (I do not have SimVibe, but I believe for each effect SimVibe has frequency settings).

    Good luck with rig cleanup - it will be much more enjoyable to use when the mess is hidden from the eye and nothing gets under feet etc etc etc :)
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  20. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR Tassie Devil Staff Member Moderator Race Director

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    Use the button on the top left of Game Manager to temporarily disconnect SimTools.

    I used a seat slider for adjustable pedals on a haptic flight rig I am building for my 88yo father and there is no play.
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  21. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    Thanks. Could you share the exact slider you used? I don't know about flight, but in racing the force used to brake is relatively high - that's not a concern?
    Good luck with rig for your father.