Adding helicopter specific gear to the product line in the future?

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Xon2
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Adding helicopter specific gear to the product line in the future?

Postby Xon2 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 14:31

Hey guys,

i am debating with myself how to best cater to my DCS helicopter needs. I really like the Gunfighter Pro with MCG, and althoug it has the new dry-clutch system installed, that does not equate to a full force trim system like a magnetic brake solution or something along those lines.

There is always the diy homebuilder solution and for the force trim system, its not even that complicated. But if VKB would offer something out of the box at some point, it might be worth the wait of course. Hence my question:

What are VKBs thoughts on broadening the product line to cater to virtual helicopter pilots. Aka offer a collective as a standalone device and adding a force trim system in a future iteration of the gunfighter base series. Or maybe offer a force-trim upgrade kit for the gunfighter base.

Just interested under what circumstances VKB might consider doing this. If a negative decision on this has been made already then thats ''good'' to know as well. Just like to know where thigns stand.

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AeroGator
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Re: Adding helicopter specific gear to the product line in the future?

Postby AeroGator » Thu Oct 26, 2017 15:45

Well, if there is a question there should be some sort of an answer.
For the beginning, we have actually been under impression that we were more or less catering to the heli public. Yes perhaps there was no "full force trim system" but we've been used to thinking that we had squeezed as much into that little box as it was principally possible.

Magnetic brake sounded like an interesting idea, and someone had already thrown it at us together with a link to some company that said they were going to make some joysticks like that - we checked it, and at this stage it just didn't look feasible to us.

First, the base box was a lot bigger than our base.
Second, electric magnets there were asking for quite a lot of power. Currents up to 15A, how about that.
Third, magnetic fields of this intensity would not go along well with magnetic sensors we use in our control systems.
(and we haven't even started talking about price and marketing).

If you have any idea of a good force trim mechanism, we will sure look into it.

It is not the end of the day, and making permanent negative decisions is not a good business attitude. Speaking of business, of course, we have to clearly understand whether the demand can cover the r-n-d job of the whole team, and how stable and long lasting this demand can be.

So I can't tell you anything like yes or no now. We are always interested in trying new things, but there are obviously some limitations, and not only of technical nature. On the other hand, what is seen as a limitation today, tomorrow might turn into an advantage. Who knows.
But we do not have immediate plans to invest into creating something specifically helicoptery (or helicopterish).

Write to us if you have ideas.
This is it for some visible future.
Best Regards,
AeroGator

Xon2
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Re: Adding helicopter specific gear to the product line in the future?

Postby Xon2 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 16:42

AeroGator, thx for responding so promptly and comprehensively.

''First, the base box was a lot bigger than our base.
Second, electric magnets there were asking for quite a lot of power. Currents up to 15A, how about that.
Third, magnetic fields of this intensity would not go along well with magnetic sensors we use in our control systems. (and we haven't even started talking about price and marketing).''

Your observations about the technical feasibility are pretty much the same that i came about when looking into the issue. Yes, the box would be considerably larger, thats for sure, or at least it would take some serious brains to shrink it. Although, if the product is great and delivers what is promised, one might get away with 'a bit bulkier'.

There are a couple of diy builds on the DCS forums and elsewhere, but this here is the 'easiest' homebuild, that has the benefit to be more or less easily transferred to a new/different joystick and thus would have a long life.

https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php? ... force+trim

The thread contains a discussion about the problems constantly powered magnets cause. Power, heat, and that electromagnetic interefernce you mentioned might be indeed an issue. I myself would rather prefer to go with a solution that is using some kind of spring-loaded clamps/wheights (not magnets) that are permanently in place locking down the centre position, and are only electrically lifted/released when setting a new a centre position.

Post 15 in the above mentioned thread hints at a solution as to exchange constantly powered magnets for only momentarily active ones. Still, going with magnets is not really necessary i reckon, unless one feels compelled to use the term 'magnetic brake' for PR reaseons or such :)

https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p= ... stcount=15

First, i thought one might be able to modify the dry-clutche of the gunfighter base from being permanentely set to one friction level, to have them lock/unlock via some electrically driven clamp or pin. So instead of opening the gunfighter base and screwing those dry-clutch pins in and out to your desired setting, you just push a button on your joystick that completely opens the dry-clutch when being pressed, and when released the dry-clutche completely locks again, holding the joystick in whatever place you set it in.

The problem with this idea seems to be the placement or arrangement of the springs (i don't own a gunfighter to have a close-up look at the gimbal itself). In the above linked video, you see that the springs are between the stick and magnetic locking mechanism. So you can move the joystick around freely independent of where the magnetic brake is parked. If i am not mistaken, once the dry-clutch in the gunfighter is tight enough to keep the stick in place, the pulling force of the srpings are overcome and you need more force to overcome the added friction and move the stick. So even with a modification of the dry-clutch to open/close on a button press, you would likely not have the free movement as is specific to a proper froce trim system.

Anyway, its early days on this idea. I hope we can keep the conversation open, concerning the technical design at least. Who knows what we might come up with 8)

By the way, do you mind if i make a mention of this thread in the DCS-forums inputs section. I reckon other helo pilots might have an interest and ideas on this as well. Couldn't hurt to see whether more than one simmer is graving for this stuff.

Best,
Xon2

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Re: Adding helicopter specific gear to the product line in the future?

Postby AeroGator » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:45

Xon2 wrote:do you mind if i make a mention of this thread in the DCS-forums inputs section

Thank you for this - perhaps it'd be more correct to call it an article than a post.
I will get our engineers to give some time and attention to the posts you referred me to.
Sure you can mention this topic any/everywhere, we always welcome new ideas. I cannot promise that the engineers/designers will be actively replying to the posts, but they will surely be reading the whole thread.
Best Regards,
AeroGator

Penshoon
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Re: Adding helicopter specific gear to the product line in the future?

Postby Penshoon » Fri Oct 27, 2017 16:53

Best option imo would still be a force feedback system with electric motors.

This way it's possible to use the motors to simulate the cyclic movement range to match real helicopter cyclic range + simulate the centering force, damping force, and friction to match the forces you would feel on the different cyclic in different helicopters. This effects handling in all helicopters.

Disadvantage is that all solutions produced this way has had a dead zone of the forces in the center of the axes, most likely to relive the motors from running all the time and wearing out.

Also there is the issue with the Immersion v. Sony lawsuit in 2002 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immersion_v._Sony).
I'm not a lawyer but I don't think this would affect a product for helicopter cyclic simulation as it wouldn't require an interface to provide tactile feedback from the a graphical simulation to the user corresponding with the inputs. The forces would only be controlled in a separate software independent from the graphical simulation like SimFFB functions today, see thread: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=84883


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