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  1. #1
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    Microsoft FSX Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Hi Fellow Cockpitbuilders,

    I've been a big fan of Phidget cards, but i think i have found a new favourite, the Arduino Uno!.. This card lets me have 6 analog inputs driven with pots and a mixture of 13 digital inputs or outputs, of which the outputs can not only be used to drive LED's and relays, etc.. but also Servos and dc motors!!!! The best bit of all this card cost $30! the equivalent with Phidgets would set you back $150+..

    Anyway, i have written a small program to interface my hardware through the Arduino to FSX. Currently i am interfacing my ailerons,elevators and tiller, plus some push buttons, plus using a servo. If anyone out there is at a similar stage in their interfacing and is looking or has an arduino + a sensor shield and would like to help test this software.. please let me know... Here are some snaps of the early beta!

    a3.pnga1.jpga2.png

    Cheers
    Diego

  2. Thanks AK Mongo, zerog69 thanked for this post
  3. #2
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Diego,

    This is a very clean looking interface! How is it different than what Jim is doing with Link2fs though? I don't mean to sound ignorant, but am looking into arduino for servo/stepper powered gauges due to their cost and versatility.

    More info would be great!

    Reid
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
    N58243 (virtual)- Low and Slow...

  4. #3
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Hey Reid,

    I reallly havent looked into Linkfs too much, so i cant really comment. This program is meant to be very close to plug and play, from the upload of the required Arduino code, to the configuration of the inputs/outputs and servos. It uses FSUIPC to communicate to Flight Simulator. It logically divides the card into 3 sections, Analog inputs, digital inputs and servo outputs. You have access to 6 analog sensor inputs, 6 digital/switch inputs and 6 servo outputs. Each of these is configured via the UI. The servo page allows you to apply a condition on when the servo should be powered for example for configuring a TQ's autothrottle.

    Im believe Jim's program is more flexible in that it allows you to drive LCD displays and etc, where as my program is really built for converting inputs to Flight Simulator values and also powering servos...

    I'm still working through my beta code, but as mentioned before, i have the sensors connected to my control column, and the servo is connected to my yoke and uses a conditional expression to power on and off, so when the MCP is on and HDG or LNAV is selected, the servo moves my yoke.

    Cheers
    Diego

  5. #4
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    That is really a neat way to go!

    I would really like to build steam gauges for my GA setup. A user friendly interface to drive servos would be an outstanding start. Especially if it were arduino based instead of phidgets (much cheaper!)

    Can your software recognize more than 1 card, or could it be custom configured so it could for example notice no inputs but drive 18 servos?

    I presume you are using an Uno?

    Thanks for your efforts, you are doing a pretty neat thing!

    Reid
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
    N58243 (virtual)- Low and Slow...

  6. #5
    25+ Posting Member 737dragon's Avatar
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Quote Originally Posted by diegov View Post
    Hi Fellow Cockpitbuilders,

    I've been a big fan of Phidget cards, but i think i have found a new favourite, the Arduino Uno!.. This card lets me have 6 analog inputs driven with pots and a mixture of 13 digital inputs or outputs, of which the outputs can not only be used to drive LED's and relays, etc.. but also Servos and dc motors!!!! The best bit of all this card cost $30! the equivalent with Phidgets would set you back $150+..

    Anyway, i have written a small program to interface my hardware through the Arduino to FSX. Currently i am interfacing my ailerons,elevators and tiller, plus some push buttons, plus using a servo. If anyone out there is at a similar stage in their interfacing and is looking or has an arduino + a sensor shield and would like to help test this software.. please let me know... Here are some snaps of the early beta!

    a3.pnga1.jpga2.png

    Cheers
    Diego
    Am I very very interested in his software, have Aruduino Uno, Mega, and the MAx7219 and AS1106 to control LEds\Displays, PCB is made and I am interested in your soft, you can give me more information??

    Here you have my mail 737dragon@gmail.com
    Oscar Cancho - Guadalajara -(Spain)
    www.xpandt.com

  7. #6
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Hey Reid,

    At the moment it is limited to one card per PC. I would have to figure out a way to allow multiple modules to work correctly on 1 PC independently of which com port it is connected to. Or i may look at upgrading the code to also work with the Mega which allows for more outputs. This requires a little more work as the Arduino itself has to be programmed and as you have pointed out, im only using the Uno at the moment, so small steps.

    The one thing i have noticed is that to power more than 1 servo, you will need to wire in an external power supply as the onboard regulator will start to get really hot and possibly burn out above 1 amp. This is where phidgets servo card shines, its onboard regulator will hand up to 12 amps..., but its not a big problem i think, especially as the arduino card is so cheap!

    Oscar,

    Ill post a link to the beta in the next couple of days.. just cleaning up some code and you can have a play and let me know what you think.

    Cheers
    Diego

  8. #7
    25+ Posting Member 737dragon's Avatar
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Quote Originally Posted by diegov View Post
    Hey Reid,

    At the moment it is limited to one card per PC. I would have to figure out a way to allow multiple modules to work correctly on 1 PC independently of which com port it is connected to. Or i may look at upgrading the code to also work with the Mega which allows for more outputs. This requires a little more work as the Arduino itself has to be programmed and as you have pointed out, im only using the Uno at the moment, so small steps.

    The one thing i have noticed is that to power more than 1 servo, you will need to wire in an external power supply as the onboard regulator will start to get really hot and possibly burn out above 1 amp. This is where phidgets servo card shines, its onboard regulator will hand up to 12 amps..., but its not a big problem i think, especially as the arduino card is so cheap!

    Oscar,

    Ill post a link to the beta in the next couple of days.. just cleaning up some code and you can have a play and let me know what you think.

    Cheers
    Diego
    I wait for the link of the thread, some manual of since your system works?, thank you very much
    Oscar Cancho - Guadalajara -(Spain)
    www.xpandt.com

  9. #8
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Diego,

    Thanks for your replies. I have ordered an Uno from Ebay, and would be very interested in playing with your software! Cost me less than $20 US. It is definitely worth a look at that price.

    I have noticed on some Arduino threads that the servo power is an issue, but does not seem too huge.

    How big a problem would it be for your software to allow access to all 18 pins for servos? This would allow me to cover all of the non-complex gauges in my pit.

    Thanks for your generosity in allowing us to have access to your work!

    Reid
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
    N58243 (virtual)- Low and Slow...

  10. #9
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    Hi Diego-

    Great work - nice to see some Arduino action. Echoing other sentiments - thank you for your willingness to share.

    I'm a little behind you - I've just gotten a basic wrapper working to connect to FSX and move a basic servo. I goto to reading through Mike's X25 stepper motor article and decided that this may be the way to go so the software's taken a bit of a back seat while I try and work out how to get that interface working. The theory is fine but I've yet to find a resource that defines the pin connections for those X25.168's!

    You have caused me to pause though. I'd hoped to be able to attach multiple arduino's on multiple Com ports.

    I eagerly await the link for your beta too - I may have missed it (in which case, I apologize) but what language are you developing in?

    Thanks again in anticipation.

    Sincerely,

    Sean

  11. #10
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    Re: Arduino Interface Program DVA2FSX

    OK guys,

    Below is the link to the beta. Unzip into a directory and run the exe. This is written in C# .net and requires the .NET 3.5 framework.

    Before you use this program you should have some familiarity with the Arduino and i recommend you at least do one of the included tutorials to get familiar with how it works.

    My setup is an Arduino UNO with a Sensor Shield v4, to simplify connection to analog pots and servos.

    Couple of simple things when using A2FSX:
    1. Make sure you install your arduino drivers and can see the board from the Arduino IDE.
    2. When you start A2FSX you will need to upload my firmware to the board.. You can do this via the TOOLS menu.
    3. Serial interfaces are a little funny and sloow. The card was not really designed to be constantly connected to the serial interface with a lot of information pumping back and forth. The interface was to provide a delivery method to upload code. So while i have tried to take as much care as possible to limit serial communication and provide a level of error checking, the program may hang, which will then require a restart.. In saying this, it has been very stable on my system.
    4. Digital PIN allocation is currently hard coded. I could change this in future. But at the moment, PINS 2-7 are for INPUT, PINS 8-13 are for servo connections.

    Configuration of sensors through the UI should be fairly self explanatory. Just set Mins and Max for Pots and Servos. then provide the FSUIPC offsets you wish to work with..

    Any questions let me know.

    Cheers

    Diego

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/yhk1dt

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