Syncing Nav 1 and Nav 2 panels

Since I only have 1 Nav panel I thought I’d do a little tweak in order make my Nav panel update both Nav1 and Nav2 inside the PMDG 737NGX.

So here’s an edit I made to my OC4BAv4 code.

First find this block. For me it was around line 6,791

Var 0526, name Nav1ToNGX, Link SUBRUTINE
{
IF &NAV1_Power_ON > 0
{
L0 = &ST_NAV1High * 100
&ST_NAV1 = L0 + &ST_NAV1Low
&N1STtoNGX = TOBCD &ST_NAV1
}
}

Under that last line I added: &N2STtoNGX = TOBCD &ST_NAV1

So it now looks like this:

Var 0526, name Nav1ToNGX, Link SUBRUTINE
{
IF &NAV1_Power_ON > 0
{
L0 = &ST_NAV1High * 100
&ST_NAV1 = L0 + &ST_NAV1Low
&N1STtoNGX = TOBCD &ST_NAV1
&N2STtoNGX = TOBCD &ST_NAV1
}
}

With this, rotating the Nav 1 knobs changed the numbers on both Nav1 and Nav2.

For the transfer button, I then simply assigned NAV2’s button to the same input as Nav 1.

So this is Nav 1:

Var 2805, name bNAV1_TFR, static, Link IOCARD_SW, [b][u]Device 31, Input 60[/u][/b], Type P     // Active/Standby swap button

I copied the bolded underline part down to the Nav 2 line:

Var 2807, name bNAV2_TFR, static, Link IOCARD_SW, Device 31, Input 60, Type P     // Active/Standby swap button

After that, both my NAV panels are synced up.

Overhead Stand Test

Tested out the overhead and stand on the desk yesterday and everything worked well.

stand stand stand

The main 2×3 support that sticks out of the monitor unfortunately has a slight twist in it, so the overhead had a little lean to it.  The stand also had a tiny bit of sway in it from basically being a single, tall post.  So I’m planning on rebuilding the whole thing to try and get that support without a twist and maybe add a support of some kind off to the side to help prevent the sway.  But overall it turned out ok.

Overhead Update 4

Here’s a look at the latest work on the overhead.

After getting the back panel attached, I laid out all the panels on the frame to mark out drilling locations for screw holes and where notches would have to be cut for indicator or gauge clearance.

Overhead Overhead

I then gave the whole a sanding and while I had the frame outside gave it a coating of primer, followed by drilling out all the hole and notches.

Overhead

I then gave the exterior a coating RAL7011 gray paint.

Overhead Overhead

I’m waiting on a order of rotary switches and all my opencockpit hardware to arrive, so in the meantime I began assembling a few of the panels that I could.

Overhead Overhead Overhead Overhead

Once my remaining switches arrive I’ll probably get all the panels assembled and indicators installed so they’re ready to drop in and secure to the frame.

Overhead Update 3

Progress has been moving along with the overhead panel.  The main frame is just about done.  Needs a little sanding, holes drilled for panels and then it’ll be ready for painting.  Here’s how it looks currently:

overhead

For the back panel I cut the shape out of 1/2″ 4’x4′ piece of plywood.

overhead

I then used use the 2 hinged to secure the back panel to the top of the frame.  I ended up going with these larger ones to so the mounting screws weren’t all right along the very edge of the board for a little bit more support.

overhead overhead overhead

For the front of the frame, I cut out 2 small blocks and epoxied in a 5/16 thread insert.  The blocks were then glued and screwed into the inside of the frame on both side.  A 5/16 hole was drilled through the back panel and a 5/16 bolt and washer secures the panel down to them.

overhead overhead

My orders of switches came in so I was able to mount some light switches to the light panel and some my bottom two supports installed.  These were jsut glued in to give the bottom section a little more support.

overhead

and lastly I was able to get my overhead stand tested out.

I first built a stand out of 2×3 and 1×4 wood, with a 2×3 sticking out. This will stick out over the monitors on the desk. The stand will be clamped down to my desk.

overhead

Then I used some 1×4 and 1×2 wood cut down to size to create a sorta U-Shaped changed on the back of the overhead and that a stand’s 2×3 board slips in.

overhead overhead

It worked pretty well and so far seems to be able to hold it well.

overhead overhead overhead overhead

Overhead Update 2

This week I was able to get the main structure of the frame built up. I have two small supports left to install in the bottom section behind the lights panel, but I’m waiting on my switch order to arrive so I can make sure the supports don’t interfere with a switch.

Next on the to-do list…. Working on the back panel and the desk mount.

overhead overhead overhead overhead overhead

 

Overhead Update 1

This weekend I started working on the overhead frame.  I’m using 1/2″ x  3.5″ wood for the exterior pieces and currently planning on using 1″ x 2″ (.75″ x 1.5″ actual) wood for interior beams.  For securing everything together, my plan is using some pocket screws on the interior pieces with wood glue.

Here’s a look at the frame and the beveled pieces I made for the bottom angles.  Hoping these all work ok for getting the needed angles made.

Overhead Overhead Overhead

 

Then just test fitting the panels in place to see how everything fits.

Overhead Overhead

 

Here’s a video that going over the progress so far.

Single Encoder Radio Panels

My COM and NAV radio panels currently use a Single Rotary encoder instead of a Dual Rotary Encoder, so I had to modify the OC4BAv4 script to make this work.  I was able to set it up so pushing the encoder’s pushbutton toggles between changing the whole number and the decimal point.

Here’s the changes I made for COM1 and NAV1 radio panels.  You’ll need to adjust the Device and Input numbers for your hardware, and possibly the rotation value, adding a negative (-) or not, also depending on your hardware setup.

Find this block of code for the COM1 panel:

Var 0502, name ROT_COM1_SW, Link IOCARD_ENCODER, Device 31, Input 57, Aceleration 1, Type 2
{
L0 = &ROT_COM1_SW * 1 // change turning direction
&ST_COM1High = ROTATE 18 ,36 ,L0
CALL &Com1ToNGX
}

Var 0503, name ROT_COM1_SF, Link IOCARD_ENCODER, Device 8, Input 4, Aceleration 1, Type 2
{
L0 = &ROT_COM1_SF * 25 // instead of acceleration that doesn't wor
&ST_COM1Low = ROTATE 0 ,999 ,L0
CALL &Com1ToNGX
}

and replace with the following

Var 8600, name COM_SWITCH, Link IOCARD_SW, Device 31, Input 62 Type P // in the shaft

Var 8601, name ROT_COM1_SW, Link IOCARD_ENCODER, Device 31, Input 57, Aceleration 1, Type 2
{
L0 = v8601 // * -1 make sure turning right increments
IF v8600 = 0
{
L0 = &ROT_COM1_SW * 1 // change turning direction
&ST_COM1High = ROTATE 18 ,36 ,L0
CALL &Com1ToNGX
}
ELSE
{
L0 = &ROT_COM1_SW * 25 // instead of acceleration that doesn't wor
&ST_COM1Low = ROTATE 0 ,999 ,L0
CALL &Com1ToNGX
}
}

======

Find this block of code for the NAV1 panel:

Var 0524, name ROT_NAV1_SW, Link IOCARD_ENCODER, Device 31, Input 55, Aceleration 1, Type 2
{
L0 = &ROT_NAV1_SW * -1 // change turning direction
&ST_NAV1High = ROTATE 8 ,17 ,L0
CALL &Nav1ToNGX
}

Var 0525, name ROT_NAV1_SF, Link IOCARD_ENCODER, Device 9, Input 4, Aceleration 1, Type 2
{
L0 = &ROT_NAV1_SF * -5 // instead of acceleration that doesn't wor
&ST_NAV1Low = ROTATE 0 ,99 ,L0
CALL &Nav1ToNGX
}

and replace with the following

Var 8602, name NAV_SWITCH, Link IOCARD_SW, Device 31, Input 61 Type P // in the shaft

Var 8603, name ROT_NAV1_SW, Link IOCARD_ENCODER, Device 31, Input 55, Aceleration 1, Type 2
{
L0 = v8603 // * -1 make sure turning right increments
IF v8602 = 0
{
L0 = &ROT_NAV1_SW * -1 // change turning direction
&ST_NAV1High = ROTATE 8 ,17 ,L0
CALL &Nav1ToNGX
}
ELSE
{
L0 = &ROT_NAV1_SW * -5 // instead of acceleration that doesn't wor
&ST_NAV1Low = ROTATE 0 ,99 ,L0
CALL &Nav1ToNGX
}
}


Here’s a video of the panels in action:

PCFlight 737 Overhead

Once I received my PCFlights package I didn’t waste much time to get everything out the box to check it out. I was pretty anxious/nervous about seeing everything, hoping everything turned ok, but in the end I’m very pleased with my purchase.

I filmed the whole unboxing of everything. It’s not the most exciting video but I did it to A) show yall how everything came packaged and what not, and B) in case something came damaged I’d have it on video showing it came out the box that way.  I have that video embedded below.

Here’s a look at each set of items:

Overhead overhead Overhead

My first impression: Great looking hardware.

All of the panels look and feel great. Everything was nice and sharp and well packaged. I did notice a few of larger black plates they had a slight curve to them, but I think once they are screwed down to the frame that shouldn’t be an issue. The gauges are well built using thick acrylic plates and brass standoffs for the housing, and are backlightable.  The biggest surprise was the indicators.  I wasn’t sure how they were going to arrive, but I was happy to see the all came preassembled, even with resistors on the PCBs (I didn’t think they would). They even color coded every indicator on the pin connector. They light up great too.

indicators indicators indicators

After I got everything unboxed, I took photos of each panel and gauge, along some a few closeups of the indicators.
You can view all of those here.

And here’s the unboxing video of everything.  I’ll warn ya now, it’s kinda long and boring with not so great audio, lol

Picking an Overhead Panel

For a long time I bounced between building a small, custom overhead panel or just building a fullsize one.  The custom one would cost less to build, but the fullsize could be used in case I ever go full scale or something.  In the end, I decide to go full scale as I have this feeling if I don’t, I’d regret it latter on if I decide to expand beyond the desk.

There are several vendors of panels out there.  The main 3 I was looking at was OpenCockpits, Cockpit Sim Parts, and PCFlights.

I’m familiar with OpenCockpits panels and have always liked their quality, though shipping tended to be on the pricier side since they used DHL services (which is nice cause it’s fast and good tracking). Prices were on the high end for the panels, but they are good quality.

My EFIS panel and AFDS panel came from CockPit Sim Parts.  Both panels are ok for the price paid, though the EFIS was not backlightable at all.  CSP’s prices are pretty good too for what you get.  You can get the panels, indicators and switches for the same price as the OpenCockpits panel set for example.  But the tradeoff is probaly some quality differences there.  Cockpit Sim Parts also states 5-7 weeks for delivery.

And last was PCFlights. This was a company I stumbled upon via an ebay listing.  They produce a lot A-10 fighter panels and gauges, but also had a full set of 737 Overhead panels, indicators and gauges too.  I couldn’t find any reviews online about their 737 panels but did find stuff about their A-10 panels that was generally pretty positive.  Their prices were comparable to OpenCockpits as well.  PCflights is also the only vendor that is based here in the United States. A big plus for me.

So… which vendor to go with.

I had 2 main issues with OpenCockpits and Cockpit Sim Parts.  One was that they are overseas. You have to take into consideration currency exchange rates plus the cost of shipping large, heavy packages overseas when purchasing from the guys. For example, that £499.00 overhead panel set from Cockpit Sim Parts would actually run about $674.  Which is still a good bargain for what you’re getting.

The 2nd was mainly with CockpitSimParts and that was their lead time.  Their website states 5-7 weeks shipping time.  Personally I just don’t feel comfortable dropping nearly nearly $700 on a product with an overseas vendor that won’t ship for almost 2 months.  So while they had the cheapest prices, I felt they had the biggest risk. And that’s just my personal feeling on it.  I know there are others that have zero issues with purchasing from Cockpit Sim Parts and are happy with the product. Again, that’s just my personal feelings.

I eventually settled on PCFlights.  They are the only US vendor I’ve ever seen selling 737 panels, their A-10 panels looks good, they quoted a 1 week lead time on shipping the panels, and only $50 to ship.  Being in the USA was the biggest selling point for me. If something came up that required support or shipping something back, it would be a lot easier to do so being here in the states.  Same reason that if I got fullsize MIP, Flight Deck Solutions just over yonder in Canada would probably be my go to vendor being in North America.

So I pulled the trigger on April 16 and ordered a full overhead panel set, the overhead indicator set and overhead gauge set.  The following Monday I got my shipping notification and 1 week later on April 30, I had my package in my hands.

IMG_2033

More to come in the next post.

LED Flaps Gauge

Testing out the SIOC Code for the LED Flaps Gauge.

I tried having the indicators blink while the flaps are cycling through to give an indication of movement, but the blink came out like a bad flickering led, so I took it out for now.

Hmm. Maybe a dual color setup on a new PCB. One color for transition and then green when achieved. I’ll have to test that out.

 

SIOC CODE: http://www.tronaviation.com/tutorials/oc-flaps-sioc-script/

PCB BOARD: http://www.tronaviation.com/tutorials/custompcb/led-flaps-gauge/