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Using plugins to drive servo motors

Discussion in 'DIY Motion Simulator Projects' started by hugso, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. hugso

    hugso Active Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    I hope this is the right place to ask. My pneumatic flight sim motion platform is controlled by standard servo motors operating my air valves. Works a treat in IL-2 with custom software. I would like to run it on Cliffs of Dover and DCS World and I am hoping we can achieve this using the plugins. At present I use Phidgets boards, but am quite happy to swap to Arduino or Pololu Maestro or whatever is the easiest for a non-computer person like me to do. If someone could give me guidance on how to do this I would be most grateful. Please state the obvious as it will not be obvious to me. I attach schematics and a couple of photos as it stands.

    Attached Files:

  2. Historiker

    Historiker Dramamine Adict Staff Member Moderator Gold Contributor

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  3. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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  4. hugso

    hugso Active Member

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    If I could use my Phidgets boards that would be brilliant. The actual Phidgets boards I am using are two 4 motor boards which have been discontinued. I believe they are the same as these 8 motor boards: http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?category=11&product_id=1061_1. I would be quite happy to replace my boards with the 8 motor one if I had to. Thanks.
  5. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Looking at the documentation we can not send serial commands looks like that type of board may require a plugin to be built to use it.
    Or can you send serial commands to move the servos.
    Arduino always this function.mmm need to look into it further.
  6. Hypo

    Hypo Member

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    Hi, I did the programming for Hugso's simulator, gSeat, and controlled the servos using a program I wrote in Java and using Phidgets Java libraries.

    IMHO I think it would best to replace the existing Phidgets with Arduino boards. Arduino was not around when Hugso and I first developed the gSeat concept. You guys know how to use Arduino and I believe using these devices are the best way forward to get gSeat working with DCS and CoD.

    Regards

    Hypo
  7. Historiker

    Historiker Dramamine Adict Staff Member Moderator Gold Contributor

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    Hi Hypo, welcome to XSimulator.net. I am Propnut over on the DCS forums, I posted on your thread and recommended this site.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Hypo

    Hypo Member

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    Hi Propnut, thanks for the recommendation. As you can see you SimTools developers are being very helpful trying to assist Hugso. Great community spirit here. I really hope you guys can help Hugso.

    Hugso is a great mechanical and electronics engineer. He will have a lot to offer the community. My expertise is Java programming and what I have to offer is a bit limited here, but if there is anyway I can assist Hugso getting gSeat working with DCS and CoD I am here to help.

    What is the best thread to read about SimTools? I am impressed SimTools works with so many simulators.
  9. Historiker

    Historiker Dramamine Adict Staff Member Moderator Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    You can read the DIY tutorials here:

    http://www.xsimulator.net/category/diy-tutorials/

    On the right of that page you will find a Quick Start Guide and other documentation on SimTools.

    Yes, Prilad, Eaorobbie and Value1 have been cranking out plug-ins for SimTools. We have working plug-ins for both Cliffs of Dover (CoD..er...or CLoD, lol) and DCS.
  10. Hypo

    Hypo Member

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    All looks great fun. I would love to build a simulator for iRacing and DCS WWII, but I must stay focused and learn http://www.appcelerator.com. When DCS WWII comes out I will see how far I have got with mobile app development and see if I've got time to enjoy flying DCS.
  11. hugso

    hugso Active Member

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    Forget using Phidgets boards. If you think Arduino is the way forward that's what I will do. Could you point me at the best board for me to drive (hopefully) up to six servo motors? Thanks for your advice.
  12. hugso

    hugso Active Member

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    Forgot to say, the servos I am using are standard Futaba with 180 degree swing, but is is probably better for me if the swing is 120 degrees as this actually works better.
  13. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Im now a little busy with updating documentation for Sim Tools, There is two choices but to me a dedicated micro controller board like the Arduino would be my choice as I know how to write the code for this board.
    On the other hand if your mate can contact me in regards to his little program we may be able to work together to provide a solution that could help others who wish to do the same. Im one that doesnt believe in the word 'Never'
    So Hypo if you would like to work together on this , I feel we might get this puppy rockin in Sim Tools.
  14. Hypo

    Hypo Member

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    I believe using Arduino is the best solution. If these great micro-controllers were around when Hugso and I started working on gSeat I would've of probably used them. I used Phidgets because I could program them using Java. gSeat was a module that connected to my FCIProject software. The FCIProject is probably similar in concept to SimTools. It was intended to make adding instruments, like Flight Illusions, and SimPit hardware a bit easier to interface with flight simulators. I feel I have let Hugso down because the illness I suffer from, CFS, has really stopped me from fully delivering on the potential of the FCIProject. The FCIProject, the gSeat module (plugin) and gSeat itself all work beautifully well with IL-2. The FCIProject and gSeat module proved what I had in mind really worked. Hugso and I couldn't wait for the day Cliffs of Dover was going to be released. What a let down that was! I am an experienced programmer, but to have to learn C# just to write a plugin seemed ridiculous to me. After the disappointment of the original CoD we turned our attention to DCS and the brilliant P-51. If all simulator producers agreed on using a standard way to get telemetry, such as Lua, it would make all our lives a bit easier.

    eaorobbie, if you can help Hugso get his excellent gSeat working with DCS and CoD I would be very grateful. gSeat is a wonderful piece of engineering and based on a very elegant concept. I know Hugso would be happy to share his engineering skills and gSeat concept with the XSimulator community.
  15. hugso

    hugso Active Member

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    Thank you for your positive response. I am so pleased to read about these plugins. As Hypo says, we have been snookered by CoD requiring C#. While it is fun flying around in IL-2, I am itching to get things working with DCS World and CoD. I hope there is is something I can do for you in return. Let me know which Arduino board you think would suit best.
  16. Historiker

    Historiker Dramamine Adict Staff Member Moderator Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    FIY, the Advanced Tactical Air Group (ATAG) in conjunction with Team Fusion (they took over from 1C in updating Cliffs, a sort of fan based support like IL-2 became) there is now a TF DeviceLink like interface for creating applications for Cliffs of Dover.

    You are better off adapting to SimTools to move your sim as you can also use the other plug-ins that simtools has but I did want to let you know about DeviceLink as well.

    You can read more about it here:

    http://theairtacticalassaultgroup.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3887
  17. Hypo

    Hypo Member

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    ATAG and Team Fusion have done a great job of breathing life into CoD. I can't commend them enough for what they have been able to do. It shows what a strong community is capable of doing.

    I am aware of the TF DeviceLink, however I agree with you; SimTools is the right way to go. You guys seem to be able to write plugins for almost anything. That is very impressive.
  18. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Thanks to Value1. his great knowledge, the plugins roll on in many forms, absolute legend.

    Ok one of the simplest and cheapest way we will get this to run in sim tools is to use the Arduino Uno. Can be found on ebay for $10 - R3 version recommended.

    We can hook six servos to it and with in the code we can set limits to the movements of each servo and assign different outputs to drive this correctly, if you give me a little time , hopefully by the weekend i can come up with an ardunio code to drive 6 servos but not sure if the data is avail for every thing you require, as in the DCS only emits what we have at the moment, maybe asking our master plugin creater( Value1) he may be able to add the options you need then we can plug them into the axis configuration.
  19. Hypo

    Hypo Member

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    Hi, I hope Hugso doesn't think I am overstepping the mark here, however we can easily get hold of an Arduino Uno; http://www.active-robots.com/arduino-uno.html.

    IMHO getting Pitch and Roll working first will prove the new software/hardware interface for gSeat. If Value1 can provide the other data that would be excellent. I must admit this is where I got a bit unstuck with DCS and ED. I could not find all the telemetry that DCS could possibly export. I wanted to know this information because I was still hoping to build my (static) Spttfire/P-51 simulator that uses http://www.flightillusion.com instruments. The limited amount of information I could find suggested to me I was not going to be able to drive all the instruments I wanted to use.

    Getting back on topic... It will be great to see servos being driven by an Arduino Uno by telemetry from DCS :)
  20. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    Well pitch and rolls is existing already and wont be an issue can be run with my exist code, let me check it and post back the code and settings that will be needed to run just 2 servos to start with. I will report back tomorrow with some code and how too, lets get this seat a rockin'