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  1. #1
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    FS9 and Potentiometer Inputs

    Greetings from Ireland!

    I stumbled across the forum shortly after i bought an Arduino Duemilanove. I'm experimenting at the moment to find the limitations and advantages of using this card towards building a home cockpit of my own. Having found your link2fs keys software I must say it is a godsend and absolute credit must be given to you for compiling something which many people will for sure find useful for a long time to come.

    While I have a fundamental understanding of electronics, like many the coding is something which if I would rather keep away from for as long as possible. I'm hoping that your knowledge in the arduino and coding area could answer the one question which has been on my mind since i got the arduino. That is: Is it yet possible to convert potentiometer readings into a value that can be read by software such as fs9 or even fsx in the novice-friendly manner in which link2fs keys is presented???

    If this question has been asked before I apologise, however the hours i spent trailing through the net have only yielded me very complex answers which are over my head.

    Thanks very much,

    James.

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    Re: FS9 and Potentiometer Inputs

    James... like you, I am trying to learn the limits of what the Arduino can and cannot do...

    Jim will need to comment on the software side of things... I'm not there yet

    As I understand the potentiometer, it will input an analog signal in the range of 0 to 1025 ( or something like that ). That signal can then be normalized, via your sketch (short easy code snipet placed on the arduino) to 0-255 ( or something like that )... which will allow you to output that signal, for example, to a servo... see example below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKj9jJgj8Pc <-- lots of arduino stuff on youtube

    So, yes, very easy to collect the potentiometer input, so I can only assume through Jim's software, that data can be collected and converted somehow??? but... I'm only assuming... and we know how that always ends up....

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  4. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job Jim NZ's Avatar
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    Re: FS9 and Potentiometer Inputs

    Hi guys and welcome to our wee corner of mycockpit.org ,, a lots going to happen here in the near future so get yourself prepared !!!

    James ,,, Thanks for your kind words ,,, Its always nice to know some-one appreciates ones work and it is of use to some-one.

    You never mentioned if the potentiometer was for joystick input or "other" stuff so I'll answer both.

    Potentiometers as joystick inputs ,,, I wont be going down that road because,, really ,, its just "re-inventing the wheel" and until the it gets sorted out as an easy way to make the Arduino have a USB HID label, it wont happen. (Making windows identify it as a joystick).
    It can be done another way and that is "forcing" into windows and make it think its a joystick ,,, again ,, at this stage ,, I'm not going there. But,,, there is a program that does just that and it called PPjoy (google it) which some other guys are playing with.

    Other joystick options are ,,,
    Wreck a cheapy USB joystick and use the board inside to do what you want.
    http://wiki.simple-solutions.de/en/p...aze/Arcaze-USB
    http://www.leobodnar.com/products/BU0836X/
    I havent played with iether of the above cards but they are input cards only ,,, where the Arduino shines is it can do input and output but ,, allas,, it cant mimic a joystick at this stage.

    It would be possible to direct feed FSX via a small program and simconnect (or FS9 via a small program and FSUIPC) and not use the windows system ,, but to keep it "live" there would be a huge amount of data flowing from the Arduino to the computer and "lag",, which would just kill any advantage you were seeking.

    Potentiometers as "other" inputs (Flaps, throttle etc in flightsim) ,,, Yes quite do-able and I will be going down that road (for FSX only) later on. (Throttle consol and probably an auto throttle),, That is if some-one else doesnt beat me to it.

    Mndless ,, good find that video ,,, everyone should watch it just to see how easy it is to use the Arduino with servos. Marvelous stuff.

    Hope this answers your question James,, ,, Jim
    P.S. I hope you got the version beta3 of my keys program ,,, there were a few bugs in the beta2.
    www.jimspage.co.nz/intro.htm
    All this and Liz still loves me ! !

  5. #4
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    Re: FS9 and Potentiometer Inputs

    Not knowing the application, I concur with Jim - take apart a joystick and use the guts for your custom analog interface; this is my current set-up. The following link is not the one I found years ago, but it will give you an additional idea for research: http://home.comcast.net/~asunnet/joystick.html

    Personally, I would find it easier and serve the same purpose to let Windows and FS interpret the analog signal - as opposed to "reinventing the wheel" for FS analog inputs.

    Again, not knowing the application - I hope this helps and saves you tons of time.

  6. #5
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    Re: FS9 and Potentiometer Inputs

    Hi Guys,

    Many thanks for your replies. I should have stated in my initial post what I was hoping to use them for. My aim is to build a 737 sim without splashing out majorly for the fancy hardware addons - i hope that my own background as an Aeronautical Engineer will help me out in terms of being creative and realistic as well as providing me the fundamentals of electronics. I'm hoping to use potentiometers for pitch, yaw, roll, thrust, flaps (if poss - i dont know how I'm going to manage the idea of repeating one keystroke in the clockwise sense and another in the counter clockwise sense - like the F6 and F7 keys on FS9) and speedbrakes. - but not in the conventional manner.

    For Pitch and Roll: Should I get a suitable interface i hope to build 2 Boeing Style yokes, attached to an axis under the sim so that they move simultaneously in the pitch sense, and connected by belts for simultaneous movement in the roll sense. - Perhaps dismantling a joystick would be the best option here.

    For thrust - i hope to use at least 2 pots (havent decided how i'm going to work in the reversers yet - ideas welcome ) however I'm seriously considering just buying one of those CH yokes and replacing the levers with handles that look like boeing 737 style. I'll only buy the CH though if I can get the flaps and speedbrakes to work on the remaining handles (is this poss??)

    For yaw (rudder) I hope to have a similar simultaneous Cpt - FO system going using at least 1 pot (need to think more about how I'm going to get the diff brakes in).

    As for the Leos board you mentioned earlier - how exactly does that work? The beauty of your system Jim is that you can assign key combinations to the switches on the arduino board and assign those key combinations to MSFS via FSUIPC or even the simplistic in house Assignments option in FS' own settings page.

    Apologies for the novice questions, and as you can see from above I have many ideas at the moment but further research is needed as I have many questions. Please feel free to share your own thoughts or experience with me if you have the time.

    BW,

    James
    Last edited by Quartermaster340; 05-28-2011 at 11:23 AM. Reason: sp

  7. #6
    500+ This must be a daytime job Jim NZ's Avatar
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    Re: FS9 and Potentiometer Inputs

    James,, When I first started years ago,, I had an ordinary joystick and for throttles etc I used a board out of another joystick ,, now that worked great and FS finds them and you can assign various things that you want them to do in the FS settings page ,, the buttons too.

    As you have future plans for the expansion of your sim,, any effort you put in is a step toward the big picture you have in your head of where you are going. Plan ahead and start down the road with a solid footing,, so to speak.

    What I am getting at is ,,, most of the positions you are talking about with using potentiometer are critical and they need to be good, with a quick "in" to FS. That can only happen with using the FS joystick input options.,,, So,,, consider the 3 options in my last post and move towards your dream.

    Wrecking a USB joystick is the easiest (or wreck 2 ?) but the likes of Leo's card would be a more planned road to follow.,,, It takes potentiometer, buttons, rotary switchs and even rotary encoders and FS see's it as a joystick with buttons.
    As an input only card they are an amazing piece of kit. (Sadly I dont have one.)
    Look on his website for all the details. (Heaps of simmers use them)

    At this stage, dont worry about your Arduino ,, you will have millions of uses for it after you get the "base" of your sim started.

    What you have planned sounds great James ,,, we all started with nothing really and slowly learnt more and more until we had what we wanted. ,, well,, correction there ,,, it never finishes !!!!
    Take care James ,,,, Jim
    www.jimspage.co.nz/intro.htm
    All this and Liz still loves me ! !