Servo Motion Controller

The SFX 100 (SimFeedback Extended 100) project has been wildly successful, beyond any predictions we’ve now got 400+ platforms built worldwide. I started this as a non-commercial endeavor, DIY only. Naturally as a result of this success there are people/companies that see commercial opportunities around this and have appeared – and obviously promoting their products. This has caused confusion about “hey do I need x or y ?”. The answer is quite simply no – the SimFeedback software, Arduino based controller and SFX-100 is designed to all work together, all in one.

There is one special part I get many questions about and which causes a lot of uncertainty among new makers: The Servo Motion Controller.

This is the little micro controller that receives the position and vibration data for the servo over USB from PC and is responsible to move your rig with the right acceleration, speed to the target position and controls vibration effects.

There is a commercial 3rd party servo motion controller who is promoted in the context of this project by videos and forum posts which makes people a little confused.

We do have users who bought this controller only to find out later that it is not supported by SimFeedback, so I will give you more info about this topic to make sure you have all info you need to make your own decision right.

But wait, why are there 3rd party controllers?

The SFX project comes in an all in one package and does not support any other commercial 3rd party controller.
People who have used other motion software in the past might want to stick to what they already know.
These people will need a 3rd party controller for their software.

Although it’s generally always good to have choices, we don’t support other commercial controllers because we don’t want others to make money from our work.

 Important: 3rd party controllers do not support SimFeedback and can only be used with other motion software.

Is the 3rd party controller a better option?

This depends on what you want to do. If you want to use SimFeedback, then the answer is definitive: No!

We do use closed loop servo drivers which are very easy to drive from any micro controller, so it is more about how integrated the controller is in the whole package.

Our motion software SimFeedback and the servo motion controller are one optimized package. This means you can define the speed, acceleration, smoothing, vibration, … all within SimFeedback based on game profiles.

You will be able to share your game profiles and use game profiles from other people which will include the motion controller settings which is a crucial  part of the profiles.

We opted for an Arduino Leonardo which has some special features by supporting a native USB interface, which means less overhead in the communication stage.

If you want to run other software than SimFeedback, you need another controller, but this is out of scope of this project.

 

Why only 4 motors, aren’t more better?

The controller defines how the motors will perform, in our setups we use up to 4 actuators for the SFX-100 platform, they all use the same settings because it is a symmetrical setup.

So the target was 4 x movement + 4 x vibration with a shared set of speed, acceleration, smoothing, vibration settings.

To control more motors with a single controller will always be a compromise because of the shared speed, acceleration, smoothing and vibration settings.

 

Our approach:

If you want to add more effects like a dedicated traction loss or a belt tensioner, it is very likely that you will need different acceleration, smoothing and speed settings.

This is an easy task in SimFeedback, you just add one or more controllers and you are ready to go.
We support more motors by supporting multiple controllers which will have their own acceleration, smoothing and speed setting to met your specific setup.

 

Plug & Play

If you are looking for a plug & play solution please have a look at this post.

The SFX-100 shield is an Arduino Shield, a custom designed board for this project to make your life much more easier.
You can simply plug this onto your Arduino and you are ready to go.

SFX-100 Shield

Verdict

If you do want to use SFX-100/SimFeedback like intended by this project, you will not benefit from any 3rd party controller.

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This project takes a break - Please do not donate anymore, we need some time to reorganize due to commercial abuse. We'll be back soon!