Flight simulator joystick as control?

There are some really cool FPV setups out there now, with head tracking goggles and everything. Now I think it would be really cool if you could interface a flight simulator joystick with a plane, as opposed to the standard two-joystick/toggle switch controllers you see a lot of. It would be a cool step up from computerized flight simulators (with the right OSD gear, it could be a lot like flying in a miniature fighter jet or something LOL), not to mention just really fun to fly a model with the feel of a real plane. I'm sure someone's done it, but are there any tutorials out there for using a USB joystick with a UAV? If there are, I can't find any, but that's probably just because most controllers use a "joystick" and that can confuse search engines. Thanks!

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  • Admin
    will y,

    Check out Endurance RC's PCTx module that converts USB to PPM for using a PC with a joystick to control the RC Tx. No noise problems that I know of.

  • Option 1) Use the telemetry link between the GCS and the vehicle to provide commands using some kind of native PC digitial interface. Depend utterly on your wireless modem for all control, whether that modem is an XBee, or a 900 MHz modem, WiFi or whatever. ArduPilot + XBee would get you most of the way down this path, hardware-wise.

    Option 2) Build a USB or RS232->PPM device, and feed that PPM output to the buddy port of your standard RC transmitter. I've done this before, although it was for real-time video camera control on the vehicle rather than for flight control. This also has its downsides. Even with optoisolation, we had a strong tendency to put so much noise on the host PC's port through the RC radio that the host PC tended to shut down its port mid-flight. The advantage is that you can just flip the buddy-port switch on your standard transmitter and recover flight control. It also makes it easier to flip between FPV-based flight and ground observer-based flight.

    Just my 2c. No, I don't have anything immediately useful to point you towards, just a few thoughts on the design space.
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