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  1. #1
    150+ Forum Groupie magicaldr's Avatar
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    GA, FSX, Vista, 4mm MDF, and an 80mm holesaw...

    So I decided it was time to start putting some flesh on the bones of my desktop simulator. You can see how things started on my 'hello' post in the forums. Since then I have purchased a brand new Dual core (Core 2) PC with Vista premium to give FSX a little more breathing room. I have spent the last few weeks flying on the single monitor, and today decided it was time to sort it out.

    Things started out going well, then went downhill from there. I got a good shot of how it will look once I sort the major bugs in the system, however there is a lot more I need to sort.

    So whats been happening. I am a GA nut as opposed to heavy metal. Although I love the look of the 747 and similar cockpits, GA is something one day I might get to do So how with no space do you get a GA cockpit I asked myself... You buy a poster of course.

    So a quick visit to the local pilots shop has got me a scale poster of a warrior cockpit, in full colour. A sheet of 6mm MDF, a 62mm hole saw, tenon saw, some photo mount spray and with 1 days work I have the start of a fairly nice panel. The TFT I have even holds the panel up nicely, so I dont need anything behind it and I can take it away to use the computer normally when not flying. The day was going so well

    Here are the in progress pics to show just how lucky I was with sizings, etc:



    Now the fun bit starts. I decide to dust of my old copy of FSXpand. I never really got round to using it in anger in 2004, but looks like my license should work in the current FSX compatible release. It needs FSUIPC but thats ok as I need it anyway for FSX and not got it yet. It will let me pop the gauge behind the panel really easily. And I can just run it on the same pc with FSX running on 1 monitor, it on the other.

    5 minutes with the wifes back turned and I have a nice shiny registered FSUIPC. Or would have, it wont register... Luckily this is a known Vista issue, a quick check in the forums reveals I need to register while running FSX as administrator. Phew, works first time and 1 less thing to battle with.

    I get FSExpands current release and no joy on the reg key Ahh well I think, may as well use it in trial mode and raise a help ticket later. So I hook up the second monitor and tell the graphics card to enable it... phoom...
    FSX starts to flicker and doesn't work... Its really weird, everything loads ok, then it seems to flick through a 'normal' look, and start to redraw it over and over.

    Thinking it must be a graphics driver issue I download and try the latest for my card (ATI Radion X1950). No help there. Disable the second monitor and all works, enable and back to flickering on and off screen...

    Starting to tear my hair out now I try windowed mode and it works, although jumpy as anything. I manage to get FSExpand up and running, but cant get client and server speaking. This also seems to need to be an 'admin' run program to see FSX, and then it doesn't update properly... Sniffle.

    Still I managed to get a rough and ready view of how it will look once I get this all working together which is below. Any tips on my technical probs welcomed btw:

    Last edited by magicaldr; 04-28-2008 at 06:50 PM. Reason: Title change


    FSX | Piper Warrior | GoFlight

  2. #2
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Bob Reed's Avatar
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    Thats it you are done. You have stepped off the deep end now... It just gets worse from here!!
    Bob Reed

  3. #3
    150+ Forum Groupie sas550's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magicaldr View Post
    Thinking it must be a graphics driver issue I download and try the latest for my card (ATI Radion X1950). No help there. Disable the second monitor and all works, enable and back to flickering on and off screen...
    `

    This sounds as if you're having different resolutions on the two screens. Try to have the same res. Thought this ATI specifik prob was solved.
    Regards Anders Eriksson


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  4. #4
    150+ Forum Groupie magicaldr's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by sas550 View Post
    `

    This sounds as if you're having different resolutions on the two screens. Try to have the same res. Thought this ATI specifik prob was solved.

    Wow thanks you were right I had guessed that the res might be related and set them the same while troubleshooting, but I had not thought of the refresh rate. Based on your post I set them both to match (60hz right now) and voila, we have flight

    So now tomorrow I just need to build a panel to work behind the cutouts


    FSX | Piper Warrior | GoFlight

  5. #5
    150+ Forum Groupie sas550's Avatar
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    Great! If I remember it correctly there's a hotfix for this at ATI's support page.

    Edit: Here's the fix http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...DisplayLang=en
    Regards Anders Eriksson


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  6. #6
    150+ Forum Groupie magicaldr's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by sas550 View Post
    Great! If I remember it correctly there's a hotfix for this at ATI's support page.

    Edit: Here's the fix http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...DisplayLang=en


    Thanks again With the HF installed I can set the monitor to a more friendly 85 HZ.


    FSX | Piper Warrior | GoFlight

  7. #7
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Michael Carter's Avatar
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    Things started out going well, then went downhill from there.
    Things always tend to go that way before they get better. The good thing is, that they always get better...eventually.

    Your cockpit is coming along nicely.

    Sometimes when I have those 'hair tearing out moments' I have to take a couple of steps back, rethink what I'm doing and see if there is another way.

    Sometimes another way may require a whole re-work, sometimes it's just one little detail.

    As an example, I was working on my Sperry SP-50 autopilot the other morning and for the life of me and with my electronics background, could not figure out the logic of the switch arrangement that controls the nose-up and nose-down pitch trim when in manual mode and ALT Hold off.

    I had resolved myself to use every bit of this unit as the autopilot, but came to the conclusion that I was going to have to improvise and supply a detector switch of my own to get this particular function to work in the simulator.

    The installed switch is actuated by the BIG knob of the unit mounted on an internal piece of chassis that the framework of the BIG knob switch would come in contact with when actuated. It works fine and took about 45 minutes to wire and install.

    But at the moment of the hair tearing out episode, I would not have thought about trying to do it another way, and I wasted three days trying to figure it out.
    Boeing Skunk Works
    Remember...140, 250, and REALLY FAST!

    We don't need no stinkin' ETOPS!



    Powered by FS9 & BOEING

  8. #8
    150+ Forum Groupie magicaldr's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Phase 2 - DesktopAviator Add in

    Well its gradually taking shape, I have cut away more of the excess wood, drilled out (badly) the engine instruments, and added a desktop aviator 1010 panel.


    Shot at 2007-07-20


    This took some modification as it comes in a nice plastic box. However I wanted this on my panel. Sadly the monitor gets in the way of the real key switch location. Also my poster is not a 1:1 scale, its about 2/3 scale, so fitting anything is not an exact science.

    Taking the box apart revealed very little cable between the front board and the USB card in the base. However there was enough play. The front plate has 2 small + signs printed on the rear corners. I assume these are for mounting holes of some sort, and with a small drill they now are anyway With the mounting hole cut out with the jigsaw I was able to with some gentle shoving put the front plate through and screw it in with 2 small grub screws:


    Shot at 2007-07-21

    Then sheer luck, the backplate would rotate through 90 degrees and screw onto the back of my panel with some long wood screws:


    Shot at 2007-07-20

    This saved having to try and remove the USB board which is hot melt glued in place. It also protects the circuit boards and wires

    So only the Go Flight modules to go so I can simulate a radio. I also want to try some drainpipe to make the bevels around the instruments. Below is a closeup of the desktopaviators panel in place:


    Shot at 2007-07-21


    FSX | Piper Warrior | GoFlight

  9. #9
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor AndyT's Avatar
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    That's the same thing I did with my DA 1010 panel. But I did not keep the case since it was blocking other items I have installed. Nice job. Maybe you can get the poster blown up to full size at a Kinko's or something.
    God's in command, I'm just the Pilot.
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  10. #10
    150+ Forum Groupie magicaldr's Avatar
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    Well working on next phase, I want an enclosed cockpit but decided to make a new PA-28 style panel based on the new Warrior III, but with a few extra switches so I can also fly aircraft with retracts.

    Below is my initial design plan, using a plan based on the cockpit dimensions I then expanded a copy of a stock photo to match. Very easy to do, and I hope quite accurate using the freeware OpenOffice.org 'Draw' program. The scales down the sides are in CM.

    With semi-transparent overlays I then worked out where I could put my monitor behind the panel. Now trying to work out what to put behind this to hold up the panel once made.



    Plan is to use Leo's joystick interface card to handle the switches, and also re-use my desktop aviator panel. With the support for rotary encoders I hope to mount mini rotary encoders on the surface of the panel to make working instrument knobs. (As I know others have done already) Cables will run behind the panel and sticky back felt on the back of the board should hide them and protect the screen. Panel will be made of 2mm thick MDF.

    Once I have the panel complete as a desktop version, I plan to build an enclosure in 2 parts (nose to panel / seating and sides) to house it. Hopefully it will fit through the doorways if we move. The lower picture shows the plan for a shelf at the bottom of the panel which will hold a joystick on the right, and the yoke on the left.

    I am thinking of getting a Saitek throttle quad as this will not only neatly handle the single engine planes I fly, but also the complex SF-260 I relax in. Finally there will be a very small keyboard, already purchased from Maplin as I only have 1 PC and need a way to type updates like this.



    I still need to workout how to do the annunciators which overlap the monitor edge so cant go through the panel. Radios / transponder will be handled by my go flight modules so should be no major issue.

    Also I am still hunting around for some large white piper style switches, not found any as yet.

    Unlike my current cockpit I am not going to use a poster, and I am going from scratch in the panel design. So now there are 3 main steps to get sorted:

    1. A desktop version which sits on my existing desk but is 1:1 scale, and includes all my 'toys'.

    2. A replacement for my desk which will hold the desktop panel, and provide space for the PC and pedals. Closed in to protect from house rabbits...

    3. Sides for the seating area, also mounted on a base which will connect to the 'nose' and give a complete cockpit.

    Now to get back to bits of paper, and work out how to make the 'desktop' part of this. Suggestions welcome
    Last edited by magicaldr; 04-08-2008 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Cant count, Warrior III, not II... doh...


    FSX | Piper Warrior | GoFlight

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