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Will Depart in...



737-800 Arduino X-Plane Build

Started by kurt-olsson, September 06, 2015, 01:39:47 AM

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September 06, 2015, 01:39:47 AM Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 01:46:10 AM by kurt-olsson

I thought i should start this thread so i can keep track of all my progress and my images.

My build is targeted to be "budget with no compromises" =)

Some things i can´t build myself or get the panels for, so i just have to buy them. I think now these items will be:

Used TQ throttle

Function is will take care of later:
Yaw damper, Authothrottle auto disengage.
Startswitches 46% disengage.

But all the other items i plan to make from Simworld Panels.
I have seen lots of panels, but i think they are among the best i have seen.
And the support from that company is great, very nice people!

So first off:

I wanted to start with the hardest part, because if i could do this i think lots of other things will be easy.
My build is based on Lots of Arduino MEGA cards and X-Plane 10.
The communication is based on COM port with Serial communications and a small program that i made in C++ for talking to X-plane.
The architectural build is done, so i just have to continue refactoring and make more datarefs handeling in the program.

Part 1:

MCP Build

I ordered the Simworld MPC panel, looks great.
I have some CTS 288 rotary encoders (i had to drill in the backpanel to make them fit)
I have ordered some knobs from acvdesign (custom drilled to fit the CTS 288), havent recieved them yet, think i will hava a problem with the length of my encoders being to long. =( need to cut them or replace them.

For the Korry switches i did something cool. I used 2x2 black Lego bricks. Becuase of the ring in the middle it cuts the lights from the display text and the Led engage light.

I have ordered the switches aswell for the Flight Directors and the Autothrottle. I have also ordered lots of MAX7219 LED display to use for this MCP. Right now the display is RED bur i will try to find some White leds later.

Anyway sofar i have this:


Just ordered the MCP knob set, should be EIPC. Just hope that i don´t have to cut the rotary encoder rods... =(


Awesome work!  I'll be watching your progress.

Question, is there a reason you didn't go with Teensy line of products with native X-Plane support?  Way more powerful than the mega.  Just curious.

737 Junkie


September 07, 2015, 02:31:58 AM #3 Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 02:55:07 AM by kurt-olsson
Quote from: 727737Nut on September 06, 2015, 04:30:35 PM
Awesome work!  I'll be watching your progress.

Question, is there a reason you didn't go with Teensy line of products with native X-Plane support?  Way more powerful than the mega.  Just curious.


Hi and thank you.

Haha i just got the feeling that i missed something with the teensy board! ;)

But i like the idea of having total control of the code both on the arduino and my c++ program, my plan is to support both the 737-200 flyjsim, x737 and the upcoming ixeg 737.

With that in mind i like the controlled code. Arduino has lots of good libraries also for led and encoders.

But i will definently look at the teensy card, my impression was that the arduino mega was more powerful.

I havent started to solder yet so i can still switch cards, i will do more resource of the teensy.

Thanks for input.

By the way, love your 737-200 sim. I admire your electric skills to get all those gauges to work. Looks amazing! The -200 cockpit is amazing, i like it better than the -800 due to more "manual".


New autothrottle and flightdirector switch plus the three microbuttons for intervenes just dropped in today. Tonight there will be some soldering i think.


This is one fat switch. Just hope that my arduino card van read it? Where is the ground? Only two connectors!??? Why?


That switch is what they call a SPST or single throw single pole sw.  Just hook one side to the arduino gnd and the other to your input pin.  You can tie all the your switch grounds together to one point to make it easier.

Thanks for the kind words on my -200 sim  :)

As for the Teensy, it uses Arduino code so you full control over them as well.  ;)  Just no need to write the interface between it and x-plane as that part is done. Is is an I7 compared to a PentiumI when you put it next to a Mega ;)

737 Junkie


September 07, 2015, 05:32:53 AM #7 Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 05:34:45 AM by kurt-olsson
Ah. Thanks for the switch info, that saved me lots of google-time. =)

I have looked at the Teensy X-Plane API and it looks that i have written 99% same library! haha =)

The teensy card look really good, but i also like the connectors on the arduino that dont require the soldering, i saw that you can add adapters for it to make it the same, but i will continue with the arduino cards i have right now and see what the future has to bring. =)


Ok, i am switching to the teensy board! More power same sketches and libs as the arduino and a complete api to talk and read x-plane!


I'm also switching to the Teensy board for X-Plane... Seems to be the way to go over Arduino.
Ray Sotkiewicz


The really cool thing about the Teensy is that you can disconnect it during a flight, re flash, plug it in and it works immediately! Very handy when fine tuning code as no need to reboot the sim.
737 Junkie


Ah your kidding me! No restart of the simulation!!!  ;D ;D
My project time was just cut by 70%!

Just ordered two teensy 3.1, one with pins and one without!


September 09, 2015, 02:39:19 AM #12 Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 02:40:04 AM by kurt-olsson
My Project took a a real hit yesterday.

My soldering skills.... oh my god are they bad or are they bad? I doubt i will be able to solder all things together...  :(

should i use Heatsink for the resistors + Led. And how do i summon all the ground wires easily.

I would like to have some "ground-metal-rail" on my cardboard that i can connect all my cables to...

I would like to post my soldering, but you would laugh so hard that i wont post anything. =)


We all have to start somewhere Peter!

Just get some cheap components and practice.  There a lots of good Youtube videos out there that teach you how to solder.
After a while you will get the hang of it!

My first attempt at soldering looked like a bird had taken a metallic shit on the board :(

A common method for ground wires it to connect them from one component to the next in a daisy-chain fashion, so you have one wire that goes from switch to switch instead of individual ground wires to each of them.


Soldering skills.... It does take practice....


As you build you'll notice an exponential accumulation of wires that need to be grounded or otherwise connected to a power source.

I have about 12 of these in my sim:

They work beautifully.
Ray Sotkiewicz


Thanks for your kind words!

-"My first attempt at soldering looked like a bird had taken a metallic shit on the board" HAHAHAHA I laught so hard i almost wet my pants! Metallic shit! heheh

Ah smart! connecting all the ground component by component seems easier than my "rale-thing".

By the way. My Teensy 3.1 is now installed and all the libs in place. Got the sample sketch up and running in 5 minutes!
Grade sofar 5/5.

Looks like the FlightControls is running async on its own core, that was my next step in my API that i was coding. Luckily i was told to try this instead! =)


That looks really nice RayS!

Even if its not so "nice" soldering i want to be sure nothing breaks after a while.



September 09, 2015, 09:50:46 AM #18 Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 09:56:48 AM by RayS
You can see here in the bottom center the power distribution. After it is all said and done I am still in a bit of shock at how many terminations there are to power!

It has:

2 Ground rails
1 5vdc "Always On" rail
1 12vdc "Always On" rail
2 12VDC "Switched" power rails (Only 'on' after I turn on the BATT switch)
1 5VDC   "Switched" power rails (Only 'on' after I turn on the BATT switch)

The switched rails are controlled by a relay card that uses TTL logic inputs.

The workflow for the BATT switch:

BATT switched connected via joystick card directly to X-Plane (Leo Bodnar's BUX card) --> XPUIPC connected to X-Plane --> RUSCOOL's 64-Output card --> Turns on Relay channel on Relay driver card --> connects 12vdc power to Rail(s)

Seems convoluted. Why not just use the switch itself to provide power to the 12VDC rails? I tried that but I also wanted the systems logic that turns on other related systems within the aircraft (Like flaps won't work unless BATT power is on)

Another thing to keep in mind is current draw. Make sure those primary power cables are thick enough to handle the load. Also make sure your power supplies are beefy enough. I've blown up more power supplies than I care to admit because I underestimated power requirements.
Ray Sotkiewicz


September 09, 2015, 11:12:57 AM #19 Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 11:41:38 PM by kurt-olsson
Looks like a very clean setup! Great work! I think i am getting some progress, cutting the length of resistors and going component by component with the ground!



Some new stuff came in the mail today. Lots of max7219 drivers and also my mcp buttons from lima,Peru!
Will have to sand the buttonholes abit then they will be perfect. One bad thing was that the vs wheel was to big! It will not show so much and will be hard to scroll... :(

The last hurdle now is the leds... It will be a pain-in-the-beeeep to extend 12x6 cables... And i also have to mount the leds somehow...


September 15, 2015, 01:03:23 PM #22 Last Edit: September 16, 2015, 12:21:18 AM by kurt-olsson
Current status


Quote from: kurt-olsson on September 15, 2015, 12:58:59 PM
Will have to sand the buttonholes...

...for some reason I read that a little different. Need more coffee :-)
Ray Sotkiewicz


September 16, 2015, 09:29:30 AM #24 Last Edit: September 16, 2015, 09:36:03 AM by RayS
Quote from: kurt-olsson on September 15, 2015, 12:58:59 PMThe last hurdle now is the leds... It will be a pain-in-the-beeeep to extend 12x6 cables... And i also have to mount the leds somehow...

Have you entertained using a stock Printed Circuit board? That might make for a better MCP backer and allow you to mount LEDs the way they need to be.

Maybe something like this...

Then you could terminate all connections on your MCP with an IDC male plug, then simply attach a ribbon cable that also connects to your controller card.


I also use wire-wrap wire for interconnecting components on a board such as the MCP. You could use thin-gauge wire such as 22AWG stranded, but in the end, wire-wrap wire makes for a much cleaner layout and fewer solder blobs.


Ray Sotkiewicz

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