Thread: I'm back - to the beginning
11-20-2013, 11:24 AM #1
I'm back - to the beginning
I've joined this site three years ago while still in high school, where I tried to build a simulator for a school project.
Thanks to the help of the Internet, including this forum, I managed to get some sort of system working but I never reported my progress.
Trying to build a simulator in a few short months was an ambitious task for me, and many compromises were necessary to meet time and cost constraints.
Well, here's the end result of my project, days after I took it to school.
Multi-purpose (radio) panel
My friend testing it at school
As you can see from the photos, I tried to copy a 737 but ultimately left a lot out. I originally planned to have an MCP, however I literally ran out of time. I wanted to build an MCP with 7-segment displays, but in the end all that is left is just a void under the glareshield. The MCP was instead controlled on my laptop screen where the lower EICAS is. A software CDU is also controlled there.
The teachers don't know it, but my multi/radio panel was conceived and built a day after the project was due, and brought in and configured afterwards.
I had an Opencockpits USBOutput card from which I controlled the gear indicator lights, and that was it. Time constraints meant I had no other annunciators on the panel, though it would have been nice.
Input was through two BU0836 cards, one for the overhead and one for the throttle. Wiring was a nightmare - it was a messy job but it worked. I built the overhead with plans for backlighting but that never worked out in the end.
I used the beta version of Prosim737, as back then it was still in development.
I did start to build a yoke but abandoned it. Instead I used a joystick. There were no rudder pedals either; so FSX had autorudder ON and taxi on the ground was through a sort of 'tiller' thing on a potentiometer that I assigned as rudder control.
The throttle was built with the levers directly mounted onto 'precision' potentiometers, and as a result it suffered it accuracy.
All in all, I think I only achieved 50% of what I set out to do, but I am satisfied with what I ended up with. I learnt a lot during this experience - from 737 systems to soldering. My biggest enemy was time, then cost.
Anyway, this was three years ago. At the end of 2010, I brought the simulator home and stored it in my parents' garage, still in pieces, as we went off for a family holiday the next day. I never took it out and reassembled it. A year later, I salvaged the wood from the centre pedestal and made a doghouse out of it.
Fast forward to the present. I've just finished high school and am ready to start building again. And this time, I've got all the time I need - over three months of holidays of which I can dedicate my time to this project, and not have to juggle it with school and whatnot.
So here I am, back at the start. This time, rather than trying to copy (and fail at imitating) a 737, I'm going to design this new simulator with the systems of a 737 but with a panel of my own design. This way, I can choose what I would include based on the likelihood of actually using it, but with the familiarity of an aircraft I am comfortable with. Also it would help keep costs under control (which is important).
So far I still have the LCD monitors, joystick cards and USBOutput card from my first project. I've recently ordered more rotary switches and encoders, toggle switches, LEDs and other components.
So this is what I have planned now:
I may add more as I go along, but for now that's the minimum of what I want to have in this new sim. I want the angled side/end panels on the MIP to house annunciators but I have yet to work out how I'd like to go about that.
If all goes to plan, then the single biggest investment this would involve would be a set of rudder pedals. But you know, sometimes we change our minds...
Anyway thanks for reading. It's great to be back in the flight sim and cockpit builder community again after months of studying.
See you all again very soon!
11-21-2013, 06:22 PM #2
Re: I'm back - to the beginning
Great to have you back in the forum, the project sounds fantastic, I bet going to school was a joy to head into flightdeck building class. Did the project get you a good result for your hard work?
Let us know if you need anything, all of us in the forum are happy to answer questions.
And thanks for the pics, they're always a treat.Geremy Britton
Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
Head of GLB Flight Products
11-22-2013, 07:27 AM #3
Re: I'm back - to the beginning
If I can remember correctly, I got close to full marks for it, which was good.
This forum is friendly and welcoming and I'm happy to stick around