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  1. #1
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    SimAVIO questions

    I have been building a Cessna 172R/S cockpit with X-Plane for the past couple of weeks. I'm currently using Panel Builder 2.92 and displaying the round gauges in accurate 1:1 scale in the correct positions on a 24" LCD. This is working well for me so far. I'm using my sim to help me get ready to get current again in the real airplane (I've taken 8 years off from real world flying but am about to start up again) That said... the gauges with Panel Builder are not 100% Cessna accurate and designed to be a little more generic in nature. I have been thinking about trying the SimAVIO Cessna panel, possibly with the 430W GPS combo. I have a few questions... hopefully somebody can help me with these:

    Is it worth getting SimAVIO over Panel Builder? Have you tried both? What made you decide on SimAVIO over Panel Builder? The screenshots on the FlyThisSim website look okay, but how well do the gauges scale up in size? I'm going for 1:1 scale with the "steam" gauges, not the G1000.

    I saw that you only get 1 year of updates, and then you have to pay full purchase price all over again for any updates beyond that. Really? That seems kind of lame. I'm really, really turned off by that. What are your thoughts on that?

    I do not have any touch screens and don't plan to get any any time soon. Would that be a problem? Is there anyway to interface with the 430W screen without mouse/touch control? In other words, is there any keyboard interface or programming API that could be used so I could hook up real buttons and encoders? Or is that not possible?

    I also just read a review from AVSIM from last year and learned that the "Cessna" package comes with their own flight models for X-Plane that do not include any exterior models. Can you only use these panels with their flight models? I currently use the Carenado Skyhawk II because it seems to fly a heck of a lot more realistic than the X-Plane 10's default C172S. I have 249 real-world hours in 8 different C172R/C172S planes. How does the C172S from SimAvio compare?
    Last edited by Xpendable; 09-25-2014 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Additional questions

  2. #2
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    Re: SimAVIO questions

    I've been "hunting" around the Internet and found some of the answers. It looks like SimAVIO does have the ability to map key presses to functions, so I could in theory use a microcontroller that maps as a HID keyboard. I would program the micro to read state changes on encoders and switches and send them across as the appropriate key events. I already have a lot of experience in that arena, so I'm not worried about that. I saw one thread post on another forum suggesting that SimAVIO had to have "focus" in order to be able to catch keyboard events. Tsk. Tsk. Guess the FST programmers don't know how to use the Windows low-level keyboard hooks. That would solve that problem!

    I also read that their panels may not work 100% with 3rd party aircraft, which I guess makes sense. You have to make modifications to make them work. I'm thinking I might just stick with what I have for now.

  3. #3
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    Re: SimAVIO questions

    I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on just the base SimAVIO package (without the Cessna 430W/530W add-on). I wish I hadn't spent the money. SimAVIO, in my humble opinion... has a lot of problems. The software does not recognize the screen dimensions of my second monitor correctly, and as a consequence, it is impossible to use the entire real-estate on my 24" LCD. Even if I "stretch" the panel window in layout mode across both screens, it still won't work right. And if I move the panel area entirely to my 2nd screen (the 24" LCD), the application's menu inexplicitly disappears and will not return no matter what you do. The only way to get the menu back is to shutdown the program and restart it. Another problem. .. the entire panel automatically scales itself down for some reason when you do manage to access the menu. Once you are out of the menu, it pops back to its original size... sometimes. Sometimes not. I re-sized my instruments several times because of this bug only to realize that everything is now in the wrong position when it snaps back to the "correct" scale. The gauges felt cartoonish and just didn't look good. I set the anti-aliasing to 4X as instructed. You shouldn't EVER need anti-aliasing to get good looking fonts at any resolution - if you know what you are doing with openGL. Clearly these guys don't. I am so disappointed in this software that I am glad I didn't buy any of the add-ons. I'm seriously considering asking for my money back.

    While Panel Builder leaves a lot to be desired, I believe it does a much better job for my needs than this software.
    Last edited by Xpendable; 09-26-2014 at 03:06 PM. Reason: Toning it down!

  4. #4
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    Re: SimAVIO questions

    I asked for and received a full refund. So I would say they have good customer service. The uninstaller left bits and pieces around and did not uninstall the FTSInterface plugin from X-Plane. I had to manually remove that and a few other things.

  5. #5
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    Re: SimAVIO questions

    What did you guys come up with for a solution? I have been looking into both programs. SimAvio is very expensive and not very reasonable, however if it does everything I see and on touch screen I would consider the expenses, I would like to shop around though. Panel Builder seems to have a wealth of issues but might do the trick. The main reasons I haven't started on Panel Builder yet is a) it runs on microsoft and I only have mac systems. b) I would like to make all the instruments, gauges, panel switches, lights, mixture knob, everything function all on a touchscreen panel. Do you or anyone know where I can find something to build from?

  6. #6
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    Re: SimAVIO questions

    Jeehell has some free gauges you can also try out http://www.mycockpit.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16313
    Soarbywire - Airbus Flight Simulation and Engineering | Jeehell FMGS - Free professional A320 avionics software for the cockpit enthusiast.


  7. #7
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    Re: SimAVIO questions

    I ended up going with Air Manager by Air Rietveld and have never looked back:
    http://airrietveld.nl/

    Pros:
    * Most flexible piece of software I've tried, and I've tried almost all the payware ones.
    * You can modify any instrument any way you want.
    * You can create new instruments from scratch.
    * New instruments are added to the Air Manager library periodically, and you can instantly download these right from the software.
    * You can create aircraft-specific panels and assign them to the aircraft in your simulator so that activate automatically when you select that plane.
    * Works with X-Plane & FSX
    * Written in Java, and works on both Mac & Windows
    * Can be run over the network or from the same machine as the simulator
    * I'm able to overlay instruments I don't like in GAIFR with Air Manager instruments. I'm in the process of completely replacing GAIFR with Air Manager.
    * Very reasonable price tag. GAIFR is way overpriced for what it offers.
    * Support is very good.

    Cons:
    * Needles do not smoothly transition between large jumps in values like GAIFR does. The needles always jump to the exact value immediately. Hard to complain about that though. Only noticeable when needles are moving really fast.