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Building a cyclic with force trim

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Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (B/229) Salty on Tue 7 Feb 2017 - 8:03

Since there is no suitable helicopter cyclics with working force trim function, I gonna built it for myself. For fixed wings there is a good choice of stick and they work. But with helicopter the matter is not so simple anymore.

My plan is to built a floor standing helicopter cyclic that replicates ec135 measurements (grip, stick and seat height). Plus pedals and collective. Also I bought a EC135 cyclic from German store www.microhelis.de . Cyclic is same as in Gazelle also it offers lot of buttons and there is no such thing as too many buttons.
Main focus is on functional force trim. General idea is coming from Huey control system. For that I gonna use doors electromagnets and force gradients.

That´s a Huey control system. Force trim is achieved with magnetic brake and force gradient (spring mechanism).






Force gradient - one spring works on both directions




Here is my force gradiant built from 3/4 and 1/2 in brass water pipe fitting


To be continued

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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (A/229) Bandit 89 on Tue 7 Feb 2017 - 9:16

Nice. Looking forward to more on this project.
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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (B/229) Cib on Tue 7 Feb 2017 - 9:53

Wow Salty make 2, one each Smile
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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (C/229) Frenchy on Wed 8 Feb 2017 - 20:09

How much torque do you think the magnetic brake will have to hold to allow decent actuation range of the cyclic and the force gradient?

Very cool by the way, always wondered how it was done in the real thing Smile

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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (B/229) Salty on Wed 8 Feb 2017 - 21:03

Here is the EC135 cyclic. It is 3d printed and with good hat switches. Feels good in hand.



My 3d app is solidworks and here is some really raw sketches. But basics are still same. Lever to force gradient and then to magnet.



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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (B/229) Salty on Wed 8 Feb 2017 - 21:36

For magnetic brake I bought a electromagnetic door lock. Search that in ebay or aliexpress. Lot of different models available. It needs a 12V or 24V. It needs a button to release the magnet base. This button will be button on cyclic with separate electric circuit.


(C/229) Frenchy wrote:How much torque do you think the magnetic brake will have to hold to allow decent actuation range of the cyclic and the force gradient?

Very cool by the way, always wondered how it was done in the real thing Smile

Here is a little sketch about lever arm and its movement range.

Lever length is 50mm and cyclic height is 500mm. So if my math is correct the cyclic movement will produce 10 times greater force to lever. If I push cyclic with force of 1kg then lever output is  10kg.
I have not yet tested how much torque it will handle. But it is certain that the spring needs to be  strong enough to move cyclic back to center position and weak enough to keep magnet unmovable.

I hope that makes sense Smile

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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (C/229) Frenchy on Sat 11 Feb 2017 - 11:54

(B/229) Salty wrote:For magnetic brake I bought a electromagnetic door lock. Search that in ebay or aliexpress. Lot of different models available. It needs a 12V or 24V. It needs a button to release the magnet base. This button will be button on cyclic with separate electric circuit.


(C/229) Frenchy wrote:How much torque do you think the magnetic brake will have to hold to allow decent actuation range of the cyclic and the force gradient?

Very cool by the way, always wondered how it was done in the real thing Smile

Here is a little sketch about lever arm and its movement range.

Lever length is 50mm and cyclic height is 500mm. So if my math is correct the cyclic movement will produce 10 times greater force to lever. If I push cyclic with force of 1kg then lever output is  10kg.
I have not yet tested how much torque it will handle. But it is certain that the spring needs to be  strong enough to move cyclic back to center position and weak enough to keep magnet unmovable.

I hope that makes sense Smile

Yep, makes complete sense. Looks really good, got to make sure you keep any slop out of the system. Are you going to use pot's or hall effect sensors for position readings? IM asking all these questions since I made a collective and I'm toying around with the idea of a cyclic. I had actually done a fair bit of research into a full force feedback setup using decent stepper/servo motors.

You can have a look at my collective here




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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (B/229) Salty on Sun 12 Feb 2017 - 0:24

I gonna use hall sensors with Leo Bodnair cards. My previous test built is also with hall´s and Leo BU0836A. It is good plug´n´play card. It takes time to get it working with magnets and some times it needs re-calibration. But it has really good service history without bugs.

Do keep the play minimal I use ball joints and ball bearings. Force gradient is most probably causing some play but I try to keep in minimum by keeping the spring under the load.

Nice collective you have. Well done. That´s my next project.

I looked also into the Force Feedback world and come to conclusion that best way is to use stepper motors with Ian BFF force feedback cards http://bffsimulation.com/BFF-FFB-System.php . But total cost is quite high. Motors alone are 290 euros each, plus cards. For me FFB is to expensive and it does not justify the high price. Mostly because there is no rotor feedback to controls. It might be good if one use it for both rotor and fixed wing aircraft's.

Same supplier who made my cyclic is developing a FFB cyclic. It has smaller stepper motor for locking center positions and torsion spring for centering force. It is run by Arduino board. No news on the price and other features.

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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (A/229) KoRn on Tue 14 Feb 2017 - 14:39

Best of luck on the project! What are your thoughts on MicroHelis' products? Debating picking up his collecitve or a set of Komodo's. My only concern is that his controls aren't plug n play. His prices are on par with Komodo and turnaround times are pretty reasonable.
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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (B/229) Salty on Wed 15 Feb 2017 - 4:38

Microhelis have a good quality, but one has to connect wires to leobodnar joystick board.

I tried contacting Komodo few times and it was only one way communication. I think Rick from Komodo is focusing on other things then building helicopter controls.

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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (A/229) KoRn on Wed 15 Feb 2017 - 17:06

(B/229) Salty wrote:Microhelis have a good quality, but one has to connect wires to leobodnar joystick board.

I tried contacting Komodo few times and it was only one way communication. I think Rick from Komodo is focusing on other things then building helicopter controls.

Thanks Salty. I was able to reach out to komod a couple weeks ago and he pretty much closed shop and isnt taking any orders right now until he clears his backlog. He had a rough year with a death in the family. He should expected to be back up and operational around april/may timeframe.

I think im going to pick up both collectives and then sell off the one I like least. Do you think wiring the collective was relatively easy? Is there any programing with dcs bios required? I really like the way micro helis products are mounted to the floor and it gives it a more authentic look
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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (C/229) Frenchy on Thu 16 Feb 2017 - 22:52

(A/229) KoRn wrote:
(B/229) Salty wrote:Microhelis have a good quality, but one has to connect wires to leobodnar joystick board.

I tried contacting Komodo few times and it was only one way communication. I think Rick from Komodo is focusing on other things then building helicopter controls.

Thanks Salty.  I was able to reach out to komod a couple weeks ago and he pretty much closed shop and isnt taking any orders right now until he clears his backlog.  He had a rough year with a death in the family.  He should expected to be back up and operational around april/may timeframe.

I think im going to pick up both collectives and then sell off the one I like least.  Do you think wiring the collective was relatively easy?  Is there any programing with dcs bios required?  I really like the way micro helis products are mounted to the floor and it gives it a more authentic look

Hey Korn

I can say from experience that wiring a collective can be as easy or complex as you want to make it. Using a leo bodnar board is the easiest way because it emulates a game controller and is about as plug and play as you can get, all you have to do is wire switches to the right spots on the board. On the other side is going with a completely custom microcontroller you code yourself, controlling the resolution of the Analog to digital converter and also coding a noise filter to reduce static interference. I went with the second option because it was before dcs bios had come out and it was a tech project I was interested in. I burnt days learning study about HID descriptors and coding setting it up so my micro controller shows up as a game controller in windows called 'Huey Collective' with all 17 switches properly tagged (thats actually how many different control options their are on the collective), identified and can be calibrated in windows like any normal controller. Unless you have time to spare I don't recommend my way drunken and suggest going the Leo Bodnar board route lol!

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Re: Building a cyclic with force trim

Post by (B/229) Salty on Wed 19 Apr 2017 - 1:25

My project is on Hold status. I got "distracted" by job offer to Middle East and that took my time. Moving is in July, I might be able to do something, but no promises.

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