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  1. #1
    Our new friend needs to reach 10 posts to get to the next flight level
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    Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    Hi,
    All this time I have come along just fine plugging things into the PC USB ports. A yoke, throttle, GoFlightMCP Pro, rudder, VRInsight mpanel, Saitek engine controls.

    Why would I need an I/O Cards?
    What exactly is an I/O card anyway in simpit context?
    When do I need this beast and learn to configure it?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    I/O Cards provide the means to interface arbitrary hardware to your simulation computer. It's a family of interface products for building a simulator. "I/O Cards" is a development of the people of Open Cockpits. (www.opencockpit.com)

    As long as the additions to your simpit are plug-and-play modules, you don't need a separate interface module. Once you want to add something else, you need to interface it if you intent that addition to interact with the simulation application. I/O Cards is one option. You can learn about them at the Open Cockpits website.

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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    I too am at the point in my sim build that I need to understand exactly what i/o cards do at a very and I mean very ....basic level,knowing nothing about electronics or programming alas.I have read articles on suppliers sites and read many posts on specific i/o queries,but these all assume the reader has a general basic knowledge on the subject.If you could see the lenghts I've gone to to avoid i/o cards/wiring/programming on my sim you'd probably have hysterics !!.Is there a definitive article someone can point me in the direction of to get me started on the subject as I have a built enclosed 737 cockpit just waiting to be fully utilised.


    regards Jim
    Last edited by jnr641802; 02-16-2010 at 06:36 AM. Reason: spelling

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    150+ Forum Groupie Philb737's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    I recommend Mike Powell's Building Recreational Flight Simulators book!!!!!!!!
    www.mikesflightdeck.com
    www.mikesflightdeckbooks.com
    IF it's not Boeing I ain't going!!!!!!

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  6. #5
    500+ This must be a daytime job Sean Nixon's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnr641802 View Post
    I too am at the point in my sim build that I need to understand exactly what i/o cards do at a very and I mean very ....basic level,knowing nothing about electronics or programming alas.I have read articles on suppliers sites and read many posts on specific i/o queries,but these all assume the reader has a general basic knowledge on the subject.If you could see the lenghts I've gone to to avoid i/o cards/wiring/programming on my sim you'd probably have hysterics !!.Is there a definitive article someone can point me in the direction of to get me started on the subject as I have a built enclosed 737 cockpit just waiting to be fully utilised.


    regards Jim
    First of all Jim, we want to see pictures of your sim. A 737 enclosed cockpit? Where have you been hiding???

    Input cards - As basic as I can think of, inside your joystick and keyboard, there is a little circuit board. This is an input card. It detects when a button is pressed on the joystick or keyboard, or joystick is moved. It is an input card because things YOU do are input into the computer. Windows has a driver for your keyboards and joysticks, so these types of input card are truly plug and play. In fact early cockpit builders would strip down a cheap keyboard and wire switches to it instead of the keys on your keyboard (that's a lot of switches connected to your sim for very little cash). All you had to do was set the required keyboard assignments in FS.

    More complicated hardware, like the MCP, also have input cards, but as Windows does not recognise these by default, the manufacturer supplies the driver, making them plug and play.

    Output cards do the opposite. They take a value FROM the PC and depending on what's connected to it, displays it. An example would be the landing gear lights. FS tells the output card whether that particular output is on or off, and the card lights up your red/green landing gear lights. As with input cards, you can buy some that already have the software/drivers written for them, such as the CPFlight MIP737 card, making them plug and play. You still need to wire out from the output card to your light or whatever. CPFlight, in association with FlyEngravity are very close, if not already releasing hardware that is truly plug and play, with no wiring by you at all. For example, the entire 737 overhead.

    If you want to do something that you cant buy off the shelf, then you'll need to consider using generic input/output cards. As the card is generic and could be used for many applications, not just flight sims, you must tell the individual inputs and outputs what they are to do. This is done with some [simple???] programming.

    This is roughly where I am at the moment. I have some Leo Bodnar input cards, a hardware MCP, and a MIP737, all of which need no programming. I will be looking at input/output cards for the overhead soon.

    Hope that helps.

    Sean

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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    Hello Sean thank you for a simple and thorough explanation,just what I needed.I didn't even realise that output cards were for annunciators etc.If you've never before tinkered with electronics/programming then it all appears a mystery to start with.It looks like a leo Bodnar card is a must as others have mentioned (any other cards do roughly the same??) so I will order one or other and experiment.Could I possibly ask for your advice on the following if you have time.

    To experiment I want to make the gear lever,so a simple one way switch to start with (forget gear lights for now) will do to test it (push up ,gear raises,handle stowed up,,,,push up slightly again, gear lowers,handle then lowered/stowed) can you recommend a switch,thickness of wire to use,and any power supply (if required???).It's no problem if none of it works as I need to experiment so please don't worry about any suggestions going wrong and I promise you won't be plagued with other questions as you have your own build to worry about !!

    With regards to my cockpit/photo, if your avatar is anything to go by you won't be getting much competition from me !!.I have had to fit it into a 9'x9' room (wife kindly donated the dining room) so there were many compromises.So far mip is pmdg737 screens repositioned/sized x3 monitor with 3x facias,no mcp yet although I am looking,reasonable-ish.... looking replica of throttle linked physically to ch throttle quad (with push/pull rods for fuel /brake.....see my problem!!),o/head monitor , 37" lcd left fwd view (wideview) and short throw projector fwd view 9' image.When I learn how to screenshot I'll maybe post a pic or two but don't expect to be impressed.......


    regards jim
    Last edited by jnr641802; 02-17-2010 at 06:57 AM. Reason: error

  8. #7
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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    Remember This:

    I/O Cards:

    I = Input = What the human input is (you push button,you flick switch to tell flight sim program to do something)

    Input On Card = The Card will accept your toggles and switches and turn their actions into functions that flight simulator acknowledges.


    O = Output = The I/O card will output a signal to something like an LED on your overhead, flight sim will tell your I/O card to turn on an assigned LED

    Output On Card = The Card will accept your LEDs and lights and turn them on when flight sim needs the LED to be lit.


    What goes in must come out!
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

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  10. #8
    75+ Posting Member cscotthendry's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    Here's an even simpler answer IO cards let you connect things like switches, variable resistors, relays and lights etc to your computer. These kinds of electronic controls are used in cockpits to control various parts of the airplanes behaviour.
    Some types of controls are so commonly used that manufacturers have made them so that they are easy to connect. Things like joysticks fall into this category. Other things like single switches are not so commonly used. So to connect things like that we use IO cards.
    Regards: Scott Hendry
    www.scotthendry.com

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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    Thanks Scott and others for your help and patience !!,I think I'm beginning to grasp the i/o concept and will now experiment with either an opencockpit or Leo Bodnar board and see where I get........


    regards Jim

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    Our new friend needs to reach 10 posts to get to the next flight level
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    Re: Why Do I need I/O Cards?

    Example for the gear that is 6 leds and two switches

    // 7.11 Gear Panel

    Var 764 Static
    {
    &O_Nose = TESTBIT v764 0
    &O_Left = TESTBIT v764 1
    &O_Right = TESTBIT v764 2
    &O_Gear = TESTBIT v764 3
    &O_Doors = TESTBIT v764 4
    }

    Var 1 name O_Doors Link IOCARD_OUT Output 82
    Var 2 name O_Gear Link IOCARD_OUT Output 83
    Var 3 name O_Nose Link IOCARD_OUT Output 84
    Var 4 name O_Left Link IOCARD_OUT Output 85
    Var 5 name O_Right Link IOCARD_OUT Output 86


    // Gear Lever:

    Var 368 Static Link IOCARD_SW Input 73 Type I
    Var 369 Static Link IOCARD_SW Input 72 Type I
    Var 370 Static Link IOCARD_SW Input 74 Type I

    This for the 767-300 Level D sioc software

    Regards Pieter

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