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Tag Archives: Build

A long, eventful summer is over. Lots of changes at our house, many not so happy, have provided opportunities to re-prioritize and re-focus.

Moving the computers and flightsim lab into a bigger room facilitated bringing the ‘pit into the house out of the shop.

newpitroom1Best overall alignment of all the moving parts

Although the state of construction is pretty much where we left off in 2013,  design decisions about the front panel are better defined now. Build/use concurrency will be the norm  for sure.

newpitroom2Advanced sensor system in place


At a car parts store, found some LED strips that will make back lighting the panels a lot easier than the last attempt.

Disassembled, it is easy to see the part of the dimmer we will be using.

LED dimmer internalsDimmer internals

The LED dimmers arrived yesterday a couple of weeks early. Now it is apparent why they took so long in transit: they were shipped regular mail from the manufacturer in China.

LED dimmersWill be disassembled and the cases discarded

This weekend is all child’s sports and family time, so not much work on the project.

Thinking we will need that drill press

Acrylic drill attemptLotsa not so good here

As the title suggests, the use of a keyboard with a cockpit simulator is always “messy”. It is impossible to run FSX without a keyboard/mouse combo even with a fully functional cockpit simulator with every control in the aricraft mapped to ‘pit hardware. There is always the “meta” interaction with FSX, the menus, etc. that must be accessed.

Early on, we decided to integrate the keyboard/mouse directly into the simulator. Somehow finding or building a keyboard and/or mouse that looked and felt like it belonged in the cockpit. For this iteration of the project, we elected to purchase something instead of construct.

Alternative keyboardsKeyboard candidates

Any of the products we found would make a great addition to any cockpit simulator. All are wireless, small, easy to hide, and good track surfaces.

Item #3, on the right, made the cut to our build. It is a Perixx Periboard-717. Kinda pricey but with many good features. It has a metal frame and hefty feel. The touchpad is large and in the same aspect ratio of a typical computer monitor. Finally, it has the “look” of an FMS and will easily blend into the sub-panels on the side consoles. For now, we will probably just mount with Velcro to the top of a sub-panel.

We are done for this day in the shop.

Here is a (bad) panorama of the (somewhat) clean shop.

Shop panoramaTaking a break from wiring

The front panel wiring is very close to 100% complete. Still have to finish the connections to the front hood.

Front panel wiring detailWiring detail

The front panel wiring was not as complex or extensive as the side consoles. We were pleased with how quickly the work completed.

The primary wiring layout on the front panel didn’t take very long and was a pleasure to do. The tedious, more difficult work of connecting all the individual wires is up next.

Front panel wiring layoutWiring layout

The big blank space in the middle of the panel is where the touchscreen monitor will go.

Ummm…not exactly the effect we were hoping for….

MFD LEDsLEDs in place on back of the panel

Backlight first attemptMaybe it will be better with a dimmer :-/

On to cleanup…

Found some green LEDs at an auto parts store and cooked up a way to backlight the MFD.

MFD backlight in progressWaiting for paint to dry

Some not-so-great news from one of my suppliers: no LED dimmers for up to 3 weeks.

Likely tomorrow will be more about shop clean-up than progress…sigh.