Category: Annunciators

Progress Update

I’ve been making progress trying to get the overhead complete.  I’ve got about 75% of the indicators installed.  I need to pick up another bottle of flat black paint tomorrow so I can airbrush the rest of the indicator boxes.  I have a OpenCockpits USB Output card that’ll power most of the LEDs, while the rest will be powered by a Mastercard I will install.

 

Not crazy about the ProSimParts knobs so I may eventually replace those with some from Opencockpits.

I also installed Display card kit and was able to use some of my existing display card PCB’s from my radio panels to make the wiring nice and tidy.  A 2nd display card will be installed for the electrical panel.  I have a custom PCB on order for those displays.

 

May need to insert some sort of tint to the electrical display panel so the 7-segment displays aren’t so visible when off.

And here’s a USB hub I installed.

 

I’m trying to consolidate cables as much as possible to reduce the number of cables needed to connect the overhead to the sim.  With a custom PCB I made for the mastercard, I’ll be able to carry the Mastercard signal, up to 3 servos, 5v power and 12v power if needed on a single ribbon cable along with a single USB cable.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 5.58.53 PM

 

I also made a custom Input/Output board for the Mastercard.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 5.59.00 PM

I can get three of these for about $23 versus $33 for a single Opencockpits board.  One side is used as an Input board while the other is used as an Output.  There’s solder pads for direct soldering to the board or 2.54mm pitch headers for terminal block or pins.  The board is small enough that with you could plug it right into the Mastercard with the right connector (or some just pins if you build the cards yourself).

Custom Indicator Box PCB

For my current indicators I used the Open Cockpits Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) but you have to add a resistor between the board and their I/O cards.  So for those I did some circuit rerouting on their PCB by cutting one of the traces, glueing a resistor to the board and then soldering the electrical connection.  It was a pain to do but it worked.

So this time around I decided to create some custom LED PCB’s  to use with my overhead indicator boxes with a resistor built in.

  

My Green and Blue indicators use 2 resistors per board while the Orange (Amber) ones use 1 resistor.

737 Landing Light Caps

My 3D printed landing light switch caps arrived and turned out pretty good.

 

The inside diameter of the tube was about a 1.5mm too large so it kinda wiggles on the switch arm.  But I figure once I glue it into place it should be ok. The length also was about 2mm too long but I’ve already trimmed that off.  Next up will be painting and then attaching.

I also received my first batch of overhead indicator boxes.

Once these kit painted I’ll be working on installing those.

Box Molding

Yesterday after getting home I tried to create the mold for the annuniciator boxes.  It’s a two part mold I was going to try but I must not have let the 1st mold sit long enough to cure. After I poured the 2nd half the whole mold it dried in one solid chunk.  Doh!

I’m also having my doubts to whether it would actually work because of how thin the boxes are.  The slightest misalignment in the mold plug (for the hollow inside) may screw up the whole casting.

This morning I created a new 3D model and doubled up on the wall sizes to increase it’s rigidity (1.4mm vs 0.7mm) but it has bumped the price up $1.21 to just over $4/box. Yikes!  So instead of all the walls I did just the top lip where the text panel gets glued on. That yielded just a $0.27 bump to $3.14/box.

I’m going to airbrush the boxes I have now black, cut out the LED holes, glue on a text panel and see how it works with the LEDs installed using the O/C led boards.

If it works well, I’m really thinking of just ordering the 3D printed models in batches over time despite the cost at this point. Be a lot easier.

3D Printed Boxes

Got my 3D printed annuniciator boxes in yesterday.  Here they are fresh out the box.

The top lip was a little thinner than I expected compared to an OpenCockpits box, a result of trying to cut down volume (and price) as much as possible.  I might cut some styrene strips and line the inside walls to give a little more surface area to glue the annunicators on.

The annuciators still fit fine though.

And most importantly they fit in the overhead panels.

I have to travel this weekend so next week I’m gonna start working on molding these guys so I can try to copy cast them in black plastic resin.

 

Overhead Boxes

Here’s the finalized design with proper dimensions.


Final price came out to $2.87/each for the rough print. I ordered 5 of the polished models for about $0.50 cents more so they’ll have a smoother surface.

The boxes should arrive in about 2-3 weeks looks like, then I can get to molding and casting.

Overhead Annunciator Boxes

As I previously discovered, the OpenCockpits Annuciator boxes don’t fit the ProSimParts overhead panels.  The boxes are about 2mm to large.  So I set off to find a solution.

Today I almost, sorta have one.  I began playing with some 3D software and roughed up a 3D design for an annuciator box similiar to the O/C one but sized to fit the ProSimParts Panels.  Here’s the draft design:

674x501_987762_889376_1363888629

The only problem… the price.  The 3D printing cost is $2.42USD each for a white box ($2.90USD for black).   For comparison, the O/C boxes are about $1.30USD each

$2.42 sounds cheap but when you need 100 of these little guys it adds up. $242 just for boxes! You can get O/C boxes, annuciators and LEDs for the same price. Granted they wouldn’t fit 🙂

So…. time for Plan C?

I’m thinking of ordering a couple of these guys so I can get a nice, clean properly sized box and then take another crack and molding and casting them myself.  If I can do 5-10 at a time, it wouldn’t take too many castings to make a full set.  Once a mold is made, casting would probably take ~15mins a set.

While it’s lot more work it should be a LOT cheaper in the long run if I can figure out how to do it. A $25 bottle of resin could probably cast over a thousand boxes since these are small and mostly hallow. Plus I could cast them in black tinted resin.

So that’s where things are at now.  Once I get the 3D design finalized and confirmed to fit I’ll gladly make it available for purchase at cost for anyone who wants to buy them.  Depending how the casting goes I may also offer to make/sell those too.

Annunciator Assembly

Starting assembling the annunciators for the Custom MIP. I’m using Opencockpits panels, LED boxes, LED PCB’s and 3-pin connectors.

First I soldered all the 3-pin connectors to the PCB’s.

I did mine so that when you look at the PCB and can ready “opencockpits”, the plastic prong on the connector is to the right of the pins.  Doesn’t matter really though, just keep them all the same so keep wiring simple.

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