Thursday, December 25

Real Cessna Throttle and Mixture ...

Thanks to Martin Feist giving the right pointers and guidance, Vansaircraft for the HW and Lars for the assembling!

I'm using follow components:
- Throttle & Mixture including the long cables from a real Cessna.
- There I'm using 10k Ohms potentiometers sliders like they are used in sound mixers
- Joystick Board:

1. The long cables have a screw thread at the end --> Simple to connect with the potentiometers
2. Connect the potentiometers to one of the analog inputs with true 12-bit resolution from the Joystick Board. Check here:

--> After that, your mixture and throttle appear like a regular joystick

Monday, December 8

Enhancing Cockpit

Made pretty good progress with PID tuning, can be set now to be really smooth like in a plane. Currently embedding the learning into a little tool allowing to configure and auto-tune directly the board from Thanos.
Added finally my dream: Fully working G1000! (entire Cockpit mounting can be done with 4 screws). Using HW from Emuteq and SW from Flight1tech.

Created HOTAS console mounting kit for play seat, allowing to swap from Car to HOTAS within 1 minute:

Wednesday, July 23

... and testing after tuning....

Schneidy in an F/A 18 around the Matterhorn...

Testing rudders (with BFF)

Dirt-3 with x-Sim

Dirt-3 in Snow with x-Sim.... early in the morning... 

Controller Fine tuning with Schneidy and Hägi

With help from my friend Schneidy we've optimized the parameters to have smoother and more dynamic moves:

  • VDF's (Optidrive P2) we've ended up with Acceleration and Deceleration ramp time from 0.5 seconds each (P1-03 and P1-04)
  • Thanos board:
    • P = 30
    • I = 150
    • D = 30
    • Motor Max = 100 %
    • Motor Min = 1 % 
--> See config steps around 5:22 in this video Step by step explanation of features, functions and connections for AMC1280USB

Note: Older firmware from the Thanos-board hat less resolution of the PID (e.g. in the Video from the link above). Recent firmware (the one I'm using) has another digit to the values. So P=30 now was a 3 on the old firmware, I=150 (15) and D=30 (3).  On Thanos's blog you will find step-by-step guide how to upgrade the firmware.


After many other testing and troubleshooting session with a wonderful expert and friend Hägi, we've managed to get the right PID settings. If AMC1280USB would measure and print out the oscillation period, we could make auto-tuning using it in addition with my motion tester:


Since Thanos added in l-release CLI access to the board, I've started to extend the motion tester with it:

Some Cabin Modifications...

- Changed Monitor position (20 cm more away from the driver)
- Added extension boxes for foot pedals (kids ready... :-) )

Sunday, June 22

... finally testing and tuning has started!

The youngest test pilot goes "aerobatic":
First take-off on grass-runway:
Construction Engineer 2 gets challenged by crosswind and gusts:

... and the teenager already manages a perfect landing at "Gruyere" aerodrome:

Special thanks to:

  • Thanos Kontogiannis - 6 DOF Motion Simulator Electronics
  • Ian Hopper - BFF BuiltForFun
  • Miguel Nunez und Sandro Keller - EMZ
  • Andy and Lars - Schlosserei Preisig
  • Lukas Meister - Elektro Meister
  • My kids, especially Lars with his patient and endurance
  • My fantastic wife, allowing us to extend our living room with "six additional degrees of freedom" ;-)

The making of:

... and some interesting dimensions:

.... and last but not least the corresponding xSIM config:

Sunday, April 27

Fine tuning VDF Setup

  • Added PTC to the entire wiring allowing to switch of the motor if overheatened.
  • Added plugs for each connection and cable-lock allowing to "pack" entire setup into the box for transportation:
  • Test setup with one Motor using BFF software (still waiting for the other 5 motors). BFF is great! It also allows to control each actor directly manually (very nice to adjustments):

Monday, April 21

VDF configuration

VDF user guide is here...
The motors have built-in PTC as well the VDF's do have a thermal overload protection port.  Based on that, I will use "Digital Input Configuration Parameter P1‐13 == 16.
For now I don't have the PTC's connected, using therefore P1‐13 == 15:

Emegency-Stop Button is connected to "STO" wiring, whereas I'm using the same 24 V source like for the Thanos board.

Based on recommendation from the VDF account manager (EMZ-Unitec AG) I've also boutgh an "OptiStick", fantastic toy from which I can fetch entire config into the stick, and push it from the stick to a VDF (what makes it very smooth to configure all 6 VDF's).
In addtion the stick also acts as a Bluethooth device, which allows to connect from the PC to the VDF and back up the config, push-config as well doing a firmware upgrade (Latter I've just successfully did as one of the VDF was running an old firmware):


Wired entire setup and created the remaning 5 position sensor mounting with fantastic help from the kids :-)


Saturday, April 12

Cabling and testing Thanos's Board...

Received yesterday the board from Thanos.... a great start into the weekend :-)

What a great board! Real plug-in and play! And I'm amazing impressed about the huge feature set built into it that toy! Looks like years of professional engineering with all the needed details.

Tested x-Sim and also BFF from Ian. Works like a charm. Ready now to proceed with the next project steps...

Short impression from the first test (Sensor position isn't correct yet on the video):

Wednesday, April 9

Cockpit dimension

Cockpit dimension from a C-172 from our flight club

Joint heads and Cables

Found super quality and cheap "joint head" from (up to 30 degrees tilt angle).

For the 3 phase & PE & shield, using now cable plugs which are normally used for "vertical slat motors" (Meeting electrical requirements and because widle used not so expensive)

Friday, March 28

Tuesday, March 25

Project steps:

  1. Wood modle to get an idea of the dimensions [completed]
  2. Testing 1 Motor with VDF [completed]
  3. 6 x Arms for the motors [completed]
  4. 6 x Poti connection to the motors [completed]
  5. Testing 1 Motor with Board from Thanos and BBF and xSIM [completed]
  6. Buying the 5 other motors [Ordered, VDF's"Optidrive P2" recieved]
  7. Wiring the setup [completed]
  8. Building 6 rods with joint head [rods material ordered]
  9. Fix all motors on wood blocks (easy to adjust and tune) to figure out best dimensions for the platform base, using the wood triangle. [Woodblocks produced]
  10. Building the platform base and triangle
  11. Collecting seat/window/throttle/yoke positions dimension from the C-172 [Completet]
  12. Building the seat and montior construction

Monday, March 24

Testing Motor and VDF inverter

Manually tested VDF inverter with Switches and Poti using local power from VDF:

... seems to work...

Docu for the VDF

Saturday, March 15

Playing with dimensions...

A rudimentary but simple, fast and cheap approach to get hold of the good dimensions...

For the ball and socket head I just made a large whole that the screw can move.

Tuesday, March 11

Project start ...

After fantastic guidance from Thanos I've ordered:

The AMC1280USB Controller board and 1 (out of 6) driver unit:

Driver unit just arrived today...