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  1. #1
    Our new friend needs to reach 10 posts to get to the next flight level
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    Designing a C172 Cockpit

    Hi all,
    I am new here and new in world of home cockpits.
    I have been planning to build my own for a long time, but now i am ready to go
    I plan to start my pilot training soon, and I want to build a realistic cockpit to have the opportunity to practise at home.
    My idea is to build the avionics panels, and the switches myself, and connect them to the PC via an Arduino MEGA microcontroller.
    I want to put a big screen behind the instrument panel, which would show my instruments, and I want to use 2-3 projectors for the outer world.
    And I plan to 3D print the plastic parts, such as the knobs, the radio panels, etc.
    I plan to use 2 Saitek cessna style yokes and two pair of Saitek cessna style pedals.
    And I am thinking about an idea, how to connect them together.
    I think i must remove the plastic casing of the yokes to fit them behind the instrument panel, to look like the real thing.
    And I am thinking about to make my own throttle and trim wheel system.
    I would be happy to hear any ideas or see any solutions to connect the yokes and the pedals.
    And I would like to ask if anyone knows where can I order some of these dual rotary encoders for the radios frequencies.

    For the simulator I would like to use X-Plane 10 with Airfoil c172SP, which has a KX155A TSO radio modules.
    I have a small problem about designing my replica of them, since they dont only use simple 7 segment LED displays, but some small letters, which illuminate sometimes. Does anyone know a place where I can get such led letters from, or does anyone have any idea how i can make them at home from a simple LED?

    I am sorry, this is my really first project in this topic, and I am in the first few days of designing my cockpit.
    So am happy to hear any advices, and your experiences in this topic.

    Thanks in advance,
    dagoston93

  2. #2
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    BushPilotWannabe's Avatar
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    Re: Designing a C172 Cockpit

    How's the weather?

    Might be easier to build Cessna style yoke and pedals and then drive the Saitek components from them. Let's start a Kickstarter campaign to manufacturer 27" monitors with a 25mm hole in the screen below the DG.

    Good luck with project and flight training.

    Hugh
    ---CYXD ----- TWR --- GND ------ Closed
    ILS-- NDB -- 119.1 -- 121.9 ---- 11/2013

  3. #3
    Our new friend needs to reach 10 posts to get to the next flight level
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    Re: Designing a C172 Cockpit

    Hi,

    I haven't thought yet about the weather.
    Have you got any suggestions?
    You pointed out an important thing about my idea about the instruments.
    Maybe I will build the instruments from servos.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Re: Designing a C172 Cockpit

    Welcome. I've done pretty much what you intend to do. I have also built a C172S cockpit and use X-Plane with the Airfoil Labs C172S. I use a 23" LCD behind a laser cut acrylic bezel that is painted gray. I highly recommend you look at "Air Manager" from https://www.siminnovations.com/ to run your LCD instruments. The software is inexpensive (like $40 US last I recalled) and allows you to design your own instruments or download ones created by others available in their extensive library (at no additional cost). I happen to run Air Manager on the same computer as X-Plane and I use 2 different video cards to keep it fast, but you could also use 2 networked computers if you prefer. The really cool thing is they have ALL the C172S instruments for Air Manager... because I built them myself and uploaded all of them into their library. Some of their product screenshots and product video even use my instruments. I also used the Saitek yoke and the Saitek switch panel, which eventually I hope take apart and rebuild to look like the switch panel in the 172. As for the radios, I've done some proof of concept stuff with Arduino (I have ALOT of Arduino experience... I designed and manufacturered an Arduino shield called the MonsterShield that was a sophisticated pneumatic animation controller used in the Halloween industry that could record your animation routines in realtime using external EEPROM, but that's another story. Anyway, DigiKey is your friend. That's where I buy most of my electronic components for all my projects. Search for LCD characters and 7-segment displays. Also take a look at 7-segment displays with multiple characters that have i2C interfaces. That will allow you to display multiple digits using only 4 wires (ground, 5V+, SDA, and SCL) and you can daisy chain them together. If you buy just the 7-segment displays by themselves without any controller, you'll quickly run out of IO on the Arduino (each piece of the 7 segment digit requires a separate pin!). You solve for that by using either an IO expander, a shift register, or 7-segment driver IC. That's why I suggest looking at something that has a driver on it already with an i2C (or even an SPI) interface. This is a big topic and there are many ways to do, and some of them are advanced. For my proof of concept, I just used a simple 16x2 i2c LCD screen from Newhaven. Another thing you could do is use another screen with Air Manager (they even have an iPad version and a version that will run on a Raspberry Pi) to generate the output of the digits. You would just put that behind your radio bezels and do all the input controls through Arduino. Also take a look at Adafruit, as they have some multi-digit 7-segment displays with i2c chips on them. The size is probably too big but they are easy to use.


    The old GoFlight equipment for the radio stack is there only because I bought that stuff 15 years ago... I hate it intend to replace it with stuff I build. I've just been lazy. I've also experimented with building a whiskey compass with an arduino and a stepper motor.
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  5. #5
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Re: Designing a C172 Cockpit

    Looks like a very professional sim, good work, and thanks for providing your route to success.

    Im sure you enjoy flying it!
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  6. #6
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    Re: Designing a C172 Cockpit

    Hi, Good little sim you have! Keep Building!

    AlexJ
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

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