Thursday, November 26, 2009

Upgrade of the Captain's Flight Instruments

A failure of one of my 19" CRT monitors for the Captains flight instruments has made me finally fit an LCD screen for this purpose. With the flat surface of the LCD screen, it means that the panel with cutouts for the gauges fits much more nicely. I had already machined some thin bezels to fit into the cutouts but, now that I have the opportunity, I think I'll make these again and alter the depth that they protrude through the panel cutouts. They can then virtually touch the surface of the LCD which will make the gauges look much more like they are 'real' gauges.

One of the problems with changing the monitors however, is that they mount in a totally different manner and the heights are totally wrong now, but with a bit of trickery I've fitted the LCD screens upside down and inverted the display coming from the video card.

And here's the end result with the front panel put back on again:

Because of differences in the size of the old monitor and the new one, I've temporarily had to remove the Speed Selector Knob, which accounts for the small hole on the left side of this photo. Strictly speaking this should actually be positioned at the top right of the gauge, but that would put it right in the middle of the new LCD screen! A solution will be found for this later on.

There will also (shortly) be two new bezels made so as to finish this panel.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A continuation of the throttle quadrant

This entry details the completion of the throttle quadrant ...

The first step in this process was to make an initial template of the throttle quadrant's cover from paper, which was done to ensure that all necessary slots were correctly positioned before any of the more complicated, time-consuming work was started.

Thin strips of MDF (approximately 3.2mm thick) were then cut and formed into the correct arc by wetting them with hot water and clamping them across the top edge of the side wall. Once they were damp they went soggy and could be formed into shape very easily. After this process, they were then left to dry and harden for several hours.

The notches in the sides, and the slot in the centre, ideally should be done after the correct shape has been formed as detailed above. If done before the hot wet forming, they tend to twist too much.

Below is an overall view of the unit once the document holders were fitted. There's actually an artificial bottom in the outer one because the smaller sheets kept disappearing out of sight!!!

This picture shows the clamps holding the rubber strips in place whilst the glue was drying.

Here's the almost completed throttle quadrant before the painting of the flap knob, reverser levers, and park brake lever.

And this is it with just the thrust reverser levers to paint.

Another view showing how the manual and approach charts sit in their pockets.

And the final photograph shows the completed throttle console fitted into place in the simulator. You might also notice the addition of two new pushbuttons, a red switch safety catch, and a black handle.

Note: The rest of the centre console with the radios and audio systems is not yet complete, but is sitting in place so as to make things look a bit prettier!!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Software release: Monitor FSUIPC Data

Our latest software release - Monitor FSUIPC Data - has been developed to allow users the ability to monitor (in real-time) any data that FSUIPC is able to read from Microsoft Flight Simulator, as this data is not always viewable and is often cryptic.

Within the program itself, there's a 'Settings' tab which allows you to choose up to 8 different items that you wish to monitor and analyse. This information will then be displayed under the 'View Data' tab, where all of the items will be shown as 'Raw Data' and as 'Calculated Data'.

Below is a screenshot of the program (click on it to see a larger version):

Further information (including additional screenshots, more in-depth explanations, and other details) can be found here

And here's a short video of the software operating: