Some Customer Installations
Here's a link to the
page showing details of a recent GA sim build and a
installations of the CL system....
new DIY CL yoke built using
openbeam structure and 3d printed parts
I've been looking at a
way to make building a DIY force feedback yoke a bit
easier and have tried using the OpenBeam extruded
aluminium beam system. Together with 3D printed
components it is proving quite successful - much
easier than making components from timber or metal.
More details on the
OpenBeam yoke here.
Retro-Fitting a Brushed Motor
Driven CL System
Further down the page
I mentioned using the CL system brushless motor
driver cards to drive brushed motors - see movie
clip on right. I've just delivered a set of new CL
system cards programmed for brushed motor drive
which will be used to retrofit the drive in an
existing brushed motor CL system.
There's a bit of
testing to be done to match the card output current
to the existing DC brushed motors, but it looks like
it should provide a good alternative to scrapping
the entire existing system and replacing all the
More Pre-Assembled CL Systems
I've been slow to post more images of recent
So here are some pictures of recent pre-assembled CL
systems I've delivered over the last few weeks. 2 x
2 axis systems have gone to an Australian based
commercial sim manufacturer and a 3 axis system to a
commercial user in New Zealand to be used for pilot
Each of these systems uses the new CL_SPU +BLDRV2 CL
Pre-Assembled CL System - Case Study
At the back end of 2014 I
supplied a 3-axis pre-assembled control loader drive
Western Air Spray in Canada.
It was installed in their new Air Tractor simulator
this year and Adam from W.A.S has sent some
information and photos - click below.
Western Air Spray sim details.
The BFF FFB Cube
UPDATE - I've been able to
run initial tests on the BFF FFB Cube on my GA pit. It is
running well and able to handle the loading currents from
the 3-axis system (elevator, aileron and rudder) without
issues. Connecting up the Cube was straight forward - using
its pluggable connectors and single USB/serial cable. It
runs happily with the passive cooling allowed by the open
I'm using a single 24V
19Amp Meanwell PSU to drive the 3-axis system and it
delivers the required currents without problem. It's
automatic short circuit protection features also work well!
The software mods I made
to the CL software to run the Cube are also performing well.
With the new design driver cards all the card configuration
parameters are updateable via the software and condition
reporting and diagnosis is improved with more comprehensive
Some further longer time
period testing is now needed before I can start looking at
making it available for sale. I'll also be looking at
updating the system configuration software to use with the
My incomplete Generic
GA sim pit used as test bed for the BFF FFB Cube...
The BFF FFB Cube
Here is some quick information on some prototype
work I've been doing on new force feedback pre-wired
system that might be of interest to DIY system
The 3-axis system (elevator, aileron and rudder) is
built in the form of a Cube (approx 150mm square)
containing new generation control loader motor drive
cards, a comms and isolator card and all the
required switches and internal wiring.
The motor outputs are in the form of pluggable molex
connectors ready to attach to the brushless drive
The system includes several technical improvements
including fully isolated serial comms and faster
control position feedback, it is also very compact
and, probably most importantly, lower cost than
previous pre-wired systems.
I'll be putting it on test soon on my own GA sim to
see how it stands up - once I have that finished!
3-Axis Pre-Assembled Systems
completed a couple of partly pre-built control
loader system drives for two customers. These are
both heading for heavy jet sim installations.
The delivered systems
include a fitted-out and electrically tested driver
card enclosure with three brushless motors/encoders
with Molex pluggable connectors.
pre-built systems make life a lot easier for the sim
builder because all the detailed wiring of the
driver cards is completed and the builder needs only
provide the 24V DC power supply and install and
configure the CL software.
The motors can be
electrically disconnected for assembly into the
customer's flight control mechanical
Brushed motor drive
using a brushless motor controller....
This was some
experimental work to see if my existing BLDRV-12/24
brushless motor driver cards might be used to drive
DC brushed motors.
It looks as if they
can - by switching off one of the mosfet pairs on one of
the 3 existing
phases and using only the remaining two for the
motor connections. I needed to modify the PWM
control scheme a bit to remove the phase angle
references used in the brushless drive - so some
reprogramming of the main control chip is required.
The resulting drive
appears to be very smooth and bi-directional as you
can see from the video.
...if only cheaper DC
brushed motors made good force feedback drives!
feedback flight yoke
Another steel FFB flight yoke I
built for system testing. It uses the same principal
electrical and transmission components as the timber
frame DIY yoke, but as
you can see is made from steel.
This particular one
is set up for the new "potentiometer-less"
working mode. So it has no position pots fitted -
the control position is instead pulled from the motor
encoders and fed to FSX/X-Plane via the BFF CL
software and FSUIPC. This is much quicker to set up
as no joystick card is required for the main control
Here's a YouTube
video showing the unit in use during testing of the
dual station electrical link feature of the
system.... it's the one on the left hand side.
system control box - attempt 2!
On my second attempt
I moved all the indicator LED's to the front face to
allow the top plate of the box to be removed easily.
And I fitted molex multi-pole connectors for the
Here's an image
showing the internals...
The BLDRV-12/24 cards
are on the right hand side. The small card in the
middle is a USB/serial isolator card which
completely isolates the USB system from the motor
A fan is on the far
right, and the larger silver component is the 24V
15A power supply.
To allow the user to
monitor the system status the card LED's have been
transferred to the front panel of the enclosure
where there is also the main power switch.
Below you can see the
control box in use with a force feedback flight yoke
CL System Control
Rather than have the
flight stick motor driver cards mounted loose with
cables running here an there I made up a 19" rack
enclosure containing all the electrics.
contains two BLDRV-12/24 motor driver cards (one for
each axis), the 24V power supply, a USB/Serial
isolator card, cooling fan and various fuses, LED's
On this version the
motor cables are taken directly into the box and the
LED's and switches are on the top surface. I
improved this arrangement - see below....
Force Feedback Flight Stick
This flight stick uses the same control loading
components (driver card and motors) described for
the DIY FFB flight yoke.
But instead of belt transmissions I tried planetary
gearheads fitted directly to the motors to achieve
the torque output.
The reduction ratios
are 8:1 on the elevator axis and 4:1 on the aileron.
The pitch axis motor is mounted on the elevator axis
motor - a very simple mechanical arrangement which
works pretty well.
I hope to use the FFB
stick in a small simulator cockpit I'm planning for
my own use. The seating arrangement calls for a
flight stick located between the pilot's knees,
rather than a conventional flight yoke. So the
motors will be hidden below the seat, with only the
control stick visible - I'll need to fit a proper
hand grip etc.....
...I'll get the sim
Force feedback steering wheel
this project has it's own web page