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F16 ICP Project Log Part 1

The next thing Tekcreations is working on is the F16 ICP Panel

So far I’ve worked out the buttons, they are 1.6mm engraved ABS that I have glued to 4.5mm Opal acrylic, then glued to 3mm acrylic for the lip to hold in place. This gives me the height I am looking for in my unit for the keys. .

These keys will be going into a Middle plate, made of Opal Acrylic that will be used to diffuse the light evenly.

On top of that plate we of course need some engraved text! this is where the holes are a tad smaller on this which “captures” the keys with their “lip”

I have made up a PCB for the unit, and a self contained enclosure, currently MDF whilst Prototyping
More pics of this to come soon.

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DCS F18 Hornet Cockpit Panel Toggle Box Part 2

I have been continuing the process of adapting my generic toggle box and expanding on it to make it a larger unit with specific Cockpit Controls for use DCS F18 Hornet. I am at the stage now the unit is basically feature complete

So after a bit of playing around I got my PCB’s for the 8 way rotary switches in, no way did I want to deal with 8 Inputs just for a rotary switch.

The PCB is setup with 7 Resistors bridging the pins of the switch with VCC GND input, and a single Analog out. from the centre pin.
I have a new solder rework station now, so instead of the frypan I used previously for SMD soldering, I am using the heatgun which is much more useful 

Once soldering on we are left with the below.

One thing I will incorporate on a future PCB build will be some onboard LED’s to avoid any shadows caused by the PCB.

It took a little noodling to get my Arduino code right for the Resistor Ladder, but now I have it sorted these work a treat using just a single analog port.

Now they are in, I have got the Box fully assembled and tested and working a treat with DCSBIOS.
There is a little lag with the webcam recording so the delay is quite minimal from when the switches are flicked.

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DCS F18 Hornet Cockpit Panel Toggle Box Part 1

I have been adapting my generic toggle box and expanding on it to make it a larger unit with specific Cockpit Controls for use DCS F18 Hornet.

The Box is longer, and will take the most common controls and use DCSBIOS to map Directly to DCS F18 Module

First up the box with base plate lit up, just want to check the light is evenly distributed which to the eye it pretty much is perfect. (The camera is a little less forgiving)

Next We place the middle plate to hold the Toggle switch and Potentiometer Locking nuts along with the engraved top plate.

Flick the lights on and we can see that in bright daylight the green backlighting shows through quite well. There is a little patch on the bottom corner that isn’t lit, but in the darker environment it shows up fine. I will still look at LED placement to fix this if I can.

Now we look at the problem, it is a bit of a spaghetti with the wiring

The reason for this is I was trying to adapt a Control board from my F16 ICP Project. This really won’t do as the placement is not ideal.

The solution is of course a custom PCB for the Toggle Box. Now I don’t want to get stuck in the same boat here so my logic is to make a generic shift register breakout board that I can use in pretty much any project.

I figure 2 shift registers per board gives me 16 inputs which is more than enough, and we have the capability to daisy chain these together. Another Feature to add in is a few extra jumpers to draw off VCC and GND, that can be used for potentiometer inputs, rotary encoders etc, reducing the cables to just being the Inputs to the arduino.

After a bit of designing and Manufacture we get the below beauty.

These look and work pretty great so I will look at selling this populated for those interested in Shift Register Breakout boards for their Flight Simulator Projects.

While I was at it, I was looking at the Rotary Switches, this box had 3 rotary switches, totalling up to 15 inputs required. I thought I would get a little smarter and decided to use a Digital to Analog converter using a resistor ladder, this way each switch only requires a single Analog input. I thought I would make a PCB as well for that to mount to the Rotary switch to make things cleaner. I will post up that progress next.

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