BFF Motion Driver v3 - Short User Guide

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6. Steps for First Use

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:

  • Hexapod platform geometry

  • Crank arm radius (if there is one)

  • Actuator stroke length and mid position on the 0-255 position feedback scale (derived from voltage output range of feedback potentiometers)

  • Actuator Start/Park position

  • Data output mode (BIN, HEX2 etc - see Section 5), 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 six sets of detailed parameters which define scaling, mixing and filtering of the individual DOF cues, and a set of parameters which define how much of the maximum possible motion range is used by each cue. These could be set directly in the .bff file however it is probably best to set these using the P, R, H, Y 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. In V3.3 & later new slider-based settings windows provide a more intuitive cue settings facility.

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.

In V3.30+ of the motion software new "Easy" cue settings windows are available. These use sliders to set the important cue settings to allow more intuitive adjustment of the motion cues.

When the Adv. (advanced) checkbox is clear (default) the P, R, H & Y buttons will open "Easy" cue settings windows which provide sliders to adjust the key settings for each cue.

See Section 6B for more details of the Easy slider-based cue settings windows.

When the Adv. checkbox is ticked the cue settings windows show the numerical cue parameters to allow more advanced adjustment and tuning.

Cue setup using the Advanced settings windows 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 movement range utilisation for each DOF. Maximum range for each degree of freedom can only be achieved if there is no simultaneous movement in other degrees of freedom. Where there is an expectation that large movements in certain DOF's will coincide then it might be appropriate to limit the maximum range 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 its maximum possible range. 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.


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