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Old 06-14-2020, 11:11 AM   #1
shu77
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Default Shus Kiowa collective

While I am pretty much flying the hornet exclusively at the moment I have been really excited for Polychop's upcoming Kiowa and flying with a bunch of Kiwis who love their 'chopper Tuesdays' so I have been starting to look at building a collective for the Kiowa given the lack of anything affordable at the moment. I'm starting this thread to document my build effort for a Collective with a decent button box. The Kiowa Collective is a very specific shape which adds difficulty so I am leaning towards a slightly customised build to give a 4 x 3 grid of buttons.

First of as a source I am working on Barundus excellent tutorials. Based on that I am looking at 25 buttons to simulate and have leobodnar board for the task.


The Kiowa D Manual on Google has helped a little with this.


For a base I've purchased a USB Handbrake similar to Tinkickef
Which seems to have a reasonable throw.


I decided to keep things simple to go with a motorcycle throttle

Which with a little effort and both handles turned into this:

The 22mm 7/8" thread inside this works well with 15mm poly pipe and I used a 22mm step to try and absorb the diameter of the throttle

As best I can tell there the 206/kiowa has a 55cm collective, and at present I am sitting at about 70cm, but theres a few spaces to shorten. I've purchased the necessary switches and a jiffy box to mount on the end and am hoping to use some Gameboy DPADs for the for/5way switches as I lack a 3d printer so will aim to update as things start to progress. I can say the Handbrake has been a great option to provide a cheap way of managing the collective.
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Last edited by shu77; 06-14-2020 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:52 PM   #2
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To simplify your build, you can exclude the "Remote ICS (#1)" switch. That was removed years ago.
Also, the "RPM Trim (# is not something you'd utilize in-mission. The only time you mess with that is on startup to set the Nr at 100%.
#5 "Heading Hold" wasn't used that often IRL. With the AI autopilot, it may not be worth the effort to model for the game.
#4 "Searchlight Control" will only be useful if you plan to manipulate the Landing Light/NVG Searchlight a lot during mission. Used every day IRL; not sure how useful it'll be for DCS.
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Old 06-14-2020, 02:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Barundus, your videos are a inspiration. I have removed the remote ICS key, I have felt a bit like most of the collective/cyclic buttons on the Kiowa are a bit redundant but wanted to start with the same basic layout as its helped with the other DCS modules and see how it goes from there. One of the things I like about the kiowa is how home-build the solutions feel. nothings been built to fit its all been adapted and I think that's the big attraction over the hornet or warthog
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Old 06-14-2020, 04:43 PM   #4
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The non-used Switch can be use for other purposes (like NVG ON/OFF or kneeboard)
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:15 AM   #5
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I would be willing to print everything once I get my printer setup if you’ll build me a Kiowa collective once you finish yours.
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Old 06-19-2020, 06:18 AM   #6
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Small update while I wait for the rest of the parts. annoyingly the USB B cable hasnt turned up which makes it difficult to place to Leobodnar board and the wiring. I started to draw up a shape to 3d Print an accurate box but figured I would complete this as a POC and get the wiring right before progressing to that anyway.

Looking at this box for the collective head which is 115x90x55mm with the weather proof lid. I am going to replace the lid with something shallower I think

I cut a hole at the back so the collective can attach to the top of the box

The Motorcycle throttle insert fits through nicely and I cut down the throttle lead to increase travel. This is slightly offset to give the Leobodnar board space to sit andto reflect the assymetric nature of the kiowa collective with the jettison switch added on. Using a piping cap screwed to the top to try and keep everything very rigid. I may try and brace the middle of the box against the pipe but the unit is floating well enough at present that the throttle turns without any friction. I'll run the USB B cable down this pipe and likely drill a hole for it to come out. Theres very little flew in the unit and with the two spring washes inserted into the pivot point per the thread I linked last time theres a good deal of control over the friction. I may replace the nut with a friction handle so it can be tweaked as needed.


I have a variable pot and a Servo arm to attach to the motorcycle throttle but want to have the USB Cable in first to figure what space I have to work with

Its 60cm to the base of the pivot, but I can adjust that by removing some of the length from the larger pipe at the base of the throttle, so will likely chop 5 out as a next step to bring it towards the 55cm figure.

Heres the current switches with a couple still to come, I'll probably end up using mini switches due to the space constraints but I have both and will likely set up initially with the minis and see what space is left once the min switches are in. If theres room Im also debating adding a linear travel pot to the side to allow for view zoom or something similar

This was the only 4way hat I could fine on the web that wasnt $40+ its a gameboy controller. Im not overly happy with my 4 way switches which are very small, but seem to be the only option available. so this is still a work in progress but I may end up using one of these instead of the coolie hat too.

On the plus side I discovered the community AJ-6 mod today so I at least have something to try the collective with while I wait for the rest of the parts.
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Last edited by shu77; 06-19-2020 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:34 AM   #7
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Realised I could add the throttle cover as it stands without needing to remove it
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Old 06-21-2020, 10:49 PM   #8
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A little bit more progress.
I probably could fit full size switches in a box this size but the weatherproofing really messes with the available space so I will save that for version 2 if I can get a proper shape 3d printed.


I hooked the throttle up but Im currently only getting about 30 degrees travel which could almost accept but I'm getting a a spike at the end of the travel which I think is the servo arm twitching. so I am going to need to find a different solution. the internals were a bit of a hatchet job,


I was running short of suitable parts so I used one screw as a pivot on the servo arm and another to stop the throttle arm moving out of cycle. I am waiting on a different variable resistor and throttle sleeve which have geared edges so I am hoping worst case I can use an RC car gear to swap these out and get a larger amount or travel so the resistor is a bit happier.


The collective as is does an amazing job keeping the Littlebird stable with tiny movements able to be made to control collective. Theres enough friction to be able to take your hand off to work buttons on an external throttle or keyboard, I can really recommend the USB handbrake solution with a 40cm length of 22mm pipe on it as a collective, although I think even with button box functionality on the end it adds a great deal. i would suggest spending the extra for a handbrake with the mounting clamp attached unless you know what you want to put it on as Ive ended up with it screwed to a piece of timber clamped to the leg of an ikea foot stool.

Im not happy with my 4 way toggle switches which are 7.3H in this link so Ive orders some 10H to see if that works a bit better for modifying the DPAD covers I have.
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Last edited by shu77; 06-21-2020 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 06-23-2020, 09:18 AM   #9
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2m USB Type B cable turned up today but unfortunately I had to remove the sheathing from around the mount to get it to fit, a big limitation of the Leobodnar board is the USB Type B connector. Fortunately the cable fits out the base of the throttle. I want to start splcing cables for the button matrix but am trying to wait until the new hat switches and Resistor parts turn up to see if they will fit first.
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Old 06-23-2020, 07:10 PM   #10
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Hey John, the Kiowa is in devleopment by Polychop (Link https://forums.eagle.ru/forumdisplay.php?f=717) and yes it is DCS.

Cheers.
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