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Old 01-20-2018, 03:08 PM   #1
Deltaalphalima1
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Default Yet another warthog slew upgrade

Hi guys first post around here so I thought I would make it a good one.
So I’ve wanted to upgrade the slew sensor on my warthog throttle for ages, and on one of my eBay browsing sessions came across this beauty:



It's the FLIR control grip from an RAF Chinook (I think MK6 upgrade?), complete with force sensing mini joystick (I have already removed it in the above picture)



This part is made by a UK company called DACO scientific. It doesn’t have any movement but give an analog output voltage based on the amount of applied force (it's actually 2 half bridge load cells).
I've not been able to find all that much information on the actual part used in the A10C throttle but I believe it's a similar concept.
So, next job was to interface this thing with the warthog throttle. I've seen a couple of other posts about guys who have added Xbox style thumb sticks to the throttle, but they have always used another USB joystick controller to do it. I wanted to interface directly to the existing throttle controller.
The sensor that comes with the warthog is an AS5013 made by AMS, with talks I2C, so it was a simple enough job to reverse engineer the protocol using the datasheet and oscilloscope and simulate that sensor using a microcontroller. I knocked something together using at ATTiny841 micro I had lying about. This circuit just plugs straight in to where the old sensor did in the right hand throttle, no soldering or modifications required.



This thing can do everything I need to simulate an I2C slave device and interface with the new sensor.
Next I designed an adapter the fit the sensor in the existing hole in the throttle, and got it 3d printed by Shapeways (excellent service, would highly recommend).



And we are done!!



New slew sensor fitted and working perfectly!!!

OK, so it wasn’t quite as simple as that. There was a fair bit of headache getting the microcontroller to talk nicely to the warthog throttle, as well as understanding how it handles all the calibration and self check features built it, but we got there in the end, and I’m very happy with the result!!
For anyone who is wondering, DACO do still sell this sensor, but I contacted them to check for pricing and it would be about as much as 2 complete HOTAS systems to buy the sensors in one off quantity. So you're probably best off looking for used units on eBay, there is one on eBay UK at the moment, search for "BOEING CHINOOK MK6 HELICOPTER AIRCRAFT WEAPONS CONTROL GRIP"
If anyone wants any more technical info about the I2C protocol used, or code running on the microcontroller I’ll happily do a more in-depth write up, just let me know.

A few more bonus pictures attached below too

Cheers
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:24 PM   #2
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Very nicely done Sir It does sound like the sensor is quite similar to the one in the A-10 throttle; https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php...3&postcount=59

You are not using any amplification of the sensor signal?

Cheers
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hansolo View Post
Very nicely done Sir It does sound like the sensor is quite similar to the one in the A-10 throttle; https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php...3&postcount=59

You are not using any amplification of the sensor signal?

Cheers
Hans
I’d not seen that post before, thanks for that

Originally I did have a complex op amp amplifier circuit, but the sensor actually has an extremely high sensitivity, the datasheet claims 95mV/V. Running on 3.3V excitation voltage gives me +/- 300mV full scale deflection, that’s easily enough for the 10bit ADC in the microcontroller to map the 8 bits the throttle needs to send to the pc. So I ditched the op amps in favour of simplicity.
I got really luck in that respect I think.
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Old 01-20-2018, 05:51 PM   #4
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This look absolutely brilliant and it looks to be a very nice solution, though sadly only one of a kind. I have been looking myself at trying this with more readily available (off the shelf) slew sensors, but I had issues deciphering the I2C protocol and finding sufficiently compatible hardware.

Would you care to elaborate some more on those; the I2C (reverse-engineering) and simulating that using a microcontroller? Because if you are able to do so, wouldn't any sort of 4 way sensor in theory be able to replace the sensor in the Warthog?
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:41 PM   #5
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I was actually wondering a couple days ago if anyone ever solved the i2c problem for the WH slew. I'm very curios about the circuit.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanne118 View Post
This look absolutely brilliant and it looks to be a very nice solution, though sadly only one of a kind. I have been looking myself at trying this with more readily available (off the shelf) slew sensors, but I had issues deciphering the I2C protocol and finding sufficiently compatible hardware.

Would you care to elaborate some more on those; the I2C (reverse-engineering) and simulating that using a microcontroller? Because if you are able to do so, wouldn't any sort of 4 way sensor in theory be able to replace the sensor in the Warthog?

Cheers for the support, I appreciate it
As far as it being one of a kind goes, I will happily make everything freely available. If I can get a few people lined up, and some sort of good supply of sensors, I would love make and sell a few. Of course with a proper production PCB and so on.
You are correct that any sensor could be used (Xbox style thumb stick for example) it's just a matter of fitting it inside the throttle body. Any 3D design wizards out there feel free to chip in


I'll put together a detailed explanation over the next few days (I’m thinking maybe Instructables?) I don’t want it to get lost in this thread if it could be useful to more warthog owners.


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Old 01-20-2018, 08:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deltaalphalima1 View Post
Cheers for the support, I appreciate it
As far as it being one of a kind goes, I will happily make everything freely available. If I can get a few people lined up, and some sort of good supply of sensors, I would love make and sell a few. Of course with a proper production PCB and so on.
You are correct that any sensor could be used (Xbox style thumb stick for example) it's just a matter of fitting it inside the throttle body. Any 3D design wizards out there feel free to chip in


I'll put together a detailed explanation over the next few days (I’m thinking maybe Instructables?) I don’t want it to get lost in this thread if it could be useful to more warthog owners.

Instructables is a nice location to put such a guide, but would you also consider making a YT video out of it? This will yield it more promotion and recognition, especially if you will try to sell your product, which I would wholeheartedly recommend. You could even just sell the PCB / .STL files if shipping or production is a hassle.

On that topic, I have experience making 3D files and PCB's, so if you need some help, I would be more than happy to offer it! The crappiness of the TM: Warthog HOTAS slew sensor has been a pet peeve of mine for long and whilst I had attempted to rectify it a while back, I never really could get the I2C reversed. Probably should give that another go someday soon, but glad to see you managed it!
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:57 PM   #8
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Nicely done. Now where the hell is my O-scope from 30 years ago??? LOL
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Old 01-21-2018, 01:56 AM   #9
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Very well done! Thanks for posting
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deltaalphalima1 View Post
Cheers for the support, I appreciate it
As far as it being one of a kind goes, I will happily make everything freely available. If I can get a few people lined up, and some sort of good supply of sensors, I would love make and sell a few. Of course with a proper production PCB and so on.
You are correct that any sensor could be used (Xbox style thumb stick for example) it's just a matter of fitting it inside the throttle body. Any 3D design wizards out there feel free to chip in


I'll put together a detailed explanation over the next few days (I’m thinking maybe Instructables?) I don’t want it to get lost in this thread if it could be useful to more warthog owners.


If you can make it PNP or as little work as possible Im in for one. I can do basic soldering but not an expert.
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