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BFF SHKR-1 Shaker Card

Vibration & Rumble card for Flight Sim Cockpits


IMPORTANT Order information: By default a single right-angled 8 pin male header is fitted on output DRV-1.  No header is fitted to output DRV-2 - to allow you to fit/solder a 2nd header of your own choice if you wish. A single loose 8 pin right-angled female header is included which can be fitted to your Pololu driver to allow the driver to be fitted directly to the male header on the SHKR-1 card.  


Flight Sim Shaker and Rumble Card

BFF SHKR-1 Vibration & Rumble Card


IMPORTANT Documentation & Software

(Download here)


BFF SHKR-1 card datasheet

Typical system electrical configuration

BFF Shaker software user guide

Shaker Unit Technical Drawing


Firmware - Beta22 (1st Oct  2013)


Check out Roland van Roy's setup in which he also uses the unit to drive his tactile transducers via an audio amplifier.

Roland's rumble set up

...and his great Youtube video tutorial  

UPDATE, Sept '16 - A new bass shaker direct driver card is now available - for more info see the BSH-DRV-1 bass shaker driver page.




I've been working on a wee project to provide vibration and rumble effects for flight sim cockpits. The result is a new Shaker card which can be used with new BFF Shaker software and to drive separate DC motor drivers and DC motors to generate the vibration effects.


The DIY shaker system can use low cost DC PM motors to develop the mechanical vibrations. The input to the system is not the audio output of the flight simulator - instead the BFF Shaker software determines the flight conditions directly from the sim (via FSUIPC / XPUIPC) and calculates appropriate vibration amplitudes and frequencies for a range of vibration components. This provides much more control over the strength and tuning of the various vibration components...


The vibration effects included are:

  • Engine running vibrations

  • Engine start and stop shudders

  • Runway vibrations

  • Random runway bumps

  • Touch-down bumps

  • Flap and spoiler air turbulence buffeting effects

  • Stall air turbulence buffeting effects

  • Landing gear extension air turbulence effects

  • Landing gear transition rumbles

  • Landing gear motion stop thuds



IMPORTANT: Like many of the cards and systems on the site the shaker/rumble system is NOT a plug 'n play system. It is a project that will require careful attention and building - please read all the technical documentation BEFORE attempting it.




In addition to Roland's video here -  Youtube video tutorial  and my own a bit further down the page here's another by Gene in the US showing his build with a motor drive....




For full details of the electrical system please read carefully the BFF SHKR-1 card datasheet.


The SHKR-1 card produces PWM outputs to drive a separate Pololu motor driver card. The Pololu BFF Shaker system wringdriver provides the main electrical effort to drive the motor vibrations. I used this driver card because its PWM output to the motor can be updated at high enough rates and resolutions to produce vibrations over the required frequency range. The SHKR-1 card does not drive the vibrations directly.


The SHKR-1 card can drive two Pololu drivers and hence two vibration motors at the same time with the same vibration settings.

Additionally the SHKR-1 card provides separate uni-polar PWM outputs which can be used with some additional filtering components to provide analogue signals for audio amplifiers. Check out Roland van Roy's web page and great video tutorial for details on how he went about it..... Several customers have opted for this option using Buttkicker type systems - the mechanical build is simpler and the results are reported as being good.


All in all the SHKR-1 card provides a number of options for driving DIY rumble systems, and together with the software allows the rumbles and vibrations to be tuned to suit different cockpits and aircraft and builder preferences.....





BFF Shaker unit prototype


Shaker Unit Technical Drawing

Check out Roland's rumble set up for an alternative mechanical arrangement.


There are lots of possibilities for how the motor can be mounted on the cockpit structure to transfer the vibrations. After a few experiments I worked-up a simple design for the electric motor - see the image right. This may not be the best solution for your cockpit - so be prepared to do some experimentation and tuning of the mechanics......


The low cost electric scooter motor (Unite MY1016 24V DC PM) has a simple vibration arm with a weight attached.


I removed the existing chain sprocket from the motor and fitted a belt pulley with a taperloc compression fitting. The pulley is just used to allow the taperloc bushing to be fitted - this can be drilled and tapped with a couple of M5 threaded holes and used to attach a 12mm steel bar as you can see from the photo. Another pulley with taperloc bushing is fitted near the end of the bar to act as the vibrating mass - neither pulley is actually used to drive a belt.


I then mounted the motor on rubber mounts on a piece of 18mm plywood. The rubber mounts allow a small amount of vibration movement of the motor. The vibration arm is pulled onto a simple wooden block using a strong elastic band - a rubber pad is fitted between the arm and the block.


BFF Shaker unit on testThe arrangement allows vibration of the motor casing to be transferred through the base plate into the supporting structure. The wooden block and rubber pad allows vibration from the motor shaft and arm oscillation to also be transferred into the structure. The strength of the elastic band can be adjusted to control excessive "bounce" of the vibrating arm/weight at higher magnitude vibration outputs.


The image left shows the unit clamped to the frame of my office seat - for test purposes. Here's a couple of clips showing the unit in action. - This one shows moderate engine vibration - its tricky to see much because the engine vibration has a small amplitude and relatively high frequency. - this clip shows a light runway vibration - it is easier to see the vibration shudders and bumps... - and this one shows fairly heavy runway and engine vibration and is fairly typical of the aircraft moving at high ground speed with high engine power approaching take-off.


The motor I've used is a low cost electric scooter spare and is widely available. If in time the vibrations are strong enough to damage the motor then it is inexpensive to replace, or relatively easy to open up for repair if you are knowledgeable enough.....





For more information on the software see the on-line user guide.


The BFF Shaker software drives the vibration output of the system. It extracts live flight data from MSFS or X-Plane and calculates the vibration amplitudes, frequencies and mixes to send to the SHKR-1 card. The vibration outputs change as the flight state changes.


It is important to note that the vibration output is not derived from the audio output of the flight sim as it is in conventional rumble units. Each vibration component (engine, runway, bumps, shudders etc) is calculated by the software in response to live flight conditions and events. This allows better definition of individual vibration effects and greater control of the relative strengths of the effects.


The tuning for the vibrations is set using the software (click image below for details). Typically each continuous effect (eg engine running vibrations, runway rolling vibrations etc) has a basic gain (strength) and frequency setting. Additional settings provide control over the mix of waves used for each effect, randomisation of frequencies etc, Where appropriate, settings for max and min levels and scaling effects are provided. In addition settings are provided for one-off or repeated discrete events such as touch-down bumps, engine start/stop shudders, semi-random runway bumps etc.


The settings are saved in .cfg files so your setup for particular aircraft models or types of aircraft can be kept separate.


Pop-up help tips are provided in the software which can be used to learn more about a specific setting.


The software can be used free of charge for personal, non-commercial projects. For use in commercial projects please contact me.





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