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A Return to Genius

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A Return to Genius

Post  batjac on Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:03 am

Well, I finally got back to finishing the Batjac Aeroworks Virtual Reality Control Line Training Unit.  After the first one I built a few months ago as a proof-of-concept, I went ahead and built two more.  One to address items I didn’t like in the first one, and then another to finalize and document how to build it.

For the documented build I ran down to the local Goodwill store and bought a used USB flight stick for ten bucks.  It had 14 control inputs, which is waaayyyy more than I needed.  I figured that I needed five at most. One potentiometer for pitch control, one pot for throttle control, and then three buttons for Play/Pause, Reset, and Smoke.





Pulling the base off revealed the internals I would use for the simulator.  I quickly removed the electronics and tossed the control stick and housing in the waste bin.







Then I set out what I needed and threw the rest in a baggie for later projects.  Besides the five above mentioned inputs, I also kept the tophat switch for a remote, as you’ll see later.





I also dug around in my supplies to see what I had to build the simulator.  A SIG 3” bellcrank for the handle to connect to and a 5mm electric motor hub to put it on, a spare motor shaft from an E-flight Power 25 motor for everything to mount on, a steering arm to rotate with the shaft, some bearings for the shaft to ride on, and some ball links to connect the arm to a horn on the pitch pot.  Finally, some wheel collars to hold everything in place.  I decided to use bearings for a smoother control, but they weren’t really necessary.  One could build a box without them.  The servo wheel is what I’m going to put on the throttle pot as a throttle wheel.





And the linkages all assembled and ready to mount to the box and electronics.





As I said before, I saved the tophat so I could use it as a remote control.  This is handy because with the handle a few feet away from the simulator box, it’s nice having the remote unit I can hold in the hand not busy with the SIG control handle.  I cut the wires between the tophat switch and its plug, and soldered male and female USB jacks between them.  I then cut some basswood for the remote, and hot glued the tophat switch to the basswood.  Lastly, I built a box around that.  It would be painted black afterwards.









Then I built a wood box for it all to go in.  It took more time than it was worth, and I’d just go down to the Michael’s craft store and buy a box next time. Since the bearings wouldn't have much pressure on the, I just made plywood bearing blocks for them to sit in.  With everything aligned, I hot glued everything together into the box.  The lip on the lower left side is so I can clamp the unit to a stable surface like the edge of a desk.  The P button is the Play/Pause button, the Start button is the Start/Restart button, and the Select button turns on smoke.  The USB jack at the bottom right of the controller is to plug the remote unit into.  The toggle switch on top isn’t connected to anything.  I just put it there in case I want to add something later…














And, now some videos of the final product! All three videos have me trying to fly the AMA Beginner's Pattern in the sim.

Flying the Extra 300 Control Line model in PicaSim on my computer:






Flying the Extra 300 Control Line model in PicaSim on my Galaxy S7.  You can watch this on your smartphone if you have 3D goggles:






Flying the Extra 300 in 3D using the cross-eye method.  You don’t need VR goggles, you just need to cross your eyes to see this in 3D:





Ans a quick tutorial on setting up PicaSim for control line flying using my preferred settings.  Feel free to play with the settngs to suit yourself:







The Simulated Mark
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Re: A Return to Genius

Post  getback on Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:18 am

WOW you have did it man that is soo cool !! This should cut down on the crashes and repair time not to mention improving skills !! This Site Rocks!
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Re: A Return to Genius

Post  Marleysky on Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:17 pm

Mark, That is so much more than Genius! That is Marvelous Genius!! Not having any prior experience with "pica Sim" what would you normally have to control a control line airplane? Or do you have to create a handle similuator like you've done here?

Wow, you amaze me with your skills in electronics
RC Plane
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Re: A Return to Genius

Post  Kim on Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:58 am

COOL !!!
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Re: A Return to Genius

Post  rsv1cox on Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:54 am

Visionary in many ways. Congrats.

Bob
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Re: A Return to Genius

Post  batjac on Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:23 pm

Thanks, Guys.

Marleysky, I'm not really Marvelous Genius. If I appear genius, other than in my own self promotion, it's because I stand on the shoulders of others.  The true Genius is Danny Chapman, the guy over in England who wrote the PicaSim program and gives it away free on his website.  It's free for PCs on the website, although I highly recommend the PayPal "Donate" button, and PicaSim also has both a free version and a pay version on Google Play for Android phones.  The Apple Apps store version for iPhones is pay only.

All I really did was take a USB joystick and kit (stick) bash it into something convenient and portable so I can take it wherever I want.  I've used it at work and taken it to the flying field.  When not taking it places, I keep it clamped to my table next to my computer monitor so I can put a couple of flights on it before going to bed.  Hopefully I'm getting my brain and my hand trained for inverted flight and the other maneuvers for when I finally get the time to go all the way out to the field to fly the real things.  As you can see from all the empty space in the box, it could be made much smaller.  I just decided a 6" x 6" x 2" box was about right.

The program for the PC will use any USB input device to control the planes in the program.  Danny Chapman recommends the USB RC trainer boxes to fly the planes, but that wouldn't help in developing the muscle memory for Control Line.  Others have also used a USB joystick.  The phone app versions use on-screen sticks you use your fingers to swipe around the screen with.  That way is too imprecise and has too much lag for me, though.  To use the box with a phone, you have to get an OTG (On-The-Go) cable to connect the USB cable to the phone's Micro-USB jack.  You can't use a regular USB to Micro USB cable because the OTG has a couple of internal wires jumpered together to work with the phone.

Next, I'm going to see if I can make a Bluetooth version so there are no cords involved other than the two lines from the control handle to the bellcrank.  I got a Bluetooth controller a couple of weeks ago for $26.00 to try out VR gaming, so I'll see what I can do with that before I order another one to take apart.

The Seer Mark
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Re: A Return to Genius

Post  londke3 on Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:42 pm

Very cool and way better than the original. Sam has that sim on his tablet and although it is helpful in training the handle you made is WAY better than anything out there. Kudos.
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Re: A Return to Genius

Post  Marleysky on Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:10 pm

Mark, you’re standing on the shoulders of those who came before you!! Here is some others geniuses idea I found on a website inthe Uk. While looking for the weatherman speed plan, the author found it on “Stunthanger”.



A bit more bulky than yours, But look at all those switched and levers!!
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Re: A Return to Genius

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