We’ve been working on a new MuVIT throttle design for the laptop MuVIT simulator in between all the other activities. We wanted something recognizable as a throttle that has similar physical characteristics to what we are all familiar with. We did briefly consider using one of the commercial electronic throttle units like those produced by Mercruiser and used by the BSVT platform, but at a cost of over $1000 for the component that was a non-starter. That would defeat the low-cost part of our plan.
That being said we will be working on integrating MuVIT into the large BSVT units this year so that could happen on those particular units as that would use the existing hardware and software but with Virtual Sailor added in addition to the VDI software. If someone really wants the Mercruiser throttle in the MuVIT standalone system, feel free to contact us, we can make it work and will be happy to put together a quote for you…
MuVIT Throttle Requirements
In addition to having the visual attributes mentioned previously, we have a few other requirements:
- There should be a center detent so you know when you should be in neutral.
- There should be enough ‘drag’ on the throttle to provide feedback to the user and it should also remain in position when released.
- The handle should be ergonomic and comfortable.
- Robust enough for class use and potential public use.
- Easily and cost effectively transported or shipped.
- Single and dual throttle configurations.
We sat down with some CAD software and went to work and came up with this basic design. Bear in mind that this is still a work in progress, the gray color is simply what I use to designate that the printed part is a prototype for testing and not a final production piece, so don’t make anything of the color.
MuVIT Throttle Design
We’re still tweaking the dual throttle model but it is essentially the same. Both will sit atop a sloped base that has the electronics inside. We use an Arduino controller which will interface to the throttles and a working lanyard kill switch. Currently, we are using a USB pigtail to connect to the laptop but are also working on a BlueTooth interface to eliminate that as many modern laptops don’t have that many USB ports anymore. We hope to have the Bluetooth working in time for the Annual Meeting, but there are a lot of moving parts so to speak, so we’ll see.
We anticipate having a USB bulkhead connector on the MuVIT throttle to deal with situations that can arise such as interference with the Bluetooth signal or other unplanned issues that seem always to pop up at the worst possible time. Also, the Bluetooth will require an external power source since it won’t have the USB to draw from, so it will likely need a 9V battery or 4 AA batteries.
Come see us at the 2023 Annual Meeting in Orlando where we will be displaying all the newest updates that you can try out and presenting a seminar on Friday talking about the newest updates, supported DIY configurations, future plans, and the launch of our new online store.