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  1. #1
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    Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Hello guys,

    The time has come for me to expand my simpit a bit to make it a little more realistic, but I don't really know where to start. I am on a budget so really cost is of the essence and I need to keep it as low as possible. I'm going to do my real training in May next year so money is short just now!

    I have therefore decided that I will follow the idea of the 'Propit' concept from VR insight, so will inset a 21" monitor in to a purpose-built MDF 'panel' like below, but of course without the switches and push-buttons on the propit unit (way beyond my technical capabilities). I will extend it to also incorporate my goflight modules, so it will be a decent training aid for me and should incorporate most gauges and systems.

    http://secure.simmarket.com/vr-insight-pro-pit.phtml

    Therefore what I am looking for is a software that will allow me to position gauges on a 4th monitor, and allow me to fully customize them so when I make the 'fascia plate' to go over the screen, the gauges are in place and look decent, like on the VR Insight page itself. It would also be ideal if this configuration could be saved so I wouldn't have to reconfigure it every time I loaded up the 172.

    I am also interested in embedding a small 7" screen to use as a GPS, can anyone recommend a model or what I should be looking for? I have no experience with anything this small!

    What kind of impact is this likely to have on framerates? I am running a TH2GO, have loads of RAM, 3ghz quad core processor and a GTX295, so I am hoping these extensions will not affect performance too much.

    Also, I only have one spare port on my GTX295, but combining the 7" screen and the new panel monitor would leave me needing 2...is there any easy way around this or will I need to get a dual head 2 go?

    All ideas at the mo but any advice most welcome!

    Thanks,

    James

  2. #2
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    Matt Olieman's Avatar
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Hi James, welcome aboard. You're in the right place for those type of questions

    Lot's of help here.

    Good Luck,
    Matt Olieman

  3. #3
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Hi Jimmy,

    Leave this one with me.......

    Bit busy, cant respond now but will help you out on this on Sunday.....

    Speak real soon!

    Cheers,

    Alex....

    BTW....I am building the Cessna 182 in a similar way to your ideas...will be great to collaborate.....
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

  4. #4
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    This is my sim so far'ish......this just uses a 19".

    Do you really need a 21" ?

    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

  5. #5
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Hi Alex, looks great. Maybe I don't need it, but my mum is chucking her's out so I am going to go with the 22"!

    I am a little more limited for space than yourself so my design will have to be slightly different, I will probably have to crop the curve for the right hand side a bit, and I've also got a number of Goflight units that I'd like to incorporate, so will have to have a think on how best to do it for the radio stack. Also not sure what I'll do with my GF-LGT, part of me thinks I'll keep it in for flap and trim control (but it looks so bloody big and bulky).

    Have you also thought about integrating a GPS? Having had a look on the bay I can get a 7" touchscreen, if I can build it in then that will be cool. Or even bolt it on to the panel like a Garmin 296 etc.

    Can I assume that you have cut your panel to slot it straight over the standard aircraft 2D view? My problem is that I have my own radios, so that makes placing it all over a screen impossible. What I will probably need is a software that allows me to position the gauges in to some kind of order, and then put the radio stack alongside the monitor. I am sure there is a software to do this out there, but I am not sure what one I'd need.

    Interesting times though.

  6. #6
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Hello....

    My thoughts on your project......

    If you intend to build your simpit for IFR training, if it was me, I would not build the GPS, the reason being is that if your are learning to fly IFR then it would be great practice to fly using instruments and not by GPS, good old fashioned IFR training doesn't incorporate the GPS, its best just to fly IFR using the good old fashioned and brilliant VOR's, just make sure you have atleast 2 NAV's for your VOR's and make sure you have atleast 2 com's (for obvious reasons), an autopilot is excellent for cruising and DME is very handy aswell as a good old fashioned XPDR (ATC is crucial!).

    But as said this is my opinion, but if you are very much a VFR flyer then I admit a GPS is mega simple and straight forward fun operation....

    But for now, if I was you, I would just concentrate on the gauges and radio equipment, the GPS could be added later, but is definitely not priority especially within IFR training (well not yet anyway)...

    As for building the GPS, A 7" Screen will do the job lovely, a touch screen will also save you the hassle of adding buttons/encoders etc then interfacing them etc, so what you said will do the job perfectly....although it does take up a video card output....

    As for displaying gauges...you have 2 options really.....

    Use Peix software or Project Magenta IFR software...

    You can move, resize, add, delete, modify all the gauges so that you can create you own cockpit layout by adding a screen.

    Peix is 35 Euros's but quality is not as good, but cheap!
    PM is 300 Euro's and is the best that money can buy, its top notch software!

    Id go for PM if you could afford it, but Peix will definitely do the job!

    http://www.peixsoft.com/
    http://www.projectmagenta.com/

    Both have demo's that you can download and try!

    As for framerates, if you are running:

    Your main visual
    Your gauges
    Your GPS

    all from 1 computer then expect the framerates to drop, how much depends on your pc / video card spec....

    Many people will network 2 pc's together and run gauges from 12 pc and visuals from another, that way you wont experience a framerate drop or anywhere near what you would have on a 1 pc setup anyway, as 2 compurter will share the load as compared to 1 pc doing all the work on its own....

    But a 3ghz Quad should be ok on 1 PC, will work a dream if you have FS9...I have no experience with FSX so I really can't comment!

    For networking you will need: FSUIPC reg'd and WideWiew/WideClient from Peter Dowson.....

    http://www.schiratti.com/dowson.html

    As for your enclosure, if you are not making a replica or any particular aircraft but are basing it on an aircraft, then you really can just do what the heck you want to do as for design, but make sure it has similarities to the aircraft that you wish to fly for obvious reasons, there is no reason why you couldn't make a half sized scale replica, just captain side only! Or just design your very own generic cockpit using all the Cessna's IFR gauges etc etc etc.....you get the jist!

    Anyway, I hope I have been of some help to you.....

    I'm only down the road from you (Essex)...

    Let me know how you get on.....

    Cheers!

    Alex
    Last edited by AlexJ; 08-23-2009 at 08:24 AM.
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

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  8. #7
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Alex that's absolutely great, nice to get some sense from somebody on the uncivilized side of the water.

    Think I will start off with Peix, I don't think I need anything better than that and the whole purpose is to keep cost down, so PM is a bit too out there I think. I also like the fact that looking at the site, the panel download and the radio are separate, so I can realistically work with the panel and set my Goflight radios up as I need to. One question; will it use the same panel if I was to say fly the default 172, or for example the Carenado Cherokee?

    And also, I currently have goflight gyros which when I turn, change Baro, HI, OBS etc. I imagine these are compatible with the instruments within Peix?

    I am currently getting between 40-50 FSP on FSX over three screens with the HD 3D cockpit, so I am hoping that switching to the more basic panel- albeit it on a second output- will not affect that frame level too much. I think you're right about holding off on the GPS now, might be better to see how it performs with the amended panel and think of adding it later. I would also need to get a DualHead2go to run it, which at this moment isn't very cost-effective.

    I will probably go down the route of making just the Captain's side (bearing in mind I rent so will probably move house at some point soon ), but will have a sit-down and think how best I am going to do this.

    I am absolutely trash at DIY, so I might think about finding a tradesman (friend of a friend kind of thing!) who could build something for me...but then part of me thinks that's all part of the fun!

    Will keep you posted on how it comes along.

    James

  9. #8
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Hi,

    Peix is a good choice, and good value.

    Peix displays it's GA panel from data from FS, I guess you would be able to use any flight model, the GA panel is based on the Cessna/Piper so I would of thought that if your flight model is one of these then you would have no problems getting the data out so that Paix can display them on the Peix panel.

    I don't have goflight modules, so I am not too sure if goflight would work with this, but in my opinion; I see no reason why it wouldn't work.

    My guess and best bit of advice is; base your sim on the MSFS Cessna 172 and you will have no problems.

    As for frame rates with your hardware running FSX, it would be impossible to comment, but your PC sure looks beefy, so I guess you will not have any problems, and as Peix is quite low-res, my guess is that you will not have a frame rate problem at all, you should get some pretty impressive speeds! Especially a low-res GA panel that has no need to display any hi-res graphics.

    GPS: Hold off the GPS and learn to fly IFR first before you build the GPS, then use your GPS as an addition to your IFR knowledge once you have gained it, then use the GPS for VFR and take some really cool pleasure flights out!

    As for building:

    I am absolutely trash at DIY
    So am I lol!, again it's a learning curve, so learn how to build, slowly slowly, build a small bit every few days or each week, learn by your mistakes an improve, its a bit like learning to fly, lol.....you're in the right place for building a cockpit so we and I am always here to help every step of the way!

    Just decide, what you really want out of your sim and what you need it for, does it need to be a replica or to scale? Would a generic pit be easy to build etc etc etc....

    As for building I would definitely build a Cessna IFR flight model as it is pretty much industry standard for PPL's, Pipers are excellent too, but there are more resources, sim parts and software for the Cessna than there are Piper's etc....

    To be honest... I don't actually think you need a panel, I would just use your screen as your MIP and build a stack next to it for radio.

    Then...when you fancy the full thing, build a full scale replica, with the added bonus that you will of by then fully learnt IFR and you will have a much better knowledge and understanding of how to actually build a full scale cockpit...

    Anyway....its decisions, decisions!

    Just make sure you plan everything first and fully be aware of what you want your sim for/ to do!

    Cheers,

    Alex
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

  10. #9
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    BTW: Would the Carenado Cherokee be a 'what's hot' aircraft? LOL
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

  11. #10
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    Re: Panel build concept for 172...help and advice needed!

    Hey mate, I don't necessarily need the panel..but then most of the guys here don't NEED A full scale 737NG in their spare rooms. It's all about the immersion for me.

    I am leaning towards the PA-28, bearing in mind it's likely to be the aircraft I train in. That said, the Peix software looks as though it is primarily configured for the Cessna, so I will probably download it and see how customisable it is. One thing that did worry me was:

    GOOD NEWS: A totally redesigned GA Panel is under development, with more gauges, graphics smoothness, lower CPU use and fully customizable. The demands of instruments from customers will be easy to add, and it will support hardware interfaces (real lights, switches, etc). Also Helicopter's gauges will be included.

    Kind of leads me to think maybe it doesn't support Goflight modules yet, which would be a shame. I will download the demo next weekend and see what it can do though. I wonder if there is some kind of site where you can download other peoples' created panels, that might be a good option too.

    I am getting there with an image of what I want to achieve though which is great. Will keep the thinking cap on for a bit longer before I go ahead with anything else, usually I tend to rush in to things but I think in this case it pays to sit back and think for a while.

    What do you plan to do for a wet compass Alex, just out of interest? Had a look at the simkits one but it's mighty expensive. Also came across this, how easy do you think it will be to replace the Saitek yokeface with this, bearing in mind the elctronics contained within the front 'wheel' of the Saitek (clock etc.)? Pretty tough I would imagine.

    http://www.simkits.com/product.php?prodid=318

    Exciting times though, that's for sure.

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