1. Hundreds of coffees, endless nights of debugging and coding, and countless feedback by our beta testers led to this new major release. SimTools 2.4 is probably the version with the most upgrades and improvements in a single release ever. Look at everything Dustin has included:
    SimTools 2.4 all features.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. For downloading SimTools plugins you need a Download Package. Get it with virtual coins that you receive for forum activity or Buy Download Package - We have a zero Spam tolerance so read our forum rules first.

    Buy Download Package Now!
  3. Do not try to cheat our system and do not post an unnecessary amount of useless posts only to earn credits here. We have a zero spam tolerance policy and this will cause a ban of your user account. Otherwise we wish you a pleasant stay here! Read the forum rules
  4. We have a few rules which you need to read and accept before posting anything here! Following these rules will keep the forum clean and your stay pleasant here. Do not following these rules will lead to permanent exclusion from this website: Read the forum rules.

The RC-Rider Project (Let's 'Ride' Radio Controlled Models!)

Discussion in 'DIY Motion Simulator Projects' started by yobuddy, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. yobuddy

    yobuddy Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator SimAxe Beta Tester SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,548
    Occupation:
    Computer Technician
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon - USA
    Balance:
    27,892Coins
    Ratings:
    +3,597 / 10 / -0
    Welcome to the RC-Rider Project!
    (Let's try something completely different!)


    Goal of the Project:
    To be able to attach a small device to any RC model (Car, Plane, Boat or Quadcopter) and be able to receive telemetry and “ride” the RC model live on our simulators. ;)
    (Then add FPV goggles and your in the driver’s seat of any RC model!)

    The proof of concept has already been completed!
    But I know that some of you Arduino guys may be able to help make the sketch faster.
    Or some of you RC (Radio Controlled Model) guys may know better/faster equipment we can use.
    Idea Breakdown:
    (RC Model side of things)
    (Arduino + 9dof pcb + wireless transmitter + power) = Small device to attach to any RC model.

    (Simulator side of things)
    (Wireless Receiver + Custom app to receive data and send to SimTools) = Telemetry data received from RC Model

    Actual Part list:
    1) Arduino Nano
    , small and cheep!
    (About 10$ for 3 ‘brains of the operation’)
    https://www.banggood.com/3Pcs-ATmega...o-Improved-Version-p-983486.html?rmmds=search&cur_warehouse=CN

    2) GY-85 9DOF IMU
    (About 10$ for the telemetry sensor)
    https://www.banggood.com/GY-85-BMP085-Sensor-Module-9-Axis-6DOF-9DOF-IMU-Sensor-p-962801.html?rmmds=search&cur_warehouse=CN

    GY-85 library: https://github.com/madc/GY-85

    3) 3DR 915MHz Telemetry Radio
    (About 20$ for the radio system)
    There are tons of these out there that I presume work the same. You just have to make sure to get the 915MHz one as that is the legal frequency in the US.
    As far as I know, the 433MHz ones are legal in other countries.
    http://www.banggood.com/3DR-Radio-Telemetry-915MHZ-Module-For-APM-APM2-p-73539.html

    How to put together the Small device to the RC model
    Attach the GY-85 9DOF IMU to the Nano like shown.
    Only one wire jumper is needed for the whole build!
    (Mine worked fine even without solder for testing.)

    IMU board -> Arduino
    Vcc_in -> 5 volt
    GND -> Ground/GND
    SCL -> A5
    SDA -> A4

    (pic's is so much easier)
    Billede0506.jpg

    Tel.jpg

    Current - Arduino Sketch:
    The sketch should do as little as possible.
    Anything we need to 'fix' should be done in the 'Custom app'.
    We need as much speed as we can get.

    (Here is a copy of the last sketch test I was doing, it's not done but a place for us to start)
    (Test only sending surge and sway at the moment)

    #include <Wire.h>
    #include <ADXL345.h>
    ADXL345 accelerometer; //create the object
    void setup(void)
    {
    Serial.begin(57600);
    // Initialize ADXL345
    if (!accelerometer.begin())
    {
    delay(500);
    }
    // Set measurement range
    // +/- 2G: ADXL345_RANGE_2G
    // +/- 4G: ADXL345_RANGE_4G
    // +/- 8G: ADXL345_RANGE_8G
    // +/- 16G: ADXL345_RANGE_16G
    accelerometer.setRange(ADXL345_RANGE_16G);
    }
    void loop(void)
    {
    // Read raw values
    Vector raw = accelerometer.readRaw();
    // Read values scaled to G's
    //Vector scal = accelerometer.readScaled();
    int Roll = 0;
    int Pitch = 0;
    int Heave = 0;
    int Yaw = 0;
    float Surge = raw.YAxis;
    float Sway = raw.XAxis;
    //outputs
    //Send Roll
    //byte* RollPtr = (byte*) &Roll;
    //Serial.write( RollPtr[0] );
    //Serial.write( RollPtr[1] );
    //Send Pitch
    //byte* PitchPtr = (byte*) &Pitch;
    //Serial.write( PitchPtr[0] );
    //Serial.write( PitchPtr[1] );
    //Send Heave
    //byte* HeavePtr = (byte*) &Heave;
    //Serial.write( HeavePtr[0] );
    //Serial.write( HeavePtr[1] );
    //Send Yaw
    //byte* YawPtr = (byte*) &Yaw;
    //Serial.write( YawPtr[0] );
    //Serial.write( YawPtr[1] );
    //Send Sway
    byte* SwayPtr = (byte*) &Sway;
    Serial.write( SwayPtr[0] );
    Serial.write( SwayPtr[1] );
    Serial.write( SwayPtr[2] );
    Serial.write( SwayPtr[3] );
    //Send Surge
    byte* SurgePtr = (byte*) &Surge;
    Serial.write( SurgePtr[0] );
    Serial.write( SurgePtr[1] );
    Serial.write( SurgePtr[2] );
    Serial.write( SurgePtr[3] );
    delay(25);
    }

    Current (Custom app to receive data and send to SimTools) RC-Rider app:
    (Real app - To Be Posted)
    upload_2017-2-6_22-7-31.png

    RC-Rider Game Plugin:
    (Already finished - To Be Posted)
    This makes the Custom app above appear to SimTools as a PC game.

    Conclusion:
    So are there any Arduino or Radio Controlled model guys around?
    Anyone think working on something like this would be fun?
    Let me know what you guys think. :sos
    Take care,
    yobuddy
    • Like Like x 8
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Creative Creative x 2
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  2. Gadget999

    Gadget999 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    631
    Location:
    London
    Balance:
    4,954Coins
    Ratings:
    +118 / 4 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, Arduino
    wow that is awesome ! what is the range of the wireless radio ?

    i can see this would be fun for flying a drone - do you think it is possible to stream vr data to a headet

    is the radio basically a wireless serial port ? does it have technology to make sure a packet of data is received ?

    my personal interest would be to fit a device to my sons kart and record the telemetry and video
    • Like Like x 1
  3. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,984
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, USA
    Balance:
    14,503Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,673 / 30 / -1
    Good thing simulators can't reproduce actual g forces or this could be deadly. :D
    • Funny Funny x 4
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  4. bruce stephen

    bruce stephen Hammer doesnt fix it, must be electrical

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,292
    Occupation:
    general contractor
    Location:
    michigan
    Balance:
    8,897Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,221 / 9 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 6DOF
    Too Cool. This will be great.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. yobuddy

    yobuddy Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator SimAxe Beta Tester SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,548
    Occupation:
    Computer Technician
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon - USA
    Balance:
    27,892Coins
    Ratings:
    +3,597 / 10 / -0
    Depends on the radio system i suppose.

    Yes

    FPV camera system system
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Brett Horton

    Brett Horton Active Member Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    Messages:
    289
    Occupation:
    UAS Manager / Pilot / Integration Specialist
    Location:
    Tampa FL
    Balance:
    - 12Coins
    Ratings:
    +191 / 2 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    3DOF, DC motor, JRK, Motion platform
    433 Mhz on an airframe will go 40 clicks easy LOS
    • Like Like x 3
  7. Brett Horton

    Brett Horton Active Member Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    Messages:
    289
    Occupation:
    UAS Manager / Pilot / Integration Specialist
    Location:
    Tampa FL
    Balance:
    - 12Coins
    Ratings:
    +191 / 2 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    3DOF, DC motor, JRK, Motion platform
    1.3 or even 900 (Harder to find) is best for video, 5.8 is typical, but due to the narrow band, extremely directional
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. Zed

    Zed VR Simming w/Vive

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    USA
    Balance:
    4,418Coins
    Ratings:
    +762 / 3 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, JRK
    FYI, the obligatory legal bit but depending on frequencies and power, especially transmitters operating remotely, folks may need at least a technician's class amateur radio license to operate in the US. Also, using VR or FPV headsets means you don’t have the model in sight for control which is in violation of the new FAA requirements for remote-controlled flight. Fines for violations can get pretty big now. Many other countries also have restrictions so anyone doing telemetry like this should look into the regulations where they are. One solution to the direct line of sight bit is a "buddy box" connection where the pilot in command has default control of the model and only hands it over to the person in a rig and can take it back at any time. The ill-behaved drone guys caused the FAA to actively get involved here now. There are two different classes to fly under but each has restrictions on what and how you fly. To fly without direct line of sight control requires registering the model and getting a waiver. It looks like all models now have to be registered with the FAA. (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/) Now that we’ve had a couple of actual collisions between drones and aircraft, the FAA will possibly get more active in enforcement and fines. The FCC has always fined heavy for improper operations when they are found though odds of getting discovered are probably low unless you are disrupting other communications.
    • Informative Informative x 2
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  9. Wanegain

    Wanegain Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    Bruxelles
    Balance:
    1,358Coins
    Ratings:
    +273 / 1 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    Great news ! As I told you, I started to work on a similar project but I do not have much free time to work on it.
    My biggest problem is syncing telemetry with video.

    Thank you for sharing!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Matthew Bangerter

    Matthew Bangerter New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    24
    Occupation:
    Mechanical Engineer
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Balance:
    45Coins
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    I have been working with @yobuddy on this for a little while and wanted to show you guys what we've been able to get working so far, as well as what's left.

    Some background:
    For me this project actually started with an innovation competition at Brigham Young University where I just finished my bachelors in mechanical engineering. Initial Funding was offered for students to try out innovative ideas; to prototype them and to explore their market potential in 2 rounds of competition in which the final winners would be given additional funding to work on the idea. I had recently started two new hobbies(I'm sure many of you have this problem...) of Sim racing and FPV quadcopters, and the concept of merging the two was an irresistible project for an engineer. I was able to convince them to give me the initial funding which helped me to finish building my sim, and to begin researching telemetry systems for the data transmission. During the first round of the competition all I had was a chair that sort of wiggled around, and the promise of "dont worry, I promise this is going to work!" The judges were amused at best. After researching different options and borrowing from various different projects I pieced together the setup that yobuddy described above (arduino + 9 DOF IMU + telemetry radio) and got some rudimentary code to send the data back wirelessly, (to your question @Gadget999 , yes the telemetry module essentially establishes a wireless serial port and more or less works as though the arduino was plugged in via USB), but as far as writing a plugin to allow it to talk with simtools, I tried and quickly realized that my programming skills were hopelessly inadequate. With the final round of the competition rapidly approaching, I knew I would need help so I messaged yobuddy in desperation hoping he could help me with the plugin only to find out... he had been wanting to do the same thing but was looking for the wireless telemetry solution!!!(what are the odds?)

    Anyways, to make a long story short, we refined the arduino code above to send the data in a usable format, and he put together an awesome plugin and receiving program that totally saved my bacon and allowed me to get the whole thing working the night before the competition (of course). Luckily, it ended up going extremely well with people lining up to try it and having a blast weaving back and forth between pedestrians and laughing hysterically. I was luckily able to win 4th place out of 70 initial contestants and the idea was overall received extremely well. Here is a video of somebody trying it out at the competition, complete with a headtracker/FPV headset linked to a 2 axis camera gimbal on the car for full immersion. Keep in mind that this is the day after we got this thing working so there is PLENTY of fine tuning to do, but the main point is that IT WORKS!!! also, keep in mind that my motors are fairly weak, so the response time has more to do with that than it does with signal lag



    and a demo of the FPV headtracking



    Here were my concept posters
    Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 6.56.04 PM.png Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 6.56.25 PM.png


    So in summary, it works, and it's awesome, but we've got some kinks to work out before it works flawlessly. You'll notice that while the ultimate goal is to put this on a quad/plane, the initial demo was on an RC car. This is for several reasons
    1.) My chair is a 2 DOF which is really optimized for driving
    2.) It is easier to start with
    3.) It was much easier to allow people to demo (imagine the chaos of handing over quad controls)

    SO, all of that said here is what we still need to do
    1.) I am currently testing out a different IMU that should allow output of all 6 degrees of freedom (currently we only have surge and sway) and effectively cancel out the gravity vector. I will put together some documentation when I have this working with yobuddy's code.
    2.) With 6 DOF, we are going to need some of our friends with 6 DOF sims to really put this setup to the test. @SilentChill @SeatTime ?? Truthfully I think a 2 DOF or 3 DOF would be awesome for a plane, but my bet is that for quad you would really need a 6 DOF. Not only that, but the uber rapid inertial changes of a quad means your sim has to have very good response time (my motors are fairly weak as you can see in the video)
    3.) There are a couple commercial solutions out there to drive RC with USB controls (steering wheel, joystick), but it would be awesome if we could figure out a DIY solution that was cheaper and more customizable.


    I will post on any progress I have made and will throw together a total build tutorial when I have the new IMU working, but let me know if you have any ideas or questions!

    Attached Files:

    • Winner Winner x 7
    • Like Like x 3
  11. Matthew Bangerter

    Matthew Bangerter New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    24
    Occupation:
    Mechanical Engineer
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Balance:
    45Coins
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    Curious what you have been able to do so far?
  12. Wanegain

    Wanegain Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    Bruxelles
    Balance:
    1,358Coins
    Ratings:
    +273 / 1 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    I receive telemetry and video. As I want a good video quality (using in VR) so I used WiFi but with latency it's almost impossible to drive and the telemetry is in real time but the video is shifted...
    Do you know what bitrate I can get using RF in real time ?

    @Matthew Bangerter FYI I was using IMU from SparkFun which include a microsd slot : https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14001
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Matthew Bangerter

    Matthew Bangerter New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    24
    Occupation:
    Mechanical Engineer
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Balance:
    45Coins
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    Awesome! that IMU looks like a great option if you want to also record the data, I'll have to look into it more.

    What are you using for your wireless telemetry radio?

    As far as the video, have you used an RC FPV system? I know the video quality is terrible, but latency is really un-noticable. I couldnt really tell you a bitrate as it is analog, but the latency is generally in the 30 millisecond range https://oscarliang.com/fpv-camera-latency/. The DJI proprietary lightbridge system is the only effective digital system that I'm aware of and it has a latency of about 180 ms. I believe it is basically a one direction wifi signal. If you're willing to fork up some major cash though, the connex analog system boasts HD PFV https://www.getfpv.com/the-connex-prosight-hd-vision-kit.html and it looks like there is an up and coming player https://fpv.blue/

    So you are using a PC VR headset (Oculus/Vive)? curious if there is any way to bring an analog video signal into one of those through the PC without latency
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Wanegain

    Wanegain Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    Bruxelles
    Balance:
    1,358Coins
    Ratings:
    +273 / 1 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    I was using a cheap transmitter H34A and I tried with another cheap transmitter/receiver
    I have no idea if it's legal or not in my country, I was just doing some tests in my garage :D

    I was not using an RC FPV, just reading the stream of a GoPro in VLC... That's why it was not a good idea for latency but ok for video quality :confused:

    Yes I am using PC + Oculus.
  15. yobuddy

    yobuddy Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator SimAxe Beta Tester SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,548
    Occupation:
    Computer Technician
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon - USA
    Balance:
    27,892Coins
    Ratings:
    +3,597 / 10 / -0
    As long as the telemetry gets to the PC before the video arrives to the screen/googles, a telemetry output delay should be possible.
    As to sync the video with telemetry for different depending on different gear.
  16. yobuddy

    yobuddy Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator SimAxe Beta Tester SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,548
    Occupation:
    Computer Technician
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon - USA
    Balance:
    27,892Coins
    Ratings:
    +3,597 / 10 / -0
    btw, the sketch above can easily be extended for all DOF outputs.
    Its only sending surge and sway because the test sim only had those 2 to work with.
    Take care,
    yobuddy
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  17. JBoogie

    JBoogie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    81
    Occupation:
    Pre-sales Engineer
    Location:
    Northern VA
    Balance:
    1,345Coins
    Ratings:
    +37 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino, SimforceGT
    Hey guys,
    Awesome work! I have been flying FPV (both planes and quadcopters) for several years. I have been wanting to try this for the last 4 or 5 years, but just never had the time. Very cool to see it done. I can tell you that latency with HD video will be a HUGE issue, but if you can solve that it will be awesome! There are some HD systems available as someone mentioned (Connex is the most well known), but they are expensive and not super common yet in the FPV world. From what I understand, there is still some latency that can be noticeable by some. Most of us still use analog signals and have just gotten used to low-res image quality. I can tell you first hand though, it is still extremely immersive. I would suggest using analog video for now and add HD if and when it someone else works out all the latency issues. Here is an example of the actual analog video from one of my wing races:

    I have planes and quadcopters of all sizes so if you need someone to help test let me know!

    JB
    • Like Like x 3
  18. Wanegain

    Wanegain Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    Bruxelles
    Balance:
    1,358Coins
    Ratings:
    +273 / 1 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    Yes you are right but the delay of the video makes driving impossible :D
  19. Matthew Bangerter

    Matthew Bangerter New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    24
    Occupation:
    Mechanical Engineer
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Balance:
    45Coins
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    Awesome, glad we have some RC enthusiasts on here, I have been doing FPV for about a year now, and even with the crappy video it is a blast! Watching your video, planes would be so awesome with a sim! Have you tried a head tracker yet? it really does add to the immersion. As soon as we get a good sensor setup, it should be as easy as strapping it to your plane and tuning it for your sim. Sounds like you're still mid build though?

    Do you have any experience sending telemetry from your aircraft? the telemetry module we are using works pretty well, and theoretically works up to a mile, but we may have to play with different settings/antennae or even a different telemetry system to actually achieve that. Could use your help if you have any tips for improving range.
  20. JBoogie

    JBoogie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    81
    Occupation:
    Pre-sales Engineer
    Location:
    Northern VA
    Balance:
    1,345Coins
    Ratings:
    +37 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino, SimforceGT
    I haven’t tried a head tracker but would really like to. I got sidetracked the last few years with mini quads and drone racing so the planes took a back seat. Now racing planes too but with these fast planes a gimbal for the cam would just be extra drag etc so haven’t really thought about it in a long time. What I really want is a basic plan like a piper cub with the camera on a gimbal inside the cockpit. Like this: https://hobbyking.com/en_us/h-king-j3-navy-cub-1400mm-pnp.html

    Pair this with your motion seat and it would be awesome!

    About telemetry...I only use it for basic things like voltage and rssi but those are built into the rc and/or Fpv link. I would bet you can hack that to somehow send your data back too. I know some telemetry has been sent over the audio channel, so that might be an option also. Check out immersionRc tiny telemetry module.

    Lastly, I would say don’t worry about range yet either. A one mile radius is huge! If your link is solid within a mile you are good.

    Glad to help however I can!
    JB
    • Like Like x 1