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Guide to Motion Sim Hardware (3)

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Brian Clancy, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. This is the next facinating instalment of Berneys guide to motion sim rigs. In the last articles, we discussed a bit about simulation software and the motion engine software that extracts physics data from the games and turns it into instructions for actuators or motors.

    In this article, I’ll be offering an overview of motion control adapters, motor controllers and common actuator / motor options.

    The motion control software typically communicates with a motion controller or motion control adapter via USB or serial communications. The X-Sim motion control software provides interfaces for both.

    Deciding between linear actuators or DC motors is often the most difficult decision for most DIY sim builders. DC motor based solutions (such as wiper motors) offer a much lower entry price but also a far greater level of complexity and inferior performance in most cases. However, if budget is a primary concern; a power supply, DC motor controller, H-Bridge and DC motors are a viable option.

    These components can be either bought or built. At the moment, there is no off-the-shelf Plug-N-Play DC motor solution for simulators. If you choose this route, be prepared for wiring, soldering and reading circuit diagrams at a minimum. If you’re up to this type of task and budget is the driving factor in your sim build, checkout Pololu.com. They offer reasonably priced motor controllers and H-Bridges. You’re then a power supply and some wiper motors (or other DC motors) away from being able to move a simulator.

    Please note that one could write a book on DC motor control and choosing an optimal combination of power supply, controller, H-Bridge and motors. This article is intended to be an overview and I am intentionally not writing that book.

    The next option is linear actuators with stepper motors. This option is commonly used on most professional simulators. Linear actuators provide excellent performance and lend themselves well to simulation use due to their high speeds, granular movements and ability to rapidly change direction.
    In recent years, linear actuators have become affordable enough for home simulation use.

    The Dyadic SCN Series of actuators are proven performers in the simulation arena and currently have the best price/ performance ratio. These actuators can be obtained for approximately $505 each.

    In a typical implementation, these actuators would be connected both to a DC power supply and RS485 serial adapters. USB to RS485 serial adapters and DC power supplies are available in a wide variety of online stores. If you have an interest in wiring these up yourself, you can refer to the following diagram. In this diagram, I used USB to RS485 adapters from a company called Devantech.


    After witnessing many DIY sim builders improperly wire their actuators and permanently damage them, I set out to develop a simpler and better performing option. The result of these lessons learned is the SimXperience SX-3000 Motion Starter Kit.

    This kit is truly Plug-N-Play and coupled with the included Sim Commander software it is fully Install-N-Drive capable.
    You simply plug it in to the wall, connect the USB cord to your PC, install the software on the included CD and drive.

    At this point, we’ve covered obtaining data from a game and getting it to actuators or motors. I hope that this has taken some of the mystery out of the motion portion of motion simulation.

    I didn’t want to bore everyone with too much technical detail. If you have further questions or comments, please ask in the forum HERE
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  2. Valerio Vinassa

    Valerio Vinassa
    PrestoGP Veteran

    THANKS Berney,I like to attend this training course:)
  3. It seems the link to the forum thread is missing
  4. Oppps my bad, sorted now, sory folks....
  5. this the most expensive way of doing it,
    My system only set me back 600 basically the price of 1 actuator.
    The scn5 and 6's last about 6 moths of average gaming use before the fail,
    when they fail ya cant repair. no parts available is the respose i got from them.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Hi Bob,

    You are a rather misinformed or maliciously intended individual. First off, The actuators come with a 1 year warranty. In the three years we have been doing this, 1 actuator of many hundreds of actuators per year has come back for SERVICE. I say service because we repair the actuators in the extremely rare case that they have an issue, making your claim on "no parts" obviously incorrect. My demo sim has been running at a very high use rate for near 3 years and is still going strong.

    There is simply no comparison between the slow perofrmance of a wiper motor and a 400mm./sec linear actuator. It's like the difference between an Escort and a Corvette.

    Nearly every professional simulator uses these types of actuators and has for many years. On the contrary, not a single proessional sim uses wiper motors, nor will they due to the poor performance and reliability. I windshield wiper motor simply insn't designed for the rigors of simulation.
  7. Hi, Brian , about the quality, life span, performance and price of Dyadic scn5 compare to Simxperience starter kits, which one is the best? If i want to build 2 dof motion rig base on scn5 150mm, what device i must get? Can you list it more detail? Thanks.
  8. Do yourself a favor townnet and have a visit over here......

    Link in PM.
  9. Brian, are you from simxperience? are there plans to support other games in the future? Assetto corsa/project cars? thanks

    any chance i could get that link too moxley? thanks :)
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015
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  10. Pm sent in 5