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SimpleThrust - Open Source Software for your thrust stand project

DamoRC

Well-known member
Mentor
#1
What is it?

SimpleThrust is a PC application written to support your DIY thrust stand project. Working with a microcontroller, SimpleThrust helps you acquire and visualize your thrust stand data, automatically run pre-defined testing procedures, and analyze your saved data. It supports measurement / calculation a broad array of parameters including thrust, torque, RPM, mechanical power output, battery and individual cell voltages, current, electrical power input, component temperature monitoring, airspeed, and more.

Whats in the Zip file?

The stand alone executable file (.exe) - this is the application you run on your PC
The Arduino sketch (.ino) file specifically written to work with SimpleThrust and which can be edited using the freely available Arduino IDE
The Visual Studio source files for the Windows application which you can edit using Visual Studio Community edition - free from Microsoft
PDF Manuals for the PC software, Arduino sketch, and overview of the hardware used.

Do I need a thrust stand?

Nope.

Huh?

A thrust stand can be a really useful tool, but in many ways its just a fun toy. The types of questions folks typically ask about their motor / battery / propeller combinations have already been answered on forums or by vendors and manufacturers. You just have to look for it. The tool only becomes useful if you are trying a new combination of motor / prop / battery / ESC and want to optimize how you configure your components. It can also be useful in assessing situations specific to your equipment particularly battery performance where you can monitor each cell under load and determine if you battery is up to the job at hand.

So I shouldn't even bother building one?

No, go ahead and build one. It can be a lot of fun working on this type of stuff if you are the right kind of nerd. I love to tinker with electronics and computers as much as I love to fly and build, putting together my current thrust stand with electronics has been very satisfying.

Sounds expensive - is it?

You can pick up and Arduino Uno for around $20-$25. You can go cheaper than this if you are willing to put more work into assembling the board etc, and the Uno has some limitations in the number of inputs and outputs available.
The basics (load cell for thrust and load cell amplifier, hall effect current sensor, infrared Rx/Tx pair for RPM, and sundries like resistors etc) will cost about $35 - $40. You don't have to go all in at first, start Simple!

Sounds complicated - is it?

If you have had no experience with electronics or microcontrollers then you will have quite a bit to learn. If you have some experience with Arduinos and have the hardware available, it's pretty much plug and play. Although you do have to know how to use the Arduino software to get up and running, the sketch is ready to go and the SimpleThrust application is compiled and ready to run on your PC.

Any pics?

Glad you asked. This is my current prototype and some data.

IMG_3784.JPG
IMG_3785.JPG
IMG_3786.JPG
IMG_3787.JPG
Analysis.jpg

Enjoy!

DamoRC
 

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DamoRC

Well-known member
Mentor
#2
Updates and Bug Fixes

O9NOV18 - Version 1.01 released
Minor bug fix to correct for AREF not updating for calibration actions
Minor bug fix to correct tab order in Setup form

08NOV18 - Version 1.0 released
 
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