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CockpitBuilders.com - Main => General Discussion Board. => Topic started by: michaeldefeyter on February 07, 2021, 03:40:01 PM

Title: FS Modules
Post by: michaeldefeyter on February 07, 2021, 03:40:01 PM
Hello all,

My name is Michael De Feyter.
I am known in the flight simulator community as the developer behind an iOS/Android app called iFMS (https://www.ifms-fs.com).

I'd like to introduce you to a new little project of mine.

I have developed a set of PCB's I like to call FS Modules.
FS Modules are a set of PCB's that allow anybody to design and build their own home cockpit with no knowledge of electronics design and/or programming skills; and more importantly, without the huge expense.

The boards are chained together with standard RJ45 network cable and connected to the motherboard at the end of the chain.
The motherboard is connected to the flight simulator computer through a USB cable.

A simple software tool that runs on the FS computer allows the user to configure the boards and connect them to the supported flight simulators which are FSX, FS2020, P3D and X-Plane (currently only the Windows version).
A button/switch/encoder can be linked to almost any variable that exists in the flight simulator,
Similarly a 7 segment display can be linked to any character of any numeric variable that exists, and an LED can be linked to any Boolean variable that exists. All this is done through a very user friendly tool on the flight sim computer.

The variables in FSX/FS2020/P3D are accessed through SimConnect, this means any SimConnect variable or event is accessible. Also, any addon that uses Simconnect to expose it's internal variables, such as PMDG, can be supported.
In X-Plane, the Datarefs can be used to link internal variables to the buttons/switches/encoders/LEDs/7segment displays.

FS Modules consist of 4 different kind of PCB's:
- A motherboard to which all the other boards are connected.
- An input board to which buttons/switches/encoders are connected
- An LED board to which LED lights can be connected
- A 7-segment display driver board which comes with various sizes/colors/number of 7 segment displays.

The each input board accommodates up to 16 inputs, one motherboard allows up to 16 of these boards to be chained together, which totals up to 256 inputs connected to a single motherboard
Each LED board allows for up to 64 LEDs to be connected, a 7 segment display board comes with either a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8  7-segment display strips.
24 of these LED/7-Segment boards can be chained together and linked to a single motherboard. This totals 1536 LEDs, 192 7-segment displays, or any combination in between to be connected to a single motherboard.
The 7 segment displays are either 7mm (HDSM-283x) or 10mm (HDSM-433x) height and come in white, red, green, yellow, orange.

Finally, if a customer would somehow reach the limit of 256 inputs / 1536 LEDS / 192 7Seg displays on a single motherboard, they can always connect additional motherboards to the flight simulator computer.

Below are a few pictures of the boards, the user interface and a little 737 nav radio module I built using the boards.

To get my project to the market I am looking for volunteers willing to test a set of the boards, write reviews and/or make a YouTube video of their experiences.
I would be sending a set of boards for only the cost of shipping.

After this, the idea is to commercialize the product of course.
I am currently doing this as an individual with only a very small scale production setup in my garage. I can probably produce up to 10-15 boards per day at this stage.
The plan is to begin small and if I find the boards are a success in the FS community, I will be looking at outsourcing production.

I'd be very keen to hear if this product is something people would be interested in and if you're seriously interested in testing/reviewing a set of boards, contact me directly through a PM.

Regards,
Michael De Feyter

(https://i.postimg.cc/gjMNGVpR/Motherboard.jpg)
(https://i.postimg.cc/xTx4Q2j7/7-Segement-display-board.jpg)
(https://i.postimg.cc/1trvjxYv/LED-board.jpg)
(https://i.postimg.cc/3xkbJcdw/737-Nav-Radio-1.jpg)
(https://i.postimg.cc/59pP5Vz0/737-Nav-Radio-2.jpg)
(https://i.postimg.cc/7ZjtCn2n/HW-Editor-2.jpg)
(https://i.postimg.cc/x8j6rswn/HW-Editor-3.jpg)
Title: Re: FS Modules
Post by: Joe Lavery on February 08, 2021, 03:00:54 AM
Hi Michael,

The link  at the top of your post is flagged as a security risk!

Joe.
Title: Re: FS Modules
Post by: navymustang on February 08, 2021, 05:27:43 AM
It appears you have a Web certificate failure.
Title: Re: FS Modules
Post by: michaeldefeyter on February 08, 2021, 11:13:28 AM
Quote from: Joe Lavery on February 08, 2021, 03:00:54 AMHi Michael,

The link  at the top of your post is flagged as a security risk!

Joe.

Ahh, that's new.
Thanks for letting me know, I'll get that fixed today.
I've removed the link for now, this is pointing to my app website and does not have anything to do with these hardware modules anyway.
Title: Re: FS Modules
Post by: bernard S on February 08, 2021, 11:31:38 AM
emailed you
Title: Re: FS Modules
Post by: michaeldefeyter on February 08, 2021, 04:37:42 PM
Quote from: navymustang on February 08, 2021, 05:27:43 AMIt appears you have a Web certificate failure.

It's fixed now, thanks again for letting me know.
Title: Re: FS Modules
Post by: michaeldefeyter on February 09, 2021, 01:22:55 PM
Hi again all,

I just received a question regarding voltage/current of the LEDs that are connected to the LED board, It might be useful for others to share the information below:

The forward voltage/current of the LEDs connected to one of the LED boards can be configured using an external resistor (RSET) which is plugged straight into the board, see picture below:
(https://i.postimg.cc/BQYr5HQh/LED-board-2.png)

The table below shows how to choose the resistor for your application:
(https://www.changpuak.ch/electronics/Arduino/HP48EA/MAX7219_I_vs_R.png)
For example, most of my LEDs are 20mA If and between 2-3V Vf.
I use a 27.4K resistor on all of these and that seems to work fine.

One restriction here is that all LEDs which are connected to the same LED board (up to 64 of them) will have to be similar If/Vf. Of course you can connect up to 24 LED boards to a single motherboard so you can split different type LEDs that way.

Finally,
The motherboard allows 4x potentiometers to be connected which are used to dim the LEDs/7Seg displays.
Each potentiometers can be assigned to one or more LED/7Seg boards connected to the motherboard.

Hope this answers your question

Regards,
Michael