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AndyT
09-11-2007, 04:01 PM
Desktop Aviator has a new 20 button/switch USB interface that is VERY easy to use. Very inexpensive as well.

http://www.desktopaviator.com/Products/Model_2040/index.htm

Tomlin
09-11-2007, 04:14 PM
Desktop Aviator has a new 20 button/switch USB interface that is VERY easy to use. Very inexpensive as well.

http://www.desktopaviator.com/Products/Model_2040/index.htm


Well, that's certainly a great price. I wonder how well it works using the in-sim assignments. Thanks for the heads-up. What's great about this is that it's a very affordable way to add just a few more functions without spending a lot of money to finish up a project. However, Im guessing that you cant access FSUIPC functions with it though.

AndyT
09-11-2007, 04:26 PM
Since it works using 'in the sim' assignments I would think that FSUIPC would see it no problem just like it sees my joystick.

JBaymore
09-11-2007, 04:31 PM
I posted this thought in another forum where mantion of this unit just popped up also, so maybe I'll post it here also:

One reminder for a newer cockpit builder looking at this particular item:

This interface is mainly for normally open momentary type push button switches. That make them sort of like glorified computer keyboard keys or joystick buttons. Which is certainly FINE for some simpit uses. This would be great for something like a panel that allows you to select the responses to the default ATC and to pop open windows or something like that.

If you want to use standard toggle switches (NOT the rather mis-leading "spring return" toggle switches that are mentioned in some of the writing on this unit), then as you can see on their site, you need to construct a circuit using an opto-isolator IC for EVERY regular (single pole single throw or double throw) toggle switch that you want to install with it. That work gets a tad more complicated and hence a bit more expensive to do.

best,

AndyT
09-11-2007, 04:36 PM
Thats very true. Depending on your sim or how you have it designed many of the buttons in there are of this type.

andarlite
09-11-2007, 04:49 PM
This is what I have been using:

http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/index.html

It cost an extra $6 but you get 32 inputs (instead of just 20), and you also get 8 analog axis and a hat switch.

There are also more simplistic circuit to use for toggle switches than what he has shown. I'm using one that only has a small 5v DIP relay and a capacitor per switch.

Regards,
Henry

Capt Bobby
09-11-2007, 06:01 PM
I purchased the Model 2040 from Desktop Aviator (http://www.DesktopAviator.com) and I find that there are a number of mis-conceptions regarding its use stated in this forum. I just had to reply to them.

The Adapter IS Programmable via FSUIPC and it is 100% compatible with my
FS2002 and FS2004. And proberly with FS X

I have purchased a number of Leo's Adapters with its 32 Digital Switch MATRIX input. I find trying to design a panel using a X/Y matrix pattern very tricky; especially if you want to include pulse circuits for Toggle switch operation. This is where I find that Desktop Aviator's 2040 is a good investment. Each of its 20 inputs have 2 discrete wires that when shorted produce a readable output for MS Flight Simulators, X-Plane and even FSUIPC.

If you want Toggle switch operation, Desktop also included in its Instruction page a schematic using an H11AA2 Opto-Isolator.

http://www.desktopaviator.com/Instructions/Model_2040/index.htm

And Henry; Have you seen the cost of small REED Relays these days. Some top out at $3.00 to $4.00. Desktop's schematic uses maybe $1.75 in parts per Toggle. A far better arrangement then using expensive relays in my opinion.

And JBaymore; You post that the Adapter is a just a Glorified computer keyboard. Have you tried to design a NAV/COM Radio? or Autopilot? Most of the switches used with these 2 panels ARE Spring Return Push Button Switches!

Connect the switches; Program each push button for the required function; Master Auto Pilot, Heading Hold, Approach, Altitude Hold ect.

Just by adding a few switches to the 2040 - program the functions and Presto!

A working AutoPilot.

Another PLUS for the 2040

JBaymore
09-11-2007, 06:56 PM
Captian Bobby,

All I was saying is that the unit is designed around momentary contact switches. The website itself says that too ....... but for a newer builder it is EASY to miss that little detail on such units. And as I said, for anything that uses momentaries... it probably works just fine.

As to using FSUIPC's inbuilt functions to interpret the first pulse of something like a standard latching toggle or pushbutton connected to the input of this unit, and then ignoring the rest that are sent until the state changes (ie. - it stops sending), below is how I see that operation being "less than optimal" since there are other options for generating such control available.

If you are saying that this particular USB unit is told by FSUIPC to completly "stop sending data" until the state changes, then I stand completely corrected. But if that is the case it is not explained ANYWHERE on the website that I could find.

So here's my take on this using a latching switch instead of a momentary and using FSIPC to "program" the function:

The IC installed on the USB device is configured to act pretty much like a keyboard. When a key is pressed, it sends a continuous string of pulses of that keycode, re-sent at a rate determined by the repeat rate.

So now let's hook up 20 toggle stitches and give them functions that are to remain "on" for long periods of a flight, like maybe fuel valves, fuel pumps, nav lights, and so on. So I take switch #1 and flip it on to start my fuel pump. The USB card starts sending a string of "Keypress 1" scan codes to the computer via the USB buss. The computer then processes these via USB buss to the the CPU and then routes it to FSUIPC and that piece of software strips off any but the first keypress to control the fuel pump in the sim to toggle it to the "on" state. Great... the sim is now functioning correctly.

But what is going on the the background that is not visable to the eye?

Unless there is bi-directional communication between FSUIPC and the IC on the board, on the hardware side of things, nothing is telling that USB controller IC to stop sending the keypress for that #1 switch. So it just keeps on sending, and sending, and sending. The computer's CPU is looking at that situation every few cycles and is saying, "Hey FSUIPC you want this data?". FSUIPC says, "Nah....nothing's changed."........ and the CPU then ignores it for a few more cycles and then asks again. And again. And again. And again.

Now let's say I ALSO flip on toggle switches #2 through #20 ....... all of them up to switch 20. Now the USB controller is continuallly sending about 20 different continuous keypresses onto the USB buss headed for the computer. FSUIPC takes care of what is happening in the sim.... but nothing is stopping those keysends on the buss.

It would seem to me that all that continual "traffic to nowhere" on the USB buss could lead to issues with speed of transmission of OTHER components sharing the USB buss for necessary communications, like joysticks, Goflight units, and so on. A lot of us run a LOT of USB type components in the pit. And it also seems to me that the monitoring of those data packets by the CPU is actually stealing some valuable cycles that could be used for other tasks.

So while it may "work"... is it really the way to go unless there were NO other choices? If you have a beefy enough machine maybe you don;t notice all that unnecessary data traffic. But if you are looking for performance of the sim,..... unless that data stream is shut off except when the switch ios thrown..... seems like killing a mouse with an elephant gun.


As to the opto-isloator schematic, that looks great... but for an inexperienced builder, that is likely going to pose a small fabrication problem. Not to mention that for 20 toggle switches it adds a cost of about another $35 to 40 bucks or so....and a lot of time. I have used the capacitor / relay bit... and found that there are potential issues with the simplistic approach... including no contact de-bounce and occasional "non-function"....maybe due to a rapid on and off of the switch and the capacitor recharge time.

So... just trying to look a little deeper into what the unit is and is not for anyone reading the thread. If yove got more detailed information than the website posts.... please share it.


best,

......................john


PS: I notice that you refer to the switch type as "spring return". Most people I know call these switch types momentaries...at least in America. I also noticed that the website pages use the same term, "spring return". Is this a cultural / language difference... or are you employed for Desktop Aviator?

AndyT
09-11-2007, 07:06 PM
John,

You are correct, however, you can use a momentary instead of a latched switch.

I want the gear to go up and down.
Program button 1 to send the letter 'G'. I press it and the gear goes up. Later when I'm ready to land, I press it again and the gear goes down. there is no excess data traffic when used in this manner. I realize its not really a gear 'lever', but for some its all they need or want. Later when they decide to create a gear lever, they can reuse the button somewhere else and replace the button with a different interface designed for latched switches.

Either way, you will still get 20 easily programmed buttons from it.

andarlite
09-11-2007, 08:44 PM
I have purchased a number of Leo's Adapters with its 32 Digital Switch MATRIX input. I find trying to design a panel using a X/Y matrix pattern very tricky; especially if you want to include pulse circuits for Toggle switch operation. This is where I find that Desktop Aviator's 2040 is a good investment. Each of its 20 inputs have 2 discrete wires that when shorted produce a readable output for MS Flight Simulators, X-Plane and even FSUIPC.

How can you find the X/Y matrix tricky? If you don't want to wire the switches in a matrix, then you can just wire it the same as the 2040. Take a look at the matrix on Leo website.... let's say you want to wire up S15.... you just need to bring your 2 wires from the switch and connect it to column 3 and row 3.... for S23, you would bring the 2 wires to row 4 and column 5......not difficult at all. If I were to wire up 20 switches in a matrix, then all I would need is 10 wires to Leo's adapter. With the 2040, I would need to route 40 wires to it.



And Henry; Have you seen the cost of small REED Relays these days. Some top out at $3.00 to $4.00. Desktop's schematic uses maybe $1.75 in parts per Toggle. A far better arrangement then using expensive relays in my opinion.

I got my relays for $1.50 each and the capacitor were 10 for a dollar from my local electronic store. You can also get 5v DIP relays from ebay for 60 cents each (+$5.00 shipping.... let's say you buy 10, that only works out to $1.10 each) and there's even places offering 50 for $9.99 (+ $15.00 shipping). I can wire up 10 toggle switches with an additional 20 component..... if I go the
opto-isloator method, I would need an additional 50 components.




Another PLUS for the 2040

Let's be clear here.... Leo's adapter and the 2040 are identical in functionality and with what you can do with them. I just think you get more bang for the buck with Leo's adapter.

Regards,
Henry

Bob Reed
09-11-2007, 08:48 PM
Also let me say that Ellie systems sells software that will let you use a matrix, (keyboard encoder) on a variety of switches and program any offset in to it. I am running a full 737 overhead with a keyboard matrix and the KeySim software.

AndyT
09-11-2007, 09:06 PM
This is what I have been using:

http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/index.html

Henry

I have to say, I REALLY like this unit. Thanks Henry. That's a great find.

Hey Matt! Can we have a listing of these kinds of things? Not a whole new forum, that would be overkill. Just a place to list the vendors of goodies like this. Or do we already have one? (Thinking about the classifieds)

JBaymore
09-11-2007, 11:36 PM
Amongst a bunch of other stuff, I am using two Hagstrom KE-72 keyboard encoders. 72 discrete inputs (not matrixed) each. They will pretty much handle any type of switch and will send a macro up to just about the Gettysburg Address if you want, with a different one on make and on break. I have found them to be incredibly easy to use and VERY robust as far as durability and such. One nice feature is the breakout connectors..... ribbon cables terminated in screw terminals. They are a snap to program too.

http://www.hagstromelectronics.com/


Here's another little cheap controller module for you similar in function to the other one we've been discussing:

http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/index.html


And here is an assortment of handly little controllers that might fit someone's needs:

http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/


best,

..................john

ajmask
09-19-2007, 08:18 PM
First, sorry for my english
and now, I use the OPENCOCKPITS "USB Axes".

http://opencockpits.com/modules.php?name=Content2&pa=showpage&pid=50

You can connect 24 pushbutton or switch button and 5 analog axes. It is a 8 x 3 matrix. To use switch buttons, you need 3 "1N4148" diodes (I can attach a photo if someone want).
Your computer recognise it like a joy, so you can use FSUIPC, but i use FSRemotejoy

http://www.iocpserver.com/download.iocp

You can connect your new "joy" in another computer, it works over a net if you install IOCPServer in your FS computer.

Geremy Britton
09-20-2007, 12:34 PM
PLEASE READ: interfaces like this eg from desktop aviator are EXACTLY the same as a keyboard card. no matter how cheap do not waste your money the answer is right under your nose! - literally.

Take a look at this video. I was wondering at first but it is so easy you would have to be absolutely stupid not to be able to do it its more or less fool proof.

Take out the card and solder on the toggle switches you need ( you can only realy use toggle switches as in momentry as in the desktop aviators interface.)

once soldered on flight simulator will pick up the switch presses just like a normal keyboard press because basically the computer thinks you are just pressing a button on the keyboard but you are flicking a swich!

This is definatly the business and total amount free or minimal cost loads of people are throwing out old keyboards nowadays.

the keyboard will need to be a wired one i dont think wireless keyboards work.

Take a look at the video this explains it in better detail.

Trust me - its amazing!:D

YouTube - Micro Innovations (diy computer interface)

JBaymore
09-20-2007, 12:44 PM
Gez,

Yeah,... it is a standard keyboard hack.... but for me, my TIME is worth a lot. I've hacked a keyboard before to interface into the sim..... it is time consuming. Well worth a few bucks for a cheapie "pre-hacked" keyboard sometimes. ;)

best,

....................john

Geremy Britton
09-20-2007, 01:09 PM
For me it doesn't take that long to get 6 screws out of the back of the keyboard. Well i'd rather save 40 to spend an extra 30mins using a keyboard card. I personally think it isn't that long to do. But maybe because i've done a few before it's getting simpler:D

phil.
11-28-2007, 01:39 PM
Hello,
is it possible to wire the keyboard card from a normal keybord and have only the F keys to work, i need them in the sim. Or is there an easier way to fix this problem. I don't need the letters to work, only the F-keys.
Phil.

Geremy Britton
11-29-2007, 07:40 AM
if you need only the f key you will have to find the right combination following the keyboard track to find the f key. but yes you can just have the f key if you wish.

or to be even simpler put in any key and simply assign the switch to the action you want. this is easier than trying to find a specific key just use any kay and assign that to the action.

hope that helps, geremy

Capt Bobby
11-29-2007, 09:52 AM
Hey 737 Gez (http://www.mycockpit.org/forums/member.php?u=2082),

There is nothing wrong with trying to sell people on your version of a keyboard circuit board, but where do you get off discrediting the Digital Switch from Desktop Aviator? In my opinion; your makeshift keyboard is "No Good" and it's a waste of time and money

I have 5 of these boards and I must say that this board is a heck of a lot better looking then your "stuff".


If you want a Good-Looking panel with a High QUALITY (at a reasonable price); Desktop Aviator is the place to go.

Digital Switch Model 2040
http://www.desktopaviator.com/Products/Model_2040/index.htm

USB to 20 Button Junction Box
http://www.desktopaviator.com/Products/Panel/Model_2050/index.htm

Geremy Britton
11-29-2007, 10:14 AM
The forum isn't for arguing so lets just do whatever we want. If you want to buy the panels go ahead! Doesn't bother me. :-| All im saying is marely that there are cheaper options on the current market that can be used. In fact i have 2 of the panel modules myself. Please dont accuse me of anything i havn't done and lets just get on with why we are here shall we? :)

Geremy.

phil.
11-29-2007, 12:24 PM
ok thanks, i'll check on the website of desktop aviator. Isn't is possible to work with the Hagstrom KE72 card? I have here a spare one.
Phil.

Bob Reed
11-29-2007, 01:17 PM
Phil.. If you have a Hagstrom.. yes they will work!!

phil.
11-29-2007, 01:54 PM
ok Bob, i'll give it a try this evening. I let you know.
Phil.

manhattan
12-02-2007, 10:30 AM
PLEASE READ: interfaces like this eg from desktop aviator are EXACTLY the same as a keyboard card. no matter how cheap do not waste your money the answer is right under your nose! - literally.

Take a look at this video. I was wondering at first but it is so easy you would have to be absolutely stupid not to be able to do it its more or less fool proof.

Take out the card and solder on the toggle switches you need ( you can only realy use toggle switches as in momentry as in the desktop aviators interface.)

once soldered on flight simulator will pick up the switch presses just like a normal keyboard press because basically the computer thinks you are just pressing a button on the keyboard but you are flicking a swich!

This is definatly the business and total amount free or minimal cost loads of people are throwing out old keyboards nowadays.

the keyboard will need to be a wired one i dont think wireless keyboards work.

Take a look at the video this explains it in better detail.

Trust me - its amazing!:D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMwxrVXTH5A

Before I got "sophisticated" and bought a Hagstrom, I converted a keyboard in the way you describe. I used the plastic sheets to trace all the functions of all the keys presses, and made a data sheet so that I could refer to it to make my connections. I next fixed the connection panel to a ply panel, and soldered wires to each of the brass pins. The other ends of the wires went to screw connector strips and were labelled. All I had to do was connect a button (for instance) to the the two connectors representing a "G", and I could press the button installed wherever I liked in the cockpit for gear operation.
There are less connectors than actual keyboard functions, but some connecting points are common to different inputs.
This worked fine for a while, but had it's limitations.

TONY.

vidarf
12-02-2007, 11:32 AM
Seems like a simple and cheap way to make yourself 20 normal keys. But for more complex scenarios, Hagstrom is the keyboard interface of choice.

But apart from that, 'pit builders should look elsewhere. I prefer Opencockpits where FDS SYS cards can't do the job. I haven't tried Phidgets yet, but they might be a very good choice too.

If you want loads of inputs and have no clues on electronics, then buy a SYS card from Flightdeck Solutions. They can be used with ANY KIND of switches - momentary or on/off. And the configuration is so simple that even I managed to do it (I even finished setting up my entire overhead panels in little over 30 minutes!!!).

The product mentioned in the first post is nothing more than a keyboard encoder with 20 inputs. The only reason to buy this product is the fact that it is cheap.

I, on the other hand, would prefer to have switches that resemble the real functionality. That means: The switch stays in ON postition when it is on. Not a momentary thingy that rests in the middle. And that means Hagstrom.

My 2 cents. :)

manhattan
12-02-2007, 11:36 AM
Seems like a simple and cheap way to make yourself 20 normal keys. But for more complex scenarios, Hagstrom is the keyboard interface of choice.

But apart from that, 'pit builders should look elsewhere. I prefer Opencockpits where FDS SYS cards can't do the job. I haven't tried Phidgets yet, but they might be a very good choice too.

If you want loads of inputs and have no clues on electronics, then buy a SYS card from Flightdeck Solutions. They can be used with ANY KIND of switches - momentary or on/off. And the configuration is so simple that even I managed to do it (I even finished setting up my entire overhead panels in little over 30 minutes!!!).

The product mentioned in the first post is nothing more than a keyboard encoder with 20 inputs. The only reason to buy this product is the fact that it is cheap.

I, on the other hand, would prefer to have switches that resemble the real functionality. That means: The switch stays in ON postition when it is on. Not a momentary thingy that rests in the middle. And that means Hagstrom.

My 2 cents. :)

As a matter of fact, you can achieve more than 20 inputs, but I only mentioned the idea in case it was of any interest to simmers just starting up - or maybe low on funds? Of course, the best route is Hagstrom.


TONY

vidarf
12-03-2007, 03:07 PM
As I said: A cheap way to make 20 keys. :) But for more complex scenarios, Hagstrom will be better.
The reason why I say this is: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid! :) Meaning that one should allways try to use the simplest way to achieve a goal.

But it is allways good to know about new products! And this is definitely NOT a bad product!

pcride
06-05-2011, 02:05 AM
Just get the 2120 from Desktop aviator, it comes programed to generate a pulse which will allow you to add toggle switches.

I purchased the 2040 and found on you tube a way to add a reed relay and a capacitor to create the pulse for the 2040 model. I am going to try this and save 50 bucks.

Tonight I just built a panel with 8 button (spring buttons "Normally Open") and now I have buttons for autopilot on/off, spd hold, alt hld, pretty much any on/off function can be programed.

I also added a LED light to indicate power, the 2040 has a 5V and grnd, I would imagine you could wire the LED to a switch, but may only work with the 2120 model on a SPDT switch. I'll post some pics later!