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  1. #1
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    If only Apple made Phidgets...

    I'm having a nightmare with 2 Text 8/8/8 phidget boards and the live help is not available, so hoping someone here can shed light on and give me some things to test.

    The units power up and in FS2Phidget, TEST appears on both. I have only 4 outputs and 5 outputs only connected to one of the units. However, for lack of any instructions whatsoever, I've wired up the inputs and outputs exactly like on the 0/16/16, i.e. inputs and outputs are connected to a positive voltage (5v in my case) and I've taken the precaution of using a resistor in series with inputs as well as outputs. I'm using the input and output connector on the phidget as the switch to ground, i.e. the phidget will connect each input and output to ground when invoked by FS2Phidget. This is exactly the way the 0/16/16 works.

    Now I've had one text LCD working in the past but it had no inputs or outputs, just being used for the display.

    Here is my issue. Despite checking, checking and quadruply checking times 10 that I haven't screwed up the wiring, my four outputs are ALL on whenever wired to the phidget and I'm getting a dim glow from the LEDs.

    How have I wired the outputs?
    I have connected the positive wire from the LED to a resisted positive supply of 5 volts. I have connected the negative wire from the LED to the phidget output connector. ANd I have connected EACH ground terminal on the phidget to 0 volts and tested that all G terminals and 0v connectors around the circuit are closed.

    How did I test the wiring?
    I applied power to the component and connected each respective ouput terminal on the phidget to Ground, to simulate what (in my understanding) the phidget board does when working correctly.

    However, even with the USB cable disconnected, when the system power is running, my 4 outputs light up making me wonder whether the phidget board is damaged. I have a multimeter and have tested resistance between the output connectors and ground and found this to have relatively low resistance which was a surprise to me. However I also checked the 0/16/16 which is working fine, and that also has a low resistance between each output and ground. This is the complete opposite of what I would expect, but given that the 0/16/16 works, perhaps my understanding of what phidgets do is wrong.

    I am at the edge of my knowldege with resolving this, short of ripping out the Text units and buying another 0/16/16. I would appreciate someone giving me some steps to follow to help determine the cause of the problem. I'm also facing removing the entire electronics boards from the sim whcih is a day's work and has a very high chance of screwing up other components that are presently working.

    Thanks for any help

    Paul
    VANCOUVER
    Jet fighter / single pilot sim, plus thinking of a 777 as a secondary sim.

  2. #2
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


    Matt Olieman's Avatar
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    Paul, are these new Text LCD's and you've never got them to work, or were they working at one time and just quit?

    Matt Olieman

  3. #3
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    Hi Matt,

    One is about 2.5 years old, the other about 3 months. The design is quite different as the newer one has a bevelled screen where the old one had a flat, borderless screen (which I prefer).

    I think I may have answered my own question though. From further research it would appear that the 0/16/16 and the 8/8/8 work almost completely differently. The 16 basically acts as a switch in a powered circuit, but the 8/8/8 provides both the switch and the power. The 16 requires the G terminal to be connected to your power supply, whereas with the 8, it acts as the negative connector.

    This is great news if my research is correct. I heard that newer units don't need a series resistor. Well I'm going to put that to the test right now with a range of spare ones. I'm apprehensive about connecting to my sim if there's a chance it will blow my LEDs. That would truly be a disaster.

    I will follow up with any success or further questions, and have also put out the question to Phidgets corp in Calgary. If I get clarification I'll post here for future reference.

    Apart from a DOA unit which Phidgets were outstanding in replacing, the LED 64 is a work of art from a sim builder's perspective. I was concerned that the built in resistance would not be optimized for my LEDS. Yet all light up like it's christmas. Also no other competitor has anything significantly better for anything like the same money.

    Thanks

    Paul
    VANCOUVER
    Jet fighter / single pilot sim, plus thinking of a 777 as a secondary sim.

  4. #4
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    Paul,

    I had a look at the Phidgets web site.
    The product manual is there:
    http://www.phidgets.com/documentation/Phidgets/1203.pdf

    Looking at the above documentation on Phidgets Inc's web site, it appears from the instructions and the illustrations that you do not supply power to either inputs or outputs i.e. their documenation has you connnecting an led directly to an output port and to ground with no power. Ditto for switches connected to input ports.

    Not sure if supplying power would have hurt the board. Hopefully not.

    Regards,
    Alan.

  5. #5
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    The 0/16/16 is intended for high power applications, 0 - 28V and the 8/8/8-Text is low powered i.e. 0 - 5V. (Readers take note: there is also a regular 8/8/8.

    In general, you need to supply power for the high power boards.
    The card sometimes supplies power for the low power boards.

    All contained in the respective product documentation - in language that an electrically - electronically challenged person, such as myself, can understand. Dave can confirm that I am electronically challenged

    Tip for the day (and this is not directed at Paul, but to all Readers)
    Take the time to read the documentation. I learnt that the hard way.
    Heck, I never ask for directions when I am driving or riding my horse.
    I'm still a guy.
    Hopefully, my wife will not read this post

    I read somewhere that 86% of product problems are manual related.

    Interesting fact #2: Did you know that 12% of statistics are made up on the spur of the moment?

    Regards,
    Alan
    Last edited by CocnutAir; 09-11-2008 at 01:19 PM.

  6. #6
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    Paul,


    Your leds should be ok. That board has internal 300 ohm resistors on each output. Below is the portion from the manual.

    Using the Digital Outputs
    Connecting an LED or other circuit to a digital
    output is simple. In the case of an LED, wire
    the anode to a digital output labeled 0 to 7
    on the Interface Kit, and the cathode to a
    supplied ground, labeled G.
    The 300 ohm resistance is internal to the
    PhidgetInterfaceKit 8/8/8, and limits the
    current that can flow through the output.
    This is intended to protect the device from
    being damaged if there is a short to ground
    or if an LED is used. The output is intended
    to drive TTL or CMOS inputs; it is not
    designed to provide power to an external
    circuit.
    The digital outputs can be used to switch larger electrical currents and voltages using devices
    such as power transistors, or logic level MOSFETs. You can also use the 3051 or 3052 to
    control a larger load.

    Regards,
    Alan.


  7. #7
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    Much appreciated for all your help so far. I did run a test with some expendable LEDs and they all lit up ok. Compared with the LED64 though, the resistance seems higher producing a slightly lower glow, but still fine.

    Although I don't 100% understand them, I would prefer if Phidgets manufacturer include a circuit diagram as they did with the 0/16/16. Especially as people will mix and match units as I did, and with a chance of assuming one will work like another (as I did).

    Funnily enough, I was getting the LEDs lit at all times when incorrectly wired. All I can assume is that the voltage differential between teh 5 volt supply I was providing (with resistor) and the built in power, created a net voltage which lit the LEDs.

    I do have another question which I'm hoping to get some advice on. I have the FSUIPC offset list, the 50 page or whatever it is, of all offsets and technical data on each. I'm finding that only about 10% do what I was expecting. In fact most seem to do nothing in FSX. Note to self: test functionality of technology like FSUIPC BEFORE putting in months of graft at the expense of time with friends and family and work.

    I know you created FS2Phidget, Alan, and recognize that this is a kind of front end to connecting to FSUIPC variables. However I'm having some difficulty in knowing how to set up ones not provided by the default list. Yes I've used variable editor, but if one's on the mega list but not in there, I haven't a clue what the difference is between discrete, range of values, fs value etc. Is there a document anywhere? The built in help doesn't appear to do anythiing on my installation.

    In particular I'm trying to get engine 1 and 2 start swtich and annunciator enabled. The document states this as two read/write variables, and for jets you need to set it to 1 for start and 2 for generator. However I don't know how to set it up so taht a toggle switch makes the engine start. Variable 0892 is called 'starter switch position' which implies read only but I see it's also writeable implying that you can control it as well. Is this the case?

    Thanks

    Paul

    Your leds should be ok. That board has internal 300 ohm resistors on each output. Below is the portion from the manual.

    Using the Digital Outputs
    Connecting an LED or other circuit to a digital
    output is simple. In the case of an LED, wire
    the anode to a digital output labeled 0 to 7
    on the Interface Kit, and the cathode to a
    supplied ground, labeled G.
    The 300 ohm resistance is internal to the
    PhidgetInterfaceKit 8/8/8, and limits the
    current that can flow through the output.
    This is intended to protect the device from
    being damaged if there is a short to ground
    or if an LED is used. The output is intended
    to drive TTL or CMOS inputs; it is not
    designed to provide power to an external
    circuit.
    The digital outputs can be used to switch larger electrical currents and voltages using devices
    such as power transistors, or logic level MOSFETs. You can also use the 3051 or 3052 to
    control a larger load.

    Regards,
    Alan.

    VANCOUVER
    Jet fighter / single pilot sim, plus thinking of a 777 as a secondary sim.

  8. #8
    25+ Posting Member tasmanet's Avatar
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    Wink Apple ][

    If only Apple made Phidgets...

    30 years ago Apple ][ was not with out its problems
    and it still not all beer and skittles with Apple products

    Steve

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tasmanet View Post
    ...it still not all beer and skittles with Apple products

    Steve
    I own quite a few different Apple products and there is lots of truth in this statement. I believe Apple has become complacent with its market share and "instant cool" brand identity. And Apple customers develop a kind of Stockholm Syndrome and insane loyalty.

    However one thing they are exceptional at is producing things that work and work really incredibly well. And that was my point. I think if Apple decided that the flight sim community was one they wanted to tap into, their products would be outstanding. In the meantime it's me that needs to fathom out which bit and offset controls the lavatory light on my plane...

    Paul
    VANCOUVER
    Jet fighter / single pilot sim, plus thinking of a 777 as a secondary sim.

  10. #10
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    If one remembers the days before the Apple II - this is where the flight sim hobby is today - still a burgeoning industry. The trick is to set one's expectations appropriately.

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