BFF Motion Driver v2 - Short User Guide


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6. Steps for First Use

Motion Driver

A few tips on the steps to take for first use of the BFF Motion Driver.

1. Install the software as described in Section 2.

2. Using a text editor such as NotePad open one of the default .bff configuration files included the motion driver directory. Use this as the basis for your working configuration. There are a number of configuration parameters that must be set before starting the motion driver, and there are others (detailed cue parameters) which can be set either directly in the config file or through the motion driver GUI. The following parameters should be set before running the motion driver:

  • Platform type, set using the Rig_Type parameter.

  • Actuator stroke length and mid position on the 0-255 position feedback scale and Actuator Start/Park position for Rig_Type=1 platforms,

  • OR, working range for each drive by setting the max and min motion limits for each output for Rig_Type=0 platforms.

  • Data output mode (BIN, HEX2 etc), COM port and serial baud rate

  • IP address and receiving Port if LAN operation is required (must be set for Condor or X-Plane use)

  • Hot key/button settings (drive/hold/exit)

There are others (see Section 4) but these are the main settings to review before running the motion driver, on some the default settings might be left as they are, on others you will need your own settings.

Additionally there are three sets of detailed parameters which define scaling, mixing and filtering of the individual DOF cues. These could be set directly in the .bff file however it is probably best to set these using the P, R, H and M settings buttons on the main driver window. This should be done with the platform INACTIVE to start with because they will directly affect the motion output. The GUI settings windows provide more detailed pop-up tips for each parameter, and also include settings "wizards" for the pitch/surge and roll/sway cues which will simply the set up work.

3. Run the motion driver software - see Section 3. This should be done with an FS9/X flight already active (in windowed mode) with the aircraft sitting stationary on the ground and the sim un-paused. Your platform servo drive hardware should NOT be active/connected until you are happy with the cue output from the driver.

Make yourself familiar with the driver GUI data and buttons. The cue outputs (by actuator) are shown on the progress bars (actuator low is left, high is right if the feedback is +ve with upwards heave). The Drive and Hold buttons provide the main start/stop controls, and the driver will start with the cue output at the start/park position defined in the .bff config file. Motion between the hold and drive positions should be smooth and slow.

Open each of the P, R and H settings windows and review the settings for each cue. Try the settings wizards. Cue setup involves defining aircraft acceleration levels to use for the force cues and aircraft pitch and roll angles to fit to the motion. If you do not know what acceleration levels to use then use the Capture window during a flight to establish typical acceleration and angles for flight with your chosen aircraft.

Open the M (mix) window and review and set the actuator movement range utilisation for each DOF, this is only active for Rig_Type=1 configurations. In such coupled platform drives maximum range for each degree of freedom can only be achieved if there is no simultaneous movement in other degrees of freedom. If you expect that large movements in two DOF's will coincide then it might be appropriate to limit the maximum stroke utilisation of those DOF's. For example if you wish to retain some heave capacity whilst the platform is at a large bank angle then you may wish to restrict the roll DOF to utilising 60% (say) of the actuator stroke length. This would leave some actuator stroke for heave movement.

Note that saving the settings will save to the .bff config file you have opened. If you wish to use mulitple config files (for different aircraft or flight types) then make copies of the .bff file in the motion driver directory and select your required file on driver startup. You can then update the settings for that configuration as you require.

4. Inspect the cue response (visually on the progress bars and using the built-in scope features) during the flight conditions for which you expect to run the motion platform. Although you may not be able to assess the fine tuning of the cues you will be able to check that the cue output is smooth and comfortably within the actuator working ranges.

Once you are satisfied that the cues are well behaved then you can proceed to testing the driver with your active servo drive.

PID Servo Controller

The BFF PID Servo Controller software is started by clicking the Start_PID_Controller button on the motion driver window. The PID Servo Controller needs the 64SPU-1 hardware to be connected and active in order to run properly.

The data sheets for the 64SPU-1/2 cards include detailed setup steps and checks to follow when first setting up your DIY closed loop servo drive. Please read these carefully.

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