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A collection of guides for various games, programs, and DIY projects.

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=VG= SemlerPDX



Profile for  VoiceAttack v1.7.6
by =VG= SemlerPDX



These commands use VoiceAttack to translate the in-game on-screen radio menus from AWACS through Tanker into natural and intelligent voice command phrases that will fire keypress macros to help keep hands on the throttle and stick, and maintain immersion.  As an additional option, these commands can be locked behind a push-to-talk mode bound to your UHF/VHF transmit buttons in-game, allowing any other VoiceAttack command unrestricted access if needed, while still restricting these BMS radio command macros.  Finally, the profile is extremely easy to edit or integrate into other profiles.

At VETERANS-GAMING, we fly with friends or AI Pilots, or a mix of both on our 24/7 Public Korean Campaign in Falcon BMS.  We may go out with an AI wingman only to have a friend take their place mid-flight.  For this reason and others, I created this VoiceAttack profile based around restricting when the computer can execute keypress macros that match voice phrases, having to first check if that pilot was set to a human pilot and therefore disregard commands for that pilot.

Thanks to user requests during the beta, there is now an optional mode to reverse the Human Pilots system, to assume all pilots are humans unless told otherwise, and also a system to choose a different keyboard layout than QWERTY.



*Push-To-Talk mode disabled by default.  Say, "Turn On Push To Talk Mode" to enable
**Follow Instructions inside profile to set Push-To-Talk buttons to match BMS UHF/VHF keys


Download: (tbd - after beta - almost there as of mid-July 2019, try out the final beta v0.99 below!)



*Looking for some testers who already use VoiceAttack, and who are already familiar with Falcon BMS & flying with AI pilots
Beta Test Requirements & Instructions:

  • *Must have Falcon BMS 4.34 installed
  • *Must have registered version of VoiceAttack installed
  • Launch VoiceAttack and open Options (wrench icon in lower right)
  • -Under last tab on top, System/Advance, check box next to "Use Nested Tokens" as in image 1 below
  • -Unless absolutely required, during testing it's recommended to uncheck "Allow command segment info for composite commands"
  • Download and Import the current beta version of this profile here: https://www.dropbox.com/ ... Voice Control Radios 0.99b for Falcon BMS/..
  • *On first import, you should say, "Initialize Profile" - after first time, this is automatic.  Any attempt to use commands before this will trigger auto-initialization.
  • Open the profile - if not already done, group commands by category and consolidate multi-part commands as in image 2 & 3 below
  • Click on the Description tab at the top to help sort commands further (see image 4)
  • Read a semicolon ";" as the word "or" and look at long commands as having many options like saying "2;Two;Too;To;Wingman"  (read as "2 -or- Two -or- Too -or- To -or- Wingman")
  • Attempt to follow instructions in Profile Commands and comments to Initialize Profile, Set Push-To-Talk buttons if desired, Set a Human Pilot, Delete Human Pilots, etc.
  • Also, please try the inverse All-Humans mode which assumes all pilots are Humans - Set a Computer Pilot, Delete Computer Pilots, etc. - this is a new system in the July 0.99b Update & should be tested.
  • Launch Falcon BMS 4.34 and fly test flights with AI pilots or mixed with Human pilots and please report any issues when calling commands & any frequently unrecognized words, or any errors/problems

image 1image 2image 3image 4



Commands Reference:

*Replace the word "Human" with "Computer" when All-Humans Mode is ON
Normally, this profile assumes all pilots are Computers, use All-Humans Mode to invert this




14 hours ago, =VG= SemlerPDX said:

BETA UPDATED TO v0.99 (final beta!)

Please download newest version!  Link updated in the main post above!  You don't have to remove the 0.98 beta profile, but it is recommended to not use both at the same time or variables may get messed up.  Thanks to everyone for helping to finish up final testing!

Per request, to speed up the interaction of adding/removing pilots from the exclusion lists, you can now say the entire Callsign + Flight Number + Wing Number when asked for the callsign. 

"Set a Human Pilot"
"say the callsign"
"Cowboy 7 3"
"Cowboy 7 3 - is this correct?"
(bypassing the need to individually set Flight Number and then Wing Number!)

This will jump to the confirmation at the end of the command and greatly reduces the time spent interacting with the voice control system configuration.   During my testing, I found there must be a clear separation between the Flight Number and Wing Number when spoken, to avoid "Cowboy 7 3" getting recognized as "Cowboy 73", and your own results may vary.  Please test and let me know.  The old system is still in place, and you can even just say the Callsign + Flight number, and it will notice and skip to the Set Wing Number segment of the script.  The entire idea was to allow a lot of options to recognize how we speak, and the only catch is that we need to enunciate and keep succinct breaks between words for this style of input.  Further beta testing in this final 0.99 phase should help judge if this will work or if it needs adjustment.

Additionally, there are now VoiceAttack command log notifications whenever the profile loads showing the current profile settings, and also voice notifications if either PTT mode or the new All-Humans mode are On. 

Here's a copy of the changelog:

Beta v0.99 Changelog Jul2019
New Commands:
 -Change Default Keyboard Layout allows choices between QWERTY, QWERTZ, & AZERTY (per user request)
 -Turn On/Off All-Humans Mode : Reverse mode assumes all pilots are humans, add Computer Pilots individually as needed (per user request)
 -Copy of all Add/Remove Human Pilots commands for Computer Pilots & All-Humans Mode

 -Can state an entire callsign plus flight & wing numbers when asked for Callsign (per user request to speed up the voice system interaction of adding/removing human pilots)
 -VoiceAttack log entries displays profile information on startup (current keyboard layout, push-to-talk mode on/off state, All-Humans mode on/off state) (per user request)
 -Speech notifications on startup for PTT mode and All-Humans mode if they are enabled (see above)
 -Forced profile initialization if not initialized on any command use (per bug report: on first download/import of profile, trying to use any command fails until voiceattack restarted)



=VG= SemlerPDX


 I have a touch screen monitor below my main one when I fly in flight simulators like Falcon BMS or DCS or Microsoft Flight Simulator.  It's great for the MFD buttons, as opposed to the actual wired USB Thrustmaster MFD's physically attached to the screen like I used to have, and I can use the monitor for other things, too.  But one thing I would love to have attached to the screen would be the Course and Heading knobs of the HSI (horizontal situation indicator) .

It would need to be removable so I can store it when not in use. 

I've heard about a micro-suction tape that can stick to anything smooth and flat without leaving a residue or losing stickiness, so this is a good excuse to buy some and play around with sticking things to my monitors.

← On the left is the (green) Arduino Micro board I used to test the concept with a rotary encoder on a breakout board, where I wrote the initial sketch with the Joystick and Encoder libraries.  Later, because I didn't want to sacrifice my Arduino Micro to this controller, I bought a 3 pack of these much smaller Sparkfun Pro Micro clones for fifteen bucks (blue one in the middle).  That one is gonna stay there for future tests and such, they'll be the heart of many projects in the future since they cost so little and include so much!



My DIY USB Game Controller - Rotary Encoders as Course & Heading Knobs for Falcon BMS / DCS / FSX
*parts list with links at bottom

The initial goals I had for this project were:h5w7NMM.jpg

  • Two Rotary Encoders with Push Buttons recognized as USB Game Controller in Windows
  • Thin and flat, without taking up too much viewing space on the monitor
  • Can stick and restick to the monitor with micro-suction tape
  • USB connector can be removed so it can be boxed (NetDot magnetic)
  • Fine control for one-degree per detent and Fast Speeds for turning quickly
  • Encased in semi-rigid form like shrink wrap so it won't scratch the monitor
  • Total cost for one single unit less than $10









First, I affixed the Rotary Encoders and the Pro Micro clone to an 8cm x 2cm prototype PCB with a couple header pins bent outwards and crimped down, and with the two blue solid copper switch wires soldered in place from the top. I also ran the 10k Ohm resistors for the switches now.


These are for the push buttons built into the rotary encoders, and although they only have two pegs on the actual component, they require three wires from the controller board (ground, 5 volt power, and the blue switch wire going to the Pro Micro). All this added plenty of structure. There is no wiggle or play, I'm not gonna try to break it, but it is very rigid now.







Here's a close look at the first stage of soldering. (okay, don't look too close) I don't have the highest quality tools or solder, or even a lot of skill and experience at this, but it's good enough -- and good enough should always be good enough for a DIY project for personal use.  If I wanted to, I could order a custom circuit board if I was going to make a bunch of these, but I'm happy as it is.


It is so cheap to buy some of this stuff, if you messed up, you can always just buy another.  Those Pro Micro controller boards cost about as much as a value meal at a fast food joint, so you can literally afford to make mistakes as you learn even if you're on a very tight budget like I am.  







A homemade carbon filter fume extractor, a simple soldering iron with a power switch and a temperature controller, some handy dandy helping hands and that brass soldering tip cleaner make little projects like this very easy, and all these items together costs less than the Logitech mouse to it's right. Good enough to play.


If anyone reading this has any idea to get into working with things like this, my advice is to jump right in, get the most basic stuff you can get, not the cheapest, but things with good reviews from some good online store like Amazon, Sparkfun, Adafruit, etc.








Soldering the top side here, used one of the helping hands to hold a string of solder from the spool. When I'm dealing with tiny bits that are between 0.5mm-2mm, anything that helps is appreciated. One slip and this 225C soldering iron would burn through any one of those tiny chips or components on the board. I find myself holding my breath and doing one or two, then letting go for a sec. I had to redo a few, and I always wait for it to cool down so I don't transfer too much heat to this poor little board.


I had a few bits of solid copper wire with colored insulators, from a breadboard jumpers kit, so I cut some to length, but used others as is. This resulted in an odd looking crossover of the Orange and Yellow wires, but they are not taller than the micro USB port on the other side of the board and that's fine.






xzlxtFJ.jpg   fzzbWnc.jpgOnce I was all done, I tested every connection for continuity and unintentional bridges, and it all checked out, so I encased it in shrink wrap.  By some sort of miracle, it works, it looks decent, and I think that will do just great!  I connected it to the computer and uploaded the sketch, which I had to modify slightly since I used a few different pins for the push buttons on the rotary encoders, now at pins 15 and 6 instead of 6 and 7.

I am thoroughly hooked on these NetDot magnetic adapters.  When I looked at the reviews for Pro Micro boards, one of the only issues I saw that I'd be concerned with is accidentally popping the micro-USB port off the Pro Mini board if dropped or yanked too hard.  A magnetic connector completely eliminates this issue, as well as the standard wear and tear issues that plugging and unplugging creates over time.  And they're as cheap as regular braided USB cables, too.  Why not?



Ocsopzo.jpg   dzvZVUh.jpg   CustomHSIgamecontrollerProperties.PNG

Here it is connected to the touchscreen monitor. It is far more satisfying to have tactile dials for these knobs than trying to make little circles on the screen with my finger over the touchscreen dials. The micro-suction tape keeps it in place and actually has some grab when trying to pull it off the screen. I've started using a peeling action but I doubt the screen would ever have problems.  I might get a 3D printed case someday and maybe even a 90 degree angle connector so the cord goes back behind the monitor naturally instead of downwards, but for now, it's done and working great.

Turning the dial with the most basic rotary encoder sketch from that Arduino library results in a "one degree per detent" meaning one turn is one click, and one click is one degree. No matter how fast you turn it, with 20 detents per 360 degrees with these encoders, it would take FOREVER to turn the dial from heading 000 to 180!!

I wrote two separate jump speeds to detect how fast the dial is being turned, one jumps 18 degrees per click, and the other 30 per click. Now, it's easy to twist the dial fast to get it spinning fast on screen, while also being able to dial in one degree at a time when needed.  All in all, it was a fun project and it's made me think seriously about getting a 3D printer someday to make little plastic cases for things like this.

Here's the code if someone wants to use it (or modify it to make it better):
Rotary Encoders HSI Course and Heading Knobs.ino for Arduino IDE

/* Simple HSI Knobs Sketch for Falcon BMS / DCS / FSX
 *  for Arduino Micro/Leonardo / Sparkfun Pro Micro or equiv. clones
 * by SemlerPDX June2019
 *  Pins:
 *  Rotary Encoder 1 - (OUTA-OUTB-SW) = Arduino Pins (0,1,15)
 *  Rotary Encoder 2 - (OUTA-OUTB-SW) = Arduino Pins (2,3,6)
 *  Encoder Library
 * http://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_Encoder.html
 *  Joystick Library 
 * by Matthew Heironimus
 * https://github.com/MHeironimus/ArduinoJoystickLibrary

#include <Encoder.h>
#include <Joystick.h>

//Tell the Encoder Library which pins have encoders
Encoder axisXRotation(0, 1);
Encoder axisYRotation(2, 3);

//Rotary Encoder Push Button Pins
int buttonArray[2] = {15, 6};

//Rotary Encoder Interrupt Pins
int EncoderPin0 = 0;
int EncoderPin1 = 1;
int EncoderPin2 = 2;
int EncoderPin3 = 3;

//Delay Time between loops
int debounceDelay = 260;

//Variables to compare current to old values
int oldX = 0;
int oldY = 0;
int RxAxis_Value = 1;
int RyAxis_Value = 1;

//Intervals for Jump/Warp Speed Rotations
int JumpSpeed = 18;
int WarpSpeed = 30;

//Set generic joystick with id 42 with 2 buttons and 2 axes
Joystick_ Joystick(0x42, 
  0x04, 2, 0,
  false, false, false, true, true, false,
  false, false, false, false, false);  

void setup() { 

  //Set Encoder Pins as Pullups
  pinMode(EncoderPin0, INPUT_PULLUP);
  pinMode(EncoderPin1, INPUT_PULLUP);
  pinMode(EncoderPin2, INPUT_PULLUP);
  pinMode(EncoderPin3, INPUT_PULLUP);

  //Loop through buttons and set them as Pullups
  for(int x = 0; x < sizeof(buttonArray); x++) {
    pinMode(buttonArray[x], INPUT_PULLUP);

  //Set Range of custom Axes
  Joystick.setRxAxisRange(0, 359);
  Joystick.setRyAxisRange(0, 359);
  // Initialize Joystick Library


void loop() {

  // Loop through button pin values & set to Joystick
  for (int x = 0; x < sizeof(buttonArray); x++) {
    byte currentButtonState = !digitalRead(buttonArray[x]);
    Joystick.setButton(x, currentButtonState);

  // Read "Heading" X Axis Rotation Encoder Knob
  int newX = axisXRotation.read();
  if (newX > oldX) {
    //Determine speed of increment & set output
    int difX = newX - oldX;
    RxAxis_Value = speedVal(difX, RxAxis_Value, 1);
    oldX = newX;

  }else if (newX < oldX) {
    //Determine speed of decrement & set output
    int difX = oldX - newX;
    RxAxis_Value = speedVal(difX, RxAxis_Value, 0);
    oldX = newX;

  // Read "Course" Y Axis Rotation Encoder Knob
  int newY = axisYRotation.read();
  if (newY > oldY) {
    //Determine speed of increment & set output
    int difY = newY - oldY;
    RyAxis_Value = speedVal(difY, RyAxis_Value, 1);
    oldY = newY;

  }else if (newY < oldY) {
    //Determine speed of decrement & set output
    int difY = oldY - newY;
    RyAxis_Value = speedVal(difY, RyAxis_Value, 0);
    oldY = newY;

  //Send Joystick info through USB

//Function to set Rotation value adjusted for the turning speed
int speedVal(int dif, int val, int dir){
  if (dif >= WarpSpeed) {
    if (dir == 1) {
      val = val + WarpSpeed;
      val = val - WarpSpeed;
  }else if (dif >= JumpSpeed) {
    if (dir == 1) {
      val = val + JumpSpeed;
      val = val - JumpSpeed;
    if (dir == 1) {
      val = val + 1;
      val = val - 1;
  //Correct Rotation within 360 deg.
  if (val < 0) {
    val = val + 360;
  }else if (val >= 360) {        
    val = val - 360;
  return val;



Here's a cost breakdown:

Pro Micro  (clone of Sparkfun Pro Micro board sold by KeeYees) (3 pack)  -  $15.99
$5.33 per board

PCB Prototype Board Kit  -  $15.99
$0.25 (just a guestimate - it's one part out of a huge kit)

360 Degree Rotary Encoders (5 pack w/knob caps)  -  $8.89
$3.56 for 2 dials

Microsuction Tape (25cm X 30cm Sheet)  -  $14.95
$0.12 (just a guestimate - used 1.5cm x 6cm strip of a huge sheet)

NetDot 5ft Braided Magnetic Tip USB Micro Cable (3 pack)  -  $13.90
$4.64 for 1 cord

(Not taking into account things like double sided sticky tape, solder, wires, or shrink wrap tubing segments used because they cost less than a few pennies)

$13.65 (USD)


I spent a fair bit more money than I initially expected to (almost $55!), but much of that went towards components or materials that I'll be able to use for several projects in the future.  At about $14 bucks, it is twice what I thought it would be per unit, so that will help me to better gauge other ideas.  It seemed like it would be cheap as dirt, using many parts I already owned, but it all adds up - they don't sell less than a sheet of micro-suction tape, and buying control boards in bulk is the only wise way to do it (if you can call 3 units "bulk", that is).

In conclusion, it was great to have an idea, play around with some proof of concepts, and then make it into a reality within a few days.  Single game controllers today.... one day, a full cockpit of switches!  Not sure what my next project will be, but among other ideas, I've considered making a custom control board for Kerbal Space Program, or maybe some kind of wireless gear that can connect to a computer and translate into RF to control some DIY RC cars or whatever with my Xbox controller already attached to my PC.  Eventually, I want to get into wireless stuff, and even RC, but I might start with button boards that use USB cables just like this one. 

If anyone has any questions on this project, feel free to ask.

Thanks for reading! 

=VG= SemlerPDX


 I bought a Logitech G933 wireless headset last year and I'd like to make my TrackIR TrackClip Pro into a wireless unit as well.  I need to be able to remove it from the G933 when not in use, TrackClip Pro's break if you look at them too hard, so taking it off is a primary requirement.  I'll want to be able to recharge it with the same cord the G933 uses, too.  I'm not a pro at this stuff, so any thing that works well and doesn't cost too much will be just fine with me.

I know that if I ramp up the voltage from one single 3.7V battery, I can achieve 5V @ 1A for the 3 LED's on the TrackClip, and should retain a duration of more than 4 hours (overly hopeful estimate).  I'll need to do some testing, if I have to, I'll use the second 3.7V battery like in the image here just for longer time between charges.







My DIY TrackIR "Wireless Rechargeable" Track Clip Pro mod
*parts list with links at bottom

The initial goals I had once I began were:hI7g3Yf.jpg

  • Tiny form-factor, less than 5cm long, less than 2.5cm wide & tall
  • Can power TrackClip for between 4-8 hours continuously
  • Tiny on-off slider switch
  • Rechargeable via micro-A USB female plugin
  • Output to TrackClip via USB (type A) female outlet plug (as in picture above)
  • Encased in semi-rigid form like shrink wrap, adapted plastic case, or custom 3D printed plastic case
  • Velcro strap to easily mount on headphones
  • Total cost for one single powerpack unit less than $10 USD  






Soldering leads to the TP4056 (03962A) Charging Board with Protection.  This is the brains of this unit, and will make sure the rechargeable 3.7V battery will not discharge past 2.5V and will not recharge over 4.2V.  It acts as the buffer between the battery and the voltage booster.









Here is the 03962A Charging Board and battery holder wired to the MT3608 DC to DC Step Up Boost Converter.  I did this for initial testing and to set the trim-pot (blue square box with round brass peg) on the boost converter from the 18V setting it shipped with to the 5V that I need.  It will take the 3.7 Volt battery and step up its voltage to something usable by the TrackClip Pro without the need for a second battery.









Trying to keep the size small, mounting the breakout boards close together makes it about the size of a stick of gum, plus the AAA sized battery.  I put a USB female plug in for size reference along with the Bic lighter.  The 10440 is a 3.7 Volt Lithium Ion rechargeable battery in a AAA size.  According to a features sheet on a batteries info website, "Lighter weight and higher energy density than any other rechargeable battery".  I'll be ramping up it's voltage to a full 5V.







c25gjkN.jpgI used a portion of shrink wrap tubing around the 03962A Charging Board on the left, and MT3608 Boost Converter on the right is hot glued to the battery holder and to the 03962A in the middle.

Through the shrink wrap I cut holes for the LED indicator lights on the charging board.  The tiny switch has a pin through the breakout board and is soldered in place, with another pin bent and wrapped around the edge of the board, and soldered to it's wire (I didn't have red shrink wrap, but the thicker top right wire is the load line, and is red under there).  Even with all of that, I just don't trust tiny switches to stay in place and solder is not structural, so it got a healthy dose from the hot glue gun.  As you can see, I've used the highly skilled technique known as "just glob it on".







OjjV4BX.jpg   UNQlfmT.jpgI've cut the cord on the Track Clip Pro, spliced the wires to the Boost Converter, and used shrink wrap tubing to contain the entire unit.  I've left a bit of the wire jacket hanging below the wires and hot glued in place, and then shrink wrapped under a little tension. This causes a slight bend in the wire, shown in these pics and it helps the unit bend the newly magnetic end inwards to the screw under this panel.

A NetDot micro-USB magnetic adapter makes connecting a charging cable easy, and gives one end of my battery pack a strong magnet to work with. The NetDot magnetic charging adapter is so strong it is very well stuck to the screw on the corner of the G933 headset under the panel.  It doesn't come off and swing around when I move my head around, and that's all that really matters to me.  Function before looks.




It's finally finished and working great!  I expect it will last for a few years before I'll want to carve off the outer shrink wrap and replace the 10440 battery, and seal it back up with a new shrink wrap tube (and some new cut-outs for the switch and lights).

Here's a cost breakdown:

NetDot Magnetic Bi-Directional microUSB Plug Adapters
$4 (per male/female adapter pair)

TP4056 (03962A) Charging Board with Protection
MT3608 DC to DC Step Up Boost Converter
(in a pack with 3 of each board, plus 5 battery holders)
$1.00 per breakout board

The battery holder I used was actually the AAA type:
$0.58 (one)

3.7V 10440 AAA Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery (x4 @11.69 - w/Charger $19.09)*(note: these are NOT AAA batteries! They must be charged with a special charger, and shouldn't be used for normal AAA battery powered devices!)
$2.92 / battery

Tiny switch with nice long legs (they come in a pack of a hundred for six bucks):
$0.06 (one)

(Not taking into account things like hot glue sticks, solder, tape, or shrink wrap tubing segments used because they cost less than a few pennies)

$9.56 (USD)


Looking back to the start, I've met my goals or caused some to become redundant (like velcro) and the cost for this single battery unit was less than $10, though I do have enough parts to make 2 more, I'm happy to put those in my Arduino projects bins and eat the costs there.

This thing cost me about ten bucks, it works well, and I also have another $26 in extra parts (NetDot's and 3.7V batteries, battery holders, charging and boost breakout boards...).  I learned a bit about larger shrink wrap tubing, it only shrinks so far.  And I think it was all worth it.  Had a flight earlier, with 8 minutes to taxi, I just got up out of my PC chair from a hot pit, and walked over to the fridge to get a soda all without taking off my headset or TrackClip Pro, strolling around while listening in to the Tower and waiting for my clearance to taxi.  It was a feeling of true freedom!

If anyone has any questions on this mod, I'd be happy to help if I can. 

See you at Angels 20!