BFF Shaker Software - Short User Guide


 

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2. Vibration Configuration Settings

WARNING    

Very heavy output vibrations can be produced by unreasonably aggressive vibration settings. Always check new settings by running the BFF Shaker software with your hardware disconnected or powered-down. The magnitude of the new vibration outputs can then be observed and confirmed using the Vibration Amp and Freq progress bars before going live with the motor drive. 

The composition of the vibration output is defined using configuration settings which are loaded from file on program start-up.

The vibration settings are stored in .cfg configuration files in the Shaker software working folder. Typically the configuration files hold settings appropriate for specific aircraft or types of aircraft.

A limited number of settings must be made manually when the system is first configured on your PC by opening the .cfg file in use with NotePad or another text editor.

The remaining settings which define the composition of the vibration effects are set through the BFF_Shaker software window - click the Settings button to display the settings area of the GUI.

A number of configuration files are provided in the software zip archive and can be used as a start point for your own set up. Chose the configuration file of the aircraft type closest to your own as your start point.

Manually Set Parameters

The manually set parameters are in the [Setup] area of the configuration file.

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[Setup]
COMPort=COM5
                  COM Port number for the SHKR-1 card data cable (in range COM1 to COM9. Ignored for

                                               BSH-DRV-2 cards)
Baud=516129
                      Baud rate for the serial comms - must be as shown (ignored for BSH-DRV-2 cards)
Delay=25
                              Pause delay per processing loop - minimises CPU usage and allows matching to FS FPS 
CPS_max=150
                     Max component frequency - demands above this will be capped at this level
DRVR1_Err_Enable=1
        Enable Pololu driver 1 error pin monitoring
DRVR2_Err_Enable=0
          Enable Pololu driver 2 error pin monitoring
Joy_But=1                       Number of joystick on system to use for hot ON/OFF buttons (use button LS for assistance)
                                               =0 to disable hot buttons

But_Drive=10                 
Joystick button number assigned to ON
But_Hold=11                  
Joystick button number assigned to OFF

Pause_Enable=1              =1 to switch output OFF when flight sim is paused, otherwise output will remain ON

Force_COMPort=0            V1.5+ set =1 to disable the attempts by the software to connect to the card via FTDI's

                                                D2XX direct driver. Instead only the specified COM port will be used. Can be used for

                                                older BSH-DRV-1 and SHKR-1 card configs. =0 for BSH-DRV-2 cards.
ON_at_Startup=0             V1.5+ set =1 to activate vibration output directly when the software is started

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On first set up the COM port for your serial data cable will need to be defined (for BSH-DRV-1 and SHKR-1 cards only). For BSH-DRV-2 cards the software connects directly to the card via USB and no COM port setting is required.

Setting Force_COMPort=1 when using BSH-DRV-1 or SHKR-1 cards will bypass the attempts the software would otherwise make to find and connect to any BSH-DRV-2 cards on the system. This can help connection if you are running both older and new cards at the same time.

If using the SHKR-1 card you may also wish to enable error reporting on the output(s) to which your Pololu driver card(s) are attached. DO NOT enable error reporting on un-used outputs as this will produce false error messages.

The Delay parameter is in ms and can be used to adjust the loop time of the software to better match the simulator frame rate whilst minimising the CPU usage of the software.

CPS_Max should be left at the default value. This will instruct the system to limit the frequency of any vibration component to keep it within the capability of the SHKR-1 card. If this setting is altered it can result in high frequency components causing a constant drive output at the motor.

Joy_But can be used to enable hot buttons for remote control of ON & OFF. Set it to the number of the joystick, or set to 0 (zero) to disable hot buttons.

The behaviour of the output when the flight sim is paused can be set using parameter Pause_Enable. When Pause_Enable=0 the vibration output will continue when the flight sim is paused. This is useful when tuning the settings - the flight can be paused at a specific condition and the vibration settings adsjusted as required. When Pause_Enable=1 the vibration output will switch OFF when the flight sim is paused, and will resume when it is unpaused.

ON_at_Startup can be used to set the software to make the vibration output active as soon as it starts. This can help start-up procedures in some Sims.

 Parameters set in the Software Window

Click the Settings button to toggle the main settings area display.

The settings are shown in two areas:

Settings 1 - Vibrations define the "steady" vibration effects such as continuous engine and longer duration flaps, runway vibration etc effects.

Settings 2 - Bumps and Thumps define short duration effects such as touch-down bumps, engine start & stop shudders etc.

Settings 3 - Air Turbulence see - Appendix 2 for more information.

Changes made to the settings are not saved and made active until the Update button is clicked.

IMPORTANT - Detailed descriptions of each setting are available as pop-up tool tips - move and hold the cursor over the setting input field and the tool tip for that setting will appear. This is the best way to find information on a setting.

General Description

The vibration output for each effect is in the form of a mix of three waves. The amplitude of the waves is defined using the various amplitude gain settings. The frequency of the first (or main) wave of the mix is defined by the frequency gain setting for that effect. The relative frequencies of the remaining two waves for the mix are set by the Period % settings for the effect. These set the relative period as a percentage of that of the main wave in the mix - so period settings less than 100% produce sub-waves with a higher frequency than the main wave. Note that a cap of 150Hz applies to all waves, so period settings that produce sub waves with higher than 150Hz will be limited in effect.

The effect of this mixing approach to the vibration generation is a richer vibration effect as interference between the waves in the mix affect the overall vibration output. Adjusting the Period % settings can significantly change the feel of the vibrations.

The amplitude and frequency of the various effects will also vary with the flight conditions to reflect the current state of the aircraft operation.

Individual vibration effects can be disabled using the check-boxes provided. To disable a bump effect that does not have an enable check-box simply set the amplitude gain for the effect to zero.

There is considerable scope for experimentation - and for getting lost! So keep copies of your configuration files so you can go back to them. There will also be some experimentation required to adjust the relative strengths of the various effects to suit your own preferences and cockpit. Working with one effect at a time by temporarily disabling the others may be more effective than trying to adjust effects all at once.

WARNING    

Very heavy output vibrations can be produced by unreasonably aggressive vibration settings. Always check new settings by running the BFF Shaker software with your hardware disconnected or powered-down. The magnitude of the new vibration outputs can then be observed and confirmed using the Vibration Amp and Freq progress bars before going live with the motor drive. 

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