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  1. #1
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    MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    The MJOY 16 and Igor Plug I/O project is progressing well. I now have a working program to configure the Igor Plug to drive up to 24 outputs using user-configured FSUIPC offsets. Although it is written in VB.net, speed seems to be fine, and if needed I will move it over to C++. The program gives you a nice cfg screen to assign FSUIPC offsets, and a virtual LED indicator for each output so you can test your cfg without hardware connected.

    Although the MJOY offers a funtion already well provided by Leo's cards, the Igor Plug fills a gap that needs filling. It's a cheap output card that is community-supported, and any of us can write software for it. My limited skills are getting some real results, I can only imagine what could be done with it if the big brains like Pete Dowson, Jeehell, or the VAS/FMC guys were to tackle it.....

    Anyway, more to come, anyone interested drop a PM or reply here and I will give you any info you like.

    Buddy

  2. Thanks flatlandpilot, AK Mongo thanked for this post
  3. #2
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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Sounds good, Buddy. Tell us more.....

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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Well it's been a slow week for software development on the Igor Plug. I did manage to get a couple more functions tested. I wanted to see if I could get a little input....there's not a lot of interest in this project, but wanted to ask anyway...So far I have been approaching the aspect of configuration by defining the offset and some aspect of 1 or more bits or bytes of that offset, or the value of. and what action(s) are taken relative to the value(s) read. This requires the user to read thru the FSUIPC offsets and figure out how they work and inout the config data into my program. I started thinking that I since I am testing different offsets as I develop that I could just build the funtions of different offsets into a library that a user could configure by name. For instance, if you wanted to connect an LED to output # 1 to indicate the status of your nose gear you could right-click on the output and choose a pre-defined function labeled "NOSE GEAR". Then there would be no sorting bits and so forth on the user end. The downside is that when I get something wrong the user can't fix it. Unless maybe I make the library an external file that can be modified with notepad or something, then the program calls the function labels contained in the file...sort of like this maybe:

    FUNCTION NAME OFFSET SIZE TYPE EXAMINE BIT VALUE STATE

    NOSE GEAR 0BEC 4 VALUE 0 OFF



    This way you can just select the funtion from a drop-down menu as long as it's already defined. If not, we can add it easily and the FSUIPC gurus can help us with more difficult offsets when we get stuck! Replies?

    Buddy

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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Hi Buddy,
    I like your idea of this plugin.This library you talk about should be external.People could add to it and your right,it could be fixed by anyone.The more you can do with graphical input the more apealing it will be.There are many people dtruggling with I/O cards,Fsbus ect and i understand the commercial
    interface are graphically set up.I think if you can write the core such that others could add to a database ect the many could contribute to.
    Applying some output functionality to the Mjoy would make it much more popular than it is currently.Keep up the good work,its not easy programming but there are many people that would appreciate your efforts and cant afford the commercial packages.Maybe you could release a Beta to show us what your utillity looks like and people may have some good ideas to add.

    Les

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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    I am one of those struggling with an output solution, and welcome all improvements for those of us who are "code" challenged! Open sourcing the library sounds like a great way to go, as community members can and will think of great new ways to use the interface. I really look forward to more info about this!
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Hey Buddy, I'm a newbie here at this forum. I've been flightsimming on and off for several years and I just decided to build me up a home cockpit. I've been researching now for several weeks, looking at my options as far as software/hardware, etc. Well I can tell you I've been a computer programmer for the past 10 years, VB, C++, ASP, XML, .NET, you name it, I've done it! Not as a hobby it's actually what i do for a living. I'm not sure yet how these softwares/hardwares are integrated or anything but if you'd like me to take a look or if you have any questions as far as programming where I can help, you let me know and I'll be glad to provide any input i can.

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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Thanks arod! That would be great! I have decided to go ahead and make pc boards for the 8 pin and 24 pin Igor Plugs, so we are almost there. I have 3 8 pin prototypes in the works right now so folks can help me test. When they are done I am sending them out so I can add you to the list. I code in VB, C, JAVA, and bunch of scripting languages like PHP, PERL, RUBY, mostly UNIX-based stuff. If you would like to throw your hat in the ring to help with the coding of the UI and functionality that would be awesome. I have some working code in VB that I can send you to look at. It doesn't implement anything sophisticated and it's not clean, but it works well enough to show how it interfaces with FSUIPC. The prototypes will be finished in a few days and I will send you one when I send out the other 2.

    I think it would be nice to leave the code in VB. I am more familiar with VB than modern C++ or .NET so it would be nice for me personally, but I kinda also think that the hobbyist community as a whole is more comfortable with VB. The intent is develop an outout interface that is quick to install (USB), and open-source. It also helps that it's ver cheap to build. I think the combination of a modern PCs speed and VB6/.NET offer plenty of speed for this application. What do you think?

    The previous posts in this thread kinda describe the UI, functionality and scope I had envisioned for the software, but I am completely open to different ideas. My approach to software has always been functionality first, form last. A professional coder like yourself is no doubt better suited to the task.

    In summary form, the general scope is this:

    The hardware attaches via USB.

    A card can support either 8 or 24 outputs.

    Each output can be configured to reflect the state of a FS variable via an FSUIPC offset.

    Outputs can be associated with a bit state or value. As an example landing lights are on or off, derived from a bit state. Gear position can be a value that reflects full up, full down, or in transition.

    It's pretty much that simple. There's a driver for the Igor Plug that you load that then gives you access to the different calls to talk to the board, really simple stuff. I have included a simulated LED for each output in my software so that I can write and test without connecting LEDs to my hardware, and it aids in testing during hardware implementation in the cockpit. I think that it would be good to see that maintained in the future. I also like the idea of of multiple profiles that can be loaded, just a simple .cfg file (text, not .ini) that can be edited via notepad, This way you can save a working profile, then test different configurations without breaking the working profile, and have different profiles for different aircraft. If there was a grid-based interface for configuring outputs that would be cool, really cool if we can implement ton of commonly used offsets in a pull-down menu (pull-down, pop-up, listbox, whatever the control) that are referred to my name and include the offset. For instance, on the left side of the grid are the outputs in descending order, next is a column for the control name. We could have it where when you click in the grid cell we pop up a listbox with all of the control names in them like BEACON LIGHTS, and others. You select the item from the listbox and populates the grid with the control name, offset, offset size, a display of the applicable logic (bool, value comparison, etc), and finally the state assignments, like which state of the logic makes the LED on, or off (maybe even a blink state too). When the user is ready he/she can save the .cfg file and run the program.

    Sorry for the large post, but I am never one to turn down help or give too little info. Given that I would like to have this as open-source I feel in thread posts is a good place to conduct this conversation so that the FS community can chime in when they like.

    Anyway, just my ideas, I bet you have lots more.

    Buddy

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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Hi Buddy,

    I have been following this thread with interest as I am in a similar position as others. I'm building a GA cockpit and use one of the Bodnar boards for my inputs. I will need another board soon to expand my pit and have considered options such as Desktop Aviator or the MJoy product although my DIY skills would be severely challenged with that option. Nothign against the Bodnar board either as I find it to be an excellent product and very easy to use. Also I would like to add some outputs although I can't think of many beyond the O/M/I markers and some general annunciators. I have looked at Phidgets and Opencockpit but they may be overkill for my situation.

    Any way pardon my rambling but if you are looking for a beta tester of the Igor Plug I'm willing to cover your costs to produce and ship one to me. Sorry I can't offer any expertise is programming or the like but I might be able to help once the open source gets started.

    Many thanks, Dave
    Dave Kemp
    FS9-BU0836X-GoFlight 166-TH2GO-WideFS-FSUIPC-Opencockpits

  10. #9
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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Hi Dave,

    I will start by saying that I have OpenCockpits and Bodnar cards, both of which are very robust, mature products. I always like to plug them, they are awesome.

    Keep in mund that the MJOY only has inputs, and the Igor Plug can do both in and out, although my early-version software only handles outputs.... maybe we can discuss adding inputs in a "phase 2" ... arod ????? what do you think?

    The Igor Plug-8 or -24 I think are going to be great for smaller cockpits, and/or folks with tighter budgets. Or for that matter folks that just like to build things themselves. The real trick to making it usable will be the software. Some folks are quite capable of opening up the code and hard-coding offsets and functions to get the reults they want, but the masses really want to plug and play as much as possible. In my experience the cockpit hobby can cut a wide swath through your time and budget if you try to do everything yourself. I know my own sim would be MUCH further along if I had simply bought everything off the shelf rather than going down the DIY CNC road. And probably no more expensive, given that I am on my 2nd CNC machine and $1000 worth of CAD/CAM software. Add to that plastic sheets, paint, broken bits....... it all adds up. But for me building the stuff is as much or more fun than flying the sim.

    Anyway, yes, thanks for the interest and as soon as we get a tiny bit further with the prototypes and software we will get a few more folks to help us test.


    BTW, if you want to read more about it just google igor plug usb
    Thanks!

    Buddy

  11. #10
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    Re: MJOY 16 and Igor Plug Update

    Buddy,

    I agree the Bodnar BU0386X card is a great piece of hardware, really is plug and play when used with FSUIPC. I will look into the Igor Plug a bit more to see what all is involved. I think an output only card is what is most needed among those of us building smaller cockpits. There are not that many outputs required in a simpler simpit. I will continue to monitor this thread and your progress.

    Cheers, Dave
    Dave Kemp
    FS9-BU0836X-GoFlight 166-TH2GO-WideFS-FSUIPC-Opencockpits

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