Newbie Questions - Hardware, FSUIPC, USB Switch
This is my first post here - so glad to have found this community. I am new to cockpits, but not to flight sims. I've been flying virtually for about 22 years. Recently, I made my first foray into what most of you will consider the most basic "cockpit" possible. Using some lexan and PVC, I have built a framework onto which I have mounted all of my peripherals, so they sit on my right and left while I sit at my computer desk, rather than being piled up on my desktop. My peripherals include the following: HOTAS Warthog Joystick and throttle, CH Yoke/3-axis throttle, CH Pro Pedals, a Saitek Three axis throttle, two 6 axis CH throttle Quadrants, and a Saitek Trim Wheel. I have also made a dedicated keyboard permanently overlaid with all of the key comands I need.
Why all of these peripherals? My flying interests are many. I enjoy flying everything from Camels to the Airbus, and everything in between, fixed and rotary wing. So I need lots of controls, and in the right places. For example, when flying a Corsair tangling with Zeroes over Bougainville, I need a throttle/prop/mix quadrant on my left, my joystick, and rudder pedals, trim wheel, and keyboard. For a Baron, I have a yoke, pedals, 6 axis controller on my right for throttle/prop/mix for two engines, trim wheel and keyboard, you get the picture. I need all twelve of those CH Throttle quadrant axes for 4-engine piston aircraft.
My problem is this: My cockpit must be able to be quickly disconnected and put away, as it is in the family/living room, and my CO is not real jazzed about me leaving it out all of the time. As far as the physical setup, I have it down to a science: joystick and rudder pedals stay safely hidden away under my desk in front of my chair. The left and right 'platforms', holding all of the other peripherals are easily detached and put away when needed. All of my USB cables plug into a dedicated, powered USB switch, which stays in place, mounted to my desk.
My routine when setting everyting up is to power down my PC, and then plug in the 6 USB cables which are unplugged for disassembly (rudder and stick always stay plugged in). I have labeled my USB switch and cables so the peripherals are always plugged into the same physical USB ports.Then I power my PC back up and take off. I use a licensed version of FSUIPC. This all works great for FSX and most sims. Where I am run into trouble is in MS CFS2. I have three separate installations for three types of aircraft - single engine, twins, and heavies. I start whichever one I need to based on what type I'll be flying. I use FSUIPC with these installs because it is required for FS Metar, the weather depiction program I use in CFS2. FSUIPC is an incredibly useful program, but I seem to be having trouble getting it to work consistently across these three different installs. Just when I think I have everything set up correctly, I'll advance my throttle(s), etc, and have commands going off which I never intended. Then, my control surfaces won't respond, etc. Just wierd, unpredictable stuff. I have no doubt that this has nothing to do with FSUIPC, and everything to do with something squirrelly I have done in my setup. I have gone back and forth between using FSUIPC for all of my controls, to none of them, and letting CFS2 control everything. I have also tried combining the two methods. I'm not sure what the best solution is. Like I said, I need FSUIPC for weather, so I don't want to remove it completely, but is there a way to "purge" all of it's influence over my controllers, so I know I have a clean slate? Should I use FSUIPC for controllers, or CFS2? How do I get a stable setup that works right every time? I'm sure I am missing something here, just looking for some expert input and ideas. I thank you all in advance for your help!