Have you ever wanted to play a truck simulator with a real dashboard on your PC? Now you can.
As much fun as flight, truck or giant robot simulators can be when played with a keyboard and mouse, having a realistic cockpit to go with it certainly would enhance the realism. Jeroen vd Velden, who works in tech support at a home automation distributor and is also a licensed truck driver, decided to take this to the next level, using an actual truck dashboard and components with a PC simulator.
As documented on Hackaday.io, this was accomplished via an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) along with a CAN-BUS shield. CAN-BUS is an interface standard that allows one to “pull codes” when a car or truck is broken, and Velden is using this with his new cockpit.
In addition to the CAN-BUS, an Arduino Leonardo and a Pro Micro (both of which are powered by an ATmega32U4) are used to sense other inputs, like handbrakes and switches. When they receive signals, the Atmel chip translates them into virtual keyboard presses that go into the PC simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2.
One interesting aspect is how Velden modified the handbrake to output electrical signals. You can see the process documented in the video below. The project is ongoing, and Velden will be updating the documentation as things progress. As Velden puts it, “The Scrapyard is a great place to start with Arduino!”