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What have you done for your simulator today?

Started by blueskydriver, January 14, 2018, 04:01:20 AM

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RayS

That's some awesome work there, John!

I recently purchased an item off eBay and I'm going to try my hand at interfacing it to X-Plane.

Power-Up tests were successful!
Ray Sotkiewicz

RayS

February 29, 2020, 08:06:11 PM #751 Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 08:07:58 PM by RayS
More power gremlins, resulting in the loss of another component... an LCD display.

Had enough. I'm gutting all the power wiring and re-working everything. I can't sacrifice any more expensive electronics to shoot this gremlin.

Reducing the power supply count from 5 to 2. (Granted, these are going to be massive power supplies to handle everything the sim throws at them.) One 12VDC/83 Amp supply, and a 5vdc/60-Amp supply. All power end-points will be fused, so if something shorts out again, just the device is affected and not everything else.

Funny thing is, I should have known better....

Turns out that using multiple supplies can have negative consequences, too numerous to list here.
Ray Sotkiewicz

blueskydriver

Hey Ray,

You likely know all this already, but what are your 110v circuits like? How many are you using for your sim?

All I know is 2 is not enough, it will heat everything up based whatever the most amps being used at one point is. Put one 8amp device and 6 more lower amp devices on a 15amp circuit, and the lower amp devices will get the heat up from the 8 amp device. You'll get shorting issues, burnouts, browning of both power supplies and surge protector strips.

Of course you should also avoid extension cords at all cost; unless, they're rated really high amp.

Lastly, in my example above, it adds up to 14amps; whereas, it's best to only use 12amps on any given 15amp circuit. This provides headroom. Albeit, you're talking about providing DC amps, but what if the other 110v items and your DC Power Supplies are heating up together, causing heat to push down the DC lines affecting the devices on those lines?

John

PS Karen's advice for you is to take a break away from it for a few days, because your gremlins will get bored and leave if you're not there...lol!
| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

ame

Quote from: RayS on February 29, 2020, 08:06:11 PMTurns out that using multiple supplies can have negative consequences, too numerous to list here.

I think, on balance, you'll find there are positives too.

I'll get my coat.

RayS

February 29, 2020, 10:07:23 PM #754 Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 10:11:12 PM by RayS
Hmmm... What I could do is segregate everything that requires the following:

1. Always On: USB Hubs, Displays... basically everything that needs to be alive when the computers fire up.

2. Battery-Only-On: Everything that turns on only when battery power is applied

3. Avionics-Only-On: Radios, GPS systems, etc...

Obviously I want to do this correctly. Maybe the above scenario warrants multiple power supplies, isolated by power diodes.

The more I dive into this the more I'm realizing I'm out of my engineering realm.
 
There are no components in the sim that pull a significant amount of current. I have no Force-Feedback systems which would draw a significant amount. Just a lot of little circuits with minimal current draw.

Regardless though, I need to get this right. Any help is appreciated. :-)

The AC side is fairly robust. The power drops in this hangar are 2 60-amp circuits which are above the norm for normal house current. Everything in the hangar is powered off a dedicated sub-panel with 60-amp breakers. I don't really think that's the issue as the sim has been running fine for a year, save for the last week.

Which leads me to conclude that something shorted out and I just need to find it. :-)


Ray Sotkiewicz

FredK

March 01, 2020, 05:51:46 AM #755 Last Edit: March 01, 2020, 06:03:10 AM by FredK
Quote from: RayS on February 29, 2020, 08:06:11 PMMore power gremlins, resulting in the loss of another component... an LCD display.

Had enough. I'm gutting all the power wiring and re-working everything. I can't sacrifice any more expensive electronics to shoot this gremlin.

Reducing the power supply count from 5 to 2. (Granted, these are going to be massive power supplies to handle everything the sim throws at them.) One 12VDC/83 Amp supply, and a 5vdc/60-Amp supply. All power end-points will be fused, so if something shorts out again, just the device is affected and not everything else.

Funny thing is, I should have known better....

Turns out that using multiple supplies can have negative consequences, too numerous to list here.

Okay....Ray's dilemma here sort of unnerves me, and John's (and others' here) grasp of electronics humbles me for sure.  Yes, I studied basic electronics along the way in high school and college, but I have never been motivated enough to delve deeply into the subject regarding my sim simply because I have not encountered the kinds of issues reported here (necessity is the mother of all learning).  So bottom-line, I guess maybe I have been dumb lucky.

But for whatever it is worth.....The current rendition of my sim is about a decade old now.  It is a fully complete enclosed fixed-base 737 cockpit. It does not have the complexity of a motion platform, but does have the complexity of a multi-channel visual setup.

I have 8 dedicated 20 amp circuits in the sim room. Those service 6 computers, 3 projectors, 10 monitors of various sorts, 5 converted cheap PC power supplies for the sim electronics (5V/12V), and some 24V transformers for lighting and other minor applications, etc. The sim electronics for the fully functional OH, MIP, and the converted motorized TQ are home wired, all else is pretty much plug-and-play. There is no wiring for converted real instrumentation other than the TQ. All electrical current into the sim is downstream from 1875W surge protectors, but none of the home wiring is fused (because to this point I have not been motivated enough to engineer that part of it).  I make it a point to close the power at all the surge protectors when the sim is not in use, so there is no electrical service connections into the sim or computers when I am not there.

So that is my report.  Again, I am not smart enough about electronics to know if any of that provides any learning or valuable insight. I'm simply reporting what it is. I may just be dumb lucky since I have yet to have any electronic failures of any kind (other than some really stupid and obvious wiring mistakes that I made that fried a servo or two, and a headset module that failed for some unknown reason).

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

KyleH

Quote from: blueskydriver on February 29, 2020, 09:38:23 PMHey Ray,

You likely know all this already, but what are your 110v circuits like? How many are you using for your sim?

All I know is 2 is not enough, it will heat everything up based whatever the most amps being used at one point is. Put one 8amp device and 6 more lower amp devices on a 15amp circuit, and the lower amp devices will get the heat up from the 8 amp device. You'll get shorting issues, burnouts, browning of both power supplies and surge protector strips.


This is factually incorrect. A high power draw cannot flow backwards up a different branch circuit. The only way an 8A device can cause a lower power device(lets say 2A) to heat up is if the 2A device has been wired in series some way with the 8A device.
If you having issues like this, there is something else wrong and it is not related to power draw.
Kyle

Chief Pilot
Worldflight Team USA
http://www.worldflightusa.com

KyleH

Quote from: FredK on March 01, 2020, 05:51:46 AMOkay....Ray's dilemma here sort of unnerves me, and John's (and others' here) grasp of electronics humbles me for sure.  Yes, I studied basic electronics along the way in high school and college, but I have never been motivated enough to delve deeply into the subject regarding my sim simply because I have not encountered the kinds of issues reported here (necessity is the mother of all learning).  So bottom-line, I guess maybe I have been dumb lucky.

But for whatever it is worth.....The current rendition of my sim is about a decade old now.  It is a fully complete enclosed fixed-base 737 cockpit. It does not have the complexity of a motion platform, but does have the complexity of a multi-channel visual setup.

I have 8 dedicated 20 amp circuits in the sim room. Those service 6 computers, 3 projectors, 10 monitors of various sorts, 5 converted cheap PC power supplies for the sim electronics (5V/12V), and some 24V transformers for lighting and other minor applications, etc. The sim electronics for the fully functional OH, MIP, and the converted motorized TQ are home wired, all else is pretty much plug-and-play. There is no wiring for converted real instrumentation other than the TQ. All electrical current into the sim is downstream from 1875W surge protectors, but none of the home wiring is fused (because to this point I have not been motivated enough to engineer that part of it).  I make it a point to close the power at all the surge protectors when the sim is not in use, so there is no electrical service connections into the sim or computers when I am not there.

So that is my report.  Again, I am not smart enough about electronics to know if any of that provides any learning or valuable insight. I'm simply reporting what it is. I may just be dumb lucky since I have yet to have any electronic failures of any kind (other than some really stupid and obvious wiring mistakes that I made that fried a servo or two, and a headset module that failed for some unknown reason).

Fred K

Fred,
From your description you have set the sim up correctly and I wouldn't worry about it. Especially if you are turning off power to it when not using it, which is what everyone should be doing.
The circuit breakers in your house is the fusing for those circuits.

A lot of times these issues are caused by improperly designed components, low quality parts, amateur wiring, using cheap power supplies, or using a PC power supply in some application where it is not intended to be used. Sometimes parts just fail.

Ray, I'd be happy to look over your plans if you'd like. I am a little concerned about your 60A breakers though.
Kyle

Chief Pilot
Worldflight Team USA
http://www.worldflightusa.com

RayS

Thanks for everyone's input. I'm especially interested in Kyle's expertise on 2 approaches I roughed together. (See attached images)

A few questions:
1. Which one is the right approach? And could it be further refined/protected?)
2. Do I need Power Isolation diodes on each power supply output? (I've read that you sort of do, but only if you really don't understand the power supply's behavior)

 
Ray Sotkiewicz

blueskydriver

Hi Kyle,

Thanks for pointing that out; however, after reading my post I realized I tied two sentences together wrongly and forgot to say a third part...it was 4am and I had been up for 20 hours...lol.

What I meant to say is this: All I know is 2 residential regular 15amp circuits are not enough. Regular as in maybe 4-5 typical home 15amp outlets on a single circuit.

Why? Because unless you know how all the outlets were wired or you did them yourself, as well as what is plugged into all those outlets and their amp draw. You might not found out what your simulator items being plugged into that same circuit is going too do until it happens.

Also, my point about 8amp draw with 6 other lower amp items on a 15amp circuit was meant about them all being on one circuit only, not flowing back onto a branch circuit. Plus, there can be some unknown variables with residential home wiring that a new person into this hobby might not think about right away; especially, the non-electronic type folks.

Probably the best thing too say is "If you're going to build a simulator have an electrician come access your home electrical system before you start..."

John
| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

blueskydriver

| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

blueskydriver

Hey Everyone,

More things done with the platforms. Got all the rubber matting glued down and seats are back on, along with the TQ sitting in place.

Amazingly, take a look at the soon too be added item in the pics. Yep, this has been sitting on a shelf for years waiting for today. It's OpenCockpits brand panel kits with PNP radios.

Jack, if you're looking, see where your FP is going? The OEM one would've been out of place. Speaking of which did you get the replacement FDS items yet; Karen says she'll put the new items in for me...woo hoo, yeah lucky me!  ;D

Maybe, some of you've noticed, that's a B727 TQ with a 2 bay ped in the pic. Well, I keep getting closer everyday to converting it to a B737 TQ by removing and rearranging pieces. Unless, I can sell this one and buy a 737 TQ.

Albeit, I am curious, is anyone interested in a B727 anymore? Believe it or not I have the B727-100/200 MIP, the FWD and AFT Overheads, the FE Station, and the Fuel Panel that I might sell. I've been on the fence about this because it has all OEM switches, annunciators, and much more that I could use in my 737...might post an ad and see what happens.

John
| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

FredK

Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

jackpilot

Nice build.
Steve is supposed to send me those parts and the one I need for the conversion. He is on an assignment now. Soon !


Jack

blueskydriver

Thanks Fred. Yep, even small progress is a big step when doing this hobby.

Okay Jack, sounds awesome! Thank You!

John
| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

blueskydriver

Hey Everyone,

Forgot to mention, is there anyone here who could build both sets of the metal heel plate/risers (Capt and FO sides) that go under the rudder pedals for me? If so, please send a PM...

John
| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

blueskydriver

Finally, we got all the coin shape matting down with metal trim. Since this is a sectional platform it took a little longer. Next, gotta move the entire back wall/door section out of the way and roll everything else into place, and from there mount the cockpit shell on top.

This is so much, feels like when we first started...

John

| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

blueskydriver

| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

blueskydriver

| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |

iwik

John,
Looking good, there's no stopping you now.

RayS

March 14, 2020, 10:37:04 PM #770 Last Edit: March 14, 2020, 10:42:00 PM by RayS
What a failed power supply looks like....

I'm finally over the hump though. Two weeks after a power supply went bad, all systems are once again functional. I did lose the Pilot's PFD display & the transponder due to this mess.

I redid the entire power distribution using better methodologies and non-computer power supplies. Also standardized on wiring, which is a high-grade 18-gauge 3-conductor stranded copper. No voltage loss on the longer runs.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M62HEPU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I'll spend some of tomorrow validating everything and with any luck I'll be back up in the air shortly.
Ray Sotkiewicz

ame

Today I decided to have a go at making a prop-sync indicator.

RayS sent me the diameter of the tube that is the instrument body (thanks RayS!), and I used that to scale some photos that I found on the web.

I had asked the manufacturer, but no dimensions were forthcoming from them.

So far it's a tiny 6V geared motor in a housing, driving a black-and-white segmented disk. The housing is inserted into a panel-mount bezel with captive M3 nuts for mounting and a 19mm disk of clear plastic cut from a CD case as a window.

It will look fabulous when printed in the matt black filament I have, but for now it's whatever is in the printer. The motor turns, and the decal could be backlit.

Next step is to drive the motor with an Arduino and an H-bridge, and have a sensor to detect the rotation speed so that I can keep it at the requested speed. I'll also PWM the backlight LEDs so that they can be dimmed.front_view.jpgside_view.jpgcomponents.jpg

sagrada737

This thread was somewhat interesting to me, with respect to the electrical/power considerations for a Sim project.

If you ask anyone in technical customer service when they get a complaint that their gizmo doesn't power up, the first question they ask is, "Do you have the power cord plugged in?"  :)
Thus, when we think of the power to our simulators, it all starts with the power source.

The typical home might have a 100 Amp service for the entire house, with most circuits being 15 amps.  This varies of course, with newer homes having a 200 amp capability, some even higher.   As Fred pointed out, having multiple outlets on individual circuits is a good way to go.

I would say that in general for a Static Simulator, the power requirement is typically handled by two 120 VAC 15 amp outlets.   If you are running additional computers and/or projector systems, then you may need to share the load among several AC outlets.  For example, with my Sim configuration, I use two 120 VAC 20 amp outlets for the Sim computers, and one 120 VAC 20 amp outlet for the three Projectors.  This turns out to be a bit of overkill, but in my case, it was convenient.

However, in some Sim setups, there is a tendency to "overload" the AC power by trying to power everything from a single 15 amp outlet.  Of course, most of you understand that there is a need to assess the power requirements for each Sim system you are using, eg. computers, monitors, USB Hubs, TQs, etc. -- essentially, everything you are using in your Sim.  To do this, you can buy an inexpensive Watt Meter to actively measure the power you are using.  It all goes back to the primary power source, and basically, you can't get 18 amps out of a 15 amp ac power outlet.   If you know what each component in your Sim is consuming for power, then you can better manage the requirement.   Getting more AC Plug strips is not necessarily a good strategy when using a single AC outlet.  You laugh, but we all try to do it... ;D

It is also important to take a look at the quality of the power you have available.   If your area suffers from "brown outs" that is a problem for sure.   Most equipment these days can handle low voltage from the AC outlets.   But the best thing to do for 120 VAC power, is to use a good quality "On-Line Double Conversion" UPS in the 2000VA - 3000VA power range.  These will provide clean 120VAC sine wave power to your Sim's power requirements.  They are also bullet proof in lightning prone areas or where power surges are a problem.  You would be wise to use one or two of these in your Sim project, depending on your total power requirements.

As a side note for the 6dof Motion Platform power requirements...   I am using a dedicated 240 VAC 100 amp Panel, and breaking out six (6) 240 VAC 20 amp circuits -- one for each Servo Controller.

As far as power distribution within the Sim...  There is typically requirements for 120 VAC, for computers and displays, USB Hubs, and low voltage power supplies instrument modules (+5vdc and +12 vdc), etc..  In the case of some instrument modules, you can use a power "brick or wall wart" to get the low voltage needed, eg. the FDS SysCards.

As for the low voltage power requirements...   Using power bricks for the +5vdc or +12vdc power needs is perfectly fine -- they just take up space.  These are typically small switching power supply modules that in some cases, can be electrically noisy depending on their quality.  When it comes to power sources for your Sim -- buy quality!   It is also perfectly fine to deep-six the power bricks and use a dedicated +5VDC or +12vdc power source, which are typically switching power supplies.   MeanWell makes some good low cost Power Supplies.  Stay away from no-name power supplies or surplus power supplies, as you get what you pay for, and what you usually get are headaches!  In the typical Sim, it is common to have a combination of power bricks and dedicated low voltage power supplies.   What is important here is the organization of these power modules -- especially grounding considerations and wiring routing in and around your Sim.   Of course, in all cases, electrical safety is of critical importance.   Some of these DC switching power supplies have "open" 120 VAC connections, so be extra careful to protect and isolate these connections.   The use of tywraps is good to constrain wire runs so you don't have wires flopping all over the place.  Remember...  If it can come loose, it will come loose!

It is also a good idea to have fused power circuits in a Sim project for overall safety and protection of equipment.   In this regard, clean organization of wire harnessing is always a good plan.

Anyway...   Just some thoughts on the basics...   The important take away here is not to overload your AC power outlets, to use good wiring practices with well organized wire harnessing using the correct size wire, to buy quality power supplies, and to use a high quality UPS -- better yet, an On-Line Double Conversion UPS.

Mike



Full-scale 737-800 Sim; P3d v4.5x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP,  FlightIllusion hardware.  3-Optoma ZH406ST Laser HD projectors, with 4K inputs from a single Nvidia RTX-3090 GPU, resulting in a 210 deg wrap-around display.  6dof Motion Platform using BFF 6dof motion software, driven by a Thanos Servo Controller to 6.2 KW Servos, Lever type actuators.

RayS

Thanks for that info Mike. After reading it I'm pleased that I did everything right this time around.

Good-quality Meanwell supplies with plenty of current capacity to handle transient loads.

I also used power diodes throughout, and fused every.single.component so if something decides to go south, it won't take everything with it.

As of right now, everything is back up and running.

Ray Sotkiewicz

RayS

I wanted to add, I am also going to put my 3 projectors on a large UPS.

We don't get power outages all that frequently but there have been a few.

My concern is that with a blackout and the projectors running, those things will just sit there and bake without any airflow.
Ray Sotkiewicz

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