The Universal Flight Simulator

JDat

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Yes, exactly. USB between buttons and RPi. And there are many options:
1) Buttons => Leonardo => USB => RPi
2) Buttons => disassembled USB keyboard => USB RPi
3) Buttons => RPi GPIO.
Only ~24 buttons because not enough GPIO. Can be used in my project.
4) Buttons => Keypad matrix wiring => RPi GPIO
Can be used both by your and my projects. Already implemented code in python, but not tested yet.
There are many options how to wire buttons. To make PythonVNC viewer code more easy, it is recommended to wire separate matrix block for each MFD.
I really don't want to implement two VNC objects into single Python code. Instead it is possible to make 2 separate PythonVNC applications who have almost similar code.

Regarding buttons. No, there aren't any click and nice feeling. They have light press force. I purchased some buttons in local electronic store to get an idea and feeling. PS15BBK was best for me. Now I need some free time to solder and test buttons with RPI in matrix wiring.

Just found on internet my LCD TV: https://www.globalmediapro.com/dp/A02X08/Swit-M-1050B-3-x-5-inch-LCD-Monitor/
I disassembled and took one module out of metal frame for experiments.

Thanks for help offering. Will write you PM if need some CAD help.
 
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Phil Smith

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Yes, exactly. USB between buttons and RPi. And there are many options:
1) Buttons => Leonardo => USB => RPi
2) Buttons => disassembled USB keyboard => USB RPi
3) Buttons => RPi GPIO.
Only ~24 buttons because not enough GPIO. Can be used in my project.
4) Buttons => Keypad matrix wiring => RPi GPIO
Can be used both by your and my projects. Already implemented code in python, but not tested yet.
There are many options how to wire buttons. To make PythonVNC viewer code more easy, it is recommended to wire separate matrix block for each MFD.
I really don't want to implement two VNC objects into single Python code. Instead it is possible to make 2 separate PythonVNC applications who have almost similar code.

Regarding buttons. No, there aren't any click and nice feeling. They have light press force. I purchased some buttons in local electronic store to get an idea and feeling. PS15BBK was best for me. Now I need some free time to solder and test buttons with RPI in matrix wiring.

Just found on internet my LCD TV: https://www.globalmediapro.com/dp/A02X08/Swit-M-1050B-3-x-5-inch-LCD-Monitor/
I disassembled and took one module out of metal frame for experiments.

Thanks for help offering. Will write you PM if need some CAD help.
I guess it's time to redraw my MFD block diagram :)
Right now I've been waiting for some components to arrive to completely redesign display hardware - instead of one box with all pcb's I plan using one frame with multiple cards (i.e. shielded boxes with pcb inside).
Also I've been redesigning pit's power supply distribution system. Instead of having 230VAC 50Hz, I'd like to have primary sim voltage source of 27VDC, thus I can use a lot surplus aircraft componets, such as fuses, circuit breakers, switches, etc. So MFD power supply block diagram will be looking like this:
+27VDC IN -> +12VDC -> 220VAC 50Hz 50W (for display)
+12VDC -> +5VDC 15W (for raspberry)

This setup completely eliminates long runs of AC power lines through out the pit, thus decreasing EMI
 

JDat

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Lower voltage is safer, that's true.
I would go with 24VDC because it's more or less standard in industrial electronics, but... It's depend on your taste.
RPi can be powered with 3A DC/DC step down converter from aliexpress like LM2596 or something more powerful.

If you tear down LCD, you, probably will find that inside is 220VAC =>12VDC.
Than 12VDC => 800VAC CFL lamp inverter and 12VDC => 5VDC => 3.3VDC linear (or DC/DC) regulators for logic. At least this is my experience with old 15" LCD monitors. So, you can use another 3A DC/DC step down converter for LCD. Theoretically... If this is true for your monitor, then... you know what to do...

Why you had problems with USB and EMI? Well... It is bad idea to send USB signals thru Sub-D connectors on long distances, because USB have 480 MHz square wave signals and Sub-D is not rated for these frequencies. Even worse if you add Ethernet lines on the same Sub-D connector. I think it is the only source of problems. There is no reason to have other EMI interference problems. For USB and Ethernet it is better to use standard connectors even it not look aviation grade.

It you want kinda professional Ethernet connector, search for Neutrik EtherConn connectors. No aviation grade, but...

Last note: I am crazy enougth, so I can recommend you to try PoE solution for project. Imagine that you have only one Ethernet cable for MFD and nothing more. At the same time PoE have own small difficulties and some work in electronics.

From time to time I am updating code on github. Already implemented matrix keypad code, but don't have time to test it. Did you experimented with python VNC viewer on RPi?
 

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Today internet was down for few hours. That was good reason to solder buttons and debug some code...

Yes! My crappy looking MFD working in a way I want it! ?

Todo:
  • Need to fix command line parametrs.
  • Write guide, so nonprogrammers can configure and use it.
  • Lot of other work.

Real MFD is 100 000% better than virtual on your laptop! ?

Big mess of wires on rear:

IMG_0100.jpg


Ugly, but fully functional front:

IMG_0099.jpg
 
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Phil Smith

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Lower voltage is safer, that's true.
I would go with 24VDC because it's more or less standard in industrial electronics, but... It's depend on your taste.
RPi can be powered with 3A DC/DC step down converter from aliexpress like LM2596 or something more powerful.

If you tear down LCD, you, probably will find that inside is 220VAC =>12VDC.
Than 12VDC => 800VAC CFL lamp inverter and 12VDC => 5VDC => 3.3VDC linear (or DC/DC) regulators for logic. At least this is my experience with old 15" LCD monitors. So, you can use another 3A DC/DC step down converter for LCD. Theoretically... If this is true for your monitor, then... you know what to do...

Why you had problems with USB and EMI? Well... It is bad idea to send USB signals thru Sub-D connectors on long distances, because USB have 480 MHz square wave signals and Sub-D is not rated for these frequencies. Even worse if you add Ethernet lines on the same Sub-D connector. I think it is the only source of problems. There is no reason to have other EMI interference problems. For USB and Ethernet it is better to use standard connectors even it not look aviation grade.

It you want kinda professional Ethernet connector, search for Neutrik EtherConn connectors. No aviation grade, but...

Last note: I am crazy enougth, so I can recommend you to try PoE solution for project. Imagine that you have only one Ethernet cable for MFD and nothing more. At the same time PoE have own small difficulties and some work in electronics.

From time to time I am updating code on github. Already implemented matrix keypad code, but don't have time to test it. Did you experimented with python VNC viewer on RPi?
Yeah, power supply is quite straight forward, even in my case. So, basically, choose your flavor.
I have modular approach, something like on the picture in the attachment below - each converter or processor board is separate shielded module inserted in the frame with the back plane connectors (in my case - they are DB9/15/25).
My previous attempt to run multiple long USB lines via DB connectors to the hub failed, but if I'll connect arduino to the raspberry, then it'll happen inside shielded modules with short cable.

I have no issues running Ethernet CAT5 (100 MHz) thru DBs so far though.


Very neat MFD prototype you have there! Congratulations on the working module! :probe:(y)

PS. Oh yeah, I found these beauties out - https://www.lemo.com/en/cat-6-ethernet-rugged-2m-series-connector - CAT6 cannon connectors - but the price is over my budget :LOL: But they look gorgeous, dont they??:cool:
 

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JDat

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Thank you!
What are your progress on MFD? Are you already tested pythonMFD with RPi on your setup? Button wiring?


Modularity... It depends...

I see it different:
* Every MFD is complete RPi device with ethernet + power cable. Maybe PoE, maybe DC power, maybe AC power.
S* itch panels are arduino + ethernet shield. Many arduinos. Similaro to Australia goys approach for Boeiong 747 simulator. https://www.youtube.com/c/EevblogDave/search?query=simulator Build many arduinos with discrete IN and OUT and wire to Ethernet switch.
* Joystick (or many joysticks and pedals) => RaspberryPi => ehternet => orbiter PC
Trottle, pedals => arduino => ethernet shield => ethernet => orbiterPC

Addons? Well not so good right now. One option is orbConect, but I want something better. Slowly working (actually learning how to use MS Visual studio) on add-on development.

I don't like LEMO, because they are expensive. When you need to find mating connector for some device (for example pro video camera) it is pain. So, no LEMO.
I mentioned Neutrik EtherConn connectors. Much cheaper. https://www.neutrik.com/en/products/audio/ethercon
Or something more cheaper form electronic store (TME, Farnell, Digikey).
 

Phil Smith

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Thank you!
What are your progress on MFD? Are you already tested pythonMFD with RPi on your setup? Button wiring?


Modularity... It depends...

I see it different:
* Every MFD is complete RPi device with ethernet + power cable. Maybe PoE, maybe DC power, maybe AC power.
S* itch panels are arduino + ethernet shield. Many arduinos. Similaro to Australia goys approach for Boeiong 747 simulator. https://www.youtube.com/c/EevblogDave/search?query=simulator Build many arduinos with discrete IN and OUT and wire to Ethernet switch.
* Joystick (or many joysticks and pedals) => RaspberryPi => ehternet => orbiter PC
Trottle, pedals => arduino => ethernet shield => ethernet => orbiterPC

Addons? Well not so good right now. One option is orbConect, but I want something better. Slowly working (actually learning how to use MS Visual studio) on add-on development.

I don't like LEMO, because they are expensive. When you need to find mating connector for some device (for example pro video camera) it is pain. So, no LEMO.
I mentioned Neutrik EtherConn connectors. Much cheaper. https://www.neutrik.com/en/products/audio/ethercon
Or something more cheaper form electronic store (TME, Farnell, Digikey).
My MFDs are in a queue :)) They are in the same state I posted before.
Right now I wanna finish my 3018 cnc project for making PCBs again.
I've done all designing for new mfd modules (including local power supply boards), purchased all components and, after I finish my cnc, I'll start tinkering MFDs again.

I've designed all MFDs as separate devices, with Lan and power (+27VDC) connection. All nessesary voltages for LCD panel, rasbperry, etc are generated "onboard".

PS. Little sneak-peak of the cnc control box I've been wiring for 3 days.. :) And backplane with mounted power supplies (24VDC 320W for logic and steppers and 100VDC 500W one for the spindle).
Front panel is not finished yet and missing spindle FWD/REV toggle switch and status lights. Also used some temporary cable ties cause without em it would me a nightmare..
PSPS - That default Kronos GBRL board looks so small and fragile.. ? :LOL:
 

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Phil Smith

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Hey y'all!

I decided to take a break from my cnc build and redesign Primary MFD bezel to make it more professional and elegant. I like look of those 18x18 push buttons, but they are rather bulky and not so aerospace lookin.
So my goal is to create a bezel with thickness of 20 mm and with no protrusion on the side to make full contact with mounting rail. After some though process I came up with button design which is clicky and takes some force to actuate - it's just a simple 12x12 tactile PCB button with 9x15x0.6 mm spring:

51181311047_9a79c9e39f_h.jpg

51181311072_b755c6de24_h.jpg


Very nice feeling without busting the bank. Actuating force is around 5-8 N. Bezel interfaces with MFD electronics via 3 dsub9 connectors, making clean and professional look.
All internal cavities are connected via system of passages.
I plan to make button caps with 3 layers of cnc'ed acrylic squares glued together and engrave writings on them.
Also, as JDat suggested, I've splitted lower and upper MFD keypad circuits for easier interfacing.

51182784664_bfd72ff81f_c.jpg


51181998091_53b8e855a4_b.jpg


51181311032_45e2a64c48_h.jpg


Ok, but now I should get back to the cnc build! :coffee:
Cheers!
 

Phil Smith

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PS. Little test jigs I've printed and assembled for choosing right spring and measuring forces and travel.
51182528468_1949474e39_b.jpg


Option 3 is a winner here. It has nice actuating force (not so hard as other two, and not so soft as PC keyboard) and most audible click.
Op. 1 and 2 can be used as more important switches, such as autopilot functions, etc, when you dont have to press them several times in a row, like MFD side buttons. ?
 

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Wow! Looks so great! Keep going. We all are waiting for construction news and new pictures. I am waiting when we can continue discussion about electronics, software and debugging.
 

Phil Smith

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Wow! Looks so great! Keep going. We all are waiting for construction news and new pictures. I am waiting when we can continue discussion about electronics, software and debugging.
Thank you, JDat! Yeah, I'm waiting it too, man. I really hope your script would work in my situation.
I've just done redrawing yet another version of the primary MFD module block diagram, including split top and bottom keypads and power supplies. LCD panel itself is isolated via 1:1 40W tranformer and own 230V 1A fast-blo fuse making the thing little bit safer.
I've bought fistful of arduino pro micros (they take less space than leonardo) and raspberry pi model B+ 1.2 (cause it has 4 usb ports - I plan using 2 for keypad and 2 for keyboard/mouse). All ethernet and usb cables are shielded, as well as their connectors.
So my next step (after completing cnc) is to finish designing of all MFD pcbs, case, etc and then to print / machine all hardware.

If you got some updates on your project - let me know too!
Cheers!
 

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Phil Smith

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Also I've done wiring the control box for my 3018 cnc project. It's ALIVE!! :devilish::LOL:Just waiting for 1 switch and several terminals to arrive and I can begin cable lacing :)

PS. It's very funny to find out that your spindle has not +100VDC power supply, as advertised, but 100VAC 400 Hz instead.. :ROFLMAO:
 

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JDat

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Nice CNC control box. Good luck and finish it as soon as possible.

Regarding schematics and MFDs. I made matrix keyboards without arduinos. I connected matrix switch ROWS and COLS to RPi GPIO directly. I am using adafuit matrix kaypad library. Not the best matrix code, but it works good for MFD.

For what reason you want to control lamps for MFD matrix switches? To dim lights globally (like apollo and shuttle?), get visual feedback on keypress, global lamp test?

Before building PCBs and wiring everything, I really recommend you to build dirty, but electrically working prototype and fine tune hardware and software.

I am still see MFD as complete module containing power supply, RPi and LCD. The same is true for your dual MFD. Tou outside world you only need power and Ethernet cables. No need for keyboard and mouse for RPi, because you can access RPi via VNC from external (behid scenes, backstage) control computer (PC or another RPi) and/or configure all things (python MFD) with bash scripting.

I really like Australins Boeing 747 idea. All contains lot of RPis with HDMI out for displays including 4K video for windows and lot of arduinos for analog and digital I/Os (switches, mini 7 segment displays, potentiometers, circuit breakers etc). All devices are interconnected with Ethernet. Ethernet control for Orbiter is also doable, but need to modify (add features and recompile) few existing addons.
 

Phil Smith

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Nice CNC control box. Good luck and finish it as soon as possible.

Regarding schematics and MFDs. I made matrix keyboards without arduinos. I connected matrix switch ROWS and COLS to RPi GPIO directly. I am using adafuit matrix kaypad library. Not the best matrix code, but it works good for MFD.

For what reason you want to control lamps for MFD matrix switches? To dim lights globally (like apollo and shuttle?), get visual feedback on keypress, global lamp test?

Before building PCBs and wiring everything, I really recommend you to build dirty, but electrically working prototype and fine tune hardware and software.

I am still see MFD as complete module containing power supply, RPi and LCD. The same is true for your dual MFD. Tou outside world you only need power and Ethernet cables. No need for keyboard and mouse for RPi, because you can access RPi via VNC from external (behid scenes, backstage) control computer (PC or another RPi) and/or configure all things (python MFD) with bash scripting.

I really like Australins Boeing 747 idea. All contains lot of RPis with HDMI out for displays including 4K video for windows and lot of arduinos for analog and digital I/Os (switches, mini 7 segment displays, potentiometers, circuit breakers etc). All devices are interconnected with Ethernet. Ethernet control for Orbiter is also doable, but need to modify (add features and recompile) few existing addons.

I like the fact having just one Pi without arduinos and usb interconnects... Please keep me posted with the results. Actually I though about global keyboard/mouse solution via LAN - will be neat.

Yeah, basically, standard backlight control circuit (Boeing, Apollo, Shuttle, you name it) with dedicated panel - on/off, dimming, test.

Of course - breadboarding is mandatory :)

Man! That B-747 with new real pit kicks major a**! Saw them on the EEVBLOG channel and felt in love ever since - best Dave's video so far! :LOL: ? I like the fact they've done all control stuff via ethernet too - so slick.
 

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Emm.. Actually there are no major updates. Software just works for me. Source code is on Github. Now thinking about 10 inch 4:3 monitor (LCD or CRT, HDMI/VGA or Composite video). Slowly drawing panel. Because I have no experience with 2D/3D CAD software and have minimal experience with CNC, I am using Vectric VCarve to draw panel for my 5" 4:3 small LCD and thinking about general cockpit layout. I like DeltaGlider 3D layout. This could be base for my cockpit.

Fun ideas:
Need to add "Fasten Seat-belts" lights somewhere.
Small gasoline engine to replicate spaceship startup similar to Colin's Furze AT-AT walker cold start.
Jump start lead system to simulate empty battery and jump start scenario.
Fog machines to simulate fire in cabin. So cabin ventilation is really important.
Outside look could be similar to Start Trek Type 15 Shuttlepod.
 
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JDat

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Looks like I moving to next level. Now I can recompile Rcontrol add-on module with Visual Studio 2019. As learning I added Aeorosurface control in Rcontrol and it works. This opens new opportunities to add remote control for Orbiter. Things like Ethernet interfacing now looks real. Looks like simpit need orbiter timewarp control panel. I will try to make new add-op with Ethernet/UDP control for this as exercise. But this is separate discussion what goes to add-op development.

PS: Sorry Martin, but sendBufferedKeys() API function sux!

Regarding isolation transformer. Why you need one? Make it simple! You building simulator not real aircraft/spacecraft electrical wiring. Concentrate on functionality not aviation electrical engineering from aircraft books. No prctical need for isolation transformer in MFD assembly. I you don't like original PSU, add one yourself. Most 15 inch LCD have 12V ~3A Switching PSU inside. You can add 12V PSU in Raspberry Pi box, remove original PSU and wire 12V between RPi box and LCD.
 

Phil Smith

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Looks like I moving to next level. Now I can recompile Rcontrol add-on module with Visual Studio 2019. As learning I added Aeorosurface control in Rcontrol and it works. This opens new opportunities to add remote control for Orbiter. Things like Ethernet interfacing now looks real. Looks like simpit need orbiter timewarp control panel. I will try to make new add-op with Ethernet/UDP control for this as exercise. But this is separate discussion what goes to add-op development.

PS: Sorry Martin, but sendBufferedKeys() API function sux!

Regarding isolation transformer. Why you need one? Make it simple! You building simulator not real aircraft/spacecraft electrical wiring. Concentrate on functionality not aviation electrical engineering from aircraft books. No prctical need for isolation transformer in MFD assembly. I you don't like original PSU, add one yourself. Most 15 inch LCD have 12V ~3A Switching PSU inside. You can add 12V PSU in Raspberry Pi box, remove original PSU and wire 12V between RPi box and LCD.
Hey Jdat,
that sounds great!! Orbiter I/O sim support needs to be redesign..badly:hailprobe:

Regarding isolation transformers and complexity... It's not just a simple simpit project.. I guess :) I like to design and make thing closely as possible to the real deal. There're a lot of real awesome fighter and commercial pits, but not many for Orbiter. It deserves it! :)))

Speaking of the real deal.. I can't believe I've just scored REAL TU-134 Rudder pedals (first officer side) for the sim! OMG!
51207386432_231cd2ef8b.jpg


It's quite self-contained unit measuring 600x620x440(h) mm with mass of around 20 kg.
Right now I'm planing to disassemble and clean em and start to transfer all elements on Inventor.

Also found TU-134 illustrated parts catalogue (with English translations!!!), including rudder pedals assy (for captain side):
51208893589_265782d49e_b.jpg

There're a lot to be undone and measured! :coffee:
So now, back to work! ?
 
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Wow! That's an awesome "gadget"! Nice catch! Nuff said! Keep going!

I am thinking to use DeltaGlider source code as base for additional simpit fuctionality. Theory: redraw/hack virtual cockpit (3D cockpit) to split 3 windows and HUD drawing, then send from main PC to 4 HDMI outputs via graphic cards to get correct simulated glass window pictures + HUD output to small projector. Right now stuck with DG source code compiling. Hope will fix it soon.
 

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Wow! That's an awesome "gadget"! Nice catch! Nuff said! Keep going!

I am thinking to use DeltaGlider source code as base for additional simpit fuctionality. Theory: redraw/hack virtual cockpit (3D cockpit) to split 3 windows and HUD drawing, then send from main PC to 4 HDMI outputs via graphic cards to get correct simulated glass window pictures + HUD output to small projector. Right now stuck with DG source code compiling. Hope will fix it soon.
Thank you!!

Nice thing is DG source code is available - very convenient Martin's move.
Actually, being close-coded, XR2 has nice API to extract different vehicle status information. Basically I dont understand yet how to take values from it and send them to the sim.
Several screens in place of windows or 3 projectors with 270 DIY screen will be fantastic. Like here:
But instead of open pit you have an enclosed pod with real windows and 270 screen around. Hatch could be located on top and had round window with small 15" display attached.
 

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This could be costly! Not my budget. I see it in a way that HD LCD (or oled or plasma) TV simulate window. Yes, We loos that nice perspective, but costs... Now I am looking for local sponsor for simpit building. There is hope I will find one.
 
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