RC-PC Interface

Ábel István  ©2004

a new model crashed at the first try, is not the
best way of training, available alternative is
the use of simulators with R/C transmitter

last updated on 2004.10.19.

[ ezen oldal magyarul ]

A relatively cost efficient way of learning the control of R/C models is the use of simulators. When you primarily want to practise with your original R/C transmitter with the chosen simulator, it is necessary to connect the transmitter to the PC. The type of the transmitter, the type of the simulator, and the available connections on the PC also determines your choice of the interface. In the following, I shortly describe the available interfaces in general, and I detail my interfaces in particular.

The generally available solutions:

The input device has to be accepted by the chosen simulator:

The input device has to be connected to the PC, to do this you have to have a freely available port for this:

All the above interfaces usually connects to the transmitter's trainer connector. This requires some compatibility from the transmitter ( type of modulation ):

Interfaces available form me:

After this, if somebody needs an interface cable, may search the net, or choose one from the three currently available type from me:

The pictures above are only illustrations, the actual outfit depends on the available parts, but I try to hold the quality as possible. The cord is 2 m long, the transmitter connector is chosen based on negotiation. The price contains V.A.T. and postage costs world wide, but doesn't contains the money transfer fee to me. For international customers only pre payment is the currently only option via bank transfer ( if you would like to pay via PayPal let me know ). The interfaces are shipped with a 1 month money back guarantee ( two month for international orders ) and a one year normal guarantee. The guarantee is limited: you have to cover the costs of the transfer of the device to me. All the international orders are shipped with an english version of the setup instructions.

From the above selection I suggest the FMS-PIC interface, if the listed restrictions are not scaring you away.

R/C transmitters

These interface electronics, connects to the R/C transmitters buddy ( trainer ) socket, and needs PPM ( Pulse Position Modulated ) signals. From brand to brand, or at some manufacturers from type to type, the trainer connector pinout, signal level, and features are changing. A good collection of available transmitter pinouts are described at http://users.belgacom.net/TX2TX/. Further requirements to set up your transmitter for usage with simulators are: When you use the transmitter with a simulator, you transmitter can't be powered through the trainer cord from the other transmitter, because during simulation there is not another transmitter ( this is applicable to some Futaba transmitters ). The transmitter has to be turned on, but the RF ( Radio Frequency ) output has to be turned off, to avoid unnecessary rf output, and unnecessarily high discharge rate of the batteries. This may be achieved on some transmitters ( usually equipped with DIN trainer connector ) with placing a shorting wire between specific points of the trainer connector plug, on some featured transmitter the RF circuitry may be turned off from software, but the most general solution is to pull out the quartz crystal from the transmitter.

Some proven solution:

The most uniform solution is from Hitec: all the known transmitters are equipped with the same connector, and the same pinout. The most versatile manufacturer is Futaba, who may use different connectors on different transmitter types, and may use same connectors with different pinout, and most recently uses non standard 6 pin square connectors.

Some interesting links:
fms - free flying model simulator.
fms hungarian menu - menu and some instructions in hungarian.
fms forum - discussion group for fms.
rcmodell fórum - hungarian discussion groups related to modeling.
rc-sim - simulator and interface electronics comparisons, links.
crrcsim - free simulator for linux.

Send comments and request in email, or in the evenings ( 19:30 - 21:00 CET ) on phone: +36-29-351-678.