Thought I should come back to the F18 Hornet Landing Panel, its been a minute.
I have sorted out the Jettison Select Switch. Works a treat.
The Park Brake works good for pull and rotate
The Gear switch works good to. It is a 3 position switch, I am thinking Up is well up, middle is down. and I’m thinking possibly down can triggger Emergency? Not sure on that. Will experiement.
Overall I’m happy with how its turning out so far. I need to do a bit more code tweaking, I am not going to offer a Gear or Park Brake at this point, they will need to be 3d printed and be quite time consuming to print. It will just be a knob at this stage.
I have an idea for landing gear thats not 3d printed, but I’ll have to do some mockups over the next week or 2.
Ok in my haste I designed the HUD panel and testing in DCSBIOS worked beautifully. Coded the HID Mode and “tested” it.. Turns out I didn’t test to well 😉 2 of the pots are the same axis which is no good.
If you are using DCSBIOS you don’t need this everything is fine, just if you want to use HID.
The File to download is below. This is a Firmware you can use to flash the unit to correct it. Obviously new units don’t have this issue.
So After some tinkering I have assembled the first beta Unit of the F18 Left Panel Controller.
I have decided I will be doing 2 versions of this unit, the first one shown here is the “WinWing Version”. There is no point having the Ext Fuel Controls if you have the F18 Hornet WinWing Taurus Throttle as you are doubling up, so this is a shorter version minus that.
Video Below showing the Beta WinWing Unit in Action.
One thing I will never be able to replicate is the “reset” of the Rud Trim, this is an encoder with 360 rotation when pushed it will obviously stay where it is, not much can be done with that. but you could push and rotate yourself back to centre.
Now the gain switch is guarded, and I’m not going to go that route, simply because If I did I would have to worry about a “switch” for it, which I’m not about to do at this stage. What I am thinking of doing whenever the switch is toggled it will auto toggle the guard if it is down.
ILS Channel needs to be “set” before loading the game but will mimic the in game positioning ok, but if you turn past 20 or 1 it will “lose its spot”.
This unit is the same dimensions as the Right panel but Oops I put the cable on the Right side! that will be fixed in the final version putting it on the left :):)
Now to finalise a bit of code for this and I’ll put up for subscription of interest. The full left panel is done, just currently working on a way to secure the APU addon panel to the Main Unit.
Had a bit of time whilst working on a few things with the left panel replica panel so work has begun on the F18 Hornet Landing Panel. Going to keep it simple a relatively compact unit with keeping as close to a replica layout as possible.
For teh landing Gear I went for a 3 position guitar switch as it gives a nice “throw” vs just using a toggle switch. Unfortunately rotation won’t be possible.
The Park Brake is a push poll potentiometer so it should work out quite well.
I had a bit of space and it seemed a shame to waste it, was at a bit of a crossroads with what to put there but with the ECM for this one. when in production, this can be omitted or changed to something else as requested.
I am currently working on the Select Jett Knob, and it will have push functionality. as far as the park brake and Gear handle I won’t be offering anythign fancy there, just a knob for park brakeand maybe something simple for gear. This is a bit more of an undertaking but can be an optional thing later…
Next up on the block we have the first Prototype of the F18 Hud.
The shape of this panel has a profile on it thats not rectangle. Now I did have a swing at this shape but after much cursing I determined this was just not going to be feasible to do at any kind of speed. So we have the nice stock standard rectangle.
Now that meant we had a bit of spare space in the corners, the logical choice was to utilise this to add in our HDG and CRS toggles.
The height of the UFC is 50mm, for the HUD Enclosure I have gone 40mm to give it the difference in depth. As always it will be backlit and controlled by the in game controls.
I did originally envision being able to daisychain the HUD off the UFC Panels Controller but I unfortunatley ran out of pins and this just wasn’t feasible at the time. So this unit has its own USB Port.
With this panel I don’t know how I am going to do the DCSBIOS/HID mode shift as I have controls that are likely to be used in flight. I’ll come back to that.
I am currently awaiting a final PCB for this unit to arrive and I will be able to start production. See below a video of the Prototype in Action.
As far as the UFC for those who are interested, I am releasing the full units in the wild now, but it is a bit of trickle at the moment, one of the IC’s is in limited supply so it is taking time sourcing it plus these units do take more time to assemble vs the others.
I am working my way through the subscribed list notifying as their time comes up.
So Subscribe to register your interest for the UFC to get in the queue.
Once you have downloaded this, see the below instructions on how to reflash your unit with this new hardware.
Now if after doing this you have any wierd issues like Bleed air rotating in wrong direction please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know as you may have one of my earlier units where this was inverted.
Now for something completely different, I have wanted to create a USB Joystick Board Controller for a while so I figured it was time to get cracking.
This is aimed to be a perfect addition to those builing their own Flight Sim Cockpit who want an easier solution for wiring it all up.
The aim of this is a nice compact breakout board , that will interface with an Arduino Pro Micro. The idea of this is it will allow those who are knowledable to write their own code.
I plan on offering these as a breakout board only, or with a Pro micro configured to work as a HID Joystick (or possibility DCSBSIOS)
Coming in at 65mm x 80mm we have the below little beauty
This unit will allow 40Digital Inputs for switches buttons etc. The pins are aligned in rows of 4 so that you have Input-GND-INPUT-GND This way you can have 2 way switches on each 4pin header, or its easy to have a 3way switch with the GND in the middle. Also the 9 Analog Inputs are broken out to a GND-INPUT-VCC.
I have also allowed for some Green SMD LEDS on it that can solder jumped to activate, and also there is an LED output header as well. This is controlled by ALOG9 input so we can use PWM to adjust brightness etc.
We also have 6 onboard digital pints broken out with a GND and VCC that you can use for Encoders, or Digital LED’s etc
Pic with Arduino mounted.
I will be writing the software initially for this as a pure HID device with no frills, but as time permits I will make a GUI so you can do some configuration.
This can even be used with the great MMJOY firmware if you wanted to install it yourself, I may even provide a guide as well to help with the pin mappings.
Sat down last night and knocked out an easy one. the “first” for the F18 Hornet Left panel Controllers.
This is the model for those after the replica to match the right replica. It has the Fuel. FCS VOL and OBOGS Controls. Nothing you wouldn’t expect but a pic below.
This will come in at 371mm x 152mm the same size as the F16 Right Panel Unit.
First challenge is the Manual ILS Chanel. I don’t have a 20 position rotary switch. What I am thinking here is I will use a Rotary Encoder. This means you won’t Truly “know” where the switch is at without setting it prior to loading the game to the game default and it may not line up exactly. For how often it gets used I think thats ok IMO..
Second Challenge is the Rud Trim. Again to be able to PUSH i need that to be a rotary encoder, but it won’t give the right feel or setting, a Potentiometer will be best for that purpose, but a Rotary Encoder will give the push button ability but it will have the same issues above with aligning on launch and remembering position.
The real condundrum now is for the replica version what do I do with the other panels?? Ant Sel, APU, Formation GND PWR etc.. I feel like perhaps they may just not warrant making the cut in a working left replica panel. Also as peoples throttles are quite different there is no one size fits all replica lay out option.
One thing I am thinking Maybe I will integrate the APU Ext Lights and GND PWR into the bottom of a box with the Left Aux panel?
I would love to hear the thoughts of anybody that might be interested in a left “close to replica” panel and hear what they had to say.
Next up is I am working on the Left “Multi panel” this will capture more of the common controls from the left side into a single box without a replica layout. Keep an eye out, and again if you have any thoughts on what you think must (and must not) make it into a multi Left box