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#3494855 - 01/14/12 07:39 PM Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip  
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Peter_P Offline
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Hi all,

This posting is almost a "copy and paste" of this thread in the DCS forum:
Two MS FFB2 with Cougar Grip and I think this is worth sharing with a greater audience because I'm really,really very satisfied with this controller.
smile

First a video :


(BTW: if you are wondering what it this thing I tilt 90 and use as a collective:
A picture Tale: "Dual Thrust" or "What I did in my Easter Holiday")


Short summary:
I always used a MS-FFB2 for DCS-BlackSchark but I was very unhappy with the lack of buttons on the stick in DCS-a10.

I switched forth and back between the Cougar and the MS-FFB2 - and this was very unsatisfying and I searched for a solution for this lack of button/lack of FFB dilemma...

Finally I found it by digging up this video:
http://www.veoh.com/watch/v16515202T5KXeDX7?h1=Cougar+FFB+Mod

And after some testing... (read more about my first steps here: http://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?p=1304491#post1304491)
...I was not really satisfied with the power of the FFB.






And after I opened my trusty (btw:8 years old) MS-FFB2 for the first time I saw that it might be is possible to attach a second mechanism to it to double the FFB force - so the extended handle will still be hold in place in every situation.

I also found out when DirectX send a FFB command it will executed by every FFB controller you add.
I found it out by moving my MS-FFB2 and saw that the Logitech FBB-steering wheel turned also in the x-axis the same as the joystick...

So I bought the second MS-FFB2 (at a price I don't dare to tell... the seller didn't know what he was offering... - I gave him 10 extra in the end...).

When you plug in two MS-FFB2 - they will react in sync to a FFB command.
So I realised that I "only" have to reconnect some wires of the second MS-FFB2 to sync both. - at least in DCS-Simulations.

Nice -isn't it ?!

So here is what I did smile :

Here a some photos of the most important steps with explanation so you get a Idea what I have done.
They are not meant to use as a manual and there is no chronological order (!) - it's just how I did it... wink
There are also some steps missing (I just didn't took pictures)
Using the methods / circuits / components / constructions as described in this document is entirely at your own risk.
If you damage your PC / Joystick / Keyboard / Yourself by any of the things I wrote down in this document, its NOT MY FAULT.

Snapper reported some problems in IL2 - The both FFB don't work in sync using my method. He will try a different approach using only one FFB circuit board to drive all four motors:
Read more about it here: http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3507325.html#Post3507325




So If you want to build something like this yourself: ask me - and I will try hard to answer! smile

I use a old bass-box of a old 2.1 sound system as casing for the stick.



The dismantled FFB mechanism of both MS-FFB2's



A look inside the casing (bass-) box:



The overall dimensions:



Here you can see how I attached the switch-panel (I used a unused part of the Saitek throttle quadrant - that I use as a Dual-thrust controller ) :



Here is the stick in front of my (also) modified office-chair:



The switch-panel that is driven by the buttons of the two MS-FFB2's



Soldering...



...even more soldering... (I hate this kind of work! biggrin - but it is very important to do it clean with concentration! )




Both FFB mechanism joint together :



Link to the Motor-Mountings:
http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/product/207245/ALU-MOTORTRAeGER-FUeR-BRUSHLESS-MOTOREN
They just fit perfect and assure that the gears are already in the right distance!



View it from each side:





The baseplate's came in handy... :



How I solved the "no more room for tools left inside the box" problem:

















Last edited by Peter_P; 01/31/12 09:37 AM.
Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#3494856 - 01/14/12 07:40 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Peter_P Offline
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Peter_P  Offline
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Here you can see what holds every thing in "balance" and helps the motors to hold the heavy stick in place :



Tip how to calculate the needed counterweight:


That is tight....and chaotic! biggrin
(don't worry... - I haver already taped everything together and the gears are not distributed by the wires - but don't have a picture.)



almost forgot ....



But It just fitted !!! ( the controller board of the TM-Cougar is behind the wooden plate in the middle)
All held reliable together by Velcro!
From the board goes a 5-pin cable through the FFB mechanics, to the s-shaped tube, into the metal joint of the TM-Cougar that connects to the cougar grip.



Scrapyard ...!:




Very Important thing:




Very important but isn't shown:

To make both MS-FFB work together in sync you have to mirror the X and Y axis of the second (the lower one) FFB-Mechanism.
That means you will have to swap the cables for both potentiometers and also swap the cables for both motors. (what is connected to + has to be connected to the - ).

Potis for X/Y axis : swap the brown and the orange wire(leave the red one as it is) and also connect x to y and vice versa.
- do the same with the wires for the motors.

And I also extended every wire so I could connect everything back together in the end.
I also used hot-glue/lock-tight on every screw/nut - so It can't get loose when the motors vibrate.

The controller- boards are simply hold by hook and loop fastener sticky-pads - so It is easy to maintain (If needed) and so it was easy to put them inside the box. As you can see - there is no more room left (not even a screwdriver ) - so Velcro was the best and only solution.

In DCS I only have asigned the x/y axis of the upper MS-FFB2.

Edit:
Before this question(s) arise again I will post a PM conversation:
Originally Posted By: PeterP

Originally Posted By: anonymous
I have been outbid on the last 5 MICROSOFT SIDEWINDER FORCE FEEDBACK 2 off eBay. Sorry caps it was a copy paste. I'm getting frustrated. If I'm going to go try FFB I want something that really kicks.

What I want to know is how much pressure does your mod give you on the stick? I was thinking of buying a logictech g940 and was wondering how you would compare it. Also, how good are the pots on your Microsoft stick? Any spiking?

Thanks in advanced

It has more than enough punch now and I'm very satisfied- just watch the last seconds how the stick "kicks"back to the center again after I exit the FFB-test program :http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GwvbxT0JNmc#t=80s

and keep in mind that the handle weights about 0,7kg (1.5 lbs) and there is also a counterweight of 1,5 kg (3.3 lbs) inside the box.

I can't really talk/comment about the g940 and compare (I had it only 4 days and I was very disappointed of the overall performance - this was 1,5 years ago). The force was a little weaker to a MS-FFB2 if I recall correctly.

The potis of the MS-FFB2 are really OK - and I don't want to change them - I'm able to fly very stable/precise I and have also no problems doing AA-refuelings in the A-10c.
Watch this track if you need a proof : http://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?p=1358180#post1358180
This was recorded witch a single MS-FFB2 but there is no lack in Precision with my mod. - It is even better now because I have the stick now extended. And with this longer throw I'm able to make much finer adjustments.

Last edited by Peter_P; 01/29/12 10:34 AM.
#3496165 - 01/16/12 10:35 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Renic Offline
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Nice job! Mods like this get me all excited!


"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." - Ben Franklin

"I won't bow out bravely. I'll be kicking, screaming, fighting. To the end."

"I'm throwing Pit Building against the wall to see what sticks!"

Renic's Simpit blog
#3496203 - 01/16/12 11:32 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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HitchHikingFlatlander Offline
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Wow now that is a stick MOD! Nice work Peter and thanks for the detailed write up.


I've got a bad feeling about this.....
#3496416 - 01/17/12 08:58 AM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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VO101MMaister Offline
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now, that is a very inspiring mod! Thanks for sharing!:)

#3496583 - 01/17/12 04:42 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Dmd_Fulcrum Offline
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This gets me all tingly inside. I wonder if there is a way to do this to the warthog but retain the warthog's base. Hmmmmm.......me thinks I'll need to start thinkin' about it. smile


Fulcrum of = The Damned =

#3496617 - 01/17/12 05:39 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Peter_P Offline
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Hi Hoplite,
no need to change something at the warthog at all ...!

When you have done a similar stick-base like I with the MS-FFB2's you only need something like this:

at the end of the extension (I of course used the old connection of my Cougar base) - goggle for "gardena" hosepipe adapters...
(you can see them in the first post on the third image)
and than you need only a male/female 5-pin mini-din wire from the grip to the base of your warthog.


I made my wire-connection 1,5m long - so I will have no problem to "upgrade" to a TM-Warthog grip without changing a single thing.

#3499980 - 01/21/12 05:06 AM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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This mod makes me wish for a second SWFFB2 and a Warthog stick handle to make my own variant of this. It's just that good. Amazing work!

But knowing myself, I'd never get around to it...

#3501524 - 01/23/12 11:36 AM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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SAPPER Offline
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It's FREAKING BRILLIANT! Now I have to start looking for a couple o MSFFSWs!

#3506185 - 01/29/12 07:34 AM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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SAPPER Offline
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Ok got my self two used MS FF2 SWs. Just ran some flights in IL-2 with them, they appear to be in tip-top conditon. I had never flown with one and it's incedible how much diference they make on a sim such as IL-2 1946. I'm formating my Desktop right now, but I can't wait to try them in Rise of FLight, my unmodded cougar is a bit.... bad for that.
Now it's modding time! I have a little diferent Idea for an aproach though. I intend to keep my cougar base intact (mostly) with it's electronics still inside it, then I'll just try to run the 5 wire cable from the FF assemlbly and plug it to the cougar base. And whenever I want to fly Falcon 4 BMS I'll re-atach the cougar to it's base wich I plan to MOD with this http://www.viperpits.org/smf/index.php?action=forum I think you have to be registred at ViperPits to see the download link though.

That way I plan to have the best of both worlds whenever situation call it for.

#3506355 - 01/29/12 03:25 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Quote:
I also found out when DirectX send a FFB command it will executed by every FFB controller you add.
I found it out by moving my MS-FFB2 and saw that the Logitech FBB-steering wheel turned also in the x-axis the same as the joystick...


Ok I stared some tests and I'm having trouble replicating the above behavior. Both joysticks seem to remain independent. This was observed in IL-2 1946 and FS FORCE a force feedback testing tool.
Any Idea what ight be wrong?

#3506398 - 01/29/12 04:56 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Peter_P Offline
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Are both controllers recognized by IL-2? - I didn't tested it up to now. and I have no working installation at the moment at my system.
I after I got IL-2 CloD I thought I wouldn't need my IL-2 1946 installation any more... btw:in the meantime I also de-installed CloD wink.

In DCS both controllers are working in sync.

And - yes - In a FFB-Test program you can only Talk at one controller at a time.

But I wasn't worried about this since it does exactly what I want in DCS.

I was first thinking about connecting both motors at a single axis to the same wires wit a Y cable - but I feared that this could fry the board - so I didn't tried.
Maybe someone has more experience/knowledge with electronics if this is possible.



Last edited by Peter_P; 01/29/12 05:17 PM.
#3506942 - 01/30/12 10:36 AM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Thanks Peter_P,

I reinstalled windows and haven't reinstalled DCS yet, but I'll sure be doing that today, and see if I can have the same results.
But if this behavior isn't the same in other games I might have to go the rewiring route. Fortunately I have someone who can help me with that. Also while reserching yesterday I found a page where someone talked about wiring a FF2 to more powerfull motors, so I think that might deserve a look. The guy uses high-current buffer circuits to drive more bigger motors maybe it can be used to drive 2 motors too. If you want to take a look it's here.
After reading a bit more I started to be a bit sorry I bought those two FF2 (even though I got them at a good price) I dind't realize before there were two FF2 versions, the original and the updated "RED". Mine are the original. I noticed in your pictures and videos and least one of yours is indeed a "RED". From what I read the regular version was supose not to work/have issues on windows 7. Mine so far are working on Windows 7 64. But I only tested them on IL-2 1946, and SF2, and of course that FF tool. By the way what is the tool you use to test forces in your video? Where can one get it?
Do you have any clues about compatibility on win 7 of the regular FF2 and diferences to the red version? Could this be the reason they don't sync?

#3507043 - 01/30/12 02:56 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Ok fired up DCS force feedback on both sticks!! More than that tough the sim was responding to inputs from both sticks, buttonwise at least, didn't do extensive testing with the axis. but the buttons on each stick replicated their functions as if it was one stick, I could for one use the hat on eighter stick to control the view.
Anyway I think since this is a DCS only behavior that this won't do for me at all, I need to rewire it so one board controls all motors.
On a side note how do you remove this "screw once" type of screws? Do I have to break to box to get it open?

#3507325 - 01/30/12 08:48 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: SAPPER]  
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Hello Snapper !
All my hopes and wishes are with you!

I only concentrated on DCS Blackshark/A10 - ... sorry.
I wished I wouldn't be so enthusiastic and had done more testing before I posted this "building diary" here.

I hope you are able to go the "one board 4 motors" route. I didn't reviewed everything in the link you posted , but it is very interesting - and I didn't know about this site.

About this "screw once" type Screws:
I used a flat-head screwdriver that has the same diameter as the screws (and a lot of force) to remove them.

Please keep me updated with your findings.

Btw 'Krebs20' and 'crasysundog' over et the DCS forum are starting to do the same.
I will PM both so you three can help each other out.


Edit: you find the FFTest.exe in the bin folder of DCS 1.1.1.1


Last edited by Peter_P; 01/30/12 09:43 PM.
#3660409 - 10/10/12 06:28 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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This is something very close to what I emailed Thrustmaster to consider doing a year ago. They said thank you but did nothing.
My idea was to just make an USB mod that can be added to the Cougar or Warthog throttle to give it FFB. Shouldn't be too hard to do.
The reason I want feedback on the throttle and not the stick, is if you're using a FCC or similar force sensor on the stick, I wouldn't
want it affected by the FFB output on the stick.

Congrats to the thread author for giving this a good shot.


AV8R
#3661244 - 10/11/12 07:36 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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This is AWESOME!

Congrats Peter and good luck SAPPER!


looks very modernishy-phoney-windows eighty-tabletty like

Asus P8P67 Pro Rev. 3.0 // i5 2500k @4.3 GHz with Noctua NH-D14 // nvidia gtx 780 // 8 GB DDR3 1600 //Win7 home 64 bit //450 GB VelociRaptor //Recon3D Champion
#3661630 - 10/12/12 01:17 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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My experiments with this are on hold for a while actually. I had a friend helping me, but I came with the conclusion that with the method was sugesting, it would no work/be feasible. Plus I was in danger of destroying on or bothe MSFF2. There is a page somewhere describing how to hack a Logitech FF stick to use bigger motors, I think that with that method one could eighter do that to the MSFF2 or feed two motors in paralel on each axis of the MSFF2 ending up with a mechanical construction equal to PeterP's but driven diferently. My electronics Are limited but if I re-find and link that Page is there anyone who could help me with a sort of build? I mean the exact electronic schematic to build a sort of Voltage amplifier.

#3666341 - 10/20/12 06:43 AM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Ok here it is:

http://www.simprojects.nl/hacking_a_force_feedback_stick.htm

Is there anyone here that could help me to implement this for the MSFF2. My idea is not to use bigger stronger motors, but to use the higher power outage in each channel to drive two motor per channel wired in paralel in an assembly like PeterP's.

How about it?

#3702421 - 12/19/12 08:35 PM Re: Two MS FFB2 merged into one with Cougar Grip [Re: Peter_P]  
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Ok from the same man! Looks like im back in the game!!! http://www.simprojects.nl/ms_siderwinder_ff2_hack.htm

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