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ButtKicker Setup

Started by FredK, June 11, 2020, 05:24:07 am

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FredK

I am contemplating installing a ButtKicker setup for my cockpit.

In that regard I am interested in knowing how others have implemented the placement of the transducer for their cockpit seats.  Pictures?  How to attach? What works best?  What to avoid? Etc.

Right now I am using a subwoofer that is integrated into the rear of my pedestal arrangement that does provide some vibrational effect, but I want to augment that.

Thanks,
Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

navymustang

I created a mounting plate of 1/4 inch aluminum and attached to the bottom of each seat cushion assembly. Then drove each ButtKicker in stereo from  my main amp so that I could simulate left and right engine start up vibrations. It gave a very realistic sensation.
My 737-800 full-scale cockpit is complete and been put in storage (for sale). Now onto my full-size helicopter project. An AOPA member and LifeTime member of National Association of Flight Instructors. Please note that I am a self-employed professional cockpit builder that provides consulting to defense contractors and civilian schools and airlines.

bernard S

June 11, 2020, 04:24:34 pm #2 Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 04:28:42 pm by bernard S
i am a dealer for butt kickers shock and horror   i use 4 in my deck  the big ones on outside of my seats   (because they are electric..  i suggest reach out to misty blue he installed the smaller versions rather neatly .. it all depends on how far you want to go with sounds .. remember butt kickers move air not sounds  for sounds i run i think exculding cockpit spkers  6 huge jbl.s through 3 amps with a 10 channel mixer  make sure you isolate the transducers or yiu will.shake your deck to bits ...ambient sounds are very different to.other sounds with a sim ..apund on the whole is more imporatant than motion it is over 20 percent of the immersion just saying so this needs to be managed

FredK

Yeah...vibration isolation is an aspect that I am scratching my head about. My projectors are mounted on a bridge kind of structure resting between the top of my external cockpit skeleton and the top of my projection screen. I really do not want to shake those puppies.  However I think that the way I have the overall cockpit housing constructed there should be enough isolation/damping with the transducers mounted at the seats. Only one way to know for sure though.

Any thoughts on special software? For example, to have the transducers driven by events rather than sound output....or a combination thereof? For example, BFF Shaker software or Opus software etc.?

Fred K

Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

sagrada737

The "ButtKicker" product is really an audio transducer, minus the speaker element.  Therefore, it "physically moves" what it is mounted to.

Having quality sound in our Sims, strategically located is very important.  But when we desire to create "Sim vibration" we need another solution.   The so-called ButtKicker is an off-the-shelf solution that will work with any type of low frequency audio output, or something like the BFF Shaker module that syncs with specific types of vibration generated by our Sims, eg. taxi, takeoff, engine, etc.

As for where to locate the ButtKicker transducer module, I have found that mounting the tranducer directly on the back of the seat in a lateral position to be the most effective.   This way, you don't need to buy an large, powerful transducer and drive system.   You only need to purchase a low power system.  ButtKicker has a variety of systems, but I find their Seat Control setup perfect.  Here's a link:

https://thebuttkicker.com/buttkicker-individual-seat-control-system-bka-130-c-2-mini-lfe/

The input to this system is easily accomplished by using the BFF Shaker card using their FTDI Chipset USB-TTL Data Cable.   That's all you need hardware wise.  The BFF Shaker software manages user set vibration levels for your Sim.

http://bffsimulation.com/BFF_Shaker.php

As for mounting a ButtKicker type of transducer to the flight deck...   I think this is a poor solution.  Yes, it shakes the hell out of your flight deck, but doesn't do much good for your Sim components/modules.  In truth, with this type of installation, you really don't get the effect of Sim vibration in your body, as the Sim structure is dampening out much of the subtle ground/air specific vibrations.   In essence, you get a jumble of vibration.

Locating the transducers on the seat backs is the way to go.  Using the smaller ButtKicker transducers makes it also very easy to hide them.  In any case, going this route provides the best possible human/vibration interaction with your Sim for these low frequency events, without the major dampening of a flight deck mounted arrangement.  Try it...   You'll like it!

As for shaking your projectors...   Don't worry, as they are quite isolated from the audio transducers.  Seat mounted transducers, mounted about mid-position on the back of the seat where you lower back rests, is the best position.  It's amazing how a person's lower back is a focal point for seat vibrations.

Anyway...  Those are  a few of my thoughts on this thread.

Mike
P3d v3.x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT180 projection display driven by a single nvidia GTX980.

sagrada737

June 12, 2020, 03:40:23 pm #5 Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 03:45:07 pm by sagrada737
Here is a pic of my setup on Weber seats...   Notice that these small ButtKicker transducers are mounted to a right angle aluminum plate 0.09" thick.   This allows for enhanced movement of the transducer as the bracket "flexes" a bit, inducing more effective vibration into the seat, and into your body.  Simple, but very effective with the BFF Shaker card.
P3d v3.x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT180 projection display driven by a single nvidia GTX980.

FredK

Guys...Many thanks for all the inputs.

Mike's arrangement with the transducer at right angles is interesting.  The design of my Weber seats does not provide an option for me to mount it at the seat back like that, but there is a similar metal plate that is positioned below the back rest (just below the seat height). That might work even better.

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

bernard S

June 13, 2020, 08:46:12 am #7 Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 08:48:54 am by bernard S
rubber grommets between kicker and plate should be put in   you will get a much more immersive push  and if you use big ones they will shake you whole deck 

sagrada737

June 14, 2020, 03:16:56 pm #8 Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 03:20:42 pm by sagrada737
Let's think a little bit about what we want a audio trandsucer (ButtKicker) to accomplish.   It is really all about inducing specific vibrations into our Sim environment.

Now...   What in our Sims needs or desires vibration?   Your MIP certainly doesn't need destructive vibration.   Your monitors or projectors certainly don't need destructive vibration.   What do they care anyway?  The fact is, they don't care.  These electro-mechanical components simply put up with the vibration, and if they can tolerate it, they might survive.

However, the fact is that most of our Sims are not real Flight Decks, like Bernards and others.  To get Bernard's 747 flight deck to vibrate requires a very heavy amount of vibration induced into the flight deck.

But when we consider that it is the people flying the Sim that "desire" some realistic air/ground flight vibration.  Why?  Because it adds to the Sim immersion experience.  This becomes a different requirement if we don't want unwanted vibrations to get into our Sim hardware.  Essentially, all we need is to "pick-off" the vibrations we want, and have them induced into our body.  Placement of the Transducer on the Seat is the most effective way to accomplish this.

If we place the Transducer in other locations, then the vibrations must travel through hardware to get to our body.  It will be the case when the Transducer is located elsewhere other than the seat, the vibrations will be severely dampened by the time they get to your body that is sitting in the seat.  Also, it is important to note that along with dampening, the vibration fidelity will be compromised and lose some of its integrity.

So...   Place the transducer at some mid-point on the back of your seat.  Have the Transducer mounted such that it is active in the lateral axis.  One reason for mounting the Transducer on an "extended bracket" hard bolted to the seat frame via a mounting plate make of 3/4" plywood to disperse the vibration across the seat back (as shown in the photo above), is to allow the bracket to flex a bit to help enhance the Transducer's vibrations.  This way, you will get the maximum effect of the Transducer vibration induced into your body, specifically the lower back area.

One of the advantages of using the BFF Shaker card/software is that it allows the User to selectively set the type of vibration and its magnitude, which is then sent out to the Transducer (where ever it is mounted).   As I mentioned before, BFF Shaker and ButtKicker transducers make for a good combo solution.  I do not suggest that you use "audio" feed to drive the transducer, as it is broadband and not selective, typically only providing a mesh of low frequency vibrations.

In any case, folks do what they want to do.   Part of the fun!   I'm just sharing my experience in what I have found to be the easiest, lowest cost, effective way to add realistic flight vibrations into the Sim experience.



P3d v3.x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT180 projection display driven by a single nvidia GTX980.

zillmer

I concur with Mike, I have more or less exactly the same setup, with the transducer mounted to the seat and using the BFF shaker card. The vibration is obvious whilst sitting in the seat, but doesn't travel much beyond the seat assembly so the rest of the flight deck is more or less unaffected.

The BFF card I have supports 2 separate transducers (one for each seat) and the software is highly configurable so the absolute level of the vibrations, and the level of each individual vibration is tunable.

The BFF software provides vibration cues for, amongst other things:

Engine start and running.
Gear extension and retraction thumps
Flap and spoilers extension
Flap and spoilers induced turbulence
Atmospheric turbulence
Ground related bumps on taxi and runway

Each is separately configurable in a number of different ways.

I wasn't entirely sure before I invested in it how much difference it would make to the immersion, but now I have it it is indispensable. If I neglect to run the BFF software, I notice as soon as I start the engines and I have to leave the flight deck to start it.

The sense of accelerating down the runway feeling the ground thumps increasing in frequency together with the vibration of the engines, and then the ground bumps ceasing as the plane lifts off, followed by the feeling of the gear retraction is just fantastic.

Simon.

FredK

Thanks guys.....all this is helpful!

Simon...Do you also have the transducer mounted at right angles like Mike has?

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

mickc

Throwing my hat in the ring here, similar setup to most.
2x Buttkickr LFEs mounted to the base of the Ipeco seats. 
I used aluminium bar, mounted to the seat base via rubber isolation washers.
Everything clears the other components through the seats range of height adjustment.
No pocket in the back like the Webers so the underside was the only option. The seat base & back are solidly joined via shafts so the effect carries across well to the whole seat.

Although there is probably not much difference in operation, I was told by the manufacturers that the Buttkickr was not meant to be mounted horizontally as it would not be as effective, and wear out much quicker.

sagrada737

June 15, 2020, 05:08:41 am #12 Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 05:12:30 am by sagrada737
I forgot to mention...   The BFF Shaker software is able to support two (2) BFF Shaker cards.  That means you can further customize and expand additional Transducers. 

I have tested this setup, but found that for my Sim, the only vibration I needed was through the seat.  Hence only one BFF Shaker card needed.

By the way...   The BFF Shaker/ButtKicker Transducers sync nicely with the behavior of the 6dof Motion Platform.  For example, when taxiing, the motion platform will sense the taxiway bumps and move accordingly, with the Transducer adding specific vibrations through the seats to sync with the taxiway bumps.  The effect really adds to the sense of immersion.

The Nose Wheel on a 737 is slightly aft of the pilots.  This subjects the cockpit to a lot of taxiway/runway vibrations.  You can easily see this in 737 cockpit videos during taxi/takeoff/landing.   Especially upon landing and roll-out, cockpit vibrations are fairly intense. 

I should report that my 6dof Motion Platform is true to this behavior, and I have had to "tone it down" to keep from shaking the Sim to pieces.  I have it set now where the flight deck is protected from major jolts, but when the wheels touch down, you definitely know you have landed... :)

One more thing...   If you buy the BFF solution, be sure to purchase the BFF Shaker software with the Dongle version and buy a spare BFF Shaker card.  Hardware System backups are important too.

Mike
P3d v3.x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT180 projection display driven by a single nvidia GTX980.

FredK

Any comments about using the BFF Shaker Card V1 vs. V2?

The V2 card eliminates the need for an amplifier; it requires only a separate power source.  So a simpler setup. With the V2 you do not have the option of the remote controller gadget of course, but once things are tuned you really do not have to adjust on the fly.  The actual input software appears to be the same....so no advantages/disadvantages there.  So I am inclined to go with the V2 card.  Am I missing something I need to know?

For the V2 card what power source input to drive two ButtKicker mini-LFEs? I am thinking 24V/8Amp should do the trick.

Thanks,
Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

bernard S

amp and mixer are your friends

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