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Mr.RC-Cam

Sneak Peak: Sony PSX Joystick to RC Interface

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EDIT: Due to minimal interest this project will not be released and the technical data is not available.

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Here's another PIC project that is sure to be a lot of fun. This time you will see how to interface a Sony PlayStation Joystick to your R/C transmitter. That's right, you can use one of those cool $10 game controllers to fly a R/C model using the radio's trainer jack!

Here are some of the features that I intend to offer (implementation depends on available time):

(1) RS-232 output allows full integration with other custom devices using a standard serial port. You can write simple PC or microcontroller programs to allow your joystick to do other useful things. For example: antenna positioning system, robot control, etc.).

(2) Fully compatible with modern PPM R/C transmitters that have a trainer jack. Both Futaba and JR are supported, in Mode 1 or Mode 2 stick layouts.

(3) Stick/Switch customization allows you to assign the joystick's positions to any R/C channel. When used with some programmable R/C tx's, this will allow aerial photographers to pass on the pan and tilt duties to the slaved joystick and allow both pilot and assistant to manage the photo sortie using only one Tx.

(4) Includes PanCam Pan & Tilt control. In contrast to the original project, the servo control trickery is done on the Tx side. Via the customization feature, it can be disabled and normal stick operation allowed.

(5) Fully compatible with the popular FMS Freeware PC simulator. Now the kids can fly on the simulator using "disposable" joysticks. If you are like me, giving a $300 transmitter to a six year old for use with the PC simulator is a bit nerve racking. The neat thing here is that with some programming cooperation with the FMS folks, the force feedback ("Dual Force")feature could let you really experience turbulance, G-forces, or even a crash. ;)

(6) Low cost. Parts should be under $35 USD, all of which are available from Digi-Key. Playstation controller is $9.95 at WalMart.

At this point I have the basics working (jitter free PPM signal generation, fully functioning trainer port interface, 19.2K baud RS-232, etc.). The FMS PC simulator's joystick emulation is up and running too. The nice thing with FMS is that the stick control is glitch free and very smooth.

It will be a few weeks before I expect to button up the project. At this point all I can do is tease you with this photo of the working prototype:

post-6-1064188840_thumb.jpg

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam

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Very cool idea... but what I really want to interface to my R/C transmitter is my MicroSoft forcefeedback joystick!

Now that would be fun flying.

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Looks Good !

I like the idea of passing over the game controller to a helper for opperating the camera. Especially for heli's. Will it work on my Multiplex EVO 9 ?

Terry

UK

Edited by Terry

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Will it work on my Multiplex EVO 9 ?

It should work with any AM or FM PPM R/C Tx that has a trainer jack. If you intend to have the Tx handle the pilot and camera operator at the same time then the Tx must support trainer assigned channels. A few high-end radios allow that (I have no idea if the EVO 9 is one of them).

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A few high-end radios allow that

I'll pipe in and say that the Futaba 9C DOES allow trainer selectable channels.

Regards,

Bill

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I forgot to say that the joystick encoder will not handle any channel mixes. It will be a basic "non-computer radio" type of implementation (like an entry level R/C radio). I intend to add channel reversing and servo center trims, but that is about it.

My main goal with the PSX joystick was to optimize it for use as a Pan & Tilt control panel. The sticks and switches seem to be better suited for non-R/C'ers to perform those duties. The game controller is comfortable to hold, intuitive, and perhaps more familiar to most folks (nearly everyone has played video games).

So, if you wish to use this joystick as a R/C trainer and your R/C model needs servo mixing (Heli's, elevons, etc.), then a high end Tx that can apply these mixes to the trainer Tx's data will be needed. Very few R/C Tx's can do this.

If used for R/C training, it will be best paired up with simple R/C aircraft. It would be perfect for use with a park flyer like the GWS SlowStick. The only issue I see is that throttle is not ratcheted and instead is center returned. My time on the FMS simulator with the joystick has shown that this is not a big deal to adjust to.

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I ended up creating a commercial quality board for the project. The home brew board worked fine, but I prefer a "real" fab'd board. The photo below shows the newer PCB.

It is 1.8" x 2.9". The 9-pin socket is for the PSX joystick and the 28Pin socket is for the PIC.

My available time to create the full blown camera controller is a bit limited for several weeks. So, I think I may release a simpler version that allows the Sony Joystick to be used with the freeware FMS flight simulator. It will also work with RealFlight (RFD or G2), but will require the usual Tx interface.

I am still trying to decide if the FMS version is worth the effort. I would like to think so, since some R/C'ers have children that would like to try R/C, but might be a bit too young to be trusted with an expensive R/C Tx. Besides, the PSX joystick looks to be easier to handle for small children (they have tiny hands that are well suited for the PSX joystick).

I hate to publish yet another project that no one would care to try. If there is any interest then post it here.

post-6-1065729435_thumb.jpg

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That's a hot looking board!

Unfortunately I don't see myself needing this. From what you have, how difficult do you think it would be to go from there to a USB MS Forcefeedback Joystick? (no forces needed).

Also, do you mind telling me where you had the board done? I keep making sink boards which do the job but aren't nearly as nice as that one.

Regards,

Mike

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... how difficult do you think it would be to go from there to a USB MS Forcefeedback Joystick?

In an embedded app like mine, there really aren't any simple ways to handle the USB Host interface. One candidate is the Cypress SL811HS hung onto a decent microcontroller. Just keep in mind that all those cool USB Device enabled micro's cannot be used to talk to your USB joystick.

... do you mind telling me where you had the board done?

For commercial PCB's I usually use Advanced Circuits in Colorado. There are cheaper fab houses out there, so you should shop around. For example, SMTH Proto in Canada is about 1/2 the price of Adv Ckts.

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I keep seeing people asking about force feedback. If you really want to start into something like it actually wouldn't be that difficult. It would not be cheap (under 300-400) to develop and would depend upon the equipment. For feedback in the airplane a couple of cheap piezo gyros would be sufficient, you could get technical and get a couple of commercial accelerometer chips and use those but all a piezo gyro is is a accelerometer with a board to translate the feedback into something a servo can understand.

You could take the feedback from the gyros, preferebly at least 2 different axis, 3 would be preferable. Beam that back to the ground and you would end up hacking a USB feedback joystick unless you went through a computer. A USB joystick is not an easy thing to deal with using a microcontroller, something has to host the joystick if I understand things correctly. The ideal joystick would be an older feedback joystick that you don't care about so we could interface directly to the feedback motors.

Using the joystick for controlling the R/C components wouldn't be that hard either. We have hacked one of the old CH flight yokes that is designed like a cessna control setup and used it.

Matt

Autonomous Unmanned Air Vehicles WWW.AUAV.NET

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I also thought about the forces and doing it with gyros etc. But really that's not that important to me.

I have an older model MS ForceFeedback joystick kicking around somewhere here that uses the game port. I wouldn't mind hacking away at that. Would be nice to make a blackbox between the Joystick and the trainer port of a TX.

If you have any URLs etc. to share that would be cool.

I've never talked to a game port before so I need to to a bit of research here.

Mr. RC

While I was searching for SMTH I came upon this list of PCB manufacturers.

Just thought I would post it here for others as well.

http://www.tinymicros.com/embedded/pcbs.html

Edited by mikep

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Some folks on the eZone forum have mentioned that there are some low cost ways to interface the PSX joystick to a PC. Your choices are:

Home Brew LPT Port: http://www.emulatronia.com/reportajes/dire...sxeng/index.htm

PSX to USB device convertor: http://www.levelsix.com/products/pc/PSPC_U..._USB2_III.shtml

These can be used with FMS and RealFlight.

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