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  1. #1
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    Ready build encoders for X-Plane on a Mac

    Hi there,

    I am 90% finished with a full screen cockpit programmed i RealBasic for interaction with X-plane running on another Mac computer.
    Instead of building a whole cockpit, this is a my "desktop" version but with Saitek Yoke, Multipanel and Switchpanel for controlling the sim directly.
    The panel does all the functions from displaying an EFIS (and map via another program) to displaying all the button and navigation status and I think I have managed to do something that looks prof and is easy to use and also maintain.

    However, I need an interface to this fullscreen program.
    I have decided to make it very simple for now with arrow keys switching between menu's and changing numbers (ex. com freq. up-down). This works all ready, but I would like it to be even simpler and more "cockpit feeling like".

    So, my question is if you know of a simple encoder/dial panel that can be programmed or read from my Mac program.
    An extra joystick is a possible solution, but I would rather have a set of dials, maybe a bit like the Saitek Multipanel approach.

    I am not totally afraid of a DIY building kit, if it talks to the Mac, is USB and not too basic

    Re Peter

  2. #2
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    Re: Ready build encoders for X-Plane on a Mac

    Welcome! Another X-Plane Mac Builder, then there were two! Careful, I started out along a similar path. I was tired of clicking on a mouse typing on a keyboard to "Fly" my plane, so I started out building a switch panel to control a lot of those functions. The switch panel turned into an 737 overhead panel, and now its grown into a full size cockpit, so be careful, this hobby is addicting. If you are using XHSI, like I am , your in luck. I build a pair of EFIS control units to control XHSI, one for pilot and one for co-pilot. They are based on the Desktop Aviator 2160 USB input board. This board provides a 1/4 second pulse when a switch is thrown. For the EFIS, mine has 2 rotary selector switches, one for range and the other for maps. The 1/4 second pulse is perfect for a rotary selector switch and x-plane because no matter how fast you rotate the switch, the input to x-plane will only be that 1/4 second input(momentary style input similar to a push button). I have tried other input boards and for basic on-off inputs, (x-plane likes an momentary input) other boards will always leave the input checked in X-Plane as long as the switch is "ON". As you start to add inputs and switches (Each EFIS has 16 inputs) the "joystick and equipment" , "Buttons Advanced" becomes very cluttered and difficult to configure. For me, the 2160 board worked perfectly for any type of on-off switch or a rotary selector. For a rotary encoder, I use Leo's BU0836. In X-Plane's "zoom map" input you would have to use a rotary encoder. This would zoom in or out depending on the direction of the turn. It will control the map, but is very unrealistic. If you use XHSI, Marc has provided us with additional joystick inputs that allow us to assign a switch input to a distance (10nm 20nm 40nm ). Here is a quick video demonstrating the 2160 with XHSI on a mac.


    If you need to use rotary encoders (for radio selecting, DH Alt, or pressure) I recommend the BU0836. Its a very flexible board that currently operates my flight controls as well as my tuners for the radios.

    If your not using XHSI, for additional joystick inputs also check out Sandy's plugin.

    http://www.xpluginsdk.org/sbcommands.htm

    You can find more info about Desktop Aviator's 2160 here.

    http://desktopaviator3.tripod.com/In...2160/index.htm

    Good luck and happy building!

    Cheers

  3. #3
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    Re: Ready build encoders for X-Plane on a Mac

    Thanks for the info macisaac.

    Indeed I am using the XHSI. Why program that when it is free and works beautifully
    I have just left out a big black square in my program where XHSI runs on top.

    The enclosed screenshot is an early stage of my project with the XHSI running.
    My program is talking to XPL over a LAN using UDP. Data out from XPL is converted to useful stuff by a decoding of the memory blocks.
    It wasn't that bad to figure out as warned by some XPL people and I have made it modular to be able
    to revise it in the future if the data stream changes (as warned about again...)
    Data in to or control of XPL is for now just a matter of sending keystrokes the other way (also UDP). There is a "CHAR" command for just that.

    I did not know the part about X-plane prefers pulse input, so I will look for the card you mentioned.
    I may be able to combine it with the "CHAR" command. Right now it is working that way with the arrow keys very fast.
    In fact holding down a key is so fast that I have to put in a delay timer to slow it down

    It is nice to hear from another Mac-Xplane user, but your project seems to be a bit more ambitious than mine......at least right now.
    I did struggle a lot with Windows and FSX before switching. I am glad I did and I feel everything a little lighter now.

    Re Peter
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  4. #4
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    Re: Ready build encoders for X-Plane on a Mac

    Quote Originally Posted by peterthisted View Post
    Indeed I am using the XHSI.
    Hej Peter,

    Your project will look even better with the XHSI-PFD. The first Beta for XHSI 2 will be published in a few weeks.
    Stay tuned to the XHSI subforum at X-Plane.org.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ready build encoders for X-Plane on a Mac

    VERY good news.
    I will be one of the first in line for downloading and tryout

    I just had a brief return to FSX to try out a multiple screen setup.
    It works but frame rate is terrible low (10-12) where I am able to maintain around 100 most of the time in XPL

    So a PFD together with XHSI is very much appreciated.

    Re Peter

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