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Interfacing Precision Flight Controls ??

Started by n4208t, February 24, 2020, 09:39:32 am

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n4208t

Wonder if anyone out there can offer some advice/help?  Finally have the space to rebuild my sim with dual controls.  I bought a dual control (and dual linked rudder) Precision Flight Controls setup on a government auction (cheap !!) a few years ago from the University of Iowa.  It is the old serial port model.  I would like to take it apart and use the dual yoke setup and interface it with something to be able to use it for P3D and X-Plane.  I do not want to use the old board from PFC.  Would also like to do the same with the dual linked rudder pedals.  But I do not have a clue where to begin.

I assume this is some sort of electro-mechanical interface.  Is this something that an Arduino or Rasberry Pi or other type of relatively inexpensive modern board can handle? How does it connect?  Anyone done anything like this or know where there might be some info/guidance?  The old sim is just sitting in my garage so I have nothing to lose if I screw it up but the controls really are nice and the rudders are beautiful, much nicer and heavier than the single USB rudders that PFC sells.

Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks.  Feel free to contact me.

Steve (N4208T)

ame

Hi there,

All you need is some analogue signals, representing the position of the yoke and other parts, right?

There's probably a lot of information on the web, maybe even something specific to the hardware you actually have. However, if you don't know where to start then that information is no use to you yet.

Not having seen what you have is no impediment to me speculating wildly.

Since you already have a serial interface board then there's probably something connected to it. Why not use that board?

Generally the yoke and other mechanisms will drive a potentiometer (or "pot"), which is a transducer whose resistance varies as the angle of its input shaft changes. The resistance is measured by a circuit (called an analogue to digital converter, or ADC) and converted to a numeric value which is sent to the simulator software.

If you look closely at your hardware you can probably identify the potentiometers. Rotary models are about 20mm diameter with a central shaft sticking out and three wires. Linear models are small rectangular metal boxes with a slot in the top. The pots will be wired back to the interface card.

You might find that the pots and serial card can be made to work with your current sim. If not, you can replace them. Or keep the pots and replace just the card.

You might not have pots. You might have some different transducer, but basically the design is like this:

moving part -> transducer -> ADC -> data -> communication -> sim

Have a good look and report back.

KyleH

Hello Steve,

You don't need to be programing an Arduino or anything for this.
All you need it to replace the serial board with a USB joystick interface card. They are available from several vendors, and you should be able to find lots of info online on how to hook up the pot's and switches to them.

Kyle

Chief Pilot
Worldflight Team USA
http://www.worldflightusa.com

Trevor Hale

Quote from: KyleH on February 24, 2020, 11:42:55 amHello Steve,

You don't need to be programing an Arduino or anything for this.
All you need it to replace the serial board with a USB joystick interface card. They are available from several vendors, and you should be able to find lots of info online on how to hook up the pot's and switches to them.


Quick and easy is to order a Leo Bodnar X36 Card.  simple, it looks like a regular joystick to windows, and you rewire the pots to the new card.  We can help you.

Step by step. You will need to buy a multimeter though. 

Trev
Trevor Hale

Owner
http://www.cockpitbuilders.com

Director of Operations
Worldflight Team USA
http://www.worldflightusa.com

VATSIM:

n4208t

THANK YOU!!!   That is fantastic.  I actually have some limited experience with two Leo Bodnar BU386 boards that I am using for the King Air throttle quadrant I got from NavyMustang a couple of years ago.

This gives me a lot of incentive and hope to start taking the big sim apart.

Thanks again Trevor.  I will do some research on line and hope you do not mind if I get stuck and ask some questions.

Steve

rw

February 26, 2020, 01:05:32 am #5 Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 01:08:40 am by rw
Hi Steve,

I converted an old PFC jetliner yoke that had a serial port interface and had noisy potentiometers.

I used a Leo Bodnar card to interface and found potentiometers that were a drop-in replacement. They are actually Hall Effect sensor pots so very low noise and wear.

Part was TT ELECTRONICS / BI TECHNOLOGIES 6127V (note that different locations in the PFC use different angles of movement, so be sure to select the right ones).

Attached are some pictures of the conversion process that may be helpful

n4208t


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