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rockgardenlove
07-01-2008, 01:27 PM
I'm building a flight control box. I have control for 8 sliders/knobs and 32 buttons. My IL2 installation is a few thousand miles away so I'm having some trouble figuring out what parts to order. If you kind folks could lend a hand I would really appreciate it.

For the buttons, I need to figure out how many toggles and push button switches I need. For this, I really just need a list of all the controls. If somebody could be so kind as to take screen shots of the controls (or type them, though that's more work - I have no preference) that would be a huge help.

For the sliders/knobs, I need to figure out how many controls can be controlled with analog controls. Can trim and engine mixture be set to analog controls? Can prop pitch?

Thanks!

Uufflakke
07-01-2008, 01:46 PM
Maybe this Sim Pit Builder/Stick Modder Thread will help you out.
A lot of info about making your own stuff from rudder pedals to complete cockpits and even control boxes.

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/49310655/m/3821084134

Urufu_Shinjiro
07-01-2008, 02:10 PM
I beleive there is a .pdf with all the controls listed, maybe someone would be kind enough to post a DL link for it? I'm at work or I would.

mmitch10
07-01-2008, 02:26 PM
For sliders, there are obviously the joystick axes (aelerons, elevator, rudders) but you no doubt have a joystick for that.

For CEM there's throttle, propellor pitch and flaps (shhh http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif)

For trim there's all three trim axes. I recommend using 10 turn pots for these, 270? turn pots will be far too sensitive and you won't be able to set trim.

It is possible to put mixture on a slider, but it's kind of a fiddle. Basically you use software to map the 10 mixture keystrokes to 'bands' on your mixture slider, see here http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/2281015255/p/2

As for buttons...there are so many...take your pick! I've got prop pitch auto, WEP, engine toggle, radiators, wheel lock, super charger up/down, airbrakes, landing geat, pit lights, nav lights, landing lights and reticle dimmer on buttons. Oh, and rockets and bombs under hat switches because I'm a big kid. I'll keep upgrading, add more buttons for chocks, wing fold etc, and a rotary encoder for manual gear.

Good luck!

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee214/mmitch10/08Maize.2015.jpg

rockgardenlove
07-01-2008, 02:47 PM
There's an analog flaps control :O
Wow...no idea.
Thanks! That's really helpful. And how did you make the control levers there? Those are really cool.
Cheers!

idonno
07-01-2008, 05:22 PM
IL2 1946 PDF files from Mission4Today.com (http://mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads&get=2491&mirror=3111)

rockgardenlove
07-01-2008, 06:36 PM
Wow, thanks a great deal!

mmitch10
07-02-2008, 01:14 AM
Originally posted by rockgardenlove:
There's an analog flaps control :O
Wow...no idea.
Thanks! That's really helpful. And how did you make the control levers there? Those are really cool.
Cheers!

The levers are a bit "Blue Peter" (sorry for the meaningless reference if you're not British)

I mounted a threaded bar between two plates, and then mounted 4 lollipop sticks on the bar. a small hole at the bottom of each stick was used to affix stiff wire (ok, it was a bent paperclip), which connected to a linear slider pot. I used this system because space was limited. The main disadvantage of this set-up is that you don't get an absolutely linear response to the lever movement (because the end of the lever moves in an arc, but the slider moves linearly).


So overall, I used 4 linear slider pots and 3 multiturn pots. Anyway, I've dug out a picture to give you a better idea.

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee214/mmitch10/Quadrant015.jpg

Note that the nuts and rubber washers were used to control tension. I've had it for a year now (I think), and haven't had to adjust these yet.

Sokol__1
07-03-2008, 07:55 AM
IL2 allows 10 control by axis:

1 - Power (throttle)
2 - Aileron
3 - Elevator
4 - Rudder
5 - Flaps
6 - Brake
7 - Prop pitch
8 - Aileron trim
9 - Elevator trim
10- Rudder trim

If your USB controller supports encoders (Ie. BU0836 made after 12/2007, Plasma V2...) you are allow to:

Control Mixture by lever, in 10% increments.

And maybee Manual Landig Gear...

Sokol1

rockgardenlove
07-06-2008, 11:02 AM
Thanks for the list, that's really helpful. I guess I'll just have to hack mixture using keymapping software like other people have. And those levers are really impressive! How smooth quite is the movement of the levers? And isn't the control more sensitive at different points in the rotation?

Thanks!

mmitch10
07-06-2008, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by rockgardenlove:
....How smooth quite is the movement of the levers? And isn't the control more sensitive at different points in the rotation?

Thanks!

Yep, as mentioned above, the response isn't linear. A small movement of the lever at either end of the lever's throw gives quite a big movement in the response (e.g. the top, say 10% of the throttle lever's range of motion will change in-game throttle from 85 to 100%). This can be mitigated by building much larger levers and using longer slider pots but, like I said, the main reason I went with this design was because I needed to get as much as possible in as small a space as possible.

Of course, another option is to attach a rotary pot directly to the pivot point of the lever..but most rotary pots have a 270? throw, so you're unlikely to be able to use the full range of motion of the pot. You can compensate for this using software such as Joy Control.

rockgardenlove
07-06-2008, 05:12 PM
Alright!
I'm making some progress on the levers. I think I'll use gears. I did a demo using Legos, and it worked out really nicely. Some pics:
http://img370.imageshack.us/img370/2740/scaleddsc03583ju0.jpg

http://img370.imageshack.us/img370/2892/scaleddsc03586eq2.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqcKqerERhk
(I need to fix the quality, it's terrible.)

BadA1m
07-06-2008, 05:30 PM
Brilliant Rock! I would love to see the video, I get a "removed by user" message.

Mitch, I love your control box! I wonder, how do you keep track of how many turns you have in on your trim wheels? I.E. so that you can "zero out" when changing aircraft or starting a new flight.

Keep up the good work guys!

rockgardenlove
07-06-2008, 05:32 PM
Yeah, the video was terrible quality so I'm reuploading it but it's taking a while to export. I'll edit this post when it's up. Should be 15-25 minutes if you want to check back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqcKqerERhk
There it is!

Cheers! Thanks for the comments!

mmitch10
07-07-2008, 01:00 AM
Originally posted by BadA1m:
Mitch, I love your control box! I wonder, how do you keep track of how many turns you have in on your trim wheels? I.E. so that you can "zero out" when changing aircraft or starting a new flight.

Keep up the good work guys!

Simple answer...I can't.

The way I do it is to turn the trims all the way and then 5 complete turns back to the middle at the start of each mission. I'm told that you can buy 10-turn pots with a centre detent so you get a positive feel when you're at the mid-point, if I ever see 'em I'll buy 'em!

To be honest, it's not too much trouble resetting manually because I mostly fly the 109, so only need to worry about elevator trim. Having said that, I've just started a Finnish campaign using the Gladiator so I need to manually centre all of the trim axes before each mission http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

julian265
07-07-2008, 01:31 AM
Nice work with the leggo - that's some lateral thinking!

Here's what I use for a throttle. It now has another pot, as my new stick doesn't have a throttle, hence another analog input was free.

http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/julian265/il2/DSCN2672.jpg

I use the BU0836, and it looks like you are too from the 8/32 capability.

I've made a new stick and pedals, so rewired the 0836 box after realising a few things since the original installation.

Here's what I came up with. The outside of the box has two DB25 sockets, (as used for parallel ports), both giving access to ALL of the 0836's inputs (23 pins required). I then run a standard printer port cable to each device. I use one for the stick, and one for the throttle. So I can plug and unplug devices from the 0836 easily, and share inputs, as is needed if you have the same button matrix rows and columns used in different devices. This setup would allow you to easily swap as many different devices as you'd want, without any soldering after the initial setup.

http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/julian265/il2/unistick/bu0836_box.jpg

The board shown is NOT the one Leo Bodnar supplies... I bought the chip alone and put it in my own board. So don't let this mess put you off the 0836! I just thought that this initial effort would pay off in ease and flexibility in future.

mmitch10
07-07-2008, 02:04 AM
Julian, that's very neat...I like the flexibility. So in theory you can have different control boxes with just switches and pots, nothing else. That's very flexible. So I guess you could have a control box for IL2, another for SOW (when it comes out), another for LOMAC etc etc, all with a single controller. I might have to "borrow" some of your ideas when my control box gets a redesign, as it does every 6 months or so.

rockgardenlove
07-07-2008, 04:36 AM
Nice modular design...I am thinking about doing something like that too, since I don't have 32 buttons and 8 axes to actually use either. I was thinking about making a bombsight control box...that strikes me as really handy. Can any bombsight controls be assigned to axes? Are these good candidates for rotary encoders? It seems a bombsight control module would be as there are no knobs that need to stay oriented correctly or anything. I never use the bombsight now because it's such a pain to fly the plane and mess with the keyboard. Maybe this would make it possible for me.

I am also adding these buttons to my main panel, which I forgot earlier.
Level Autopilot (on/off toggle)
Reticle Dimmer (on/off toggle)
Cockpit Lights (on/off toggle)
Nav. Lights (on/off toggle)
Landing Light (on/off toggle)

In other Lego news, I figured out a way to hack the mixture using a slider switch. I don't actually think I'll use it though, as BOB will hopefully have an analog mix control, and then it would just be annoying. But here's a vid if somebody else is interested:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PORJ-w5ub7s
It uses a rack and pinion gearing setup to slide the switch. Works nicely.
I think I have also found the optimal gear source too:
http://www.robotobjects.com/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=39#spur-gears
This site's catalog is actually manageable, seems to have the right stuff, and will even tap the gears for setting screws for a little tip. Sounds good!

Along with the BU0836, I also am going to solder up one of these guys:
http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/howto/mind.htm
I had the chips and parts laying around, so I'm just doing it for kicks. I need to pick up some more perf board though. Will do tomorrow.

Cheers!

julian265
07-07-2008, 06:42 AM
Have you thought about using hall effect sensors? (not the premade ones, just a magnet and sensor)

I recently found a way to get almost perfectly linear output from them... for about $5. I didn't come up with it, but I haven't noticed the arrangement being used before for joysticks. I'm in the process of writing a little guide... It's too good not to share!

bolox00
07-07-2008, 06:50 AM
i've been using rotary encoders for bombsight alt and speed for 6 months now and works well for me.
as you can't use axes seems to be the nearest approximation to reality

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff27/bolox00/pit/lh1.jpg

just visible in top right panel (on lhs).
basic and one day i'll put gears on them for a thumbwheel type operation.

rotary switch does autopilot/off/level autopilot using press/release keyboard emulation.

i use alot of IDC conectors and ribbon cable between different panels, quick and easy (and my soldering isn't the best http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/sadeyes.gif )

mmitch10
07-07-2008, 07:57 AM
bolox00, that's a great looking pit. I'd be going for something similar if I didn't need something small and portable. Where do you get your parts? In particular I'm wondering about the throttle and the black box with the wooden knob...looks like an old Bakelite fuse box!

Sokol__1
07-07-2008, 08:49 AM
I also am going to solder up one of these guys:
http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/howto/mind.htm
I had the chips and parts laying around, so I'm just doing it for kicks. I need to pick up some more perf board though. Will do tomorrow.

Rockgard,

This scheme in Fligthsim is outdated - but work - a improved version of Mjoy(8) is found here:
http://mercury13.tut.su/

The page is in russian, but is "readablle" with translator, and the autor, Mercury, help us in english.

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fme...&ie=UTF8&sl=ru&tl=en (http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fmercury13.tut.su%2F&hl=pt-BR&ie=UTF8&sl=ru&tl=en)

One PCB design show in the page upper is mine. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I build 5/6 these for about $15 each, work fine.
Is very easy do do - if you know how build PCBs.

If your need more buttons, build a Mjoy16 (the only diference is the MCU, and for me plus ~ 3 U$), support up to 116 buttons, include 16 toggles switchs and 4 rotary encoders.

Almost all about Mjoy 8/16 denvelopment are found in russian foruns
like: http://forum.sukhoi.ru/showthread.php?t=24406

===============================================


and the black box with the wooden knob...looks like an old Bakelite fuse box!


Mmitch10,

I think that thing is a half base of old Thrustmaster WCS. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sokol1

bolox00
07-07-2008, 10:13 AM
throttle is Tarmac Aces, the 'fuse box' is actually half an old thrustmaster wcs11 throttle with a wooden ball on the end from B&Q, works currently as flap lever. ali 'L' section also from B&Q
rest of bits are from Maplins and RS wired into a Betainnovations plasmalite and expansion card (88 buttons http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif )

not very portable but takes up the same space as the computer desk setup i had previously.

rockgardenlove
07-07-2008, 12:09 PM
Hi Sokol,
What quite are the changes/improvements on that site? I see what changes in the schematic, I'm just not sure what they mean in terms of performance. What is wrong with the original that this improves on?

Thanks for all the comments! Good to know about the rotary encoders too.

Sokol__1
07-07-2008, 01:50 PM
What quite are the changes/improvements on that site? I see what changes in the schematic, I'm just not sure what they mean in terms of performance

These news scheme and frmwares for Mjoy have a more pasive componets for better filtering for noise in axis and to avoid ghost buttons, are versions with/without auto-calibration (I prefer without). Versions with 4, 6 axis. For racing sims, trains sims...

These article in Flightssim are posted by Mindaugas (MeanDog) at the same time (~2004) he began the long topic in AviaForum, that result in various mods -in response to problems found -in original Mjoy.

The Mjoy is widely used in the Russian SIM community and vicinity, but was virtually ignored outside. Well, I am not Russian, and use it about two years ago. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Sokol1

rockgardenlove
07-07-2008, 02:51 PM
Thanks very much. Could I do something like load on the updated firmware but not change the circuitry? Or would that not be compatible?

Thanks

rockgardenlove
07-08-2008, 02:59 AM
Hi,
I'm a little bit stuck. I finished the soldering and stuff, and tried to program it, and it flashed correctly, but it isn't being recognized by the computer. I didn't use the 3.3v zener diodes because I didn't have any. Might this be the problem?

Thanks

Sokol__1
07-08-2008, 08:04 AM
Rockgard,

Dont mix new firmwares whit old eletrical schemes, the output pins have diferent use.

I dont know about the omitted zeners...
I set my MJoy's "following the book" without problems.
Dont use USB cables borrow from keyboard or mouse, they suffer interferences. Printer cables are fine.

Sokol1

rockgardenlove
07-08-2008, 12:36 PM
Erm, I used a cable from an old digital camera. Do you think that will work?

Instead of doing version 1.4 with slightly-wrong hardware, I have reverted to the original version and will try the original firmware.

Sokol__1
07-08-2008, 03:15 PM
I used a cable from an old digital camera. Do you think that will work?

This cabble are OK, they are shielded.

Good luck.

Sokol1

rockgardenlove
07-08-2008, 06:58 PM
Alright! I got it working! I'm going to test it, and then see if it needs the updates.

the_soupdragon
07-18-2008, 07:36 AM
Originally posted by mmitch10:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by rockgardenlove:
There's an analog flaps control :O
Wow...no idea.
Thanks! That's really helpful. And how did you make the control levers there? Those are really cool.
Cheers!

The levers are a bit "Blue Peter" (sorry for the meaningless reference if you're not British)

I mounted a threaded bar between two plates, and then mounted 4 lollipop sticks on the bar. a small hole at the bottom of each stick was used to affix stiff wire (ok, it was a bent paperclip), which connected to a linear slider pot. I used this system because space was limited. The main disadvantage of this set-up is that you don't get an absolutely linear response to the lever movement (because the end of the lever moves in an arc, but the slider moves linearly).


So overall, I used 4 linear slider pots and 3 multiturn pots. Anyway, I've dug out a picture to give you a better idea.

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee214/mmitch10/Quadrant015.jpg

Note that the nuts and rubber washers were used to control tension. I've had it for a year now (I think), and haven't had to adjust these yet. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Mitch any chance of a dummies guide on how to build one of these? I think the idea is great I would try to use more robust materials but it looks great.
Also I would need a parts list and wiring diagram.
If you could find the time to put something like this together I would be truely greatful.

Cheers Mate

SD

mmitch10
07-18-2008, 08:27 AM
Mitch any chance of a dummies guide on how to build one of these? I think the idea is great I would try to use more robust materials but it looks great.
Also I would need a parts list and wiring diagram.
If you could find the time to put something like this together I would be truely greatful.

Be delighted to, but not for a few weeks I'm afraid. I'm going on vacation to a tranquil spot with no computers. I'll bookmark this to remind me to do a quick guide in August.

btw, I've just bought a throttle quadrant from Wicks Aircraft supplies http://www.wicksaircraft.com/catalog/product_detail.php...bid=2509/index.html, (http://www.wicksaircraft.com/catalog/product_detail.php/pid=9229%7Esubid=2509/index.html,) building a new throttle quadrant will be my evening project this autumn. After that my levers will be scrapped.

Finnish_Mik
08-09-2008, 07:50 AM
Hello Julian,

I saw your post on wiring up the Leo Bodnar controller chip - great idea mounting the controller in a box on it's own, making the assembly of the wiring loom in a 'pit more modular.

I wanted to ask you about the practicality of the connectors you chose please?

I've used Leo's board myself, but mounted it inside the base of a Saitek X35T throttle, to run the pots and buttons of it. It worked, but I'm having problems with shorts and broken solder joints because the space inside is so limited - it's hard to fix anything without breaking another wire, and opening and closing the throttle casing to work in the innards is tiresome.

I'm now working on making a dashboard panel for my 'pit, with buttons and toggles working via the BU controller.

Mounting the BU controller in an external box is a great idea - it will then be simpler to connect any external joystick, switch panel etc to it.

My thinking is that the cockpit panels should all share pretty much the same wiring scheme (6x 'lives' and 1x 'ground', making the remaining hard work in the ergonomics and nice presentation.

I noticed you used 2x 25-pin D-SUB connectors in your build - I assume that to get the full 36 button presses from the controller you will need to connect some of the buttons you use to both connectors.

I was thinking of using 9x 9-pin D-SUB serial connectors instead:

-The 8x pots would run through three of the serial ports, with three pins left over in the last connector

-The 6x remaining serial ports would each have 7 pins live, with two left over in each, making possible 6x button presses per serial connector

I could then build cockpit panels, throttle units etc that have 6 buttons or three pots or multiples thereof, each with one or more serial cables connecting it to the controller.

For example, my modded Saitek throttle has 3x pot axes, 2x 4-way hats, 2x buttons and 1x two-position rocker switch (total 12 button presses): I'd need 3x serial cables to connect it to controller board (1 for pots, two for button presses)

Pros:

-The wiring loom would thus be made of cheap, durable serial cables and it would be easy to add or remove panels in the 'pit, especially important as the pit tends to evolve and change over time.

-If I have shorts or faults, they should be easy to troubleshoot panel by panel.

-The controller sits safely in it's box and doesn't need any changes or maintenance.

Cons:

-Using 9-pin serials is a bit wasteful in capacity, but I can't think of a suitable cheap 7-pin connector to use instead (Ethernet is an idea, but the female connectors would be bulky)

-Potential cable management issues?

Thanks for your great post - great food for thought.

FM

mmitch10
08-09-2008, 09:41 AM
Originally posted by the_soupdragon:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mmitch10:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by rockgardenlove:
There's an analog flaps control :O
Wow...no idea.
Thanks! That's really helpful. And how did you make the control levers there? Those are really cool.
Cheers!

The levers are a bit "Blue Peter" (sorry for the meaningless reference if you're not British)

I mounted a threaded bar between two plates, and then mounted 4 lollipop sticks on the bar. a small hole at the bottom of each stick was used to affix stiff wire (ok, it was a bent paperclip), which connected to a linear slider pot. I used this system because space was limited. The main disadvantage of this set-up is that you don't get an absolutely linear response to the lever movement (because the end of the lever moves in an arc, but the slider moves linearly).


So overall, I used 4 linear slider pots and 3 multiturn pots. Anyway, I've dug out a picture to give you a better idea.

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee214/mmitch10/Quadrant015.jpg

Note that the nuts and rubber washers were used to control tension. I've had it for a year now (I think), and haven't had to adjust these yet. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Mitch any chance of a dummies guide on how to build one of these? I think the idea is great I would try to use more robust materials but it looks great.
Also I would need a parts list and wiring diagram.
If you could find the time to put something like this together I would be truely greatful.

Cheers Mate

SD </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Ok, parts for this

4 x 10 k ohm linear slider potentiometers (make sure they are linear, NOT logarithmic).

Whatever mechanical parts you want to use for the levers and the mounting. I used lollipop sticks, wood, wood glue, a 5 mm threaded bar, rubber washers, 5mm nuts and bent paper clips.

A controller. I used Leo Bodnar's BU086.

Now to put it all together....it's fairly obvious from the photo how the levers are mounted, but I've done a couple of drawings to help clarify it. The first is a side view of a single lever mounted on the threaded bar:

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee214/mmitch10/Controlboxsideview.jpg

As you can see, the lever is attached at the bottom by a rigid wire to the slider arm of the potentiometer. So by pivoting the lever about the threaded bar, the slider arm is pushed up or down. Pretty simple really. You don't get a completely linear response, although this can be mitigated by using longer levers and longer potentiometers.

Ok, the second drawings shows a plan view of the lever assembly:

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee214/mmitch10/Controlboxplanview.jpg

Each lever is mounted on the 5mm threaded bar and has a rubber washer on each side. A nut is threaded onto the bar to press against each washer, and the tension of each lever can be adjusted individually.

Then put the lot in a box!

As for the wiring, I am no expert, so I'll gloss over this. I followed Leo's instructions. Have a look at this page http://www.leobodnar.com/products/BU0836/ and about half way down is a very simple diagram that I followed to wire up the potentiometers. In the picture, it shows rotational pots, but the wiring is just the same for slider pots, which have the same connections.

Hope that's of some help, let me know if you want clarification of anything.

bolox00
08-09-2008, 12:34 PM
Originally posted by Finnish_Mik:
Hello Julian,

I saw your post on wiring up the Leo Bodnar controller chip - great idea mounting the controller in a box on it's own, making the assembly of the wiring loom in a 'pit more modular.

I wanted to ask you about the practicality of the connectors you chose please?

I've used Leo's board myself, but mounted it inside the base of a Saitek X35T throttle, to run the pots and buttons of it. It worked, but I'm having problems with shorts and broken solder joints because the space inside is so limited - it's hard to fix anything without breaking another wire, and opening and closing the throttle casing to work in the innards is tiresome.

I'm now working on making a dashboard panel for my 'pit, with buttons and toggles working via the BU controller.

Mounting the BU controller in an external box is a great idea - it will then be simpler to connect any external joystick, switch panel etc to it.

My thinking is that the cockpit panels should all share pretty much the same wiring scheme (6x 'lives' and 1x 'ground', making the remaining hard work in the ergonomics and nice presentation.

I noticed you used 2x 25-pin D-SUB connectors in your build - I assume that to get the full 36 button presses from the controller you will need to connect some of the buttons you use to both connectors.

I was thinking of using 9x 9-pin D-SUB serial connectors instead:

-The 8x pots would run through three of the serial ports, with three pins left over in the last connector

-The 6x remaining serial ports would each have 7 pins live, with two left over in each, making possible 6x button presses per serial connector

I could then build cockpit panels, throttle units etc that have 6 buttons or three pots or multiples thereof, each with one or more serial cables connecting it to the controller.

For example, my modded Saitek throttle has 3x pot axes, 2x 4-way hats, 2x buttons and 1x two-position rocker switch (total 12 button presses): I'd need 3x serial cables to connect it to controller board (1 for pots, two for button presses)

Pros:

-The wiring loom would thus be made of cheap, durable serial cables and it would be easy to add or remove panels in the 'pit, especially important as the pit tends to evolve and change over time.

-If I have shorts or faults, they should be easy to troubleshoot panel by panel.

-The controller sits safely in it's box and doesn't need any changes or maintenance.

Cons:

-Using 9-pin serials is a bit wasteful in capacity, but I can't think of a suitable cheap 7-pin connector to use instead (Ethernet is an idea, but the female connectors would be bulky)

-Potential cable management issues?

Thanks for your great post - great food for thought.

FM

serial cables are one way to go and boxing the controller is imho a really good idea-plastic 'project boxes' are relatively cheap and available in a variety of sizes(at least in uk)

some more connection options:-

http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?ModuleNo=43120&doy=9m8
tarmac aces stick uses these to connect sticktop buttons to it's bu controller

in my pit i use alot of double row idc connectors and ribbon cable- no soldering, crimps to connector really easily, and available in a range of pin numbers, there's even a 25 pin d sub connector to crimp to cable available.
http://www.maplin.co.uk/search.aspx?MenuNo=12324&MenuNa...3&FromMenu=y&doy=9m8 (http://www.maplin.co.uk/search.aspx?MenuNo=12324&MenuName=Edge+%26amp%3b+IDC+Connectors&worldid=3&FromMenu=y&doy=9m8)

another option available in varying pin numbers are 0.1" connectors
http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?MenuNo=12328&MenuNa...s&FromMenu=y&doy=9m8 (http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?MenuNo=12328&MenuName=PCB+Headers&FromMenu=y&doy=9m8)
soldering them up is a bit fiddly and i highly recommend slipping some heat shrink tubing over the connections of the plugs- see pic on previous page- 10way hiding under the 'desk'

predrilled circuit board i've found very useful, the ones with copper strips on one side having many applications for distribution
http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?ModuleNo=1917&doy=9m8

personally i prefer 'idiot proofing' my connectors by using different types/sizes of connectors making plugging into the wrong socket impossible. reversing 'polarity' of plug/socket can be useful here also.

in an ideal world cable lengths to the controller should be as short as possible, particularly pots. if you are using over~2 foot shielded multicore cable might be an idea (5 pin xlr connectors for pots to saitek?- a bit OTT but an idea?)

i've used maplins catalogue as a guide only, wider ranges are avilable at other distributors
http://uk.rs-online.com/web/
are my other 'main' source for bits but you probably can find other sources nearer?

julian265
08-10-2008, 03:33 AM
Finnish_Mik, using those 9 pin cables sounds ideal if you have a larger number of separate devices, with fewer buttons/axes each.

A suggestion - say you're using a 9 pin cable to run some analog inputs - you only need to have one 5V, and one 0V lead in each cable, rather than a 5V and 0V for each axis. You can just connect each sensor's power and ground terminals to shared +5V and 0V pins, which would allow 7 analog axes per cable.

Each of my cables has this pinout:
http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/julian265/il2/unistick/dsub25f.png

All sensors/pots in each device share the same +5V and 0V pins.

I can get all 36 buttons, and all 8 axes through each cable. One goes to the stick and pedals, the other to the throttle. Obviously I don't double up on the usage of functions, but this setup enables me to easily use part of row 1 in the throttle, and the rest in the stick, for example. In other words, I don't use all of the pins of the cable that go to each device. It also makes device changes very easy to do, even if I want more or less functions in a device, I don't need to change the cables, only the internals of the device.

Also, you can get 18 buttons through a single 9 pin cable - eg 6 columns, and 3 rows. (I get the impression that you're not using the matrix form of wiring, but rather the 12 button method, am I right?)

Finnish_Mik
08-10-2008, 04:31 PM
<a href='http://www.freeimagehosting.me' title='free image hosting'>Free Image Hosting</a>

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Hi Julian, Bolox,

thanks for the replies. The crude MS Paint picture above should hopefully show how I was going to wire the 9-pin serial connectors for buttons.


To get the full 36 button presses I'll have to use the buttons as a switch matrix.

Each serial connector would have one pin from the 'row' and six from the 'column'. Six connectors would use up the whole matrix.

I assume from Julians reply that the pots can all in fact share their earth pin (the pots have three pins - +5v, input and a ground)?

I've got the premade board with tiny little solder pin headers, and I assumed all the pots would need their own ground pin to be used - unless the earth pins are in fact bussed at the board?

See here for a layout picture of the board

http://www.leobodnar.com/products/BU0836/

If that's the case, I could have up to 4x pots in one 9-pin serial connector (4x each of +5v and input, with all the pots going to one earth, using all 9x pins in the serial connector)?

Thanks for the tips!

FM

Finnish_Mik
08-10-2008, 04:59 PM
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ntzcl1/sketch.html

Lets try that picture again, shall we...

FM

Finnish_Mik
08-10-2008, 05:01 PM
<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ntzcl1/sketch.html (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/%7Entzcl1/sketch.html) </pre>

Ho hum.

FM

julian265
08-10-2008, 06:29 PM
Looks like that domain doesn't allow images to be loaded in another web page!

If you only want 6 buttons per cable, the shown pinout is fine, but just to confirm, you can get 18 per serial cable if you want, to cut down on the number of cables needed.

Yes - all of the grounds and +5V pins on the BU0836 board are identical, there's no need to use each one. They're just provided in case you want to run a cable direct from the board to the sensor. So you can talk to up to 7 pots through a serial cable: +5V, 0V, and 7 analog. The BU0836 measures the voltage on each of it's analog input pins - it doesn't matter where that voltage is applied from (as long as there's a common ground between circuits).

Finnish_Mik
08-25-2008, 02:41 PM
Just managed to buy 10x serial port headers - I've already got the potting box to put them and the control unit in.

I'll build it next weekend and then get down to making my first panel.

Anyone know any good tutorials or guides hot to go about this?

Hawgs' backlit panels are pretty sexy.

FM