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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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n4208t

OK. I am going to try and post something here for the first time.  Given the level of expertise and skill of the folks on this site, it is a wee bit intimidating but I have been waiting a long time to (try and) build a dual control simulator.

I fly turboprops, not jets and actually had the chance to fly right seat in a King Air B200 back in the 90's.  My current sim is a King Air/ generic turboprop twin and this one will be as well, but more accurate and complete.  Up until this year I have not had the space to build a big sim so the current one is in a corner of my office.  The new one will be in the basement.  I have had good luck with Precision Flight Controls and I was able to buy a dual control PFC PCATD from the University of Iowa on a government auction almost 4 years ago.  It included the flight panel with dual yokes, a set of dual rudder pedals, and the PFC radios.  No cords or anything came with it but I never had any intention of using the old serial electronics in the unit anyway.  When this thing was new (no idea how old it is) it was the top of the line from PFC at the time and it was an FAA approved sim that was used at the U for a number of years.  I got the whole thing for $325 plus what it cost me to drive from Minneapolis to Ames, Iowa to pick it up.  It has been sitting in my garage until about 2 weeks ago when I started to self-quarantine and moved it down the basement.

Since then I have stripped out all of the old electronics.  I am salvaging a lot of the switches and some of the wiring but using a Leo Bodnar board for all of the flight controls and buttons, etc. on the yokes.  I have other Leo Boadnar boards that will handle the switches from the various King Air panels which I was able to get from Troopings.  I already have some Ruscool stuff so this was a no brainer for me.  Also using a connector that takes a CAT 5 input and outputs all of the wires as the buttons and switches on the yokes were all wired via CAT 5.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, those switches and some of the wiring were pretty much shot so I was able to salvage the two behind the yoke switches but ended up building my own on the pilots side for the left and right side (see pics).  I took a pattern from Thingiverse for an autopilot disconnect and trim switch for a cessna yoke and modified it to fit the Mooney yokes that came with the unit I bought.  Also made some other parts to create a yoke mounted autopilot disconnect and trim.

The heftiness and craftsmanship of these parts from PFC are impressive so I have included some pics of the internals.  As of right now I have the elevators, ailerons, and rudders working and calibrated.  Additionally, all of the buttons and switches on the Pilots yoke are fully functional and working.  I will need to replace the two top mounted switches on the copilot yoke at some point.

I have also modified a thingiverse design for a gear lever and built a working landing gear lever using two microswitches.  I am planning on redoing the lever and knob but the unit is working and was scaled to fit the new panel.  Most recently, I am working on trying (emphasis on trying) to build some working gauges using a 3d printer and some gears and servos.  I have started with the fuel gauges.  I built two dummy gauges for the time being while I work on printing and then trying to get the printed gauges to work.

The front part of the PFC panel is going to be cut completely off and the new panel will be mounted to the remaining box as part of the new sim.  I am not a

n4208t

a good carpenter so a friend is doing the wood work for me.  Sorry for the wordiness.  Guess I got carried away.  Here are the pics.


Trevor Hale

First off, Never be intimidated.  We are all an easy going group of guys that love to hear about others progress.

Love the Pictures, and Great Job.

Trev
Trevor Hale

Owner
http://www.cockpitbuilders.com

Director of Operations
Worldflight Team USA
http://www.worldflightusa.com

VATSIM:

n4208t


blueskydriver

Hi Steve,

Great to see your work, and please keep telling us all you want about it. You're not be wordy at all, you're just being very informative.

Knowingly in the world of keep things quick and short, Cockpit Builders is not like that. Instead, this is the place where we will take all the knowledge we can get....

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 |

jackpilot

Confirming PFC hardware is top notch
I use their Boeing type rudders.



Jack

blueskydriver

Hey Everyone,

Just discovered a neat little trick! I needed some holes in the FDS shell for cable routing, so using a drill and jigsaw, just went at it.

The problem after cutting the holes and filing the edges to prevent cable rash, it needed something more attractive. Therefore, in my search I found some plastic cable covering, the type with a slit in it.

Anyway, just frame it out and cut to fit. Looks great and saves the cables. Of course started me thinking about other cutouts for air vents, as well as just to cover the edges that are easy to bump into....

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 |

sagrada737

Good suggestion John...!   Anything to create a barrier between sheet metal corners is helpful to prevent chaffing and potential shorting of electrical wires.   

In fact, I am going through my MIP and Overheads today to identify all the potential areas where the wire harness might contact the sheet metal structure.   This is especially important in my Sim with its 6dof Motion Platform.

Years ago, when I built a RotorWay 162F (2-place piston powered helicopter), I had to go through the same process of isolating and securing cabling in order to prevent chaffing of wires/cables.   Even though I took extensive measures to protect these areas, it was surprising to me how vibration can worm its way into our wiring harnesses and associated connections, both electrical and mechanical.  This is one reason why the aviation industry uses "safety wire" to secure fasteners and connections.

The Split plastic conduit you used is an easy way to go for a static Sim.   There are other such dedicated Flex Edge Banding products that can be used as well to help protect wiring.

Mike
P3d v3.x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT180 projection display driven by a single nvidia GTX980.

blueskydriver

Hi Mike,

Can you provide some links and pics of the items you used please? I had the split tubing on the shelf for a long time, but it'd be nice too see what you used....

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

Just had another crazy idea!

For years we've all flown our sims with the simple fact that the interior is inherently dark even in daytime flights.

However, some years ago I saw someone using lights and controllers much like stage and theater lighting to bright/dim the cockpit based on the position of the sun/moon in the flight sim program. Cannot find it now though...lol!

Anyway, so this hits me, why not double the center view projector (if using a 3 projector setup) with a 4th projector and place it up and above the cockpit, in front of the nose, but pointing towards the cockpit? In other words, this projector would light up the cockpit in almost the same way as real exterior daytime/nighttime light does.

So, for example, if you're flying directly toward the sun that 4th projector view would be showing the sun and with it pointing towards the cockpit it'll light up much in the same as real life. This would work even at night time towards the moon, as well as the positioning would be correct either way.

This 4th projectors' window view in FSX or P3D would only be a sky view to reduce resources on the simulator computer(s), not unless you were to WideView it with another client machine. Although, you could just Y cable connect the center projector and 4th projector, giving the 4th the same image. This would be kind of cool with reflections on the windscreens and such.

Lastly, I am thinking this could be done if you're using 3-5 LCD monitors (TVs) for your sim. If use a projector in the same manner as I described above and as long as you have room for the light to come inward and above the monitors.

As for the projector, it doesn't have to match what you already have, nor would you need to use the same resolutions. It can be a cheap and used model, as you're only using it as a direct source light.

What do you all think?

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 |

bernard S

i say if you really want the full experience

1... get a few shop vacs and turn them all on

2... for east sun get halogen lamp and shine it in your eyes

then you are golden   

Joe Lavery

Okay Bernard, I'll fall for it.... what the hell are the shop vacs for????
'Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain!'<br /><br />www.pcpilot.net<br />

bernard S

engine and ambient sounds lol .. maybe i am not as funny haha as i think i am

jackpilot

You do not have it Bernard :P
All those Shop Vacs suckers can create a nice explosive depressurization
 :D


Jack

bernard S


blueskydriver

April 08, 2020, 01:40:49 pm #815 Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 01:41:13 pm by blueskydriver
It must be hump day! LOL!

Seriously, I am going to do this projector idea and mainly it's about the darkness inside the simulator cockpit which is abnormal from the real aircraft.

As for ambient sound, got that covered with 2 big sub-woofers under the seat platform and a 5.1 surround sound all around the cockpit...RTFLOL!

However, I have been thinking about adding a  butt kicker or something similar on the glareshield, too make it slightly vibrate during TO/LAND and in turbulence...hahaha!

Oh Yeah, I still have the Jet Fuel scent stuff, so don't know how much more I can do.

Then again, the shop vac idea would be interesting...hold on, let me hook up the 2 big shop vacs, the 3 medium ones and the 2 small ones I have...will get back to you on this...REALLY LOL!!!

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

April 08, 2020, 01:56:08 pm #816 Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 01:56:34 pm by FredK
QuoteHowever, some years ago I saw someone using lights and controllers much like stage and theater lighting to bright/dim the cockpit based on the position of the sun/moon in the flight sim program. Cannot find it now though...lol!

I remember that also...and for awhile I was giving it some semi-serious consideration....

Actually it would be relatively easy to put an array of lights in an arc in front of and above the cockpit (or a curved track with a moving light).  The mechanism would also have to be positioned slightly above and behind the screen so as to not interfere with the projection lighting.  It would be easy to program the lighting relative to the heading of the aircraft and the time of day (for dimming).

I ended up going a much simpler route.  I have an led strip that is hidden but illuminates the glareshield from above.  For daytime flights I turn it on, for nighttime flights I turn it off.

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

RayS

April 08, 2020, 02:30:33 pm #817 Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 02:45:08 pm by RayS
That might have been me. :-)

When I addressed the pit darkness, I had the luxury of 3 X-Plane Datarefs: Skycolors, broken down into R, G, B values:

lightlevel_R = XPlaneRef("sim/graphics/misc/outside_light_level_r");
 lightlevel_G = XPlaneRef("sim/graphics/misc/outside_light_level_g");
 lightlevel_B = XPlaneRef("sim/graphics/misc/outside_light_level_b");

I used a Teensy to access those datarefs, then I attached a DMX controller to the Teensy and subsequently to a DMX light bar.

DMX seems to be the industry standard for stage lighting, Hollywood and those folks that turn their homes into a nuclear winter Christmas show during the holidays. :-)

Works really well.

Here's a DMX controller for Arduino:
https://www.dfrobot.com/product-984.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInryOyfDZ6AIVFtNkCh3l6AlBEAQYAiABEgKmgfD_BwE

Here is the lightbar I use:
https://www.amazon.com/320-Led-Light-Channel-Control/dp/B00HEZTU28

I took several swipes at this problem before I landed on the X-Plane datarefs.

First attempt was to point an RGB Light sensor at the projector screen but the way projectors behave, and the crazy fast speed at which the light sensor reads colors created a disco light show inside the cockpit.
Ray Sotkiewicz

blueskydriver

April 08, 2020, 02:38:12 pm #818 Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 02:38:46 pm by blueskydriver
Hey Ray,

Do you have a video of it working?

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 |

RayS

Not yet, John but I can put one together tonight.

Ironically, the difficult part of the project was adding light baffling so the pit is illuminated but is not a factor for the pilots and light spillage onto the projector screen.
Ray Sotkiewicz

bernard S

does the 73 have sensors in glaresheild  ?  then you may bevablebto have auto dom and auto bright of lightplates no ?

blueskydriver

Hey Guys,

This is great input from everyone!

Yes Ray, please make the video...

Bernard, does the 74 have the sensors? If so, it'd be cool to see you include Ray's concept and your idea together.

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 |

Joe Lavery

'Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain!'<br /><br />www.pcpilot.net<br />

RayS

DMX Demo...

Here's the video. Sound sucks, video sucks, quality sucks, but... there it is...

https://youtu.be/K0NBbSvk-zM
Ray Sotkiewicz

blueskydriver

Thanks Ray for the video, it's great!

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 |

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