The poor mans sim pit

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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:13 pm

I'm having a blast with my extra Switch panel.


I now have a ton of buttons and a lot of possibilities. Learning the commands and how to use them is great. :D



FSX/Prepar3d can only "see" the switch panel as a Saitek Switch Panel. Using ONLY the Saitek driver/software, you can't make any changes.

And that's where SPAD and FSUIPC come in.

FSUIPC can control just about everything in FSX/P3d. BUT it can't "see" the Saitek panels.


SPAD, on the other hand, was created to operate the Saitek Pro Flight panels MUCH better than the Saitek software.

If that was all there was to it, this would be a very short story.

But the creator of SPAD also added the ability to capture the input from the Saitek Pro Flight panels, and send them to FSUIPC as if they were joystick buttons.

I won't go into all the details, but it's quite flexible in the ways that you can use it.



This is the main SPAD control panel. It'll list any Pro Flight control panels that you have plugged in. It will not list the small instrument panels.

Image

As you can see I have two Switch Panels - switch panel 1 & 2. The original switch panel is back in its' place underneath the radio panel.


Image

The new switch panel (Switch Panel 2) is now on the edge of the desktop and to the left of where the yoke would normally be. That one behaves entirely normal.

The one under the Radio panel has all the switches set to "No Event". You move a switch & nothing will happen. At least until I program it.



To program any of the switches is extremely easy. In fact, it can hardly be called "programming". It's more like "select this or that". :lol:

Click on the panel tab, Switch Panel 1 and then the SPAD Setup button. This'll pop up.

Image

In this case I've already selected the Gear UP button.

I then select FSUIPC Virtual Button to create a virtual joystick & button. Again, I've already assigned a virtual joystick/button to it - 70 & 1.

NEXT you have to open FSUIPC. Go to the Buttons + Switches tab.

Image


Then back again to SPAD Configuration. When you click on the Send button to Flight Sim it'll be intercepted by FSUIPC. You can now click OK on the SPAD screen. You're done for the moment.

Image


As soon as you hit the Click button above, the virtual joystick & virtual button will show up in FSUIPC.

After that, all you have to do now is decide just what the button will do. In this case I selected to use a FS control called Brakes. You can safely ignore Parameters for now.

Image

That wasn't all that hard was it?



FSX and Prepar3d treats the command Brakes as a toggle.

Toggles will normally work with two presses. One to set it, and press it again to unset it. This is important because when I lift the lever upwards I want it to toggle the brake off.

I want to activate the parking brake by pulling the lever down. FSUIPC used the FSX internal command Parking Brakes to set the parking brake. The command Brakes will release the parking brakes.

This is the setup for setting the parking brakes.

Image

Image


The reason that I have it this way is because FSX will sometimes set Brakes or Differential Brakes when I use the Saitek rudder. So far this has never happened with P3d.

By cycling through the brake lever, it'll clear the situation.



Later I'll create an overlay to cover the text on the face of Switch Panel 1. I'll have it printed on coated paper at a print shop, and glue/stick in over the face of the switch panel.

This is what it looks like now.
Image


These are the assignments for the moment. Any suggestions will be gladly received. But remember I mostly fly low & slow. Some jet commands may be worthwhile though.

Image



FSUIPC has a list of commands in the Zip file. Another good source of info (but not all that fresh) is Event IDs from Microsoft.

That's all for now.
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sun May 11, 2014 9:27 am

Looking at that chart above reminds me that I have to get back to work on re-assigning the buttons. :(

But like a little kid in a toy store, I'm running first one direction, and then the other.

Prepar3d is just taking over my time. In a GOOD way. :D



HARDWARE, HARDWARE, HARDWARE


So, What's new?

SSD's

Anyone who has read some of my previous posts knows that I'm a strong advocate of SSDs.

Yes, they are more expensive than a spinner. BUT you can now get a usefully sized SSD for a reasonable price.

Side note - My first SINGLE sided floppy drive cost $525 back in the early '80s. In 2014 dollars, that's probably something like $1500.


A re-cap

A while back I bought a 1TB Western Digital drive, and a Samsung 250GB SSD. The SSD became my boot drive. It also became the home of the FSX files.

Everything else (as much as possible, anyway) went to the WD drive with 64MG of cache.

This worked out well, except for two things; MORE scenery, and Prepar3d V2.2 with MORE scenery.

As I use Prepar3d MUCH MORE than FSX nowadays, the delay from starting Prepar3d to actually being ready to fly in Prepar3d has started to bother me.



The first possibility was to remove FSX completely, and install P3d on the C: drive.

Aside from not wanting to completely remove FSX yet (it now works as a test bed to work out problems with software), there's still that "MORE scenery" problem.


So I started looking into larger SSDs.

And, although the prices for large SSDs has dropped, it's still more than I wanted to spend.


OPTION 2 - Buy a "used" SSD.

In the US, if something has been returned to the retailer in an opened condition, it can't be resold as "new".

Sell it as refurbished, reconditioned, used - fine. But if the box has been opened, sell it as new, no.

That's not to say that things don't get sold as new if it doesn't look like it was opened, though.


In todays society, kids get awards for "trying". It doesn't matter if they succeed. If they "try", then they're congratulated as winners.

The end result is that a great many people think that they are capable of doing anything. And if they try and fail, HEY, that's not their fault. They tried.




So where is all this whining going? :evil:

Amazon & Newegg get a great deal of stuff returned simply because the purchaser hasn't got a clue as to how to use it!

"THIS IS A PIECE OF CR*%! I CAN't CLONE MY 2TB HARD DRIVE ONTO IT!!!"

Yes. Reviews like that are out there.

One complaint for the SSD that I bought goes like this;
The build quality is not very high. The plastic case rattles a lot. I can't hear it inside my unibody MBP, but it might be annoying if there's a vent over the hard drive bay or if it isn't secured very well inside your laptop.


Well. The SSD does have a plastic cover, not steel or aluminum. But you know what? I'm not going to be using it as a step stool.

Rattling? Well, if I tap on the plastic casing it is flexible. The plastic cover that protects against accidental contact with any of the internal circuitry will make contact with the top of the chips inside the case.

BUT THIS IS AN F-ING SOLID STATE DEVICE! IT HAS NO MOVING INTERNAL PARTS TO CAUSE ANY RATTLING!!!!!


As usual, I'm going way beyond simple reason to make my point. :oops:

Stupid people, are stupid. And just because something has been returned, that doesn't mean that it's bad.

And, sometimes, people just click on the wrong item. It's not bad, they just made a mistake.


Back to the point.

If there's a big enough difference in price, I don't mind buying "used" from Amazon or Newegg.


What I bought was a Transcend Information 256GB SATA III. At this moment it's being sold for $119.

If there's any speed difference between this and my Samsung SSD, I can't tell it.


But was it worth it? ABSOLUTLY!

Although these are the numbers for Prepar3d and not FSX, the difference should be similar.

Also note that I have the "Prepar3D Training Scenario Setup" open up in stead of going directly to a flight. This will produce a two step timing.

Image

If you have a faster system, your timings should be better.


Here are the load times from a fast hard drive with a large cache, and the new SSD.

Image

Side note - the SSD has almost 100BG of Prepar3d & scenery data on it.
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sun May 11, 2014 9:48 am

OldAirmail wrote:Looking at that chart above reminds me that I have to get back to work on re-assigning the buttons. :(

But like a little kid in a toy store, I'm running first one direction, and then the other.

Prepar3d is just taking over my time. In a GOOD way. :D



HARDWARE, HARDWARE, HARDWARE


So, What's new?

SSD's

Anyone who has read some of my previous posts knows that I'm a strong advocate of SSDs.

Yes, they are more expensive than a spinner. BUT you can now get a usefully sized SSD for a reasonable price.

Side note - My first SINGLE sided .floppy drive cost $525 back in the '80s. In 2014 dollars, that's probably something like $1500.


A re-cap

A while back I bought a 1TB Western Digital drive, and a Samsung 250GB SSD. The SSD became my boot drive. It also became the home of the FSX files.

Everything else (as much as possible, anyway) went to the WD drive with 64MG of cache.

This worked out well, except for two things; MORE scenery, and Prepar3d V2.2 with MORE scenery.

As I use Prepar3d MUCH MORE than FSX nowadays, the delay from starting Prepar3d to actually being ready to fly in Prepar3d has started to bother me.



The first possibility was to remove FSX completely, and install P3d on the C: drive.

Aside from not wanting to completely remove FSX yet (it now works as a test bed to work out problems with software), there's still that "MORE scenery" problem.


So I started looking into larger SSDs.

And, although the prices for large SSDs has dropped, it's still more than I wanted to spend.


OPTION 2 - Buy a "used" SSD.

In the US, if something has been returned to the retailer in an opened condition, it can't be resold as "new".

Sell it as refurbished, reconditioned, used - fine. But if the box has been opened, sell it as new, no.

That's not to say that things don't get sold as new if it doesn't look like it was opened, though.


In todays society, kids get awards for "trying". It doesn't matter if they succeed. If they "try", then they're congratulated as winners.

The end result is that a great many people think that they are capable of doing anything. And if they try and fail, HEY, that's not their fault. They tried.




So where is all this whining going? :evil:

Amazon & Newegg get a great deal of stuff returned simply because the purchaser hasn't got a clue as to how to use it!

"THIS IS A PIECE OF CR*%! I CAN't CLONE MY 2TB HARD DRIVE ONTO IT!!!"

Yes. Reviews like that are out there.

One complaint for the SSD that I bought goes like this;
The build quality is not very high. The plastic case rattles a lot. I can't hear it inside my unibody MBP, but it might be annoying if there's a vent over the hard drive bay or if it isn't secured very well inside your laptop.


Well. The SSD does have a plastic cover, not steel or aluminum. But you know what? I'm not going to be using it as a step stool.

Rattling? Well, if I tap on the plastic casing it is flexible. The plastic cover that protects against accidental contact with any of the internal circuitry will make contact with the top of the chips inside the case.

BUT THIS IS AN F-ING SOLID STATE DEVICE! IT HAS NO MOVING INTERNAL PARTS TO CAUSE ANY RATTLING!!!!!


As usual, I'm going way beyond simple reason to make my point. :oops:

Stupid people, are stupid. And just because something has been returned, that doesn't mean that it's bad.

And, sometimes, people just click on the wrong item. It's not bad, they just made a mistake.


Back to the point.

If there's a big enough difference in price, I don't mind buying "used" from Amazon or Newegg.


What I bought was a Transcend Information 256GB SATA III. At this moment it's being sold for $119.

If there's any speed difference between this and my Samsung SSD, I can't tell it.


But was it worth it? ABSOLUTLY!

Although these are the numbers for Prepar3d and not FSX, the difference should be similar.

Also note that I have the "Prepar3D Training Scenario Setup" open up in stead of going directly to a flight. This will produce a two step timing.

Image

If you have a faster system, your timings should be better.


Here are the load times from a fast hard drive with a large cache, and the new SSD.

Image

Side note - the SSD has almost 100BG of Prepar3d & scenery data on it.
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:44 pm

It's with great regret that I have to report the passing of my DesktopAviator ($275).

Image

The monitor still works, but the dual rotary encoder and a number of switches have slowly been going downhill to the point where many don't work at all.

Cleaning with contact cleaner hasn't helped all that much.

If it was just one or two switches, it wouldn't be a problem. But as it's one switch after another. I have no confidence with the rest of the switches.


The alternatives - VRinsight GPS-5 $480 to $600, and the Emuteq GNS530 GPS $700+, are just too far outside my budget.

I suppose that I'll replace the switches, although there is minimal room for replacement switches. :(
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby pete » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:09 pm

Sorry to hear that? Just outside the guarantee I guess .... :roll:

You should ahve posted this as a separate post - it's really useful and interesting!

I could try splitting it but I never really trust that function to get it right - I've lost stuff before doing that ....

Anyways .... thank for the updates :)
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:59 pm

Thanks, Pete.

The screen is just a VGA screen, the buttons are read as a standard HID USB device.

It'd take a significant amount of time replacing the switches. On the other hand - it'd take a significant amount of money to buy one of the other brands.


And it is the switches - I can short out the switch leads and have the contact register in FSX/P3d.

I'll search for the proper size switches, but...


As to others being interested, I don't know.

I've put pictures & links in threads other than The poor mans sim pit, but I've never received any questions about it.


It may just be me. I love using the buttons and knobs on this GPS, it makes it a lot more fun.

Imagine flying a plane and having to use a mouse to move a cursor over to the image of a button on a screen to click it?

Shudder!


I'd bet that most people don't use the GPS very much just because using it on screen is so unrealistic, and it takes away from the enjoyment of the flight.

But believe me, there's nothing like being able to reach out and turn that knob or push that button.

Once you have those buttons, it's very easy to learn how to use any similar GPS. It all starts making sense.
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby Anthindelahunt » Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:06 am

Fozzer.
Thank the gods for your wit and and dry humour. It
gives me a a lift when I am feeling down.

I have a good setup,thanks to my daughter. I have a
water cooled i7 3770 k,oc to 4.4 gh,a GTX 670 with 16 gb of Ram and
a 27 inch led HD Benq monitor. I feel very lucky.
I do not have a yoke or pedals,just a twist grip Logiteck
joystick.

My sim flying FSX DX10 is running really smooth.

Anthin. :pray:
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:59 pm

Another kick in the butt.

For those not interested in the ButtKicker this may be uninteresting.


(Just a thought for the tax refund season.)

But for anyone interested in the ButtKicker, but who doesn't want to pay one arm and a leg, this will save you at least half of a leg.

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Go! Pro USB Audio System with SBX SB1290

Image


Lepai LP-2020A+ Audio Amplifier with Power Supply

Image


Dayton Audio TT25-16 PUCK Tactile Transducer Mini Bass Shaker

Image




Now this part may be a killer if you already have a flight sim weather program that you like - Opus FSX or FSI

This software has so many sim enhancements, that it might be worthwhile replacing a less capable program just to get the ButtKicker interface.

The ButtKicker interface lets you physically enhance your sim experience, and I can tell you that it's worth every bit of the price.

Image

Image


There are some who disagreed with my prior review of the ButtKicker as ho hum, big deal.

But the Opus FSX/FSI software makes a tremendous difference.



BTW - Why have both??? Well the ButtKicker works for other games, music & videos too. This may, or may not, work with your TV/video system. Depends on what you have. :confusion-shrug:

My system? The ButtKicker is mounted to my chair, and the hockey puck transducer is mounted to a heavy computer table.
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:41 pm

Saitek repair time

My hardware is showing signs of age (unlike me :lol: ).


First it was the buttons on my Desktop Aviator GPS.

And now with one of my Saitek Switch Panels.

Some of the switches aren't working.

Image




Before you even start, get some spray electrical contact cleaner with a spray tube attachment. Auto parts sections, or auto part stores, seem to be a good place to look, as are any electrical hobby stores.

On the back side, there will be eight screws: four short, four longer. Pay attention to where they came from when you remove them.


And now the hard part.

There are ten plastic clips built into the front half of the panel. Five on the top, and five on the bottom edge

You'll need to carefully pry open the two halves. The best place to start is one of the bottom corners. The plastic can be a little brittle.

Once you get it started, push the tip of the knife, or small screwdriver, inwards & downwards (towards the back), and pry the edge away (outward) from the edges on the front half.



Where the buttons are, you'll see small slots at one end. Spray the contact cleaner into the slots as you work the button back and forth at least five or six times.

Use whatever program that you use to setup the Saitek panel, to test the switch. As always, I highly recommend the free program called SPAD. There is an newer program (also free in it's basic form) called SPAD.neXt in development that will far surpass SPAD.

Image

While you're at it, spray all the areas within the red circles.

Good luck.
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby Nimrod1976 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:53 pm

Hi folks

Been away from the fs world for quite a few years can anyone recommend any hardware components to run FSX steam or where to get a full tower unit ready built?

looking forward to get back flying in crowded skys
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:21 pm

On one level it's pretty simple - just about anything that you buy nowadays will exceed what was around when FSX was first released, and FSX:SE is VERY closely related to FSX.

If FSX:SE will be the primary use of the computer, things can be kept simple.

If you want to play many of the cutting edge games, you had better start piling the money on the counter. Also, you might want to ask this question on one of the high end gaming forums.


CPU
Just remember that FSX/FSX:SE is heavily dependent on CPU speed. In theory, an i5 and an i7 at the same speed should give equivalent results, because FSX/FSX:SE doesn't make much use of cores & hyper-threading.

Video Card
This gets more complicated because a blindingly fast video card can be slowed down by a CPU that is too slow on some processes.

With FSX any newer mid - higher end video card would be ok. There are some important exceptions, but that depends on what you use in the sim.

Memory
Except for X-Plane 10, the main flight simulators are 32bit. What does that have to do with memory if you have a 64bit OS with gig-ton of RAM?

FSX, any version, can only use a limited amount of the memory in your machine.

Start off with 8gig. You can always add more later.

Drives
Get an SSD (250gig minimum) for the OS, and another one (250gig minimum) for the sim. If you think that you'll need more space use a fast hard drive for other stuff.

Two 500gb SSD's would be nice if you have the extra money.



There's a lot more to be said, but without knowing how much money you are willing to spend, or how you intend to use it, it would be hard to recommend very much.

A note of warning - I've seen so called gaming machines advertised with what I must assume are older parts.
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

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. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:59 am

This is simple, just read it thru.

Magically make more space available on your C: drive.

I've covered some of this before, but as I had to find more space on my C: drive, I thought that I'd present it again.


BTW - if anyone likes my ramblings, let me know. It gets lonely out here.




Most of you know that I love SSD drives. But I don't have the money to buy the larger SSD drives, so I have to make do.

...Tell me, what's wrong with this picture? . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . Is this better?
Image . . . . Image



There are a number of SSD monsters out there that need to be put down.

Previously, I mentioned moving the pagefile (swapfile) off of your SSD and onto a regular hard drive. Look up "moving the pagefile" on the internet.

This post is about another hard drive monster: the Package Cache folder.



Long story short, certain install programs store information on your drive that'll be needed if you want to uninstall or repair their programs.

You might be tempted to simply delete these files - DO NOT DO THIS!

I'm trying to keep this short so simply believe me - don't do it.


They're located in C:\ProgramData\Package Cache, and this is what they look like.

Image

How big was mine?
Image

That was over 62Gig on a 250GB SSD!



How did I do it?

Well, you can't just drag 'n drop the files. Windows is expecting them to be in a certain place, and they had better be there!

But there's a free program that takes a feature built into the Windows OS and makes it virtually foolproof for most users. It's called Junction Link Magic.



It may look complicated, but it's really as simple as 1,2,3.

One - make a folder on a larger drive and move, NOT COPY, the files to that folder. This fool named the folder "Package Cache Folder FROM ProgramData on C Drive" so I'll never have a doubt what it is in the future.

Two - the original folder must remain on the C: drive, and it must be empty.

Three - using Junction Link Magic, locate that empty folder on the C: drive, and the folder that now holds the information on the larger drive.

CREATE
Image

You're done. Simple enough?



As I said, this is a part of the Windows OS, and you are already using it. You just don't know it.

This process is totally invisible to Windows and the programs that use it.

How invisible is it? I'm using this folder to combine add-on aircraft and scenery for FSX, Prepar3d V2.5, and now for Prepar3d V3!


All three flight sims point to this folder. It's as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Image
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:03 pm

The Saitek fuel selector and parking brake lever


Long story short, I ended up with two Saitek Pro flight switch panels a year or so ago.


Aside from the extra switches, it also gave me two unique switches: the rotary switch (the old Magneto/Start switch), and a lever (the old landing gear lever).

And SPAD.neXt makes the re-assignment of these switches so very easy!


The upper switch panel has the magneto positions reprogrammed as a fuel selector. Simple

And because I start from a cold & dark plane, I have it programmed to not let the engine start if the fuel selector is in the OFF position.

Likewise, turning the fuel selector to the OFF position when the engine is running shuts the fuel off and kills the engine. Simple.



But it's with the old landing gear lever & lights where SPAD.neXt really shines for me!

What SPAD.neXt lets me do (in this case), is to control those three lights to the left of the lever!

Image

So when the "new" parking brake lever is moved down to set the parking brake, ONLY the top light turns red.

When I move the lever up, the parking brake is released, and the red light goes out.


What happens to the upper lights when the other (lower) landing gear lever is used?

Nothing. No transition in the upper switch panel lights.


ONLY the lower lights go through the color transition. The upper set of lights do nothing other than to tell me that I have the parking brake set. Or not. :D

At some time, I'll have to make an overlay to rename the switches. Until then, I'm having fun. :D


I know. To most of you this is totally unimportant.

But for me, to simply reach out and flip the lever down/up and set or release the parking breaks, and have the red light go on or off as appropriate, is a pleasure.

Don't look at this as something that I did, but as an indicator of how simple it is to make your Saitek equipment do things that they never envisioned.



And just how easy is it to program these lights?

Red light On or OFF
Image

Other lights OFF
Image


Imagine what I could accomplish if I really knew what I was doing! :lol:



PS - Before the end of the year SPAD.neXt should be able to program regular USB (HID) devices (like your joysticks). :clap: :clap: :clap:
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:10 pm

A small scale cockpit in a box!


The concept - Glass or traditional instrumentation on your yoke.

Image Image


Attachment & connections

Image Image


Links & Price #1 - JMF-?DG
74,800 Japanese Yen / $617 US Dollars / £414 British Pounds / €568 Euros

Links & Price #2 - JMF-1DES
48000 Japanese Yen / $396 US Dollar / £266 British Pounds / €364 Euros


The Videos
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUwzGSxs1Dk[/youtube] . [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYE5JuL3g40[/youtube]




So how does a $400 to $600+ cockpit box fit in here at The Poor Mans Sim Pit???

As usual - make it yourself.

Both of the items above have a 9 inch monitor with some generic USB buttons attached to a box.

Yeah, one has a landing gear lever too. Big deal, it's also $200 more than the one that doesn't.

Use $100 of that $200+ to buy a Saitek PRO Flight Switch Panel and spend the rest on a few sim planes.

Image
Now you're ahead of the game. :D


Next - that nine inch monitor

Image DS-90U - (used) $95

Image - DS-10UT - $130

There are certainly other brands, but write this down - DO NOT get one under 9 inches. A 7 inch monitor will be too small.

Also by getting a USB monitor you don't need a high end video card. You can even use it on a laptop.



The special software?

The "glass" picture looks to me like the one that comes with some of the planes.

Some of you might remember these pictures of my two 9 inch USB monitors. The one in the left hand picture is using G.A. Panel software for $30. Panel Builder for $50 might be a better deal because G.A. Panel hasn't been updated in four or more years. It will probably never be updates in my opinion. The ones on the right are pop-up instrument windows that have been moved to the USB monitors.

BTW - A sale is on until Jan 1 2016 for $35.

Image . Image



The Box

Boxes come in an incredible number of sizes and material. Find one the right size and material to suit you.

If you're afraid of doing a bad job, or loosing a few fingers while gutting, have a friend do the drilling & cutting for you.

The USB buttons, knobs, and circuit boards are VERY easy to use. And no matter where you live, they'll be easy to find.

You can even have square buttons by simply drilling a round hole!

Image

Just search for, or click on, - fsx usb interface to find what you need.

I use DeskTopAviator, but no matter where you get them, the majority of USB boards should be easily recognized by FS9, FSX, or P3d.




This IS NOT rocket science!

Believe me, this is pretty simple. How simple? Watch the video, it's a low quality image but you'll understand how easy it is to do.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU1e-UuUSyw[/youtube]



One last thought

If you do decide to build your own cockpit in a box, you could also use it as a GPS screen too. This video shows how I used the USB monitor with a touchscreen for a GPS, but you could do the same thing with extra buttons.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVFRKou7R_U[/youtube]

Good luck & good flying. :D
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
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Re: The poor mans sim pit

Postby OldAirmail » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:30 pm

Over on SPAD.neXt there's a guy named Oz Flyer, who has started templates for the Saitek Switch Panel, Radio Panel, and the Multi Panel.

They're opened with a free program called Front Panel Designer.

This'll let you change the look of an extra Saitek panel so you can assign new commands as I'm doing.

I had assigned some commands in the old SPAD and USFPC, but I'd hit a wall with some of the commands. Now I can easily create my own button commands and re-label the second Saitek Switch panel.



As you can see I didn't do much more than change a few labels and cut out the openings with scissors.

Still, ugly as it is in its' raw state, it looks great to me. :lol:

Now that I know it can be done, and after having it printed on good stock, it should look very nice indeed. :D


Please remember - this is only a rough test.
Image

BTW - That single red light, on the right, is only on when the parking brake is engaged. It's TOTALY separate from the landing gear lights on the other switch panel.

:idea: A thought came to me - if I glue a clear half dome bead over that red parking brake light it would look even better.

All my thanks go to Oz Flyer. :clap:
.. .
Get the most out of your controls - SPAD.neXt

Image
. . . . . .Any time, any plane, any weather.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Prepar3d V4
User avatar
OldAirmail
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Posts: 4815
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:06 pm
Location: Concrete, WA ICAO - 3W5

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