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  1. #1
    300+ Forum Addict Tom_G_2010's Avatar
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    Circuit Breaker Simulation

    I'm at the point in my 172 build where I'm finally starting to assemble the lower instrument panel to include of course the circuit breakers.

    2011-11-27_16-51-10_868.jpg

    So I decided I would reach out to others on the forum to see what you had done in this area. Here are some ideas I'm tossing around and may in fact use a mix of them but I'm really up in the air about this.

    Install the original breakers for looks only as dummy breakers.

    Actually use some of the original breakers as live circuit breakers for the simulator power supplies, dc motors, servos, etc. The type of breaker used in the Cessna are available in a variety of voltage/amperage ratings.

    Fabricate or purchase some dummy look alike breakers just to fill the unused spaces.

    Purchase some simulated breakers like those from Simkits but I still haven't figured out what I can trip using FSUIPC offsets.

    I've found some push button switches that look a bit like the breakers and could install them as camouflaged switches to handle some sim functions from within the cockpit.

    NKK-4.jpg

    Am I missing any ideas? What have you done? Any tips or tricks? In particular does anyone have any information about what I might be able to do with FSUIPC offsets.
    https://www.facebook.com/mycessnasim PC: Intel Core i7 Haswell @ 3.8GHz, 8Gb Ram, Win 7 64Bit, dual SSDs, GeFroce 780 SIM: FSX w/Aclrtn Pk, FSUIPC4, ASN, UTX, GEX, REX 4

  2. #2
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    Hi Tom

    It's interesting you should mention circuit breakers. This was one thing I was looking at recently, purely for the authentic look rather than being functional, at least to start with.

    Simkits offer a very expensive (IMHO) circuit breaker for use with FS here - Here is the Brochure

    I found these on Mouser from TE Connectivity at about 1% of the cost of the Simkits ones.

    After a bit of modification, I'm sure it could be triggered easily enough by a method I have as yet not looked into. As I said, for me, it was purely for the look, but I'm sure some of the brains on this forum would be able to suggest something workable. I'm not sure about FSUIPC offsets - I had a quick look but didn't see anything, but again, it wasn't something I was too bothered about.

    Hope this is useful. Good luck with it, and best wishes

    Colin

  3. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job



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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    Tom,

    I was thinking along the lines of option 4.
    "I've found some push button switches that look a bit like the breakers and could install them as camouflaged switches to handle some sim functions from within the cockpit."

    No idea how you would get others, or Simkits to work. Their forum and instructions don't have much info that I could find about how to trip them.
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
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  4. #4
    300+ Forum Addict Tom_G_2010's Avatar
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Mongo View Post
    Tom,

    I was thinking along the lines of option 4.
    "I've found some push button switches that look a bit like the breakers and could install them as camouflaged switches to handle some sim functions from within the cockpit."

    No idea how you would get others, or Simkits to work. Their forum and instructions don't have much info that I could find about how to trip them.
    The switch in the picture is slighter larger in diameter than a standard breaker and sticks out of the panel quite a bit more but with the white button and application of a number on the end they make for a fairly convincing breaker look alike. I found them on Leo Bodnar's site and will also be checking on domestic sources as well if I decide to go that route,
    https://www.facebook.com/mycessnasim PC: Intel Core i7 Haswell @ 3.8GHz, 8Gb Ram, Win 7 64Bit, dual SSDs, GeFroce 780 SIM: FSX w/Aclrtn Pk, FSUIPC4, ASN, UTX, GEX, REX 4

  5. #5
    300+ Forum Addict Tom_G_2010's Avatar
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    Quote Originally Posted by pilotwannabe View Post
    Hi Tom

    It's interesting you should mention circuit breakers. This was one thing I was looking at recently, purely for the authentic look rather than being functional, at least to start with.

    Simkits offer a very expensive (IMHO) circuit breaker for use with FS here - Here is the Brochure

    I found these on Mouser from TE Connectivity at about 1% of the cost of the Simkits ones.

    After a bit of modification, I'm sure it could be triggered easily enough by a method I have as yet not looked into. As I said, for me, it was purely for the look, but I'm sure some of the brains on this forum would be able to suggest something workable. I'm not sure about FSUIPC offsets - I had a quick look but didn't see anything, but again, it wasn't something I was too bothered about.

    Hope this is useful. Good luck with it, and best wishes

    Colin
    Agree on the Simkits price, it's way off the scale. As for tripping real breakers, no real need for modification. If I go that route I'll purchase the lowest possible rating breakers and use a phidget relay board to feed power to them with a load resistor that provides just enough current to trip them.

    The bigger question in that scenario is: What if any electrical failure info can I get out of FSX via offsets to indicate an event.

    If an electrical failure event output isn't available I was also looking at reading the bus current offsets and via FS2Phidget and setting a threshold to trigger the breaker trips. The question in that scenario is will the bus current offsets ever show an over current situation and on the flip side what offsets can I then send back to FSX to create the appropriate failures action in the sim.
    https://www.facebook.com/mycessnasim PC: Intel Core i7 Haswell @ 3.8GHz, 8Gb Ram, Win 7 64Bit, dual SSDs, GeFroce 780 SIM: FSX w/Aclrtn Pk, FSUIPC4, ASN, UTX, GEX, REX 4

  6. #6
    300+ Forum Addict notgotaclue's Avatar
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    Hi,
    Maybe I am lazy but it seems a lot of work for very little reward, I would go for

    Install the original breakers for looks only as dummy breakers. ....then again those mouser electronics ones looks affordable

    Has anyone actually purchased the obscenely expensive Simkits breakers?
    On a side note - aint it great kitting out an ACTUAL plane for flight sim use.
    I am loving it and it gives you something that building a shell will never give you - THE SMELL....... Old aluminium mixed with ground in grease - lovely...
    Allan.

  7. #7
    500+ This must be a daytime job Ronson2k9's Avatar
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    The model would need to have provision for the breakers to work. That is if the model doesn't completely model the electrical system (some do but most don't) then you would have breakers that are just sitting there looking pretty. You could perhaps build a circuit and tie that into to the sim to simulate a popped breaker or the effects of a breaker that is out. The instructors station . Could simulate electrical failures but don't know if that info could be sent to a breaker or not?

    You would need it to 'pop' though.

    Miniature Linear Solenoid<= Company is in Ohio.

    There are times when a breaker needs to be 'opened' to do something I don't know how you could pop a real 'aircraft breaker' without an overload. This while important for real aircraft perhaps not so good with a bunch of home bench computers in close quarters.

    So Just from a build it yourself standpoint.

    - Need to get the 'simulated breaker' to blow or operate in the sim first
    - Need to be able to send that signal to a built version of a breaker (could perhaps use real breaker or home built one)
    - Need to be able to send breaker location back to the sim (for times when you want to turn the breaker off yourself)

    If you haven't already, get your hands on a Pilots Operating Handbook (POH) / or owners manual depending on the age of the aircraft you are building. There is detail on when and what to do in the event of failure and use of the breakers when you need to 'operate' them. That will till you if simulating there action is worth the work.

    Personally I would go with option 4 or 2.

    In my case. Even though a main hydraulic pump (landing gear) failure/recovery requires to open the landing gear pump breaker (for emergency gear ops). I still don't want to simulate that all that much. If I did I could have a SPDT push button do the trick. Push off to keep the simulated EGP from operating when it's closed. Hey maybe that could work for you as well? Just trying to think outside the box sort speak... What if you used a push button instead of a breaker.

    - Push click (closed) Push click (open) or better yet a lighted push button. I don't know if the breaker lights up when open or closed. Probably closed (popped breaker = no light). Perhaps one of the real pilots here can help us out on that one? Don't really need the sound of the breaker popping as you would have your headset on and wouldn't hear it anyway. Aviation headsets block nearly all exterior noise from your ears. So that just leaves the lit state of the breaker and it's subsequent usage. A simple relay could be used like a switch between the push button and the signal from the sim. You would need to be able to read the condition of the relay (breaker location) so a third switch.

    I'm probably over thinking it I'm sure. Interesting topic though.. I'll ponder some more and see what my brain can chew through..

    Cheers
    Ron
    Up Up and away in my beautiful my beautiful - Amphibian

  8. #8
    300+ Forum Addict Tom_G_2010's Avatar
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    The more I ponder this the more I think there's room for all the options to fit in.

    My thinking at this point is that the majority of the breakers will be dummies just for looks. I'll clean up some of the exiting breakers I got with the fuselage for that.

    A couple may end up as live breakers for the cockpit power supply outputs. I've found some on aircraft salvage web sites, and seeing that mouser has some as well this is a viable option. I have a pc power supply to feed the various components in the sim and may use some of the breaker positions as part of the protection.

    There are a couple sim functions I may want to access from the cockpit that make the camouflaged switch idea a good option. Things like push back or pause for example. I hate the idea f having a mouse and keyboard, even a hidden one in the cockpit so any button functions I can camo' in to reduce the need for that are of interest to me.

    And, yes even though it's rare event and FSX has limited failure functionality I would really like to be able to simulate electrical failures that blow fuses. Even if it's only one or two master bus fuses. Although that could turn out to be quite a project in and of itself. Still trying to find offset info on electrical failures...

    Ron, thanks for all the thinking out loud, that's some of what I was looking for. Making a breaker pop, real or simulated is easy and I've come up with a couple different ideas. However, you raise some good points that Ill have to dig into further. I don't believe the type of breakers found in a GA aircraft like a Cessna can be opened manually. Looking at the one I have I don't see a way to do it. But I'll pull out the POH tonight and see what it says. If I can get the correct I/O offsets via FSUIPC I'm pretty sure I can do almost anything related to this through FS2Phidgets using a Phidgets I/O card and Relay card. Again, the electronics and the phidgets scripts are not too difficult, iT's those darned offsets that have me stumped though.

    Detecting the close of the breaker is also doable and could be sensed by a phidget board. Again though it's the offset input back to FSX and triggering the correct behavior in the sim that I need to figue out.
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  9. #9
    500+ This must be a daytime job Ronson2k9's Avatar
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    I think from an electrical failure standpoint. It could be as easy as turning a display off. This could be done just by having it function like a real breaker. You could also use a relay to trigger the bus failure or power to avionics failure. I always like things that are sim related but work outside of the computer control. In this case..

    - Computer would trigger the failure via 'The Instructor Station' software or FSX perhaps.
    - That relay could then kill the power to your avionics.

    A relay is like a circuit breaker accept that it will work from an impulse not necessarily an overload. If you play with model trains like I do you would get the idea. A relay can turn stuff on or off it's a switch that could be triggered via push button or other electrical signal. It's a remote control switch. This is the good part though it can be triggered by you (turn it on or off) and could also be triggered by the computer. The micro solenoid is an example.

    The power needed to run your simulated avionics perhaps requires that it be handled in a more physical way then via electronics. The power passing through the electronics could cook the electrics if it was brought to bare at once (similar to a real aircraft's Pre-Flight). In a sim though it can be more basic as you are only simulating the action not having the real action .. If that makes sense. This process is done in Model Railroading a bunch of times.. (long story).

    Think of a second switch between your master avionics and your avionics. This switch is your 'Breaker'. You can trip this via your pulling the breaker yourself or via your computer output. Push button on your panel 'Simulated Breaker' reverses the action. This is only to the display though not to the electronics generating the display. A breaker is essentially a switch that is triggered via overload. In our case it's a switch that is triggered via computer simulated overload (electrical impulse).

    This could also be generated outside of the computer via a random timer circuit (hour meter). That would perhaps be more random then a real world (aviation event) but could get the point across and be outside of human control. Which is also a good thing. If you knew when an event like this was going to happen then simulating it is basically you telling the computer to trip the breaker when it should be more random then that. This almost seems like another job for Leo. A card for the breakers to simulate their action (via USB). Then you could drive that via a module inside FSX. This module would have event times and so on. A sim within a sim. Also you could pick and choose what event and what breakers are effected so it could work with any aircraft.

    Take a gander at the Instructors Station (previous post)

    I have a few more links for you.
    Aviation Circuit Breaker FAA Directives
    Gamin Circuit Breaker Operation Guidelines for check ride (PDF)

    You should perhaps take a look at the manual and or contact the builder of your aircraft 'most likely Carenado' and see to what extent the electrical systems are modeled. There is also the built in failures in FSX that could possibly trigger this event via FSUIPC.

    So need to find out what can be done inside the model then FSX then from there what you could do outside of that. If you think of your aircraft as a real one then as far as the sim is concerned you could work the breakers without any sim intervention. Your sim (FSX) is an information delivery system. The breaker just turns some of that info off. It wouldn't effect how the aircraft operates to a degree only how you operate the aircraft.

    Cheers
    Ron
    Up Up and away in my beautiful my beautiful - Amphibian

  10. #10
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    Re: Circuit Breaker Simulation

    Here's a bit of info for you - "real" simulator breakers are the same as non-simulator breakers. The trick is that they're rated for 250mA. The rating on the face of the breaker is a simple decal. Klixon manufactures these. You might be able to score some on eBay.

    g.

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