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  1. #1
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    Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Hi guys,

    I'm starting to collect as many dimensional detail as possible about the Dash 8 Q400 cockpit, but I have to confess that It's very slim as of now.
    I naively tried to contact Bombardier to require their help, but they didn't even read my e-mail. I guess they are not considering the seriousness of our projects. Same with FlyBe. They replied that for security reasons they couldn't help me. I can understand their concern, but you will admit with me that providing the dimensions of the cockpit panels won't be considered as terrorist activities or something!

    So I'm not giving up. I will continue to naively contact the companies that are operating the Dash 8 Q400. Who dares win! If there are readers of this thread that can help us (Dash 8 pilots, or maintenance people), please do so, we will be very grateful.

    Anyway I want to start this thread with what I've found and encourage you do the same so that everyone can go further in their Dash 8 Q400 Home cockpit project.

    As of now I could collect informations about the FMS (Flight Management System). The Q400 are equipped with the Universal Avionics "UNS-1Ew" and the dimensions can be found in the following PDF file : http://www.uasc.com/documents/produc...S_Brochure.pdf

    Attachment 9448
    Starting from here It can be possible to extrapolate the dimensions of the screen and buttons to make it as close as reality.

    If one takes a closer look to the cockpit, above the FMS there is the Altitude and Heading Reference Control Panel (AHCP). It has the same width of 5.75 Inches.
    Below the FMS there is the Electronic Flight instrumentation system control panel (EFCP). It has the same width of 5.75 Inches

  2. #2
    300+ Forum Addict Avro748's Avatar
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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Hi and welcome to the forum. I have a trick to finding dimensions that never fails.

    Step 1:
    Obtain a relatively flat image or poster of the part you need dimensions for. Here's one for the Q400's MIP and overhead:
    http://www.avsoft.com/index.php?q=node/171 (Note that the three drawings are not to scale with each other, but the individual ones are to scale with the same part on the real aircraft. There is also a pedestal drawing, but it is top down and won't be of much use)

    Step 2:
    Use a dimension that you already know, and scale the image from there on your PC. It could be an instrument, a lamp, or even a fastener.

    Step 3:
    Start drawing a plan in Autocad based on what you find, the more pictures you use and scale up, the more accurate it will be. If you find something that contradicts something you've already done, find more pictures until you get your answers. Remember that nothing needs to be exact, as you won't notice a few millimeters while you're flying. Good luck!

    By the way, what software do you plan on using until Majestic releases the Q400 Training Edition?

  3. #3
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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Quote Originally Posted by Avro748 View Post
    Hi and welcome to the forum. I have a trick to finding dimensions that never fails.

    Step 1:
    Obtain a relatively flat image or poster of the part you need dimensions for. Here's one for the Q400's MIP and overhead:
    http://www.avsoft.com/index.php?q=node/171 (Note that the three drawings are not to scale with each other, but the individual ones are to scale with the same part on the real aircraft. There is also a pedestal drawing, but it is top down and won't be of much use)

    Step 2:
    Use a dimension that you already know, and scale the image from there on your PC. It could be an instrument, a lamp, or even a fastener.

    Step 3:
    Start drawing a plan in Autocad based on what you find, the more pictures you use and scale up, the more accurate it will be. If you find something that contradicts something you've already done, find more pictures until you get your answers. Remember that nothing needs to be exact, as you won't notice a few millimeters while you're flying. Good luck!
    I was also thinking of that method, but I wasn't sure of the accuracy. Anyway I think you're right, a few millimeters won't be important since the most important thing is the pleasure of flying with something similar to a real cockpit. I think that I want to make things too perfectly

    About the software, I'm far from being a designer, but I was planning on using Sketchup to build a sort of 3D cockpit. As far as I know, I can export my drawing to several formats including Autocad. Do you have some knowledge/advices regarding this ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avro748 View Post
    By the way, what software do you plan on using until Majestic releases the Q400 Training Edition?
    I'm currently using the Majestic Q400 Pilot Edition. I think this is enough for a home cockpit, right ?

  4. #4
    300+ Forum Addict Avro748's Avatar
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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ewan* View Post
    I was also thinking of that method, but I wasn't sure of the accuracy.
    It is actually a lot more accurate than you think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ewan* View Post
    About the software, I'm far from being a designer, but I was planning on using Sketchup to build a sort of 3D cockpit. As far as I know, I can export my drawing to several formats including Autocad. Do you have some knowledge/advices regarding this?
    When I said AutoCad, I meant any Cad program. If you don't plan on using a CNC, then you won't need something as advanced as Autocad, since you won't need any kind of precision. If you are using a CNC, then I would avoid Sketchup. My experience is that exporters can be a little buggy. If you don't have Autocad, use whatever proper Cad program you have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ewan* View Post
    I'm currently using the Majestic Q400 Pilot Edition. I think this is enough for a home cockpit, right ?
    Sort of. While you'll have no trouble interfacing switches, encoders, buttons, and the major displays, you won't get any annunciators or any kind of outputs working. You also won't have some added bonuses like networked displays, which will dramatically reduce the impact on performance. Of course, you could always deal with the shortcomings for now, and get the Training Edition when it comes out in order to restore those features. In fact, that would probably be best.

  5. #5
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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Quote Originally Posted by Avro748 View Post
    When I said AutoCad, I meant any Cad program. If you don't plan on using a CNC, then you won't need something as advanced as Autocad, since you won't need any kind of precision. If you are using a CNC, then I would avoid Sketchup. My experience is that exporters can be a little buggy. If you don't have Autocad, use whatever proper Cad program you have.
    Well I've built a DIY CNC router with an arduino and some stepper motors that I collected from an old matrix printer. I'm planning on making my panels with it. As you seem to have far more experience than me in that field, I will avoid sketchup and use librecad instead as I don't want to spend money on AutoCAD and save the money for my cockpit


    Quote Originally Posted by Avro748 View Post
    Sort of. While you'll have no trouble interfacing switches, encoders, buttons, and the major displays, you won't get any annunciators or any kind of outputs working. You also won't have some added bonuses like networked displays, which will dramatically reduce the impact on performance. Of course, you could always deal with the shortcomings for now, and get the Training Edition when it comes out in order to restore those features. In fact, that would probably be best.
    Tell me if I'm wrong but it can be done by using FSUIPC offsets and macros for switches, encoders and other kind of inputs and linnk2fs for retrieving the status of some outputs like lights, gauges values and so on, right ?

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    300+ Forum Addict Avro748's Avatar
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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    You can do Switches and Encoders, no problem. How do you plan on getting the offsets (if the MJC Q400 uses offsets) for the Lights and Gauge values? Although I don't have that addon, I would venture a guess that there is no way to as of yet. Notice that one of the features listed for the Training Edition is "Hardware Support." That means that it will probably come with some sort of API, SDK, and/or documentation on the offsets. I originally wanted to do an ATR 72-500, but I ran into problems like that. The gauge files for the Korrys and annunciators are Write-Protected and cannot be explored, and Flight1 didn't provide any offsets, SDK, or LVars with the aircraft, nor did they provide any of those on request. I gave up on the matter for the next year, during which time I discovered Rick Pipers HS748 and started flying it a lot. Because it was a portover, I was always tweaking the XML for compatibility, and I soon realized that I could write an LUA script that would use the modified XML to drive a Hardware Cockpit.

    You have to remember that FS and it's addons aren't usually designed with the Cockpit builder in mind. It's extra work for not much extra profit. To prevent piracy, many developers put strict write protection on their files, which unfortunately prevent users from modifying/getting data from them. Most freeware, however, has no write protection, and the data can easily be found, either from the developer or from the code itself. Some payware, like the Prosim, IFly 737CBE, LSH Maddog, Aeroworx King Air, MJC Q400 Training Edition, LDS 767, Dodosim 206, etc, are designed, have documentation, or have been modified to be more cockpit friendly.

    Like I said, the Q400 Training Edition will come out eventually. That doesn't mean you can't start now. It will be a long project, with a lot of research before any building, and at least it will be usable in terms of flying from cold and dark to shutdown without a mouse or keyboard.

    Also, don't use Link2FS for outputs, it's very limited in scope. Use OpenCockpits Outputs, just trust me on this one.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Hows your project going mate?

    I am a q400 flight instructor and I have access to a level D q400 flight simulator. If I can help let me know

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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dash_Quickly View Post
    Hows your project going mate?

    I am a q400 flight instructor and I have access to a level D q400 flight simulator. If I can help let me know
    Hello Dash_Quickly,

    I think about to build the Autopilot (AFCS i think it is called) it would be very nice if you maybe can give me the right measurements

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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Ok I'll measure it the next time I'm in the simulator

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    Re: Dash 8 Q400 dimensions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dash_Quickly View Post
    Ok I'll measure it the next time I'm in the simulator
    Thank you, that's nice

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