HOTAS Cockpit project

Drewble

New member
Hey y'all! I am a 19-year-old FPV pilot and I am building out a full-scale HOTAS setup in the back of my Chevy Express Van (I am a vanlifer).
My plan currently is to connect all joystick and rudder systems to a PC that is able to combine and configure all inputs to a single virtual joystick that can then be output via a USB to PPM converter. I know this sort of system has been used in the past to translate USB HOTAS inputs to the trainer port on a transmitter such as my TX16S. One thing I am unsure of is how many channels are able to be passed to the radio through the trainer port; I want to be able to use switches on my HOTAS and eventually incorporate head tracking as well.
I think I could use a direct connection from the PPM stream to a transmitter module via a number of converters (PPM to CRSF, etc), but I would prefer to be able to use EdgeTX to handle the conversion for me to ensure versatility and enable me to easily swap between radio links using the JR bay.
My primary experience has been with ELRS but I plan to start flying fixed wings so I am unsure of how to best swap to using Spectrum links(or should I just continue to install ELRS receivers on the fixed wings I get?)
Any advice is greatly appreciated! :)
 

JasonK

Participation Award Recipient

looks like 8 via the trainer port and it also looks like you can do s-bus on the bottom connector for your TX16x (which should get you the possibility of a faster update cycle).

8 could be a bit limiting with lots of switches + head tracking [2 channels] + controls [4 channels]... meaning you would need to mux your switches into 2 channels (there is a bardwell video showing how to do it on a openTX radio to do so to talk to a FC... same type of thing should be able to be done for your setup to your radio)
 

LitterBug

Troll Spammer
I have a stalled out project to do something similar. I was using a Teensy 4.0 board to read from USB devices, map the inputs to PPM out, then use "any" tx with a trainer input to connect to the model. it was all breadboarded so it never was tested outside the house. Eventually I wanted to add a screen and buttons to the teensy to allow for dynamic config. Still have all the pieces and hope to get back to it one day.

Keep us posted on your progress!

Cheers!
LitterBug
 

Drewble

New member
For sure! Right now I am just waiting for parts to come in to start prototyping my build. I will definitely look into using the sbus inputs on my Tx16s for additional low-latency channels.
 

Flying Monkey fab

Elite member
I’ve always wanted to do a full on HOTAS for fixed wing FPV so definitely following this thread.

I’d stick with ELRS myself. After looking at usb to PPM for some time I really think the simpler solution is to simply sacrifice a transmitter to the cause and go from there. More soldering but a whole lot less software headache. Then again, that might simply be me being old school.
 

Drewble

New member
I’ve always wanted to do a full on HOTAS for fixed wing FPV so definitely following this thread.

I’d stick with ELRS myself. After looking at usb to PPM for some time I really think the simpler solution is to simply sacrifice a transmitter to the cause and go from there. More soldering but a whole lot less software headache. Then again, that might simply be me being old school.
I have considered doing this as well, especially since this is how most documented HOTAS setups have been done, but I would like to leave the opportunity for an upgrade path for both transmitter and HOTAS systems in the future. Plus, while I would be willing to sacrifice a dedicated transmitter, I would not be willing to sacrifice my HOTAS setup, so it looks like I am going to have to do at least a little coding.
I have a CompuFly USB to PPM converter on the way that comes with software to handle the joystick output, and I may be able to hack it to output serial data for use in the SBUS/UART ports on the bottom of my radio.
When my hardware gets here I will be able to troubleshoot a bit more and go from there.
 

Drewble

New member
UPDATE: Got my seat and rudder pedals installed, still waiting on my HOTAS setup(Backordered).
My USB to PPM interface arrived so I am working on a prototype system with my current FPV drone to see if I can get the virtual joystick>transmitter>receiver link working properly. I'll try to update more as I go!


 

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