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Will Depart in...



I have no clue

Started by FSAddon_boss, August 02, 2021, 02:34:23 AM

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....... but was afraid I might wind up here. Been reading about ' Arduino' and Raspberry things for years, but never really looked into it, as my technical expertise is more in the area of old combustion engines and flightsim software  :o

So now starting to look at an Ardiono board to at least build a subpanel with switches for my Baron.

But where to start ? I understand I need the Arduino Mega 2560 board and Mobiflight.
And lots of studying.

But what else? Switches, what sort of wiring? How do you attach these things... soldering ? Fixed to the panel or some sort of seperate modular design for maintenance and change purposes?

I am reading and surfing like mad..... but my old brain now can only absorb so much  ???  ::)

Any other tutorials out there that I could have a look at? The Mobiflight ones are alreaady over my head.....
Best regards,
Francois A. 'Navman' Dumas
former FSAddon Publishing - Italy


Sadly the state of I/O systems for simulators is a bit sad. There are many to choose from, but nothing really pops out as "the best". Unfortunately, you need to do a huge amount of work before you can see if the system you chose is any good. Coupled with this, simulator builders are not programmers or electronic designers, they just want to fly! So most of these systems are lacking in technical elegance, and rely on non-programmers trying to explain to other non-programmers how it all works.

Anyway, have you tried the Mobiflight tutorials? They start with a single LED and a single switch. It doesn't matter if you build it on a breadboard on your bench, you just have to get the idea of Mobiflight moving data between the real world and the simulator.

Once that works then the hardware from the breadboard can be incorporated into a physical switch panel that you buy or build. You need to figure out the size and shape of the panel, the artwork and lettering, the backlight (or not) and so on. You also need to figure out where to buy (or how to make) switches and indicators that look like the real thing.

Then you wire these up to an Arduino and configure them in Mobiflight. This is tricky, and it requires you to work out how many wires you need and where they go.

I don't think there is a single, comprehensive guide to doing this, and every simulator is different, but there are lots of ideas and techniques described on the web that may help you. Plus you can ask here.

Finally, there is no magic. Stuff works (or doesn't) for a reason. There is a chain of data from the indicator in a simulator to the LED on your panel. Similarly there is a chain of data from a switch on your panel to an action in the simulator. Yes, you do have to wire everything up just so, or it won't work.

Good luck, and have fun.


In my experience, Mobiflight is a "somewhat" good solution. I do hope they mature their stepper motor library. It's a no-go for me until they add a seek-to-zero function.

I'm not a fan of their current solution, which is to add a zero-sensor. That would require ripping apart all my gauges and adding the zero sensor, most of which don't have the room for one.

I'm also not a big fan of middleware, but I understand it's an acquired taste. I have several middleware programs that function at the whim (or not) with every Windows update.

There's nothing quite like that sinking feeling when Microsoft says "We have an update for you!" (Like that's a good thing or something....)

A recent Windows update cost me over $400 to update some software that ceased to function after their 'update'.

We think we have a choice but we don't. I have every single "Update" bit turned off in every computer, which works, but Windows slowly but surely starts crippling functionality until you perform the update.

Ray Sotkiewicz


Still don't have much of a clue.... breadboards??..... but really appreciate all your valuable insights and tips.

Been going through some of the Mobiflight documentation already. Also found some other sources.

AND discovered Arduino boards are shipped here from Italy.... who knew !?  :laugh:

As Ame says, need to plan ahead on what the panel should look like, where to put it, space etc.
Already discovered that my monitor for the AirManager gauges is too small....... bummer..... back to the drawing board !

Thank you !!!
Best regards,
Francois A. 'Navman' Dumas
former FSAddon Publishing - Italy


Either you really have no clue, or you are just being obtuse.

Here is a link to the first Mobiflight tutorial:


There is a picture of an Arduino, and a breadboard. If you don't know what a breadboard really is, despite seeing a picture (and no, it's not intuitive, so you are not expected to know) just Google it.

Arduino was indeed originally designed in Italy, but you can get them cheaply from China, or maybe a local supplier on eBay. Nobody buys genuine Arduinos, except the ones who do.

Try tutorial number one. It's a very small step, but as I said, there is no magic. You really have to get the basics. Then tutorial number two gets you a switch. Now multiply that by 100 LEDs and 100 switches and your cockpit is done.


Haha !! I am really relatively clueless. My brother is an electronics genius, and I have always steered well clear of it. Preferring oil and petrol instead..... but flightsimming has been my thing for the past 40 years, so I will HAVE to learn now.

Am reading and googling all day currently. Thanks for the help !!
Best regards,
Francois A. 'Navman' Dumas
former FSAddon Publishing - Italy

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