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  1. #1
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor AndyT's Avatar
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    New Interface on the market

    Desktop Aviator has a new 20 button/switch USB interface that is VERY easy to use. Very inexpensive as well.

    http://www.desktopaviator.com/Produc...2040/index.htm
    God's in command, I'm just the Pilot.
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  2. #2
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
    Desktop Aviator has a new 20 button/switch USB interface that is VERY easy to use. Very inexpensive as well.

    http://www.desktopaviator.com/Produc...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.
    Eric Tomlin-
    Learjet 45 Builder
    www.flightlevel180.org

  3. #3
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor AndyT's Avatar
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    Since it works using 'in the sim' assignments I would think that FSUIPC would see it no problem just like it sees my joystick.
    God's in command, I'm just the Pilot.
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  4. #4
    500+ This must be a daytime job JBaymore's Avatar
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    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,

  5. #5
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor AndyT's Avatar
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    Thats very true. Depending on your sim or how you have it designed many of the buttons in there are of this type.
    God's in command, I'm just the Pilot.
    http://www.geocities.com/andytulenko/

  6. #6
    150+ Forum Groupie andarlite's Avatar
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    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

  7. #7
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    I have the Desktop Aviator's 2040 Adapter

    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/Instru...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

  8. #8
    500+ This must be a daytime job JBaymore's Avatar
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    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?

  9. #9
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor AndyT's Avatar
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    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.
    God's in command, I'm just the Pilot.
    http://www.geocities.com/andytulenko/

  10. #10
    150+ Forum Groupie andarlite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Bobby View Post

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Bobby View Post
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Bobby View Post
    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

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