Category: Main Instrument Panel

Throttle Bay Progress

This weekend I was able to get the final bits of wiring done on the Throttle Bay and began programming all the inputs.  As of last night I was able to get everything setup in FSUIPC in P3D V4 except for the FMC keys.  I’ll need to use opencockpits SIOC for that, so that’ll be this weeks project.

Throttle Bay

Of course it wasn’t until I was programming the toggle switches I noticed I have the “off” and “on” labels for the logo and collision lights reversed.  Whoops.

I was hoping to make some progress on the MIP wiring but I ended up running out of wire, so that’s on hold till my reorder of wire arrives this week.

MIP MIP

So in the mean time I started working on a overhead panel project.  For this panel I was thinking rather than having all the text and such etched on the panel directly, I’d create a printed overlay with it all along with some colored panels.  This way the panel could just be made with the cutouts for indicators and switches, cutting it’s cost by 50%.  It’s an early look at the photoshop file for the overlay.

overhead

The Winter Season

With winter weather in full swing now, the cold garage has been been slowing me down from wanting get in there and working on the 737 panels.  Since November I did mange to some progress, but not as much as I would’ve liked.  Here’s a recent photos of the panels, along with a new workbench I managed to build just before the temps dropped in later December.

MIP MIP MIP MIP MIP Throttle Bay Throttle Bay Bench

 

Panels Arrived

My two custom fabricated panels arrived yesterday afternoon and they came out great.

Panel Panel

My two main concerns were the opening for the FMC and the AFDS panel, but luckily they came out perfect and the items fit right in. I ordered these from Front Panel Express this time around. Order to delivery took 12 days and the panels came extremely well packaged as well.

With the panels in hand, I can now work on building up the MIP frame and a housing for what I’ll just call the CDU panel.

October Update

After constantly tweaking the MIP design, I think I’ve finally nailed it down.

The biggest issue for me with the design was how high the monitor was going to be.  I use this PC for other stuff, so I need the monitor to be at a comfortable height over the MIP. So last week I finally picked up a new monitor arm so I can see exactly how high the monitor could go and still be comfortable to use.

With that in mind I created a new 1-panel MIP design.

Panel

The two big height savers were removing the FMC and switching from using a single 20″ or so monitor for the displays to 3 8.4″ displays.  this dropped the height from 14″ to about 11″.  With the panel angled a little bit, the height it just about 10″, leaving the monitor and a nice height.

Since I went and ordered 3 monitors, I need a way to hook to them up. So I started shopping for a 2nd video card but that then kicked off a whole shopping spree event. Over the course of the previous week, I ordered:

  • GTX 1060 Video Card
  • Saitek Flight Yoke
  • Saitek Pro Rudder Pedals
  • Prepar3d v4
  • PMDG 737NGX for P3D
  • Subscription to Navigraph

I basically bought everything I’ve been wanting to buy except for the panels and display bezels.  I’m hoping to get the panels ordered this week.

This afternoon I came home to a package at my door, the GTX 1060 card had arrived! I was eager to get all my displays hooked up for a test run.

MFD Displays

Everything ran and looked great on them.

You’ll notice a small panel there on the left, under the monitor.  That’s gonna be my CDU Bay panel. It’ll house the FMC, IRS indicators/switches, engine start switches, switches for exterior lights, aircraft doors, and a keypad.  I’m planning on building a simply throttle stand to mount the Jetmax throttle to along with that panel.  I’m really debating if I should add another 8.4″ lower Eicas monitor to it though for future 777 flights. Hmm….

August Updates

Been a while since my last update, I’ll try and recap everything that’s been on.

FMC

I left with the ordering of a custom PCB board for my OpenCockpits FMC Kit.  They board arrived in a couple days and looked great…. at first.

 

FMC FMC FMC

At first I noticed I goofed on the pin spacing for the resistors, then I next noticed I had the pin spacing wrong on the header pins for the LEDs and backlight inputs. I though no problem, I cna work with that still. So i went and soldered all the SMDS and switches in place. And that’s when I when I found the big error. I completely missed including some switches into the traces. So many of the switches didn’t. Doh!

So it was back to the drawing board. I updated the design to move all the resistors to the back of the board in a single spot, redid the wire diagram for all the switches and also redid the diagram for the backlight to make sure they were correct too. And fixed the header pin spacing. The 2nd boards came in and this time, everything worked. 🙂

FMC FMC FMC FMC FMC

So with the PCB project now complete, the assembly of the FMC is slowly underway.

 

737 throttle

My original plan for a throttle was still up in the air. With Jetmax no longer selling their throttle unit, I was looking into building a housing to use a Saitek throttle in.  And the 1 day my phone dinged. It was for a Jetmax 737 Throttle that showed up on Ebay.  After a quick look over the pictures, everything seemed to be in good condition so I jumped on it.  A few days later, I had my throttle problem solved.

Throttle Throttle Throttle Throttle Throttle

I plan on building a small CDU bay to go in front to probably hold a few custom panels with some buttons and switches on it.

Other Stuff

I’ve pretty got my MIP layout finalized.  I’ll have to put together mock up but basic plan is to put the FMC on the left side, 3 displays and then MIP switches like landing gear, flaps guage, etc..  The top portion of the panel with have the MCP unit, sixpack indicators, master/fire switches and the COMM and NAV radio panels.  this way I keep the bulk of the wiring and I/O cards contained into a single unit.

Speaking of MPC, I recently picked up a OpenCockpits MCP from them last week.  I’m trying to get most of the panels I need in order to finalize where cutouts need to be in the MIP panel as I plan on getting a metal frame fabricated for it.

MCP

Ended up with the Honeywell version as that’s all they seem to sell now, but I do like the custom knobs on and was delighted to find the unit comes with backlighting installed already.  I haven’t tested that out yet though.

I’m also working on some PCB’s for my Comm and Nav panels for the 7-segment displays, so I’ll show those off whenever I get them done and fabricated.

That’s about it for now.

New Custom Panel Design

Working on a new panel idea for the MIP.

20130923-132542.jpg

Looking at maybe moving all the controls to a 2nd panel that will fit under the monitors so it’s more out of the way when not in use. A new middle panel will also be made that’ll be just the lower monitor and the MCP, again at a height so it will fit underneath the monitors. Right now everything really sticks out. Looking to try to get everything flush for a cleaner look.

Panel will also be a 737/777 hybrid as you’ll see a few controls on the panel specifically for the 777 for when I get it. Also moved all the switches from the FMC stand to this panel as I may install a small lower Eicas monitor for EFB or something.

Here’s another design that also moves the MCP letting me use the whole front monitor (since I use this PC for other games too):

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 8.05.32 AM

737 MIP – Version 2

Here’s a mockup of the V2 MIP.

Biggest difference is the addition of a 16″ LCD panel for the MIP displays.  I’ve pretty much gone through and added all the knobs/switches from the MIP as well so I can move away from using the Virtual Cockpit.  There’s a flaps gauge, Display mode, speed settings, EFIS panel, etc…

To accommodate the LCD panel the MCP portion of the panel is pushed forward about 3-4 inches, so it’ll be a two piece panel this time around.

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