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All posts for the month July, 2014

I’ve been teaching a friend of mine to drive a manual transmission.  Neither of us actually have a manual transmission vehicle, so I’ve been teaching him in the safe environment of the sim.  My first thought was ‘Well, at least he will get a general feel for pedal layout and shift points’.  Suprisingly the sims I had chosen (Live for Speed demo and City Car Driving) react pretty well to the clutch being abused.  In both, if you don’t feather the clutch properly on a standing start, the car bogs down and the engine stalls.  LFS has the added bonus of actually simulating the clutch plate itself, in that you can completely burn it up if you aren’t careful.  CCD has extra bonuses like general driving rules and penalizes you if you forget to do something.

All this training is being done with my race setup, comprised of my customized Driving Force Pro and it’s pdeals, as well as the shifter from a G27 and the converted rockband clutch, controlled by a microcontroller.

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These pedals are stuck to the mat with high strength double-stick tape.  The good stuff by 3M.  You can see the controller box in the top left.

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This is the shifter.  Nothing fancy apart from whats controlling it.

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And the wheel itself.  This has had the most work done to it.  The factory plastic was replaced with heavy-duty c-clamps, and the wheel itself was replaced with a momo knock-off I got for $30 on eBay.  It’s a full sized car steering wheel and the force-feedback works great.  For most games/sims, I have the sequential shifter bound to the handbrake, for mad skids.

 

Anyone who knows me knows I love my driving sims. The one thing I haven’t had, is a clutch pedal. What I do have, however, is an old rock band pedal, and a semi-wonkey Saitek ST290 Pro joystick (The y-axis drifts, and it’s not in hardware, it’s a firmware for which there is no fix).

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You may notice that the rockband pedal has a layer of plywood on it.  These things tend to crack when you really start to get into your drumming, so I reinforced it.  I don’t have the game any more, so it will work perfectly for this project.

 

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I’m going to use the throttle pot from the saitek, as it has the largest range of motion.

 

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This should fit rather nicely I think.  It’s important to choose a location that will afford the greatest amount of rotation to the pot, so the closer I can get to that orange bit, the better.

 

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I need to remove the hinge pin from the pedal, easily achieved with a punch.

 

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I did have to remove the bit of wall here as the pot will be sitting in there.  A dremel and some pliers make quick work of that.

 

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Using my digital calipers, I measured and marked where I am going to have to drill.

 

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This should work out rather well.  Now to remove the pot and slot it for the steel rod.

 

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With the steel rod affixed and the pot re-installed, the orange bit actuates the pot quite nicely, but I still need to have it return.  I had considered a spring but I couldn’t find one.

 

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So I’m going to use a paperclip.

 

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Up, and down.

 

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All that’s left is wiring up to the microcontroller and adding the code to send it as the z axis.  I won’t bother with the whole thing just now, but the code part was as simple as the single line Joystick.Z(analogRead(40));

 

A quick calibration in the control panel and it works.  Video later.