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Offline Lotuswins

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Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« on: January 07, 2018, 03:56:51 PM »
Hi Luke,

So my son, bless his heart, sent me a sabertooth 12A motor driver for Xmas, so I'm back working on my Panther and the Scout will have to wait for a while.  Anyways, I'm having trouble setting the TCB up the way I have been on my other tanks (IBU2, Clark, Taigen).  This includes having both IR or Airsoft available with the flick of a switch on the transmitter.  What I'm trying to set up is:

Normal running is IR, with track recoil, cannon sound, IR flash all happening at the same instant. 

Flipping a two position switch (in this case its channel 5 on my Turnigy 9x) enables the airsoft, which includes track recoil and cannon sound.  The track recoil should be coordinated with the cannon sound and the 'pop' of the airsoft gun sending off the pellet. 

Which settings would you recommend to accomplish this? 

Oh, and btw, the sabertooth and TCB are the smoothest running system I have experienced so far.  This thing will crawl slower than any of my tanks to date....awesome!!

thanks for any thoughts,

Jerry Rude

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Offline LukeZ

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 04:35:02 PM »
IR is always active so long as you have enabled it in OP Config, so the IR signal will fire with the cannon regardless of any airsoft settings. I suppose we could create a function to enable/disable it on the run, if that was needed. I'm not sure it really is, if you're in an IR battle you want it on, and if you're not in an IR battle then it doesn't really matter, it's not like you can see the signal.

You can however enable/disable airsoft using the functions provided for that. Assign the two positions of your channel 5 switch to "Airsoft/Mech Recoil - Enable" and "Airsoft/Mech Recoil - Disable" functions, and you can then turn it on and off with that switch. When enabled the airsoft will fire when you fire the cannon (assigned to some other trigger from your radio), and when disabled it will do nothing but the other cannon effects (flash, IR, track recoil, sound, etc) will still operate as usual.

You can let me know if airsoft and track recoil are synchronized correctly with each other. It may actually not be, I recall that was a somewhat complicated case when I created track recoil, so I might need to put some more work into it.

I'm glad you like the driving characteristics of the TCB. Jerky driving was the original thing which drove me nuts about my first Heng Long and which sent me down the long path of developing this whole thing in the first place. I've probably put more time into the driving adjustments than any other feature... like you, slow and smooth is what I like. 


PS: Recall also that track recoil only occurs if you fire the cannon while the tank is stationary, it does nothing if you are moving.
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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 05:31:52 PM »
Luke,

I thought that should be the solution, but when I tried it earlier it wouldn't work the way you described.  I've since re-flashed the board, and reloaded the settings.  So I turned on the tank, radio first though, and started it up fine, and with the channel switch in the disable position when hitting the cannon fire it would do the recoil, and the airsoft cannon, firing the sound when the airsoft limit switch opened as you would expect if airsoft was enabled.  Upon cycling the switch, it would then work as expected with the cannon sound and track recoil in unison. 

Turning the switch on to enable the airsoft, the track recoil was instantaneous, but the sound coordinated with the airsoft completion. 

So, two issues the way I see it, at least with my setup:

1) track recoil when in airsoft mode is not synchronized with the sound and airsoft completion. (should be triggering off the airsoft limit switch?)

2) disable mode is not recognized until the trigger is cycled.

Sound okay?  thanks for the quick reply btw.....Jerry

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Offline LukeZ

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2018, 07:24:07 PM »
Ok you're right, I never did synchronize the track recoil to the airsoft device. I've changed that. I will post an official update but for now I wouldn't mind if you test it first in case I need to make any other adjustments. It seems to work on my end. I've attached a Hex to this message, flash it your TCB in the usual manner except that instead of "Get Latest Release" click "Use your own Hex" and load the one attached here.   

As for your switch not registering until you cycle it, that is a little strange and I can't replicate it on my end. What you might want to do is connect your TCB to your computer and run the Snoop mode in OP Config. When the TCB first boots (you can reset it manually with the reset button to test) it will dump a bunch of information to the console window, look for the MOTOR TYPES section (right after the radio info) and see what it says next to the mechanical barrel setting. It should say Airsoft since that's what you're using, but next to it should be the word "enabled" or "disabled" in parentheses, depending on what it thinks the position of your transmitter switch to be. Hopefully that should reflect the position of your switch at the time of boot.

(You can also dump the information to the console window at any time, without rebooting, by pressing the input button. This will let you see if the status is changing after you toggle your switch, but it sounds like we already know that part is working.)
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AirsoftSetting.jpg
Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank AirsoftSetting.jpg
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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 10:22:07 PM »
Hi Luke,

That was quick!  I loaded up the firmware, and the track recoil is now in line with sound and the end of the airsoft recoil cycle.  Fantastic!! Thank you so much. 

As for the enable on airsoft when reset or turned on, it shows 'enabled' next to the 'airsoft'.  Once cycled, it goes to enabled (again) then to disabled.  I'm running a PWM to PMM converter (the one you found at HK) and it seems to work okay, but the readings seem to bounce a little when I read the radio.  The pulse may vary maybe 10 counts out of 890?  I think this is common, isn't it?  Perhaps that is the issue? Its not a biggie, just have to remember to cycle it when starting out. 

Jerry

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Offline LukeZ

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 11:19:46 PM »
It would seem the only time the issue happens in your case is on boot, afterwards it sounds like you are able to enable/disable the airsoft function without any problems and the board behaves as expected.

I have a theory as to why that is, you can confirm for me by doing a test with debugging messages turned off (checkmark on the Misc tab of OP Config). Then try again, set your airsoft switch to the disabled position when you turn on the board, and it should correctly be disabled when you first fire the cannon rather than requiring you to cycle the switch manually.

What I have observed is that as the debugging data dump has gotten larger, it takes a long time (relatively speaking even though it's only a fraction of a second) to print it all out the serial port, and while that is happening it can cause a momentary loss of radio signal as the board is too busy printing messages to take care of radio stuff. When that happens it is possible some settings get returned to default or other values, and in your case I think this might be re-enabling your airsoft. Since this only happens once on boot, after you manually cycle the switch then you have no further problems.

By turning off debugging messages this dump doesn't occur, and if that was the source of the problem then your switch setting shouldn't change. So it would be good to confirm that.

I have also posted an official update (0.92.17) that includes the track recoil synchronization but also forces a re-execution of all function triggers whenever a radio signal is lost and re-gained. So if the debugging messages truly are the cause of your problem, then this new update should fix that even when you leave the debug messages option checked (because they can be quite useful). However it would be good if you could test the above first before flashing this new update, just so we know.

No hurry, and thanks for your help in troubleshooting this stuff.
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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 07:50:28 PM »
Hi Luke,

Okay, I tried unchecking the debug box, and no joy.  The switch position isn't recognized until cycled.

Then I loaded the new version, and also, no joy.  Still the same.

I'm using Aux 2 for the switch, channel 5. 

Otherwise, all is good though if you get a chance on programming, the flash LED signals that IBU2 uses is nice (one flash cannon reloaded, two for low voltage, etc.).  I don't know if others like that feedback, but it is nice to have IMHO.

The #2 setting on the driving of the motors sure is sweet.  This thing drives like a car almost, really smooth.....can't get over how nice it is.   

Jerry

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Offline LukeZ

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 08:45:44 PM »
Ok then, my theory doesn't explain your issue, though the change I made doesn't hurt anything so I will leave it in.

To conclude I'm stumped as to why you have to cycle your switch before the setting sticks, and I can't replicate that on my end. The only other thing to check is that you don't accidentally have some other trigger also modifying the airsoft enable since it is possible to assign multiple triggers to the same function (and vice-versa). But I'm sure you haven't done that so that's unlikely. You could post your OPZ file for me to examine if you want, though I'm not sure it will tell us much.

For now I'm going to conclude this is just as likely to be something odd with your radio as anything to do with the TCB. I'm sorry if I missed it, you say you're using a 9x but what firmware are you running? And what module and receiver?

As for the LED indicator that is a good idea. In fact the TCB will already indicate low voltage quite distinctly using every possible light attached to the board (as well as those on the board) in a blinking pattern that starts fast and slows down, then repeats (the opposite of the repair blink pattern).

But the cannon reload indicator is a good idea that is worth implementing. When I look at the IBU2 manual on page 9 I actually don't even see the cannon reload option, so perhaps you have thought of something not even they have. I will add that feature when I next have some time.

Note that when used with the Open Panzer Sound Card (unobtainium I know) you can also have an audible indicator of cannon reloaded, using whatever sound file you want.

Note that when used with the Scout ESC the Scout will itself provide indicators for over-current/over-heat and other conditions. When used with other types of speed controls like the Sabertooth or whatever obviously that is not possible since we don't know what they are thinking. The IBU has an advantage in the sense that everything is integrated into one board so it always knows what every component is doing.
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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 12:49:15 PM »
Hi Luke,

I tried changing the order of the functions but that didn't help.  So, here is my .opz file for your perusal, perhaps something will stand out.

I'm using Tanker9x firmware on my 9x, with the original module/receiver (RF9Xv2/9X8Cv2) with the PWM/PMM converter by HK.  All 8 channel wires go into the converter, and only one is a pass thru, the volume servo/pot I have made, which is on channel 7.

If you look at Page 12 on the IBU2 manual, it shows the flash meanings....so I'm not that bright to think of something new.....but thanks for the thought. Interesting about the low voltage flashes, as when my NiMH battery went low, the tank just stopped working.  That is it would stop, and when I tried to restart it would for a second or two, but then just quit again.  I'll see if I can't repeat the performance to ensure I got it right.  I've set the voltage at 6.1 volts for the cutoff....a little low for LiPo but since I've been using NiMH mostly lately, it is a little conservative. 

Thanks,  Jerry

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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2018, 04:57:56 PM »
Hi again Luke,

So I ran the battery down again, and this time it all worked as you said.  The tank started bucking, like a car running out of gas, and then all the lights started blinking, which slowly diminished to nothing.....very nice. 

Just verifying....Jerry

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Offline LukeZ

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 07:24:54 PM »

I'm using Tanker9x firmware on my 9x, with the original module/receiver (RF9Xv2/9X8Cv2) with the PWM/PMM converter by HK.  All 8 channel wires go into the converter, and only one is a pass thru, the volume servo/pot I have made, which is on channel 7.

I checked your OPZ file and see nothing amiss. I'm going to go out on a limb and say almost certainly the issue you have is related to your radio setup, which is slightly unconventional, though nothing wrong with that.

One piece of advice that is unrelated to this topic, but just in general, is to dispense with Tanker9x unless you are really wedded to it for some reason. I suggest this not because Tanker9x is no good or doesn't work, but because it is unnecessary and to use some economics language, the opportunity cost of using it is very high. There is nothing Tanker9x can do that every other 9x firmware can't also do, but plenty the other way around. I don't believe Tanker9x is even being actively developed so it is not keeping up with all the updates that are being made to this day with er9x and variants. By getting familiar with er9x you will then be comfortable with a firmware that can run on the Taranis, the QX7, and probably other transmitters in the future, so you are learning something very useful and adaptable. Tanker9x is with all respect to the author unfortunately a dead-end.

In time another good upgrade will be to ditch the janky PWM-PPM converter and install a system with native SBus like the FrSky XJT. Combined with er9x you will get 16 channels on a single cable. But that can be done later. Having a 9x as your transmitter is a good choice because it gives you lots of options in the future.



If you look at Page 12 on the IBU2 manual, it shows the flash meanings....so I'm not that bright to think of something new.....but thanks for the thought.

Ok, I see you are looking at the IBU2 manual and I was looking at the IBU2 "Ultimate" manual, whatever that is. Importantly I see he's not even consistent with the flashing across his own products, so I won't feel bad that I'm not consistent with him.

I've posted a new firmware update that adds a double-blink to the Apple LEDs when the cannon reload is complete. I think two quick blinks is more likely to be seen than a single one. 



I've set the voltage at 6.1 volts for the cutoff....a little low for LiPo but since I've been using NiMH mostly lately, it is a little conservative. 

So I ran the battery down again, and this time it all worked as you said.  The tank started bucking, like a car running out of gas, and then all the lights started blinking, which slowly diminished to nothing.....very nice.

Glad to know that's working. Since you are using NiMH (presumably a 6-cell) you may want to increase your low voltage cutoff level to something a bit higher, so you get the blinking notification before your model starts to sputter. The bucking is not a feature of the TCB, but rather indicates that your Sabertooth is beginning to fade out. NiMH batteries have a very flat discharge curve, meaning they maintain their voltage until nearly fully discharged (1.2 nominal per cell). By the time your NiMH reads 6.1 volts, that thing is pretty much dead, and more to the point the processors on both the Sabertooth and the TCB themselves are both probably beginning to brown out.

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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2018, 10:52:02 PM »
Hi Luke,

Thanks for the update on the blinking apple, I think it is really nice when you don't have to guess when the reload is done.

And thanks for the tips on the er9x and the module to get 16 channels, that could come in handy some day.  Since I've got 4 of these transmitters (one for each country and a spare) I should be able to flash er9x to the spare to get used to it before converting everything over.  And the loss of all those PWM cables would be nice in the panther, but the modules are pricey (more than the radio), but perhaps there will be a sale?

I didn't realize the NiMH batteries had such a flat discharge voltage, so I just upped the voltage to 6.3 to see how that works.  I'm running a 2000mah unit from Taigen in the Panther that came with my Sherman M4-76mm tank, so its not really a star battery since it only takes around 1200 mah in charge.  I'll have to go get a larger one for this tank since I'm running the long motors and the tank is the taigen metal version.

I'm currently putting my second Hooben T55A together, this time with the metal gearboxes, and wondering if the 5 amp sabertooth would be okay in this one?  It has the stock motors, 53:1 gearboxes, aluminum stiffener plate the length of the tank, metal tracks/sprockets/idlers, but otherwise stock.  Not a heavy tank but my other one which had the Tamiya clone gearboxes, same ratio, would not creep well with the ClarkTK22 control board (very erratic at slow speed).  I tried it with the IBU2U, and that was better, but no way as smooth as this panther and the TCB.  I finally added 100:1 Taigen modified gearboxes to the first T55A and that seems to cure things, but top speed is a bit slow for a modern tank.  Anyway, just curious if you have any thoughts on this one. 

Thanks again for all the help, and I'll let you know if I come across any fixes that work on the switch position issue on startup.

Jerry

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Offline LukeZ

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 11:50:59 PM »
And the loss of all those PWM cables would be nice in the panther, but the modules are pricey (more than the radio), but perhaps there will be a sale?

You must have got a good deal on your 9x since you can get an XJT for about $38. That doesn't include a receiver but you have to get a receiver anyway, plus you save an extra ten bucks by avoiding the PWM/PPM device.


I'm currently putting my second Hooben T55A together, this time with the metal gearboxes, and wondering if the 5 amp sabertooth would be okay in this one?

I don't have personal experience with that model so I could only hazard a guess. Erratic driving with a TK22 may not have had anything to do with current draw, it could have been any number of things. People are probably getting tired of hearing me say it, but there is only one way to know what ESC rating you need - measure the current draw on your model. I use a Watts Up meter, Hobby King has a slightly cheaper one here that is just as good, there are generic knock-offs on eBay and Amazon for less than $15, and many people already have a general purpose multimeter in their toolbox that will measure current just as well, though maybe not so conveniently because they don't come with hobby connectors. Even the cheapo 5 dollar Harbor Freight multimeter will measure up to 10 amps. Or if you are using a telemetry-capable radio system like the FrSky module on your 9x, or those with the inexpensive FlySky transmitters, you can get a small current sensor that will attach to your receiver and relay real-time current data right to the screen on your transmitter.

This will tell you exactly where you stand. In my experience most models draw far less current than we might imagine. Maybe you will find that your T55 draws less than 5A most of the time, with a spike to 8 amps if the track gets stalled. In that case the Sabertooth 2x5 is more than adequate (it can handle peaks to 10A). Or maybe you find that it runs at 7 amps continuous in a straight line on flat ground. Ok then, you need something bigger. But at least you know, and you're not making a wild guess.

If I had to make a wild guess I'd say the 2x5 is plenty for most applications. But better to know for sure.

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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 10:40:43 AM »
Hi Luke,
I hooked my Fluke in series with one motor on the bench and at light load (just tracks running) its almost an amp, moderate load is 3 amps, and locked rotor roughly 9.5 amps. So the 2 x 5 will work I think, but I am sure glad I got the 2 x 12 for the panther since it has the larger motors, tracks, and is much heavier.  I guess it wouldn’t hurt to fuse the motors to save the controller if a track gets stuck since locked rotor is so close to max peak capacity. 
Jerry

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Offline Lotuswins

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Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2018, 11:21:44 AM »
Belay my last.  Apparently the sabertooth is self protected from overcurrent which explains why they cost what they do besides all the control options. Very nice kit.