Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Brazil
    Posts
    2
    Contribute If you enjoy reading the
    content here, click the below
    image to support MyCockpit site.
    Click Here To Contribute To Our Site

    Software/hardware interface

    Hi all,

    My name is Eduardo, I am from Brazil and thinking about starting the cockpit building hobby. I am more interested in the DIY approach (from soldering and woodworking to coding =D).

    To start, I have a simple question: suppose I want, for example, to build a cockpit for a 737 or 747. I know we do have good products, such as PMDG aircraft, but I also know all features aren't modeled. What if I want to build a fully functional FMC/FMS and interface with the flight simulator, for example, with knew features? How is it possible?

    Back on the PMDG example, I also know that FSUIPC is not responsible for data exchange, as it is usual in other MSFS addons. I heard something about PMDG SDK but couldn't find detailed useful information by know. So, how to interface all my switches to the expected behaviour on the simulator?

    I am starting to study about these topics. For sure pit building is lots of research job =)

    Best regards.

  2. #2
    75+ Posting Member BuildABoeing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    80
    Contribute If you enjoy reading the
    content here, click the below
    image to support MyCockpit site.
    Click Here To Contribute To Our Site

    Re: Software/hardware interface

    Hi Eduardo, my follow new-beginner
    Welcome!

    I have asked my self exact the same questions over and over the last half year. As I also am a beginner in this business my advises is only based on my research so far. There are people with a heck of a lot experience on this forum. So please correct me, if a am wrong.

    You need to focus os two things (as you also covers in your question): Software and hardware

    Software:
    If you would like all systems working you should take a step up from PMDG to more cockpit-based software. There are different products available like ProjectMagenta, ProSim or iFly CockpitEdition. However they do come with a price tag. ProSim seems to be the hype these days and costs aprox. 300. Thise solutions offer full cockpit-simulation of (if not all then almost all) systems.
    The upside to these solutions is that you can take load of your main computer, The software (like ProSim) simulates all systems on a secondary (low powered) computer. In FS (on your main computer) you just need a basic 737 (like the default). This way your main computer does not need to use resources on rendering complex aircraft systems and virtual cockpits (that you do not need when you got your home build). ProSim then runs on a secondary computer and controls/sends inputs FS.
    There is a trail-version of Prosim (It only allows 30 minutes each time) so you can have a look in to it. It is expensive but to me seems like the right choice for a full cockpit.
    To justify the high price of a cockpit-software suite you on the other hand can save some bucks on hardware. With this solution your cockpits monitors are also drived by the second (/third etc) computer, taking load of your main GFX-card. So you do not have to invest in things like a TrippleHead2Go, but can put that money in ProSim. At least that was the break-even-calculation I did. Furthermore with Prosim/ProjectMagenta (As far as I have understood) you do not need PMDG (unless you want the eyecandy).
    So software comes down to hardware.

    Hardware:
    Interface should go through some sort of interface-card. There are many different options. Some cards handle inputs (switches etc) others does outputs (Make LEDs light up); and some do both. There are different cards, hence different ways and coding languages.
    You should take some time and look in to the different solutions.
    The input-part is pretty simple. You can get cards (Like the BU0836X) that acts like a joystick with 40 buttons. Easy to install easy to configure via FSUIPC. Other solutions uses different matters of configuration, some simple some require coding. And I guess of course there is a connection between ease-og-use and price.
    OpenCockpits offers all the cards you need (inputs, outputs, motors etc) and have a starter-package as a Chrsitmas Special. That could get you started.
    I have choosen to use OpenCockpits cards mainly because the coding-language seemed somewhat easy to learn and because there are many others users that share their scripts. I never got to know the pros and cons of the different solutions like IOcards (OpenCockpits), Arduino, Phisgets. So my choice of OC-cards is more based on "I'll do what the majority seems to do".
    But if other cockpit-builders can give a quick overview of the different solutions I know many beginners would be grateful!

    I hope this helps a bit in your research. Trust me, we have all asked us self the exact same questions that you just did.

    Looking forward to see your progress.

    Smooth Landings
    Peter
    Best wishes, Peter
    Building a B737NG - Blog: BuildABoing

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Brazil
    Posts
    2
    Contribute If you enjoy reading the
    content here, click the below
    image to support MyCockpit site.
    Click Here To Contribute To Our Site

    Re: Software/hardware interface

    Hi Peter,

    Thank you so much for your reply, it was very ellucidating! Things now start to become a little more clear for me. I will also become a regular visitor of your blog. Your pit is getting pretty beautiful!

    For sure I will need to run for 3rd party software, like PM, iFly and others. The fact that IO cards can be bought direclty from OpenCockpits is awesome and will save lots of work.

    Another concern I have: I would like to have the simulator "really real" (hehehe), so I am worried about the quality of appearance of buttons, switches, etc. I saw companies like FlightDeckSolutions selling really fancy mechanical parts for the pit (FMCs, overheads, glareshields...) but when reading about them, it is said they are plug and play for X-Plane, FS2004, FSX, etc... Nothing about project magenta or ifly, for example.

    As I am pretty sure I can not manufacture buttons and switches identical to the real aircraft, a nice solution in some cases should be to buy these parts from FDS, for example. But now, the main concern is: is it possible to interface them (ready made for MSFS for example) with PM or iFly, without having to dismantle them to use just the buttons? (this should be a really expensive and uncertain approach).

    Best regards!

  4. #4
    75+ Posting Member BuildABoeing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    80
    Contribute If you enjoy reading the
    content here, click the below
    image to support MyCockpit site.
    Click Here To Contribute To Our Site

    Re: Software/hardware interface

    I was kind of hoping some one else with more knowledge than me could provide an answer. The UPS-guy should arrive tomorrow with my order from OpenCockpit, including my first interface cards. So my wisdom on interfacing and plug'n'play is limited to what I can read on webpages.

    But if you see the specifications on the FMC from FlightDeckSolutions it says that is also in compatible with PM/ProSim. ProSim also has a list of supported hardware.
    I'll find out in a few days how it works, but terms like "Plug 'n play" and AutoConfig still requires some manual work.

    So if you buy P'n'P units just look at the list of supported systems.

    If you buy non-p'n'p things then you need to build and interface them you self. the stuff behind the panels is pretty common things like switches, encoders, rotary switches. B737-replica buttons can be (Pricely) bought separately if you need them. Most cockpit-shops have them.
    Best wishes, Peter
    Building a B737NG - Blog: BuildABoing

  5. #5
    10+ Posting Member



    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Scottish Borders
    Posts
    21
    Contribute If you enjoy reading the
    content here, click the below
    image to support MyCockpit site.
    Click Here To Contribute To Our Site

    Re: Software/hardware interface

    I have been doing initial research trying to get together the different elements I need to build my own cockpit. My aim is perhaps a little different to yours in that I am looking as a De Havilland Twin Otter cockpit on a motion platform, but many of the problems are the same. For interfacing I have found various approaches. Look at the Leo Brodnar site Leo Bodnar. Also there are the Velleman interface kits (you have to solder them up yourself). If you are planning on using dials on flat screen VDU's look at Dave Ault's site Learjet 45 Chimera for dial software. He has a very useful tutorial on writing your own dial software.