allista

[1.7] Throttle Controlled Avionics

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Hey, @allista

Got some strange behavior with TCA.  I've gotten to the point in 1.7.3 where I can start doing VTOL stuff (slow I know, but I started over).  I have most of the modules installed, and activated.  In navigation or cruise mode, my aircraft are detecting phantom terrain and obstructions and acting bizarrely.  The aircraft would stop as though in "stop" mode, and a few of them have done stationary pitch and roll loops. I tested it by taking one out over the ocean at 250AGL and started trying to cruise at 50m/s.  The altitude in the TCA set field kept turning red, and I would alternatively get "ground collision possible" and "obstruction on route" warnings in the annunciator.  Since I was flying 250m above the water, headed out to open water, both things were impossible.  Every now and then the annunciator would say "ascending" and we'd head to the roof - one time it climbed to 10,000m and wouldn't come down.  My engines were averaging about 40% in level flight, so it wasn't a load capacity problem, and I'm well-balanced in the editor.  I'm not sure what's going on.  Not using any mods that alter terrain like Kopernicus or KK.  Any idea why this might be happening?  I dug though the log, but other than the usual loading and adding TCA to parts, I'm not seeing mentions of TCA or anything that indicates an error or an exception being thrown.  I'm at a loss...

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4 hours ago, MaxPeck said:

Hey, @allista

Got some strange behavior with TCA.  I've gotten to the point in 1.7.3 where I can start doing VTOL stuff (slow I know, but I started over).  I have most of the modules installed, and activated.  In navigation or cruise mode, my aircraft are detecting phantom terrain and obstructions and acting bizarrely.  The aircraft would stop as though in "stop" mode, and a few of them have done stationary pitch and roll loops. I tested it by taking one out over the ocean at 250AGL and started trying to cruise at 50m/s.  The altitude in the TCA set field kept turning red, and I would alternatively get "ground collision possible" and "obstruction on route" warnings in the annunciator.  Since I was flying 250m above the water, headed out to open water, both things were impossible.  Every now and then the annunciator would say "ascending" and we'd head to the roof - one time it climbed to 10,000m and wouldn't come down.  My engines were averaging about 40% in level flight, so it wasn't a load capacity problem, and I'm well-balanced in the editor.  I'm not sure what's going on.  Not using any mods that alter terrain like Kopernicus or KK.  Any idea why this might be happening?  I dug though the log, but other than the usual loading and adding TCA to parts, I'm not seeing mentions of TCA or anything that indicates an error or an exception being thrown.  I'm at a loss...

Astronomers Visual Pack?

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3 hours ago, allista said:

Astronomers Visual Pack?

Negative.  Pretty much all I have are parts packs, plus TCA, Kramax, haystack and final frontier.  Running on a MacBook currently so I stay away from the visual mods. 

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1 hour ago, MaxPeck said:

Negative.  Pretty much all I have are parts packs, plus TCA, Kramax, haystack and final frontier.  Running on a MacBook currently so I stay away from the visual mods. 

Ok, will try to reproduce it then. A savegame or a craft would help :rolleyes:

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4 minutes ago, allista said:

Ok, will try to reproduce it then. A savegame or a craft would help :rolleyes:

Okay.. let me make one out of (mostly) stock parts and I'll get it to you.

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Posted (edited)

@allista So here’s where it gets weird.  I made a helicopter out of stock parts and the sparrow rotor from KRX. The damn this was rock solid.  So I started playing around and it’s only certain command modules that make TCA go wonky. So far I’ve had malfunctions from the Buffalo cockpit from Angel-125’s mods, and the cockpits from Airplane Plus.  Stock cockpits work as advertised, as do MK2 Expansion cockpits.  I looked at the cfg’s but nothing jumps out at me as being different. 

Ill keep testing... I’m waiting to reboot and then I’ll try Quiztech and B9 cockpits. 

Edit/Update:  I've run through all the cockpits I have in my game.  Stock, B9, QuizTech, OPT and a few others... the only ones that malfunction are Buffalo and Airplane Plus.  Buffalo I think is understandable, WBI has it's own VTOL controller that probably tangles with TCA somehow.  I don't get what's causing the Airplane Plus cockpits to go wonky though.  But there it is... Airplane Plus cockpits break TCA, from what I can test.  It's always the same, too... It'll lift, but it won't cruise and in nav mode, anytime the forward velocity gets to 28m/s, the craft becomes unstable and starts making erratic movements.  And before you ask, yes, I know Airplane Plus's rotor engines don't work with TCA because they're built on FireSpitter and don't have a proper engine module.  I'm using the sparrow from KRH for my test engine.

Edited by MaxPeck

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3 hours ago, MaxPeck said:

@allista So here’s where it gets weird.  I made a helicopter out of stock parts and the sparrow rotor from KRX. The damn this was rock solid.  So I started playing around and it’s only certain command modules that make TCA go wonky. So far I’ve had malfunctions from the Buffalo cockpit from Angel-125’s mods, and the cockpits from Airplane Plus.  Stock cockpits work as advertised, as do MK2 Expansion cockpits.  I looked at the cfg’s but nothing jumps out at me as being different. 

Ill keep testing... I’m waiting to reboot and then I’ll try Quiztech and B9 cockpits. 

Edit/Update:  I've run through all the cockpits I have in my game.  Stock, B9, QuizTech, OPT and a few others... the only ones that malfunction are Buffalo and Airplane Plus.  Buffalo I think is understandable, WBI has it's own VTOL controller that probably tangles with TCA somehow.  I don't get what's causing the Airplane Plus cockpits to go wonky though.  But there it is... Airplane Plus cockpits break TCA, from what I can test.  It's always the same, too... It'll lift, but it won't cruise and in nav mode, anytime the forward velocity gets to 28m/s, the craft becomes unstable and starts making erratic movements.  And before you ask, yes, I know Airplane Plus's rotor engines don't work with TCA because they're built on FireSpitter and don't have a proper engine module.  I'm using the sparrow from KRH for my test engine.

Thanks for the testing! It's great! :)

I'll still take a look at both cockpits to understand better the cause; maybe it could be dealt with on TCA side.

If not, we'll have to bring this up to the respective devs to examine.

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On 7/24/2019 at 6:02 AM, allista said:

Thanks for the testing! It's great! :)

I'll still take a look at both cockpits to understand better the cause; maybe it could be dealt with on TCA side.

If not, we'll have to bring this up to the respective devs to examine.

Hey... did you ever get a chance to look into this?

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1 hour ago, MaxPeck said:

Hey... did you ever get a chance to look into this?

Sadly no; most of my "personal" time is eaten mercilessly by my monster of a daughter. We called her badger for a reason :D

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28 minutes ago, allista said:

Sadly no; most of my "personal" time is eaten mercilessly by my monster of a daughter. We called her badger for a reason :D

I get it; I have 2. One is 11 but thinks she's 17 and the other is the literal embodiment of a walking hurricane.  

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1 hour ago, MaxPeck said:

I get it; I have 2. One is 11 but thinks she's 17 and the other is the literal embodiment of a walking hurricane.  

This one is 17 months, and she's already ordering her own cup of cappuccino in the morning; no sugar :confused:

And constantly calls her grannies, stealing the wife's phone from her bag :ph34r:

It's actually much more fun than I could have expected :cool:

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2 hours ago, allista said:

This one is 17 months, and she's already ordering her own cup of cappuccino in the morning; no sugar :confused:

And constantly calls her grannies, stealing the wife's phone from her bag :ph34r:

It's actually much more fun than I could have expected :cool:

They are definitely a blast.  My youngest does that - steals phones and calls grandma to report on me.  Interesting how, even across oceans and continents and ten thousand miles, they're all still little monsters.  Ha!

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On 7/27/2019 at 3:05 PM, allista said:

Sadly no; most of my "personal" time is eaten mercilessly by my monster of a daughter. We called her badger for a reason :D

So I've done some more flight testing.  It's actually kind of fun.  I've determined the problem is with aerodynamics in general.  I was able to reproduce the problem with stock parts, and also to get the aforementioned problematic parts to behave themselves.  I used MechJeb to do some testing, and I turned on the CoM/CoL/CoT in-flight indicators.  What I see is the aero marker dancing all over the darn place right before the craft freaks out.  What I've determined the probable cause to be is the aircraft pitching way too aggressively in the NAV mode to gain forward speed.  If I start from a dead stop with the slider set to 100m/s, right around 28m/s the aero marker starts moving around and then the craft reacts to the changing aerodynamic situation and then just stops dead.  This is really pronounced if your craft has any aero parts (wings, control surfaces, etc) - as you can forward speed in a nose-down attitude, eventually the aero forces will start pushing your craft downward and TCA goes right off the rails.  Sometimes it'll stop and refuse to restart.  Sometimes it'll happen in a change between nav waypoints, if the change is too extreme.  If the craft banks or pitches too violently, it throws TCA into a kind of panic and sometimes TCA won't recover and will refuse to do anything but hover.  Sometimes it gets stuck in "OH GOD CLIMB!!!" mode.  I don't know what's happening under the hood, so I can only speculate.

My suggested fix for this would be for you to create a pitch or an AOA limiter for the player.  That way I could tell my craft to accelerate to it's top speed, but do not exceed, say, an 8 degrees nose down pitch attitude.  I think that *might* fix the problem.  I base this on 2 things... if I slowly accelerate my craft using the TCA slider, I can take it to 40 and then 60 and then 80 and then 100 with no problem.  OR, I can just use the altitude control parts of TCA and control the craft using MJ's SmartASS SURF mode, setting the pitch down for -8 and the bank to level and get where I'm going pretty reliably (which is what I do before I unlock the TCA nav mode in the tech tree).  I don't know if it's possible or how much work it would be, but I think it would be a huge help to players and make VTOLS a lot more controllable.

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5 minutes ago, MaxPeck said:

My suggested fix for this would be for you to create a pitch or an AOA limiter for the player

Thanks for the suggestion! Naturally, I'll try to diagnose and fix this behavior; but the VTOL pitch limiter is a great idea irrespectively, so will do :cool:

Care to share those stock crafts for the testing, BTW? :rolleyes:

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, allista said:

Thanks for the suggestion! Naturally, I'll try to diagnose and fix this behavior; but the VTOL pitch limiter is a great idea irrespectively, so will do :cool:

Care to share those stock crafts for the testing, BTW? :rolleyes:

Im away from my computer right now, but the *mostly* stock craft I used was pretty simple... a mk1 cockpit, 1.25m reaction wheel, liquid fuel tank, aerodynamic nose cone as a tail piece.  Landing struts are just structural beams (don’t remember what they’re called, not the girders) and the engine is a KRX sparrow rotor. You’ll also need one of those early scoop-style intakes.  I use the move tool in the sph to make sure the CoL is right through the CoM, and I use “corrected CoL” by LinuxGuruGamer to make sure it’s all balanced. 

Ill do more flight testing tomorrow and see what else I can break. 

Edited by MaxPeck

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I've been playing around with making a VTOL landing Rover for atmosphereless bodies, and grabbed TCA to help balance the thrust. Problem being, last time I used TCA it was still  the older much simpler version. So, I built the rover and been trying to do some testing in Kerbin first, but I can't seem to get it working right.

That is, unless I also turn on the vertical velocity module and use that to set a positive vertical velocity (or also activate the hover module and set an altitude), TCA instead just completely deactivate all engines, making thrust 0. Even if I toggle them on manually (or their groups), TCA still keeps their thrust limiter at 0, and the rover just sit still there on the runaway without moving. Only way so far to get TCA to balance the throttles and actually, you know, have throttle is to use the previously mentioned Vertical Velocity Control Module.

What am I doing wrong? Is there some way to get TCA to just balance the thrusts and nothing else?

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5 hours ago, FeliusKerNes said:

I've been playing around with making a VTOL landing Rover for atmosphereless bodies, and grabbed TCA to help balance the thrust. Problem being, last time I used TCA it was still  the older much simpler version. So, I built the rover and been trying to do some testing in Kerbin first, but I can't seem to get it working right.

That is, unless I also turn on the vertical velocity module and use that to set a positive vertical velocity (or also activate the hover module and set an altitude), TCA instead just completely deactivate all engines, making thrust 0. Even if I toggle them on manually (or their groups), TCA still keeps their thrust limiter at 0, and the rover just sit still there on the runaway without moving. Only way so far to get TCA to balance the throttles and actually, you know, have throttle is to use the previously mentioned Vertical Velocity Control Module.

What am I doing wrong? Is there some way to get TCA to just balance the thrusts and nothing else?

There's the AutoThrottle switch in the vertical flight HUD window, near the Hover and Follow Terrain.

Turn it off to control main throttle yourself. Do note, however, that it may be enabled by autopilots.

If you disable both Vertical Speed Control and Altitude Control modules in editor, the switch will be hidden and should always be off, i.e. you should always be able to control the throttle in this case.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, allista said:

There's the AutoThrottle switch in the vertical flight HUD window, near the Hover and Follow Terrain. 

Turn it off to control main throttle yourself. Do note, however, that it may be enabled by autopilots. 

If you disable both Vertical Speed Control and Altitude Control modules in editor, the switch will be hidden and should always be off, i.e. you should always be able to control the throttle in this case. 

I've tried with it both on and off. I can control the main throttle in the sense of the dial moving up, but the actual throttle of the engines doesn't change from 0 since TCA seems to insist to set the throttle limiter of them to 0.

 

Edit: Huh, opened KSP today and it started working as it should. Nevermind it then.

Edited by FeliusKerNes

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1 hour ago, FeliusKerNes said:

I've tried with it both on and off. I can control the main throttle in the sense of the dial moving up, but the actual throttle of the engines doesn't change from 0 since TCA seems to insist to set the throttle limiter of them to 0.

Edit: Huh, opened KSP today and it started working as it should. Nevermind it then.

Glad to hear!

In any case, another thing you may look at to better use TCA the roles assigned to engines. There are several, and they change how engines are balanced and handled.

  • Thrust and maneuver -- engine is used both for thrust and for torque
  • Maneuver -- engine is used like RCS; it is fired only to make torque
  • Balanced -- engines (should always be several) with this role are always balanced to thrust through the CoM and not create any torque
  • UnBalanced -- engine is only used for thrust; only assign this role to completely balanced set of engines or to an engine thrusting through CoM
  • Manual -- engine's thrust limiter may be set manually; in addition, these engines could be used by navigation autopilots (like cruise, nav-points and so on) to provide horizontal thrust

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Hi there just started using the mod and its  awesome, although it took a little while to get ym head around things. However I've been trying to set up macros and think I've noticed a possible bug, it could be due to incompatability with 1.7.3 i guess. Basically when i save a macro certain values are reset to default most arent, such as conditions but, some actions such as the number of second to wait (always resents to 1s), and set Altitude, always reverts back to 0. Not sure if anyone else has noticed this in 1.7.3 but thought it was worth noting

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13 hours ago, pingopete said:

Hi there just started using the mod and its  awesome, although it took a little while to get ym head around things. However I've been trying to set up macros and think I've noticed a possible bug, it could be due to incompatability with 1.7.3 i guess. Basically when i save a macro certain values are reset to default most arent, such as conditions but, some actions such as the number of second to wait (always resents to 1s), and set Altitude, always reverts back to 0. Not sure if anyone else has noticed this in 1.7.3 but thought it was worth noting

Thanks for the report!

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Posted (edited)

I ve beeen playing with waypoints and landed several bases totally controlled by TCA and I have to say I am in love with this mod. Thank you so much for making this beautiful smart autopilot.
I don´t have to worry anymore about making my bases symetrical or CoM balanced.... TCA takes care of everything for me and that´s beautiful...

Edited by Agustin

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Posted (edited)

I think I may have found another bug, or at least I don't know what I'm doing wrong, (again on 1.7.3) I'm trying to transition from vtol virtical flight to horizontal, it works fine until I'm going at a good pace and try switching my engines to horizontal and disable the autopiloting ctronls to go into normal forwards flight, at this point some part of the autopilot constantly trys to pull the nose hard into the ground uncontrollably, I've uploaded a little clip trying to show the issue https://streamable.com/fn1cy

EDIT: didnt realise that clip had two launches, ingore the first one that was my mistake, but on the second launch at the end when ive transitioned to horizontal flight looks at the stock ksp input indicator, bottom left, I'm pulling up with everything and its still being pulled down hard

Edited by pingopete

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, pingopete said:

I think I may have found another bug, or at least I don't know what I'm doing wrong, (again on 1.7.3) I'm trying to transition from vtol virtical flight to horizontal, it works fine until I'm going at a good pace and try switching my engines to horizontal and disable the autopiloting ctronls to go into normal forwards flight, at this point some part of the autopilot constantly trys to pull the nose hard into the ground uncontrollably, I've uploaded a little clip trying to show the issue https://streamable.com/fn1cy

EDIT: didnt realise that clip had two launches, ingore the first one that was my mistake, but on the second launch at the end when ive transitioned to horizontal flight looks at the stock ksp input indicator, bottom left, I'm pulling up with everything and its still being pulled down hard

For horizontal flight it is actually recommended to turn TCA off, which may be conveniently done with an actio group.

See the video on the Harrier-like VTOL handling with TCA:

 

Edited by allista
not exactly "has to" anymore

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