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'[OT]: Comment sought on RocknRide motion simulator'
2000\10\13@070128 by Russell McMahon

picon face
A wee bit off topic but hopefully the areas of interest will overlap enough
for some....

For many years (20+ ???) I have had an interest in the possibility of
building a motion simulator but it has been one of those things that never
quite happened.
I am not a great games player but would love a decent rally driving
simulator which allowed one to "suspend disbelief" in that environment.

I now have an opportunity to buy a "RocknRide" motion simulator "used only
on weekends for demonstration purposes by a little old lady who owned a
computer store" (not quite) for about 1/4 of the new US equivalent price.
For those who haven't met them this is a 2 axis (front/back and left/right)
chair with a swing in each axis of about +/- 26 degrees. Operates on
pneumatics with its own small compressor and has RS232 or joystick control
Extremely simple but workable and appears robust enough.
Offers possibility of interposing a device between eg PC game or whatever
and simulator to modify response in various ways.

MAY be the only one in the country.

Not too much general comment on the web that I have been able to find
although what I have found has been generally positive.

Has anyone met these?
How "good" are they?
Any thoughts on reliability or any other aspects ?
I'm being slowly enticed by the prospect but some independent comment would
be of interest.

Y'All welcome to play occasionally if I buy it but it's a long way to swim
for most of you :-)

For what it's worth - specs of apparent acceleration at 26 degrees tilt
angle are attached.

TIA


               Russell McMahon



_____________________________________________________-


Sim limits
Acc 0.44 g        User sees
Grav 0.90 g       Apparent gravity

Real
Res 1.11g         Force on user at 26 degrees resultant angle
Acc 0.43g          Acceleration to cause this



Performance at full acceleration

0-100 kph 6.47 seconds
 89.80 metres
 294.63 feet

S 1/4 mile 58.80 m/s
 211.66 kph
 132.29 mph
 13.69 seconds

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2000\10\13@101241 by M. Adam Davis

flavicon
face
I don't have any comment on that particular sim, but most newer sims these days
use linear motors, 6 to a base.  I'd be curious about how fast the rock n ride
can go, and whether it has a pneumatic 'squishy' feeling (which may be
advantageous, depending on the simulation).

Have you ridden in it?  And, of course, a bargain is a bargain!  Chances are if
you turn it down you'll occasionally wonder if you should have gotten it.  If
you do get it, you'll likely be able to resell it for the same price if you
don't like it.  And you can always throw more money at it for improvements, so
nearly anything can be changed...

-Adam

Russell McMahon wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2000\10\14@170227 by Andy Howard

picon face
C'mon Russell, don't give us this "seeking for independent comments"
rubbish - you really want to buy it and you're just hoping that we'll back
you up.

My advice is: it sounds like a brilliant toy and you should snap it up
straight away, immediately, right now, without delay. Never mind deferred
gratification, DO IT! Make the call now, before you move on to the next
message, even if it's the middle of the night and you have to get the guy
out of bed, borrow the money from the Mob if you have to.


Hope I haven't been to equivocal...

Cheers

Andy.





{Original Message removed}

2000\10\14@175810 by Sean H. Breheny

face picon face
Russell,

Is this a normal looking black chair with a pedestal coming from the bottom
and a pair of pneumatic pistons underneath? If so, I think I may have used
one at a PC-based simulator demo (Jane's F-15 combat simulator) at an
airshow. It was pretty lame, as far as I was concerned and would rather
have been sitting still while I tried to get the hang of the sim. For one
thing, there was nothing around me to deceive me into "feeling" as though I
was accelerating. It just felt exactly as you would think, like I was
tilting. Perhaps if you set it up in a dark room with the image projected
onto the whole wall in front of you, then the somatographic illusion might
work. The motion was also somewhat jerky and IIRC, it make audible air
releasing noises as it moved.

Sean

At 09:57 PM 10/14/00 +0100, you wrote:
>{Original Message removed}

2000\10\15@065234 by Russell McMahon

picon face
>C'mon Russell, don't give us this "seeking for independent comments"
>rubbish - you really want to buy it and you're just hoping that we'll back
>you up.
>
>My advice is: it sounds like a brilliant toy and you should snap it up
>straight away, immediately, right now, without delay. Never mind deferred
>gratification,

waited 20 years+ so far :-)

>DO IT! Make the call now, before you move on to the next
>message, even if it's the middle of the night and you have to get the guy
>out of bed, borrow the money from the Mob if you have to.
>Hope I haven't been to equivocal...


A little, probably.

Yes, there's certainly an element of wanting encouragement etc but useful
comment would also be useful :-)

Sean in fact has provided this so I get both sorts of input.

{Quote hidden}

Yes. This sounds like the unit.
I have not yet been able to see it running but should get that opportunity
tomorrow morning.
I have read a moderate amount on the net since last post and am happy about
the tilt angles that it gives even though they are nowhere near what I would
like.
Apparently for 'serious" sim work where you DO hide external reality clues
then far less than the +/- 26 odd degrees is fine to fool your brain.

I agree that being able to 'see out" is absolutely against what it's about
and early on a light weight hood of some sorts would be an essential.
I think many people probably use this as a gee whizz add on without any
great thought as to what you should be trying to do to your brain to suspend
its disbelief.

I have wondered about the stiffness aspects and will find out more tomorrow.
There are ways of stiffening up pneumatics but I would not be launching into
anything like that initially.
In many cases a degree of waver would be acceptable.
The cylinders were about 3" AFAIK so at a compressor pressure of 3 bar one
should get a max force of 3^2*pi*14.7*3 = about 300 lbf. I haven't any feel
for the moment of inertia of a person, chair, monitor and assorted ironwork
but the 300 lbs odd available should be a reasonable amount for reasonable
response. We'll soon see. Their animated GIF makes response look "good" but
may nor represent reality.

I agree that a waving chair can make it hard to learn a sim but arguably a
real aircraft would do the same :-)
Certainly you would want the response to represent reality and not some
semi-associated + semi-gratuitous movement.


Thanks for the input,


       Russell McMahon

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'[OT]: Comment sought on RocknRide motion simulator'
2000\11\03@025356 by Russell McMahon
picon face
Update -
On about 14 October I said -
>> I now have an opportunity to buy a "RocknRide" motion simulator "used
only
>> on weekends for demonstration purposes by a little old lady who owned a
>> computer store" (not quite) for about 1/4 of the new US equivalent price.
>> For those who haven't met them this is a 2 axis (front/back and
>left/right)
>> chair with a swing in each axis of about +/- 26 degrees. Operates on
>> pneumatics with its own small compressor and has RS232 or joystick
control
>> Extremely simple but workable and appears robust enough.
etc

Andy said -
{Quote hidden}

I bought it !!
About a week ago - so far apart from a very brief initial play its been put
to one side but I'm very keen to get back to it.

It turned out to be walking wounded (price adjusted accordingly) at the
moment but is clearly able to be fully workable without any major work
(famous last words).
It doesn't respond to digital (RS232) commands but this may be just an
interface problem - maybe not.
It has an analog mode with a standard IBM PC style joystick plugged in and
you can't get the whole range of operation with any of a number of joysticks
BUT as soon as you pull the joystick plug out it actively drives to rest
into the dead area in both directions so it's a matter of the signals being
of the correct magnitude.

Digital input is how it will very largely be operated regardless of what
it's used with so this must be got going.
The PCB is mounted upside down and from what I can see it has only two IC's
on it and one is an 18 pin DIP :-) - I'm guessing 16C71 as it will have A2D
for the position feedback pots but it may of course be another processor
family.
We'll see.

It has given me all sorts of ideas just looking at it. Bigger cylinders,
higher pressure, ... MORE HORSEPOWER !!! :-)
It will do fine as is for a start.
My son is looking forwards to having it going.


     Russell McMahon
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2000\11\03@120235 by Robert Rolf

picon face
> It turned out to be walking wounded (price adjusted accordingly) at the
> moment but is clearly able to be fully workable without any major work
> (famous last words).
> It doesn't respond to digital (RS232) commands but this may be just an
> interface problem - maybe not.

Check for a popped RS232 convertor chip. They do go open after
a good static zap.

> It has an analog mode with a standard IBM PC style joystick plugged in and
> you can't get the whole range of operation with any of a number of joysticks

It probably wasn't designed for the PC joystick. They use 100K pots,
while the 'professional' J/S tended to use 1K to keep noise pickup
low.

> BUT as soon as you pull the joystick plug out it actively drives to rest
> into the dead area in both directions so it's a matter of the signals being
> of the correct magnitude.

And of the correct pin out too, I'll bet. You've got a bit of
reverse engineering ahead of you.

> Digital input is how it will very largely be operated regardless of what
> it's used with so this must be got going.

> The PCB is mounted upside down and from what I can see it has only two IC's
> on it and one is an 18 pin DIP :-) - I'm guessing 16C71 as it will have A2D
> for the position feedback pots but it may of course be another processor
> family.
> We'll see.


Do you have the protocol for the RS232 port? It may not listen
if the joystick isn't attached (kill switch?), and of course if
the baud rate is wrong or you haven't sent a 'hello' command
it will ignore the port for safety. (Maybe even has CRC's on the
command packets. I know I would if I had designed it. Wouldn't
want a cable disconnect to sent the user into orbit (literally)).
>
> It has given me all sorts of ideas just looking at it. Bigger cylinders,
> higher pressure, ... MORE HORSEPOWER !!! :-)

Hummmm. Too much Tim the tool man Taylor, in you....


> It will do fine as is for a start.
> My son is looking forwards to having it going.

So are we:
How about a small JPG image of it.

Robert

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2000\11\04@040058 by Russell McMahon

picon face
>Check for a popped RS232 convertor chip. They do go open after
>a good static zap.


I  don't believe that they use one as their cable is "special" with a
resistive divider and a diode therein!
As itv is DB9 at PC end and DB15 (joystick) at RnR end there's not too much
chance of people plugging in the wrong cable.
Cable tests OK (R's and diode).

>> It has an analog mode with a standard IBM PC style joystick plugged in
and
>> you can't get the whole range of operation with any of a number of
joysticks
>
>It probably wasn't designed for the PC joystick. They use 100K pots,
>while the 'professional' J/S tended to use 1K to keep noise pickup
>low.


It's MEANT to work witjh standard game joysticks using the RnR as a joystick
pass through but I wouldn't be surprised if this was a less than ideal
implementation. PCs allow "calibration" in software and there's no provision
for this here.

>And of the correct pin out too, I'll bet. You've got a bit of
>reverse engineering ahead of you.


I do have pinouts at least.

>Do you have the protocol for the RS232 port? It may not listen
>if the joystick isn't attached (kill switch?), and of course if
>the baud rate is wrong or you haven't sent a 'hello' command
>it will ignore the port for safety. (Maybe even has CRC's on the
>command packets. I know I would if I had designed it. Wouldn't
>want a cable disconnect to sent the user into orbit (literally)).


Very simple "protocol".
Send an ASCII char ( a "P" I think it is) then two 8 bit numbers for X and
Y - or so the basic instructions I got from the web say.
Speed is AFAIR 2400 bps - just possible that they changed this twixt model I
have and one I have info for.
If all fails they are still contatable.

>How about a small JPG image of it.


Could do but at this stage it's not too exciting.
There are pictures online included a crudish animated GIF of it running at

       http://www.rocknride.com

Once I get it a little more sorted out I'll post another update.




Russell

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