How do I synchronize 2 stepper motors for cockpit yokes (flight sim)


I have two salvaged Saitek Yoke Pro, and am building a full size Boeing 767 cockpit. I thought of synchronizing the two Yokes - Captain and first officer- mechanically with bicycle chains, that turn a single potentiometer.

Rather than doing this I would like to use two stepper motors, which I have to control the bank and yaw control. I see a dilemma, when which motor controls which. Both cannot be "master". I thought of using a single potentiometer to control both motors, but am drawing a blank on how to make the synchronized motors work together. I am OK with the electronic components, although not yet a "master" at using the Arduino modules. I believe I need help on the software.

I will end up using a total of 4 steppers:

1 for right left control of each yoke (total 2) --> roll function
1 for forward / back of the yoke column (total 2) -- Yaw function.

This is what I am building:Aerosim Solutions Boeing flight control columns - YouTube but I would rather use Arduino for the mechanical part.

Any other crazy aviation people out there that can give me some pointers?

I believe you will need a sensor (potentiometer) for each axis on each yoke as the stepper motor cannot identify its position. Then the Arduino can detect the action of the sensor that is currently set as master and command the motor on the other yoke to move. Obviously this entails a switch that selects whichever is master.

If you don't want to use a selection switch then I think you will need a much more complex system that can measure the forces on the yokes and from that determine which one is master.

In a system with mechanical connection between the yokes (e..g. chains) there is nothing to prevent the two pilots trying to make opposing movements.


PS ... you will also have to deal with the problem that, at startup, the Arduino does not know how a stepper motor is positioned. The usual thing is to make the motor move until it triggers a limit switch.

Stepper Motor Basics
Simple Stepper Code