Software support for I2C version of MKIV EVO Simple Collective SE

I decided that maybe it’s a good time to update my lever, which was an early version of the MKIII base with a rubber bands mount, to the most recent MKIV EVO version of the lever, partly because I finally found a fair VR configuration for XPlane and thought having a pedestal would be nice, and partly – because the new base has 2 mode switches, and I wanted to test the 2nd one in everyday use and maybe find and fix some related issues. When I finished the build and started looking for the peripheral firmware to flash it, I suddenly understood that there isn’t one.

So, I was quite happy to fix that problem and added some code to support the I2C version of the Simple Collective SE lever (which is actually one of my favorites because of its compact size and rich functionality).

Also, I noticed that the wiring is slightly different from the USB version due to some minor differences in Pro Mini and Pro Micro pinouts, so the manual will follow shortly!

As always, you can find updated files in the simchair4_software repo on GitHub.


Recent news and cyclic ADC poll rate fix

Hey guys, some cool news here – friction-enabled cyclic is coming soon! The idea was borrowed from Bell 206 cyclic design – a semi-spherical cup moving on top of the spherical gimbal enclosure. Lithium grease is used to provide smooth drag. Nuts are used to adjust the friction.

Friction-enabled cyclic base prototype

Parts-wise, the difference between this base and the spring-loaded one is only in the enclosure and longer bolts of the lever connector (200mm bolts are used in the prototype). The spherical friction cap in its “proof of concept” version was designed to require less plastic to print and will be redesigned for an easier print and better looks, two nuts will be replaced with a single plastic nut (similar to what we see on some of the real helicopters). Another feature I want to try adding back is a detachable stick – that worked awesome with the first version of the MKIII gimbal.

While testing it, I found that the cyclic felt kinda slow. Looking for the reasons for this behavior, I found that ADC poll rate was set to 64 times per second which was too slow. Changed this to 128 and updated the file in the repo.

If you want to change this in your configuration without downloading the whole firmware:

in i_cyclic_base.ino tab

change cyclic.setSPS(ADS1115_DR_64SPS) to cyclic.setSPS(ADS1115_DR_128SPS)

Stay tuned, cheers!

Simple collective SE v2 USB available in the donation store

I am happy to offer a pre-built MKIV EVO Simple Collective SE lever #009 for sale.

Lever #009 is no longer available, but another one is in the making.

This lever offers maximized functionality in minimalistic and compact form:

  • 5-way physical hat switch with mode switch support (2 hat switches and 5 buttons)
  • support for 3 separate throttle axes enabled by the throttle mode switch
  • mode switches can act as 4 joystick buttons
  • USB socket on the base – integrated master controller
  • support for MKIV collective base extensions (marked 4-wire i2c cable ribbon inside)
  • completely repairable – the lever is made from widespread components that are easy to find and replace.
  • extremely durable

More photos below.

Continue reading “Simple collective SE v2 USB available in the donation store”

What to do if the master controller is bricked?

With VRMax head ported to the current line of the hardware, I’ve found that it’s now easier to exceed the available memory of the Leonardo, effectively bricking the controller.

So, what to do if it happened to you? No worries! You will need:

  • a USBASP programmer dongle
  • a 10 to 6 pin converter for it

    Install the driver for USBASP and connect it to the 6-pin ISP socket on the Leonardo.

Select “Arduino Leonardo” from the boards menu in Arduino IDE and press “Write the bootloader”. After that, re-flash the Simchair firmware, and the controller is back to life again.

Project updates: May 2021

Hi guys, here’s the video about the recent project updates:

In this video I talk about:
– the new EVO lever body
– VRMax head ported from MKIII version
– files re-organized, new naming convention, and changes to how files are stored
– simchair hardware configurator
– master configuration split into files
– the best way to test simchair hardware with joystick gremlin
– Arduino Pro Mega board

Important software update

Hi guys! Today’s master controller update contains the following important changes:

  • fixed throttle related special functions in levers with a physical latch
  • added mode switch support for hat switches of Huey and AB412 heads

    if enabled




    it will assign a physical hat switch of the Huey (or 2 of the AB412 head) to different hat switches/sets of buttons in different mode switch positions.

Please update!

To USB or not to USB? =)

Guys, a quick question, do you want a standalone USB version of the collective that will work without the master controller?

I see it as a lever for those of us who just want to add a collective to their existing system and the master box with one wire plugged in simply does seem really needed in that case.

This lever might have a USB-B socket on it instead of one of the RJ-45 sockets, this way you will still be able to connect extensions, but if the collective and, say, VRMax pedestal is all you really need, you won’t have extra wires and stuff hanging around.

What do you think? I’d like to hear some feedback in comments. Thanks! =)

Also, please fill the poll, that will help me to understand what devices are needed more than others =)

P.S. please leave a comment if you do so I could understand you’re not a robot.

Which peripherals do you have?

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MKIV master controller v2a is released!

The new controller features 5 I2C sockets for your peripherals, a stronger USB-B socket for durability, and peripheral flashing mode – no need for FTDI232 USB-UART board any more!

Just plug your device into 1st socket of the master, flip the mode switch to “P”, press the reset button (“R”), and flash it! Flip back to “F” to fly or update the master software.

The device is still stackable if you want some insane number of peripherals, the v2b version will be the regular one without flashing capability, meant for use as secondary controllers.

Look for the assembly/operating manual in the wiki!