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DIY collective control lever for a helicopter flight sim

Arduino TeamApril 3rd, 2020

Kaleb Clark really enjoys flight simulators, but when attempting to fly a helicopter, a normal keyboard or even a joystick isn’t quite optimal for controlling its vertical movement. Real helicopters use a lever assembly called a collective to adjust downward thrust, and he decided to build his own with an Arduino Micro and GPIO expander.

To read the main lever action, he’s using a gear and encoder setup, which allows him to lift and descent in a much more natural way than afforded normal computer controls. There’s also has a bunch of buttons attached that can be programmed for various actions as needed. 

Game interface is taken care of by the Micro’s ATmega32U4 chip, giving it HID functionality as an auxiliary input device.