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SimXperience II - 2DOF Driving Simulator With SCN5's

Discussion in 'DIY Motion Simulator Projects' started by bvillersjr, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    I've finally given my simulator project a name and am comfortable enough with it now to post the details here. To those whom I promised this too some time ago, I apologize. I didn't want to post the details until I was more confident that it would work and that I wasn't making foolish recommendations.

    About a year ago, I built a non-motion simulator. It was a fun project, and I think it turned out to be pretty cool but it's only effect was from a ButtKicker and the subwoofer. I was debating a Frex, but I think that they are ugly, and I wanted to treat my simulator like a piece of furniture in my home and a simulator. That's when I found out about this community and decided to take the next step in my DIY project and add motion.

    The SCN5 actuators were the obvious choice for me based on price, performance and quiteness, so I've done my best to follow along and contribute where I have been able.

    Here are some pictures of my progress and a Parts List for the motion additions with pricing and links. I hope that this will make it easier for others to build their own simulator.

    Many thanks to SirNoName and EgoExpress for their guidance and patience!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIrDYcyDkNI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxgOnNnJ708
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhE7gKOYMJI

    Parts List

    Adapters, Cables and Electronics
    Power Supply 24 Volt 12.5amp with fan and overvolt protection - http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17429+PS - $24.95
    DB9 Gender Changer - http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=11216+PL - 2x @ $2.95 each
    Two 10 ft. USB Cables - You can find them anywhere. I got them cheap at MPJA.com
    Devantech USB to RS485 Adapters - http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/5889-USB-to-RS485-Connector.aspx -2x @ $30 each
    Actuator power cable - Custom made using wire purchased from McMaster.com
    Actuator data cable - Custom made Custom made using wire purchased from McMaster.com


    Actuators
    SCN5 150mm - http://www.miraiintertech.com/home/scn5.php - 2x @ $475 each (you may be able to use 100mm for $325 each)

    Seat Base Construction
    Custom designed and welded steel design. It had to be custom designed in order to fit into my existing wooden simulator design.

    -Universal Joint - had one laying around, not sure about cost.
    -Tie Rod Ends - from http://www.mcmaster.com/
    -1 Square Stock Tube Steel - $20 - from http://www.mcmaster.com/
    -Nutserts - from http://www.mcmaster.com/
    -Nuts & Bolts - $35 - from http://www.mcmaster.com/
    -Vibration dampers -$10 - from http://www.mcmaster.com/

    NOTES:
    -Universal joints alleviate the need for the stabilizer bars.
    -Links to product pages on McMasterCarr's website do not seem to work. I will update this post with part numbers later.
    -The silver part of my seat base is temporary, so that I can sit in it and test before I decide to put it in to my current wooden simulator.


    Pre Motion Addition Pictures

    Image26.jpg Image27.jpg Image28.jpg Image33.jpg

    SCN 5 Actuator Pictures
    SCN5-150.jpg SCN5-150 2.jpg

    Motion Base Being Built and On Temporary Frame
    Note, the base will go into my wooden driving simulator above once I have the final details worked out and the software is ready.

    Rear Bottom Bracket.jpg Seat Top.jpg Seat Base.jpg U Joint Side View.jpg
    Seat base with Temp Stand.jpg

    I have all of my hardware completed. I am just waiting on a few little pieces. I have also applied to be a Beta tester of the X-Sim 2.0 software, and per SirNoName's request I have made some gauges and infopanels in order to participate in the Beta. If goes well and I get a key to the software soon, I'll upload a few videos and begin the process of inserting the seat base into my wooden simulator.

    Finally, I want to thank SirNoName and EgoExpress for their unbelievable efforts and patience once more. :cheers:
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Ads Master

    Ads Master

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  3. Mr Burns

    Mr Burns New Member

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    Looks very clean - I made a mess everywhere when working on it - , did you weld all the stuff yourself?
  4. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    Thanks. Yes, I welded it myself, ang then used a grinder to smooth everything out before painting. As a finishing touch, I bought some plastic end-caps for the square stock steel and drilled and painted a few parts silver.

    Hopefully tonight I'll have time to get the remaining pics posted.
  5. Shanman99

    Shanman99 New Member

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    That awesome, did you build a controller to drive the instructions to the actuators yet? you did such a greay job on the parts list, thought maybe you could give me some insight. Im trying to build my knowledge so I can get that part working before I even drop cash on steel/aluminum
  6. egoexpress

    egoexpress Active Member

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    The controller is built-in in the SCN5 actuators ;D

    regards
  7. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    Here are some more pics of my 2DOF with SCN5's on it's temporary base. It looks akward because it is sitting so high due to the temporary base. I designed it that way to fit in to my current non-motion simulator above once testing is completed.

    002.jpg
    003.jpg
    005.jpg
    007.jpg
    008.jpg
  8. egoexpress

    egoexpress Active Member

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    I like your idea with the damping bar :thbup:
  9. Shanman99

    Shanman99 New Member

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    So im really confused, the actuators contain the controller? then what is the name of the box that takes the signal from the computer and translates it to the actuators? Thats the part I am really struggling to find instructions to complete. i have seen pcb print outs, but im looking for a total parts list, so i can atleast try to assemble the electronics.
  10. nordisch

    nordisch Member

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    I think that your actuators can`t working accurate because the optimal push-pull position of your actuator-bars should not be vertical.
  11. Ringorumble

    Ringorumble Active Member

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    Thats right, move the seat 5 -10 cm forward
  12. egoexpress

    egoexpress Active Member

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    The white box mounted on them is an internal motion cotrol.

    But you'll need a RS232->RS485 converter. You dont have to build it. They are cheaply available at ebay, for exapmle.

    Please use the SCN5 hardware thread if you have further questions on that.

    Regards
    Christian
  13. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    I have considered the seating position carefully. The silver part of the seat base is temporary and is for quick testing only. You are right, the actuators are more vertical than I would like them. When the remaining (black portion) of the seat design gets mounted into my wooden simulator (pictured at the beginning of this post), the bottom mounting bracket will be moved a few inches backward.

    However, do you really think that it wont work as pictured, even for a few days testing?
    I expected that it would and plan to test it as soon as my replacement actuator gets here. :( One of my actuators was DOA :(
  14. Ringorumble

    Ringorumble Active Member

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    It will maybe work, maybe you will hear strange noises coming from the scn, this means too much stress for it so better do it right
  15. moderato

    moderato New Member

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    Please write the dimensions of your project !!!
  16. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    I didn't draw mine up in a CAD program first. Most of my dimensions were already set for my based on the size of the wooden simulator that I plan to install this into. Eventually, I will get around to making up some kind of a drawing with dimensions. I'll have to measure each one by hand since I didn't keep proper track of it while I was building it.
  17. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    Thanks for the input. I'm trying to understand how you calculate this optimal push-pull value? I would appreciate any insight that you can provide.

    From what I can tell, the weakest link in my 150mm SCN5's is their radial load handling capability of only 5N / 1.12lbs. This would lead me to believe that the more vertical the actuators were, the less radial load there would be, and the longer they would last.

    The only reason that I can see why Frex has mounted theirs at such an angle is to provide stability. My unit will be bolted into another much large frame, so stability is not a concern.

    Can anyone offer any more information on this subject?
  18. egoexpress

    egoexpress Active Member

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    I think you are wrong in this point. You have to see the whole construction. Your SCN5 seem to push vertical in your setup, but as the construction, which is fixed to it, connects to the pivot-joint on the seat bottom, they have to translate the vertical motion into horizontal motion, which stresses the actuator.

    regards
  19. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    I see what you guys are saying, but do not agree.

    I would like to take a scientific approach to proving this out. I have already modified the actuator arm mounts to be able to function in the debated position (pictured), and 4 inches further back (as recommended by several of you). I am thinking of installing a small fuse panel and placing a 2.1 amp fuse per actuator. I am then planning to measure the amp draw of the actuator motors in both scenarios. I would have the fuses as a backup in case I am wrong to prevent damage to the actuators.

    I have a few questions that maybe someone could help me with.

    1.) Is the actual maximum recommended amp draw of an SCN5 2amps or is that just what they recommend for a power supply? (This will determine the amperage of my fuse)

    2.) Could the fuse blowing and the abrupt loss of power damage an SCN5 in any way? If so, is their a better way to stop them if they are in an overload situation?

    3.) Are these measures sufficient to eliminate actuator harm while testing?

    4.) Are there any other steps that I could take to reduce the potential for actuator harm in general?


    Thanks for all of your input!
  20. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    I've been testing with the ATEN USB<-->RS485 adapters, and while they were a little unusual to wire up for half-duplex communication, they do work well. Here's a modified version of ego's diagram.
    SNN5-Wiring-for-4-Wire-Adapters.jpg

    With regard to the adapter:
    Left-Side Switch -> T-RTS/R-RTS
    Right Side Switch -> DCE
    180Ohm Resistor Between T+ and T- (1 and 2 according to the labels)
    Place a small jumper wires between T+ and R+
    Place a small jumper wire between R- and T-

    Jumpers-Installed.jpg

    With regard To SCN5 Plugin Settings
    Uncheck all of the checkboxes in the 'Handshake control for non-auto' section except for 'Switch using DTS'

    ATEN Adapter Settings in SCN5 Plugin.jpg

    NOTES:
    -This configuration does not include a kill switch. You should include one!
    -If you are using serial cables other than the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these settings may not be the same for you since some cables reverse transmit and receive wires and others do not.
    -You should not attempt this without first fully reading the SCN5 Hardware and software threads in this forum.
  21. bvillersjr

    bvillersjr Active Member

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    I ran my first tests with the Devantec USB<-->RS485 adapter that I purchased from TrossenElectronics.com. It seems to perform well and is achieving 139 outputs a second according to the SCN5 plugin. When I first started it up, it was only getting 43 outputs a second so I toyed with the timing numbers to get it up to the 139 outputs/sec.

    **EDIT - I'm no longer certain that the timing numbers cause the increase in outputs. With this USB adapter, the output/sec rate seems to vary much more so than the ATEN adapter. I'm a little confused about this and need to investigate further.

    I haven't had time yet to toy with the timing numbers of my ATEN adapter, but at the same default settings, they achieved 86 outputs a sec vs the USB solutions 43. It will be interesting to see which will provide the best perfomance.

    Does anyone know how many updates per second are reasonable, and at what number would the actuators become jerky?

    I will post the setup pictures sometime tomorrow. My camera batteries are dead.

    Devantech USB Settings in SCN5 Plugin.jpg