I have found that an issue with the collective lever being a bit too stiff was not due to the counterweight position, but rather because of how upper cylinder hinge was assembled. I have improved this unit and achieved silky smooth travel regardless of a position of the counterweight. Thus, I decided to move it to where it can be barely seen, to improve the overall look of the lever:
I finally got my MAL16-150 pneumatic actuator from Aliexpress, and here’s what I’ve been able to do with it so far =) This will be a long post, I will try to describe my experience of designing and testing these upgrades so far.
In short, how does it feel in flight? I’d say it’s the best version so far. Moves buttery-smooth, yet boldly holds its position in all of the lever range, a smooth resistance of an actuator is a completely new feeling that adds to your virtual “seat of the pants” sence. More below =)
I’ve made a few adjustments to collective levers building process recently, and after some testing, I think they are good enough to be used =)
When you attach throttle grips, turn resistors fully to the left and then just a bit to the right to avoid its physical deadzones (before it was “fully to the right”, so not much of an axis was left for past idle stop detent movement). In theory, this will allow for more precise throttle movements below idle-stop detent in DCS. In practice, it’s not that important right now, but may be useful for future updates.
I have adjusted master controller firmware for a larger axis range and added a new parameter to make it configurable:
#define COLL_HEAD_DCS_HUEY_COMPAT_MODE_BUTTON_HOLD 50 // how long to hold throttle up/down buttons, adjusted depending on idle stop axis range (smaller range- bigger hold time and vice versa)
I’ve also changed the default Huey head switch modes configuration so you will be able to assign DCS Huey switches in a scale way without reconfiguring them.
I have fixed some switch operation related bugs today and decided to make a video to show how to configure a collective head to suit your needs. Different sims can require different switch setups, for example, DCS Huey uses 3 of 4 modes for its collective head.
There are 4 switch modes, to assign a switch or a button to one of them look its joystick button number in joy.cpl and add it to one of the following arrays:
- ab412_sw_mode_button_switches – push button mode – joystick button is pressed when you hold the switch, supports mode switch
- ab412_sw_mode_toggle_switches – toggle switch mode – when the switch goes up, joystick button is pressed and released, when it goes back to the middle position – the button is pressed and released again (example : gear lever), ignores mode switch setting
- ab412_sw_mode_selector_button_switches – maps a 3-way switch to 3 joystick buttons, one for “up” position, one for “down”, one for “middle”. Buttons are pressed when the switch is being held pressed. Example: landing light switch – up-hold-down.
- ab412_sw_mode_selector_switches – same as the previous one, but joystick buttons are pressed and released. This is there in case someone needs it for something.
For first two types, you put buttons one by one to the array (one switch is 2 joystick buttons, so if the switch shows as buttons 3 and 4 in joy.cpl, you write both 3 and 4 to the corresponding array), for last two types you only write the lesser of two switch buttons (lets say a switch shows as buttons 14 and 15 in joy.cpl, then you only have to write 14). Do not forget to remove switch and button numbers from their previous mode array when you assign them to another mode.
If something needs more detailed explanation, or if you want some other interesting switch mode, please ask in comments!
While building the twin lever, I’ve decided to change the design of the throttle 1 frame p2 part to make throttle grips tension equal. The part now has a detent in it, that can also add some rigidness to the lever. If you’re building the twin lever, definitely use the new part! All updates are already on GitHub! I will be adding a similar part for the single throttle collective shortly.
Also made some fixes to AB412 head mods and software (added support for an extra mode switch)
Here’s how the latest version of the lever looks:
I have printed and assembled the Huey collective head and corrected some errors, here’s the release version. Designing scale stuff is quite hard, its often too little space to fit things into. You will have to use some cable management to build this 🙂 Switches used are 3-way KN3(B)-223A-A3 (spring-loaded), KN3(B)-203A-A3 (toggle) and MTS-103 A-2 (toggle). The last one is mounted in place of a light bulb and acts as a mode switch. The thumbstick button is used for collective hold mode activation. This new feature is for those who would want to use this lever in a motion simulator, where a rubber band based tensioner will not work, or maybe for people who prefer flying with a very light tension on their collective. Basically, its an independent adaptive force trim for the collective. The latest software on GitHub fully supports this head, you can use the DCS Huey compatibility mode (which allows for proper engine start and shutdown procedures) with it.
Download it here
Latest software on GitHub
With a lot of inspiration and love for a great machine, I’ve been able to design it in a day. The head is quite close to the original, as I managed to find most of its dimensions. Grab the dev snapshot!