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[1.8.1] Docking Port Alignment Indicator (Version 6.8.5 - Updated 12/14/19)


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On 9/30/2020 at 9:49 PM, capi3101 said:

Been having an occasional bug with DPAI 6.9.1 on KSP 1.10.1.2939. Occasionally I'll open the DPAI window (I've got it set to work with the stock toolbar) and get nothing but the exterior frame and a message that states "No Port Selected", despite having one selected as the docking target. The crosshair area is completely transparent. 

I need to get y'all a log and maybe a screenie or two; unfortunately I don't have either right now and I'll get them ASAP. Just curious to see if anybody else is seeing this type of behavior. Luckily for me my manual docking skills are still up to snuff, but it is a pain to have to go without...

Finally remembered to grab a log file when it happened again; apologies for the delay there.

As for what I'm talking about...

Ntl7vUr.png

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8 hours ago, capi3101 said:

Finally remembered to grab a log file when it happened again; apologies for the delay there.

As for what I'm talking about...

Thanks.  Looking in the log file, it seems DPAI is having some issues finding valid docking ports with your craft.

Any chance of isolating the craft files where you got that error and uploading those? I'm guessing one of the rather large number of mods you're running has a custom docking port which is causing issues..  that said, DPAI shouldn't ever throw a nullref exception so I'll see if I can make it a bit more robust as well.

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On 10/5/2020 at 6:25 AM, micha said:

Thanks.  Looking in the log file, it seems DPAI is having some issues finding valid docking ports with your craft.

Any chance of isolating the craft files where you got that error and uploading those? I'm guessing one of the rather large number of mods you're running has a custom docking port which is causing issues..  that said, DPAI shouldn't ever throw a nullref exception so I'll see if I can make it a bit more robust as well.

Sure thing - here are the craft files requested:

The KLV and KTV both use the Mk1 Docking Port from the MOLE mod (among a few other parts, in particular the Appaloosa and Bigby 'back seat' crew modules); I figured the issue might've had something to do with it but wasn't certain. The station utilizes Clamp-O-Tron Jrs, which are compatible with the Mk1s. The main differences are that the Mk1 has a built-in light and an integrated drag chute. 
 

On 10/5/2020 at 7:09 AM, micha said:

Done. Will let you know if it fixes the issue or not.
 

Edited by capi3101
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

 @NavyFishSo...if I understand the use of this mod correctly...all I have to do is keep the yellow circle centered on the intersection of the green lines, the orange circle will come into alignment, eventually, if I do that?

On 10/28/2020 at 6:53 PM, MailletC said:

There comes a time when I am compelled to simply express my appreciation for one simple, yet amazing mod.

 

Thank you.

I have to agree...I just need to learn how to use it correctly!

Edited by strider3
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22 minutes ago, strider3 said:

 @NavyFishSo...if I understand the use of this mod correctly...all I have to do is keep the yellow circle centered on the intersection of the green lines, the orange circle will come into alignment, eventually, if I do that?

I have to agree...I just need to learn how to use it correctly!

 @NavyFishI'm confused...what should I be doing in these two instances, to get a good alignment?

screenshot37.jpg

screenshot38.jpg

Edited by strider3
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1 hour ago, strider3 said:

I have to agree...I just need to learn how to use it correctly!

Alright, quickie tutorial; let's see if I can help out.

1. Make sure that you've got a good RCS setup in the VAB. You can dock without RCS thrusters but it's a far sketchier process. If in doubt, grab the RCS Build Aid mod - it's not only good for making sure your RCS setup won't cause excessive torque, you can use it for spaceplane design to see what your center of mass is going to do as your fuel drains (an essential bit of knowledge for stable flight).

1A: Control wheels also help to mitigate torque issues, though not as much as proper thruster placement. 

2. Upon rendezvous with the craft you with which you want to do dock, activate DPAI and select the port at which you wish to dock, assuming the craft has more than one available target port. Select the docking port on the craft you're using (the one that's doing the docking), and select "Control from Here". Sometimes you won't want to do this last bit (I usually skip it), but it does make sure your craft is really pointed the right way. 

3. Steer your craft so that the large orange indicator is centered with the crosshairs. Steering's going to be backwards from what you're used to; if the indicator is to the left of center, steer left, etc. Once it's centered, activate SAS to hold that heading. I've also found that Atmosphere Autopilot's fly-by-wire feature holds the course steadily. 

4. Roll to put the edge indicator on the 0/360 mark. This isn't necessary to do strictly speaking, but it does make what you're seeing mesh a little better with what your hands are doing.

5. Once you're aligned, turn on your RCS thrusters (hopefully you haven't done this already). Use lateral RCS thrust (IJKL) to get the smaller indicator in the center of the crosshairs, and use H/N to get the CVEL indicator to show zero; this ensures you have no lateral thrust ongoing.

6. If the vertical and horizontal lines are red, you'll need to back up. Hit the N key and wait until the CDIST indicator turns positive and the lines turn green. You may need to use lateral thrust to avoid a collision. Once the lines are green, zero out the CVEL indicator.

7. Using lateral thrusters, move the smaller indicator such that it's in the same quadrant as the intersection of the green lines. You want to get those green lines to match up with the center of the crosshairs (i.e. to match up with the position of the large indicator). Once it's centered along a particular axis, put the small indicator along the same axis. Once it's completely centered, put the small indicator in the center of the crosshairs as well.

8. At this point, the large indicator, small indicator and green lines should all be aligned with the crosshairs. That means you're in position - thrust ahead "H". When CDIST gets down to about five meters or so, you might want to do a slight breaking thrust to slow down - I'm usually going at 0.15 at that point, but you do whatever floats your boat. At 2.5 meters I shut off SAS, shut off RCS and for that matter I shut off DPAI, but these are old habits from the few days over many years when the mod experienced Unholy Interactions...

9. At one meter or so, if all's aligned, you get sucked in. Profit. 

While the process is ongoing, you may need to stop, shut off your RCS thrusters and realign the large indicator with the crosshairs. That's not an indictment of your piloting skills - you're just getting closer to the target so little deviations are going to show up more and more as you approach the port. As a rule, when you have to change your attitude, shut off RCS thrusters and reset SAS as soon as you're done. When you have to use lateral thrust, it helps to have the thrusters on...

Hope that's helpful to you.

In response to your two pictures, in pic number one you need to steer left to get the big ball centered, then adjust the small indicator accordingly. Second pic just looks like a minor realignment is needed. You may be experiencing some significant torque due to thruster placement; going to recommend RCS Build Aid again.

Edited by capi3101
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@capi3101 I get it now. I was using my old docking "mechanics" and DPAI...at the same time. I was still setting SAS to "Target", so I was never going to get the big orange marker aligned...until too late. Now I finally understand that, using DPAI, I am aligning my pitch and yaw so that my port is aligned with those 2 planes of the target port, albeit high/low/left/right of the target port. I am then translating to the proper position. Works much better now that I understand that. If I understand, you are suggesting turning SAS off, completely, when aligning to the Yaw and Pitch planes (the big orange marker). Is that because of SAS's tendency to re-correct after every move? I am going to try that next because I think I see your point...it can get aggravating getting the orange marker aligned when SAS keeps wanting to revert some of the move you made, in the opposite direction (not sure I'm making myself clear on that :rolleyes:).

I do see where RCS placement could cause torquing...I have some smaller landers that have upper RCS on a smaller diameter part than the lower RCS , which does cause twisting when trying to translate. Usually I just reduce the thrust of the RCS on the smaller diameter part...but it is "hit and miss".

Thanks buddy!

Edited by strider3
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  • 1 month later...
On 2/14/2021 at 1:44 AM, piratecheese said:

Would it be possible to transpose the prograde direction like the target marker does? This would help a lot. Like NavHud lite

Sorry I'm not sure what you mean. Could you possibly mock up some images to illustrate what you want?

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55 minutes ago, EndAllFilms said:

Does it do Docking autopilot?

No, it is manual, but once you learn how to use this mod, it feels really easy and rewarding. I personally like this mod over something automation like MJ.

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I’ve been using DPAI since Navyfish first released it. It makes docking incredibly easy, intuitive and efficient. Using  Mechjeb to dock spews RCS all over the place and wastes so much propellant that it’s embarrassing by comparison.

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