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Old 08-19-2014, 05:23 AM   #1
dereckbc
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Default Joystick and Buddy Port Converter.

I want to use a PC Joystick to fly with. I know it can be done. I want to build a Black Box that I can plug my USB joystick in, and go out PPM to my Spektrum DX7S radio via Buddy Port..

if there a commercial product that does this? Or is there a Circuit Board like Arduino.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:18 AM   #2
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Nobody has done this?
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:22 AM   #3
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I think you've hit it Dereck, almost nobody has tried this! Sounds like an interesting idea but what I've seen of PC joysticks has left me really shaking my head over their general poor quality. It's gotten so that they're almost impossible to buy any more as shoot 'em up games have gone to mouse plus keyboard controls.

Then when Halo was released for both Xbox and PC with the two allowed to play together on the same server, the mouse and keyboard people mopped the floor with the Xbox people. From then on there was no mingling of joystick equipped game consoles and mouse/keyboard computer games, even if they were the same identical game. It would have been the end of consoles or the end of joysticks or maybe both!

I have an idea that our transmitter joysticks are way above PC joysticks in quality.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dereckbc View Post
I want to use a PC Joystick to fly with. I know it can be done. I want to build a Black Box that I can plug my USB joystick in, and go out PPM to my Spektrum DX7S radio via Buddy Port..

if there a commercial product that does this? Or is there a Circuit Board like Arduino.
I'm sure it can be done. But that is going to take a lot of programming skills to make it work. And, a lot of software code along with it.

Designing software code is expensive, and with what would appear to be an extremely limited market, that's probably one reason it hasn't been done.

Plus, you can buy a ready to go Spektrum entry level transmitter for $50, brand new out of the box. One of these transmitters would likely be far more reliable than something cobbled up with a PC joystick.

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Old 08-20-2014, 01:49 AM   #5
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I think you're correct Robbins......a couple of years back my son (who was a hardcore PC & XBox gamer....beta tested COD MW3 for Sledgehammer, even got paid) would attest to the gamer controller sticks vs. an RC TX gimbals stick quality thing. I got him into RC heli flying for a short time......he always complained that the TX sticks were way to sensitive and wished a game controller would work.....like it does on a sim....lol. Only after I reduced the rates on the TX, he got semi comfortable......I know from personal experience, that PC keyboard gaming (in skilled hands) is just like you said....much faster and dominates controller based games in almost every aspect.

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Old 08-20-2014, 02:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rockin Robbins View Post
I have an idea that our transmitter joysticks are way above PC joysticks in quality.
Sorry Robin but I respectively disagree, but am happy you chimed in with support. You are correct most of the PC joysticks are cheap. Just like your radio for your planes they both use potentiometers for the joystick movements. The down fall for any potentiometer is they are mechanical using contacts that wear out and a lot of Zero Center errors. But you cannot lump them altogether

Now with that said there are quite of few joysticks out there are pretty darn good. They use either Hall Effect or Optical sensors which are precision and never wear out.

MS Flight Simulator opened the door for high quality joysticks and controls. Several companies sell yokes, throttles, rudder pedals, or Joysticks to use with MS Flight Simulator for instrument training and realistic flight. What I intend to use is a Thrust Master HOTAS Warthog. Heck even MS at one time made an Optical sensor joystick called Sidewinder 3D Pro.

If one wants and can afford commercial/industrial Joystick you can get one that the Boeing uses in the 777 and 787 and many other fly-by-wire airplanes use. There also a huge selection made by companies like Honeywell to be used on cranes, tractors, automated manufacturing, ect.

I am certain it can and has been done as the FPV have been doing for some time now and even some RC plane folks use. I am certain a lot of folks have used a Arduino circuit board. Hobbyking and a few other hobby shops sell them although I think that is primarily to the FPV market.
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:15 AM   #7
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Well, if you're thinking like I'm thinking you are about building a cockpit to fly from with rudder pedals, joystick or yoke and throttle, that could be pretty exciting. I wonder if the much quicker rhythm of RC planes wouldn't make that a very clumsy way to control a model though. It would be a blast to try it out.
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rockin Robbins View Post
Well, if you're thinking like I'm thinking you are about building a cockpit to fly from with rudder pedals, joystick or yoke and throttle, that could be pretty exciting. I wonder if the much quicker rhythm of RC planes wouldn't make that a very clumsy way to control a model though. It would be a blast to try it out.
No cockpit. That is pretty funny, I do not care who you are.

Truth be told I am or should say was a Private Pilot (not current), and for the last 20 years have been using a joystick with MS Flight Simulator for training. For the last 10 years of that with 3D Joysticks. Elevators and Ailerons are right where you expect them to be, but Rudder is twist the grip. Point is a Joystick is very natural for me, realistic, and second nature. It also affords superior Throttle control by separating the Throttle/Rudder control functions. One thing I really do not care for about standard radios is the T/R on a joystick as it causes me problems being able to control rudder without changing throttle.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dereckbc View Post
No cockpit. That is pretty funny, I do not care who you are.

Truth be told I am or should say was a Private Pilot (not current), and for the last 20 years have been using a joystick with MS Flight Simulator for training. For the last 10 years of that with 3D Joysticks. Elevators and Ailerons are right where you expect them to be, but Rudder is twist the grip. Point is a Joystick is very natural for me, realistic, and second nature. It also affords superior Throttle control by separating the Throttle/Rudder control functions. One thing I really do not care for about standard radios is the T/R on a joystick as it causes me problems being able to control rudder without changing throttle.
You've got a point there about throttle and rudder on the same stick. Back in the stone age, Kraft used to sell a single stick radio that the hotshot pattern guys all swore by. Some have even updated their 40 year old Kraft radios to be used today. It had aileron/elevator on the same stick and twist for rudder, just like you like. I have no idea why when Kraft went out of business somebody else didn't continue to make single stick radios. They just make good sense, doing everything you describe from a computer joystick.




For a small renegade group of pilots that insist their radio makes sense, this radio is priceless. You see them go for amazing amounts of money on Ebay all the time.

After reading this thead, I realized that this is a Proline single stick radio, even better than the Kraft ones. It cost over $1000 in the early 1970s. Apparently there is still a company converting two stick radios to single stick with throttle on a slider.

Edit: just spent an hour reading this hypnotic article on early proportional radios by Phil Kraft. I condemn you to losing an hour of your life to this too.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rockin Robbins View Post
You've got a point there about throttle and rudder on the same stick.
Yeah thanks. Being a pilot and newbie to the hobby, it baffles me why the two-joystick setup became the norm. A 3-axis single joystick is so much more natural and realistic, and throttle management problems go away.

FWIW I have found at least one commercial unit for sale at Nitroplanes. However it appears it only works with Futaba radios from what I can tell.

Edit Note:

Looks like I found what I was looking for at Hobbyking. Only thing that concerns me is IMO HK quality lacks.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:34 AM   #11
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Apparently (I'm connecting some dots here) the pattern guys who were the solid core of single stick users discovered that knife edge was very difficult with a single stick. The solution was just to put a unidirectional override stick on the front of the box, and a few did.

But the major factor leading to single stick's demise was the expense of the single stick pot. Two identical radios, one with two sticks and the other single stick would be couple of hundred dollar difference in price.

But ultimately, a very sensible and loved control system just wasn't manufactured any more.

Check out Saitek and see if they sell it. The HK stick uses Saitek software. I have a Saitek keyboard and it's the best I've ever used.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rockin Robbins View Post
Check out Saitek and see if they sell it. The HK stick uses Saitek software. I have a Saitek keyboard and it's the best I've ever used.
I have Saitek yoke, rudder pedals, and throttle quadrant I used to train with. Lot of pilots use their gear to practice with and accumulate hours with.

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Old 08-22-2014, 03:33 PM   #13
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Nice! MS Flight Simulator was the last haven of great quality PC controllers. Now it's gone and I wonder what happens next?
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