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Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Thu 1 Jun 2017 - 19:15

Tonight was a bust. =( Still have a problem with my motion sim electronics that I spent the entire night unsuccessfully chasing down after rewiring with the new connectors didn't fix it.

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Fri 2 Jun 2017 - 23:20

I'm pretty certain now that the problem isn't anything I did, but a defect in the PCB so I will be having to send that back and wait for repair or replacement. =(

I got the collective mostly finished but looks like I really do need to put in a gear reduction setup for the pots. Buttons are all working on the PC now though, so that's progress!

I also think I came up with a pretty solid solution for operating the throttle below the idle stop. I suppose first I'll briefly outline the problem:

In a real Huey the throttle will not physically rotate beyond the "idle stop" until you push the idle stop release button. After that you continue turning the throttle beyond the stop.

In DCS it is not possible to operate the throttle below the idle stop with an axis. Only buttons or keyboard input for throttle up/down work when you are below the idle stop. Obviously, this sucks for those of us with full Huey collective setups!

My solution is this: In addition to the potentiometer being driven by a larger gear on the collective, I'm also going to put on a rotary encoder driven by the same gear. This rotary encoder will be set up to tap "throttle increase" and "throttle decrease" depending on which way you are twisting the throttle. I have done some testing and as soon as you pass the idle stop DCS prioritizes axis input over button input and basically ignores the commands that will be coming from the rotary encoder. It should work brilliantly!

Also, I could probably remove teeth from the large gear in the proper location if I wanted the rotary encoder to stop working once I get into the working throttle axis, but this would probably be complicating things for no reason based on my testing.

I'll be sure to let you know how I make out, and provide pictures of the assembly.

Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Fri 9 Jun 2017 - 21:27

Update: June 9th

Minimum work required to start flying:

- New Motion Sim electronics: Waiting for parts, it might be a while. =(
- Collective: Converting RL collective for PC use is in progress.

Greetings again friends.

This week I made some progress. The overhead console structure is now built and installed, though it needs finishing work (as do all the consoles) and the panels for it are not done yet. I also got the Bass Shakers installed and wired and the Rift tracking sensor mount installed. All of these assemblies will need to come back off for paint, but that is not a big deal.

After many hours of testing I have come to the conclusion that there is still something wrong with the PCB that controls the motion sim. I've sent it back for repair or replacement but these things are back ordered about six weeks so it could potentially (worst case scenario) be that long until I get the replacement.

The collective has all buttons and switches working, now I'm waiting for some gears to arrive for hooking up the axis sensors with a gear reduction for much improved accuracy of control. Making the throttle work the way I want with the idle cut off etc. might take some experimenting, so I might have to order another gear or two after testing the ones that are coming early next week.

That's all I have for now, hopefully I'll have more to report by the middle of next week.

Trip


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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (C/229)Samri on Sat 10 Jun 2017 - 9:44

Thanks for the update - I am following with keen interest.

You will end up with a contraption that will require just as much RL maintenance as the real thing!!
I can remember many a time flights being delayed or cancelled do to unserviceability.

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sat 10 Jun 2017 - 10:58

A project like this is never finished, that's part of the fun really. =)  I am however very frustrated at this point, it has been far, far, far too long since I last flew.  Hopefully soon this dry spell will be just a memory.  I told Thanos to put me on the list for a whole new unit instead of trying again to fix the one I broke.  I can find more things to sell on ebay to pay for it.

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Wed 14 Jun 2017 - 19:24

Good news on the collective, still don't know how long it will be until I get my replacement motion sim controller. =(

As for the collective, tonight I achieved 100% functionality including my solution for the idle stop problem. I'll add pictures in the next day or two.

I still have to do final assembly which will take a while, so far just bench tested it but it works!

For the idle stop, on the throttle axis I have two sensors driven by the gear. One is a potentiometer for the actual throttle axis, the other is a rotary encoder for the "throttle up/down" commands that work below the idle stop. I added a physical detente to the throttle axis and calibrated the throttle sensor so that this detent matches 0% throttle, right where the idle cut off would stop the throttle from turning any farther.

The detente is just a significant amount of friction, not actuated by the idle stop button as it should be. My procedure is to decrease the throttle to zero percent at which point the in game axis won't go any further and I hit the physical detente. I then press the idle stop button which enables the in game axis to go below idle stop via the rotary encoder button presses as I turn the throttle past the physical detente all the way to the physical stop, achieving full engine stop position. When I rotate the throttle to increase again the rotary encoder also works to increase the throttle up to the idle stop, and then the potentiometer takes over and my throttle works as it should.

It's not 100% perfect but it's pretty darned satisfactory IMO. I've officially started the engine a couple times using the real Huey collective start trigger and throttle, EPIC! I can't wait to get this thing buttoned up and installed, and then of course all the other panels I have yet to finish.

This week is a bit busy for me, but hopefully I'll make faster progress next week. In the meantime I'll still be waiting for those motion parts. Honestly I'm tempted to lower the motion sim while I wait for those parts, and I might do so but this could cause more delays so I probably should let it be.

Trip

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sat 17 Jun 2017 - 6:16

Good news today folks! I should have my replacement electronics in about a week and then after a day or so of work be ready to fly! Also I've pretty much decided to try to lower my motion sim down onto the real floor for additional clearance overhead. Hopefully this won't go horribly wrong and take longer than expected LOL. I expect to show some pics of the collective conversion later tonight, I have some things I need to get done first or the wife will have my head!

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Fri 23 Jun 2017 - 18:14

Quick update:  

Sorry no pics of the collective conversion yet because I forgot to take them before making the huge mess I have now!  I'll get them in a couple days.  

The new motion electronics came today!  This means I should finally be able to get back in the air as soon as I get the sim put back together.  

I totally dismantled my motion sim to sink it into the network center flooring (which is about 8.75" above the real cement floor) and gain about 7.5 inches (~19cm) of overhead clearance so I can go back to using 100% heave travel AND raise my Huey cockpit about 3" further above the cockpit floor to get the correct full scale dimensions!  This is a change I wanted to make but didn't want to add to my workload.  I decided to suck it up and do it now because I know I'd never do it when the rig was up and running.  

This required fully dismantling the motion sim.  I had to make a new base for mounting the actuators, and have to modify the actuator covers as well as build new floor panels to go around the new assembly.  It's coming back together now, but there is still lots to do!

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sat 24 Jun 2017 - 15:09

Update Jun. 24

Actuator cover mods 90% complete
Cockpit Platform installed




Next tasks:

Finish up actuator covers 100% and touch up paint
Install actuator position sensors
Build floor panels around base
Wire up new electronics
Adjust position sensors
Modify seat, consoles, stick, collective to sit 3" higher (proper height)
Assemble all above components
Start training flights at this point
Post modification motion sim tuning
Resume work on UH-1 panels and wiring to complete the UH-1 build

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Tue 27 Jun 2017 - 18:24

Update June 27:

Completed Actuator Cover mods
Installed actuator position sensor assemblies
Installed cockpit frame to platform

To do before I can fly:
Wire up new motion electronics
Adjust position sensors
Modify seat, consoles, stick, and collective to sit 3" higher (proper height)
Finish collective final wiring (mostly just need to extend some of the wires)

Additional work to complete:
Build floor panels for around the sim
Full cue motion tuning
Complete UH-1 panels and wiring

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Wed 28 Jun 2017 - 15:06

Update June 28th:

Installed Actuator position sensors
Installed new electronics
Completed Actuator Covers and installed
Adjusted Actuator "home" position
Tested basic motion

There are (as always it seems) a couple hiccups.  

On board test of motion is perfect.  BFF Software test mode I'm getting some strange behavior from Actuator 5 but this could be a bug in the software's testing mode.  I don't expect this is going to be anything problematic but haven't tested actual flight yet.

I may have mentioned that when I built my new deck for mounting the actuators I somehow accidentally mounted each pair about 1" closer to the center than before.  I still have no idea how that happened.  Well though the new position is perfect for the motion sim geometry, it has created some clearance issues to my actuator covers.  I should really take it all back apart and move the actuators outboard 1 to 1.5 inches but I don't wanna!  

The clearance to the ceiling however is perfect with the 3" lift!

Unfortunately I'm out of town tomorrow and very busy in general this week so it might be a few days before I get to do anything more. =(


(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sat 1 Jul 2017 - 13:15

Update June 30th:

All good news today for once!

The last couple little problems with the motion turned out to be coding errors in the firmware, which we have now solved (one possible pending bug remains)!

The issues with interference between the actuator covers and the platform have been resolved 100% to my satisfaction without tearing the sim completely apart! I did lose a little bit of heave travel, but not very much and I'm very pleased with the range of motion and have eliminated all interference problems 100% for the first time since going to a much larger moving platform!

So the motion sim is finally ready!

To be ready to finally start flying again I must:

- Complete mods to seat, joystick, collective, console, and overhead console to raise them all 3". This should "only take a day or so"™.

- Finalize wiring on the collective assembly. This too should be pretty quick.


After that to finish the UH-1 simulator:

- Build floor panels around the new lowered base so I don't fall in!
- Complete building all UH-1 panels and wiring (this will take a few weeks)
- Paint and finish all components for appearance
- Modify microhelis.de cyclic to add force trim and swap it in place of the modded dual FFB2.

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (C/229)Samri on Sun 2 Jul 2017 - 8:55

Labor of love hey Trip - worth the wait.
i'd be happy to just get more than 10 mins into dcs 2 before it freezes!!
(GPU related my guess....Time for a 1080 ti me thinks)

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sun 2 Jul 2017 - 19:53

Ha it is that Samri!

Update July 1st:

Collective 3" lift progressed to 80% complete
Main console lift complete
Seat lift complete

I have to say I was surprised how much better it felt to sit in with the pedals/floor 3" lower relative to everything else. It was a lot of work but I think it was worth it.

I expect to start flying a bit this week, though there is a LOT of other stuff I need to do so I'm not sure how much time I'll have. First thing I need to do when I get in the air is motion tuning, usually a six or eight hour session to get that done.

Finally getting there!

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sat 8 Jul 2017 - 19:28

Update July 8th:

Collective 3" lift completed (still need to do final mounting details)
Cyclic Mounted
Magnetic Brake assembly designed and 90% built (see pics)
Final parts for Mag Brake ordered (magnetic door lock and relay)


I'm painfully close to beginning test flights and motion tuning!  Probably under 30 minutes of work to do.  

Still lots to do, but not until after I'm back in the air for the first time in three months!

Here are the pics:

First my Mag Brake design!  I wanted to add a Mag Brake to my excellent microhelis.de cyclic base, without damaging or modifying the gimbal if possible.  In the end I settled on a design that is completely separate from the base.  This sits on top of the deck and applies forces to the stick itself.  



Though not elegant, I think this is going to be very effective and was very inexpensive.  It is, however, bulky!

The design consists of two pairs of drawer slides.  Because I'm short on cash, I actually made all four slides out of one large slide that was used previously in a pit I built years ago!  The bottom pair of drawers slides allow a frame to slide left and right on ball bearings.  That frame in turn has the second pair of slides mounted on it, to allow another frame to slide forward and back, as well as left and right due to the bottom layer.  



The top frame has two pair of slides and springs in a pincer arrangement, one for x a-xis and one for y-axis layered one above the other.  There is a centering spacer mounted between the two slides in each pair.  



If this doesn't make sense now, all will become clear once I get the magnetic lock and install it.  At that time I'll record a video demonstration (assuming it works!).  

The only possible problem I am worried about is that the contact patch between the electro-magnet and the plate on the moving assembly could possibly be insufficient when set to a particularly far-off-center postion.  I'm pretty sure it will work fine.  

Next up, a picture of my cockpit starting to come together.  Note the real Huey Cyclic (detailed pics and video clips of the mechanicals are on my phone still, I'll post them in the next few days) and the microhelis.de cyclic with my own home built extension for my Warthog grip and mag-brake assembly.  

Currently my MFG Crosswind rudder pedals are still in place, but hopefully in a month or two I'll have some microhelis.de anti-torque pedals in there. =D



Lastly a picture of the motion sim, showing the giant holes in the floor that I need to build panels for.  



That's all for now.  I'll post updates next week as I get test flights and tuning done.  I'll also be reporting the results of my Rift vs. Vive tests.  

Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Rob on Sat 8 Jul 2017 - 22:39

Very impressive. How did you learn to build all this stuff? It's over my head
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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sun 9 Jul 2017 - 8:15

My dad was an automotive technician so I grew up with a general understanding of mechanical things.  For the advanced electronics stuff and the motion sim itself that is all thanks to the internet.  I'm sure I drove some of the guys on the motion sim forum crazy with all my questions and things I needed help with!

My mag brake design was inspired by how the spring centering works in a lot of joysticks, CH products for example.


(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Sun 9 Jul 2017 - 18:21

Hey guys, today I have a quick video clip showing the range of motion on my Huey cockpit.  No flying, just a demo of the capabilities of my Stewart platform.  

If there is no sound, there is supposed to be.  I'm not sure yet if Youtube stripped the sound, and if they did I'll have to fix it.  

Trip


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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Rob on Sun 9 Jul 2017 - 19:15

Cool
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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (D/229) Gizzy on Mon 10 Jul 2017 - 0:09

That's pretty 'awesome' in American speak Trip.... I know the Rift gives you depth perception but with all your work in the cockpit dash I reckon it'll be even more 'awesome' with a 65" or bigger curved 4K screen behind the dash and some huge speaker system on the side and don't forget a Jetseat cover AND a powerful buttkicker as well.... I'm just jealous, my engineering skills never progressed beyond a 2lb engineering hammer
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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Mon 10 Jul 2017 - 8:33

Thanks guys!

@Gizzy

The shakers and Jetseat are already covered! There are four Aura ST's mounted under the platform running on SimShaker for Aviators, and the Jetseat is there but invisible because it was cut apart and integrated into my home made cushions seen in the video. They work as good or better than when I had the regular jetseat sitting on top.

I'm VR all the way my friend! The panels are for tactile switches mounted where they should be so I can flip real switches when in VR.

Mostly I fly in a pair of Corsair Vengeance 1500 headphones with volume cranked to max, but I'm hoping to mount up my X-540 surround speakers as well for when my wife isn't in the room. Wink

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (C/229)Samri on Mon 10 Jul 2017 - 9:51

Speechless!

I wish we could all be issued one of those. Sad
Damn Government Cutbacks!

As far as the sound replication goes - looks like you will also simulate the bad tinnitus as well Very Happy

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Trip on Mon 10 Jul 2017 - 18:46

Well, the time has finally come. I'm ready to start flying and training with you guys! I got in a good hour plus of flight time tonight, the first in over three months!

There is a ton of work to be done around the house too, I've been neglecting things trying to get the sim put back together so I'll still be busy but I'm going to try to get things sorted and ready and start showing up on comms.

I am having some kind of strange USB issue with my PC, getting random disconnects of USB devices across all different ports. I might have to restore from an image which will me reinstalling a lot of things.

Regardless, I should be joining you in DCS very soon!

(A/229) Trip

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (A/229) Chic on Mon 10 Jul 2017 - 22:39

(A/229) Trip wrote:I am having some kind of strange USB issue with my PC, getting random disconnects of USB devices across all different ports.  I might have to restore from an image which will me reinstalling a lot of things.

Trip, I had a very similar issue.  It turned out to be Oculus Rift Processes and Services running in the background  (I dabble with the Rift but am in 2D 95% of the time).
Each time I boot up, I shut down the 2 OR Services (not Processes) via the Task Manager and problem  disappears.

I know  you're not Rifting these days but wonder if you ever Loaded it to check it out.
Just a thought

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Re: Trip's Huey Cockpit progress updates

Post by (D/229) Gizzy on Mon 10 Jul 2017 - 23:21

Oculus Tray Tool is a handy thing... and may help out especially USB disconnects, system dependent..  But set DCS VR PD to 1 if you use the OTT Super Sampling... There is a load of stuff on the ED forums about OTT too...
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