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Author Topic: How to use an a-pac?  (Read 2916 times)

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sirgubster9

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How to use an a-pac?
« on: January 15, 2022, 01:03:22 am »
Read through the first thread about newbs read hear and I'm more confused now then I was before ha ha. I want to take a cruisn cabinet and put a pc in it and I think it would be great to use all the stuff that comes with the cab. That being said I believe my main option is to use an a-pac right? Are there any tutorials or documents or anything that basically gives you step by step instructions on even hooking the apac up to the steering wheel and pedals?

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2022, 01:41:49 am »
Or is this another option... Whatever this thing is: Arduino Leonardo?

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2022, 07:10:21 am »
Read through the first thread about newbs read hear and I'm more confused now then I was before ha ha. I want to take a cruisn cabinet and put a pc in it and I think it would be great to use all the stuff that comes with the cab. That being said I believe my main option is to use an a-pac right? Are there any tutorials or documents or anything that basically gives you step by step instructions on even hooking the apac up to the steering wheel and pedals?
A picture is worth 1000 words.

During bootup the APac checks if potentiometers are connected as shown in the picture.
- If they are, those ports are configured for potentiometer -- 5v on red wire and variable (wiper) voltage on yellow wire.  Ground on black wire is always ground.
- If one or more of the four pots are not connected, those ports are configured according to the labels on the board.  For example, if the lower right pot isn't connected the board configures the ports as 2LEFT and 2RIGHT.  Ground on black wire is always ground.



Or is this another option... Whatever this thing is: Arduino Leonardo?
"Rolling-your-own" encoder can be a bit challenging unless you can solder, load firmwares, and (maybe) modify some firmware code.
- There is a learning curve, but most people can figure it out with some effort and guidance.   ;D

There are a number of related boards using a 32u4 processor. (be sure to get a 5v/16MHz version, not a 3.3v/8MHz)

- The full-size Arduino Leonardo board.  It has mounting holes and an external power jack that you won't need.  https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Arduino_BoardLeonardo



- The smaller Arduino Micro board.  It can do everything that the full-size does, but is harder to find and more expensive than the third option below.  https://docs.arduino.cc/hardware/micro



- The tiny (1.3" x 0.7") Pro Micro board designed by Sparkfun and very widely copied.  It's the cheapest and most plentiful with lots of decent knockoffs.  There are seven ports that aren't available, but you probably don't need them for your project.  https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12640



You'll need to find or make a firmware to translate your control inputs into USB HID commands.

One option is KADE miniArcade 2.0.  http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,154126.0.html

Another option is to use baritonomarchetto's instructable https://www.instructables.com/ArcadeHID-Multi-HID-Arcade-Interface/ as a foundation to make a custom firmware like Vee21 did.  http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,165806.0.html

If you don't like the options above, there are lots of other 32u4 boards and firmware options to choose from.


Scott

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2022, 07:16:05 am »
PL1 knows all you need to about controls and interfaces!

Is your Cruisin cabinet complete?
Rebuilding what you have may be easier than anything else really as altering driving cabs gets complicated quickly.

You will get eager assistance to repair the original cabinet components here and elsewhere.

Clues for irreversibly altering it may not come easily.

The wiki here is amazing.

Post what the condition of the cabinet is and what you want to play so that someone can assist more.
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2022, 07:23:09 am »
Clues for irreversibly altering it may not come easily.
Very true.  "Don't maim for MAME" is always good advice.   ;)


Scott

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2022, 07:46:21 am »
Are there any tutorials or documents or anything that basically gives you step by step instructions on even hooking the apac up to the steering wheel and pedals?
One option is KADE miniArcade 2.0.
Scott

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2022, 10:15:15 am »
Definitely trying not to maim the cabinet, it is a complete cabinet just missing the game board. Just trying to figure out how to hook it up so that basically I can play crazy taxi on it ha ha. Of course playing other games would be cool too. Looking for the simplest route for sure. And I have no idea what a mini Kade is. But whatever the simplest route would be and as long as it's not too expensive I am in. That's why the a pac seemed like the route to go right?

sirgubster9

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2022, 10:26:00 am »
Maybe I just need to continue to do a ton more research. I have worked in many arcades and done the whole Mame thing and basically hooked up arcades from scratch. I didn't think a steering wheel would add that much to the complicated factor but wow it seems to I guess ha ha.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2022, 01:52:13 pm »
Oh and per my small child I need to be able to play batman on it as well. Ha ha.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2022, 02:42:06 pm »
Maybe I just need to continue to do a ton more research.
Wise choice.   :cheers:

Good place to start is by making a COMPLETE list of ALL of the controls/buttons/indicator lamps on the cab and what type of input or output they use. i.e. potentiometer (analog), microswitch (digital), 360 degree steering wheel (optical), view button lamps (LED controller output), etc.
- Once you know that and what games you want to (and can) play on that setup (hopefully including that Batman game) you can choose the right encoder(s) and perhaps an LED controller.  See the What type of build meets my needs? design process in the FAQ and pay special attention to steps 2 and 4.

For example, you mentioned connecting the steering wheel and pedals to an A-Pac, implying that they use potentiometers. (analog input)
- Are the pedals wired as single axis or dual axis?



- What kind of shifter?
-- You can easily connect a 4-speed 4-switch shifter via any encoder, but a 4-speed 3-switch shifter can be more tricky to wire.   ;)

I didn't think a steering wheel would add that much to the complicated factor but wow it seems to I guess ha ha.
A 270 degree (potentiometer) steering wheel by itself is easy.

Also adding pedals, a shifter, and (maybe) other controls and indicator lamps is what can make it complicated.   :lol


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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2022, 04:36:53 pm »
I use 2x u-hid in my twin cab and it works great. Very similar to the A-PAC (U-HID is ultimarc latest product and is an update to the A-PAC).
https://www.ultimarc.com/control-interfaces/u-hid-en/u-hid/

Easy to swap between the original boards and a groovymame PC if you just buy the compatible connector blocks to plug into the cabinet wiring harness.

only problem with UHID, A-PAC etc is they don't do force feed back.


Has anyone developed an all-in-one board that also does force-feedback to a happ motor setup? The global VR "immersion USB" boards were an all-in-one solution 10-15 years ago but they are super rare and expensive when they show up on ebay.




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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2022, 11:54:46 pm »
I use 2x u-hid in my twin cab and it works great. Very similar to the A-PAC (U-HID is ultimarc latest product and is an update to the A-PAC).
https://www.ultimarc.com/control-interfaces/u-hid-en/u-hid/

Easy to swap between the original boards and a groovymame PC if you just buy the compatible connector blocks to plug into the cabinet wiring harness.

only problem with UHID, A-PAC etc is they don't do force feed back.


Has anyone developed an all-in-one board that also does force-feedback to a happ motor setup? The global VR "immersion USB" boards were an all-in-one solution 10-15 years ago but they are super rare and expensive when they show up on ebay.

You are the man I think I need to talk to. I don't even know if a cruisn world upright cab does force feedback. I am seriously just looking for an adapter that I plug my current steering wheel, gas pedal, and shifter into that then allows it to hook up to a pc. Please tell me more good sir about your journey.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2022, 03:03:21 pm »
This is basically my setup and I just don't even understand how to hook this thing up to that little apac adapter or the updated uhid thing. Does the apac like come with an instruction manual?

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2022, 03:21:25 pm »
I'm literally just trying to figure out how to connect the wires. I think I can deal with all the future stuff later. Any help would be greatly appreciated

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2022, 04:11:49 pm »
see can you find a schematic service manual for your cab online.

look for the wires related to the controls and make a wiring harness to connect the uhid to the controls.

Eg start button is just a button with 2 wires. 1 wire to the button switch and 1 wire to ground
View change is a button. 
Gas is analogue- 3 wires 5v, gnd and wiper.
Similar for steering and gas.

I'll try do a small video for you.

By the way, i can see from your picture your cab has a happ motor so it is forcefeed back. If you want to use that you will go with something else to a uhid or apac. Ideally a global vr immersion usb but good luck finding one :(

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2022, 06:52:54 pm »
see can you find a schematic service manual for your cab online.

look for the wires related to the controls and make a wiring harness to connect the uhid to the controls.

Eg start button is just a button with 2 wires. 1 wire to the button switch and 1 wire to ground
View change is a button. 
Gas is analogue- 3 wires 5v, gnd and wiper.
Similar for steering and gas.

I'll try do a small video for you.

By the way, i can see from your picture your cab has a happ motor so it is forcefeed back. If you want to use that you will go with something else to a uhid or apac. Ideally a global vr immersion usb but good luck finding one :(
You would be my hero if you could do a video. The buttons are easy, I've made a Mame cabinet before, it's all the anologue stuff that's confusing me very much. I definitely don't want to hac any of my stuff. Oh is the happ motor or force feedback that very large cylinder thing next to the steering wheel? And is that what makes the steering wheel rumble and what not?

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2022, 10:31:02 pm »
I don't think crazy taxi had force feedback atleast not in the stand up version so even though that would be soooooo cool I think I will work on that part on the next go around maybe.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2022, 07:23:50 pm »
Found a schematic to my can online. And what is the difference between the u-hid and apac? Because I saw that they are both still available for purchase?

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2022, 02:38:36 pm »
An a-pac will handle analog inputs (like potentiometers) as well as regular key presses (for buttons or microswitch joysticks) whereas a U-HID can handle any type of inputs (including the optical ones like trackballs and spinners.)

As far as Andy's interfaces go, the U-HID is like having an A-Pac, Opti-Pac and Ultimate I/O all in one board.

I have 2 U-HIDs and highly recommend them- unless you will build your own Arduino board (see Scott for that one!)
Programming a U-HID is pretty involved, but once you learn the method it is not difficult.

There IS a thread on FFB implementation somewhere here...
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2022, 03:27:52 pm »
An a-pac will handle analog inputs (like potentiometers) as well as regular key presses (for buttons or microswitch joysticks) whereas a U-HID can handle any type of inputs (including the optical ones like trackballs and spinners.)

As far as Andy's interfaces go, the U-HID is like having an A-Pac, Opti-Pac and Ultimate I/O all in one board.

I have 2 U-HIDs and highly recommend them- unless you will build your own Arduino board (see Scott for that one!)
Programming a U-HID is pretty involved, but once you learn the method it is not difficult.

There IS a thread on FFB implementation somewhere here...

oh great info thank you, so if my only goals for now are to hook up a steering wheel, a gas pedal, a 4 gear shifter and a few buttons I should probably just stick with an a-pac right? since my steering wheel is a 270 i believe that means its an anologue pentimoter thing. and it sounds like force feedback is a whole other animal and has nothing to do with apac or U-hid.  Ive progammed ther standard ipac before and that was pretty easy... im hoping this will be similar once I can figure out which wires go where. 

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2022, 11:49:11 pm »
Both your steering wheel and gas pedal are probably potentiometer devices but as an A-pac can handle four of those you should be fine.

Not sure what shifter you have but it is probably a microswitch device like your buttons.

Andy's documentation is great but ask if you have issues and someone here will help.

Scott has already diagrammed what you would need to do actually.
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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2022, 04:49:29 am »
hey mate I recently did exactly what you are trying to do with a racing cab - http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,165806.0.html

Hopefully the thread helps, thanks to the awesome people on here I got it all working using an Arduino Leonardo my next hurdle is force feedback. My setup was potentiometers for accelerate, brake and steering, those were easy to hook up to the Arduino and get them working, you could copy the code in my thread if you decide to go the Arduino path.

I work with computers but had zero clue about electronics (I had no idea what a potentiometer was) so it was a decent learning curve but its damn worth it once you get all working.

Cheers  :cheers:

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2022, 05:19:23 pm »
Both your steering wheel and gas pedal are probably potentiometer devices but as an A-pac can handle four of those you should be fine.

Not sure what shifter you have but it is probably a microswitch device like your buttons.

Andy's documentation is great but ask if you have issues and someone here will help.

Scott has already diagrammed what you would need to do actually.
Oh does Andy have actual instructions or whatever that he sends out with the APAC?

Scott diagrammed it amazingly.. thank you scott by the way.  My only confusion still are the pots and which wires do you use and all that good stuff.  Which i feel like is super simple and everyone else gets it but me ha ha. 
« Last Edit: January 20, 2022, 05:23:08 pm by sirgubster9 »

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2022, 05:20:57 pm »
hey mate I recently did exactly what you are trying to do with a racing cab - http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,165806.0.html

Hopefully the thread helps, thanks to the awesome people on here I got it all working using an Arduino Leonardo my next hurdle is force feedback. My setup was potentiometers for accelerate, brake and steering, those were easy to hook up to the Arduino and get them working, you could copy the code in my thread if you decide to go the Arduino path.

I work with computers but had zero clue about electronics (I had no idea what a potentiometer was) so it was a decent learning curve but its damn worth it once you get all working.

Cheers  :cheers:

thanks man!!! I will definitely check this out.  Any reason you decided to go the arduino route when the apac seems so much more strait forward?
im still a little bit lost, why would i have to deal with firmwares or have to be able to code, its not as simple as plugging one wire into an encoder for axis left and one wire into the encoder for axis right? I might be in way over my head here it seems. 
« Last Edit: January 20, 2022, 05:47:31 pm by sirgubster9 »

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2022, 06:31:17 pm »
Scott has already diagrammed what you would need to do actually.
Scott diagrammed it amazingly.. thank you scott by the way.
I can't take credit for that A-Pac diagram -- that's Andy's diagram from the Ultimarc site.   :notworthy:

https://www.ultimarc.com/images/1/apac_step1.jpg



My only confusion still are the pots and which wires do you use and all that good stuff.
The wiki has a breakdown showing what is inside a potentiometer and how it works.

http://wiki.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/Analog_Encoders#How_a_potentiometer_provides_the_voltage_for_an_analog_encoder_to_measure

Short version:
- 3 tabs.
- 5v and Ground on the two outside tabs. (1 and 3 or 3 and 1)
- Center tab (tab 2) is the variable voltage output that the analog encoder (A-Pac, U-HID, or Arduino) translates into a position.


Scott

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2022, 06:52:59 pm »
Any reason you decided to go the arduino route when the apac seems so much more strait forward?
In Vee21's case, he has a 6-speed shifter.

An A-Pac can't decode four inputs (two microswitches and two photosensors) into 7 possible states. (gears 1-6 and N)
The two microswitches determine if the shift lever is up (1/3/5), center (N), or down. (2/4/6)

The two photosensors determine if the shift lever is left (1/2/N), center (3/4/N), or right. (5/6/N)


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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2022, 07:10:51 pm »
Scott has already diagrammed what you would need to do actually.
Scott diagrammed it amazingly.. thank you scott by the way.
I can't take credit for that A-Pac diagram -- that's Andy's diagram from the Ultimarc site.   :notworthy:

https://www.ultimarc.com/images/1/apac_step1.jpg



My only confusion still are the pots and which wires do you use and all that good stuff.
The wiki has a breakdown showing what is inside a potentiometer and how it works.

http://wiki.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/Analog_Encoders#How_a_potentiometer_provides_the_voltage_for_an_analog_encoder_to_measure

Short version:
- 3 tabs.
- 5v and Ground on the two outside tabs. (1 and 3 or 3 and 1)
- Center tab (tab 2) is the variable voltage output that the analog encoder (A-Pac, U-HID, or Arduino) translates into a position.


Scott
Thank you thank you thank you. I think I'm finally getting this. So steering wheel would be pot connected to left and right. Gas would be pot connected to up and down. Brake would be connected to player 2 and then I just program it? And then gears and buttons would be connected to sws?

Thank you for being so understanding by the way. OK so I see all this stuff about coding and firmware and what not but can I basically ignore all that if I go the apac route? Since all I am doing is hooking up a gas and brake pedal, a steering wheel and some buttons assuming the shifter is micro switches?  I feel like I can just plug those pots in per Andy's diagram and be good to go right? I do have all these games working already just using a keyboard though. What's the point of all the coding and what not?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2022, 07:22:13 pm by sirgubster9 »

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2022, 08:33:06 pm »
thanks man!!! I will definitely check this out.  Any reason you decided to go the arduino route when the apac seems so much more strait forward?
im still a little bit lost, why would i have to deal with firmwares or have to be able to code, its not as simple as plugging one wire into an encoder for axis left and one wire into the encoder for axis right? I might be in way over my head here it seems.

Yep exactly what PL1 mentioned, the cab I'm working on has a 6-speed shifter and I had seen some guys on the sim racing forums using it for PC games using the Arduino. When I was doing my research a lot of posts and videos mentioned Arduino and it peaked my interest so I was keen to learn how to use one and also people have got FFB to work with it as well which is what ill be trying to do next. To be honest I don't know much about the APACs so I couldn't tell why to choose one over the other, but the Arduino seems more customizable but there's a learning curve trade off.

Cheers

PL1

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2022, 10:02:16 pm »
What's the point of all the coding and what not?
The point is to handle things like Vee21's shifter and/or other uncommon/custom/inexpensive encoder setups.

There are other firmware options like a rotary joystick encoder (Ikari Warriors) or a 12 button keypad that needs a matrix encoder for Intellivision.



Picture wanting to make a cab with a Star Wars yoke, gas+brake pedals, and some admin buttons to navigate the game menu.
- 4 pots
- 4 player buttons (2 trigger, 2 thumb)
- 4 admin buttons

You can do that with an A-Pac ($43 + ship) or a full-size U-HID ($69 + ship) or an Arduino Pro Micro. ($5-10 + ship -- I've picked some up for as little as $3 each)

So, what's the point of all the coding and what not?  Flexibility and low cost.   ;D


Scott

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2022, 10:36:01 am »
What's the point of all the coding and what not?
The point is to handle things like Vee21's shifter and/or other uncommon/custom/inexpensive encoder setups.

There are other firmware options like a rotary joystick encoder (Ikari Warriors) or a 12 button keypad that needs a matrix encoder for Intellivision.



Picture wanting to make a cab with a Star Wars yoke, gas+brake pedals, and some admin buttons to navigate the game menu.
- 4 pots
- 4 player buttons (2 trigger, 2 thumb)
- 4 admin buttons

You can do that with an A-Pac ($43 + ship) or a full-size U-HID ($69 + ship) or an Arduino Pro Micro. ($5-10 + ship -- I've picked some up for as little as $3 each)

So, what's the point of all the coding and what not?  Flexibility and low cost.   ;D


Scott

Oh OK!! So if I'm willing to spend a few extra bucks I can purchase the apac and hook it up to my 3 pots (gas, brake, 270 steering) and like 10 micro switches (4 gears, plus control panel stuff) and be basically be done since all I want is to be able to play different racing 270 steering wheel games, no coding or firmware stuff at all just setting up the apac to work with the emulators and what not?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2022, 10:49:03 am by sirgubster9 »

bobbyb13

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2022, 10:49:57 am »
You need to commit some energy to reading Andy's details on the Ultimarc website.

Members here already have done everything for you except for driving to your house with a board and installing it for you.
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2022, 12:16:59 pm »
You need to commit some energy to reading Andy's details on the Ultimarc website.

Members here already have done everything for you except for driving to your house with a board and installing it for you.

Sorry Bobby I did feel like I was frustrating the forum my apologies. I did fully read pretty much Andy's entire website and it all made pretty good sense. Originally I was just confused about how to wire things up since I didn't feel like my cabinet setup had the pot wires just ready to go. And then after that I was just super confused about all the coding and programing that people where talking about. I didn't do a very good job of keeping everything concise. I do appreciate all your guys help and all the info. I am definitely much more confidant now on getting this thing to happen. Thanks again to every one and sorry again for taking up so much of all of your guys time.

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Re: How to use an a-pac?
« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2022, 05:39:18 pm »
No worries here.

Just spend some time with what is in this thread and the machine in front of you and you'll get it.

It WILL take some time though.
This type of info is dense reading at first for sure.

If you have questions after you have gotten into it you will certainly get direction where needed.

You have all the info now though, so time to jump in!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.