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Starting from the beginning...


kerlix
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I see there are threads here on many various things. CNT, etc.

 

But for someone starting from scratch, how you one create all the panels (nevermind the electronics experience) and get everything to connect to the PC?

 

What type of board/connection is required to get it all to route into the computer running DCS?

 

Would it be a complicated programming-intensive job to make that happen?

 

I know NOTHING about programming. And I don't intend to build my own A10C simpit anywhere in the near future.

 

But I see I see plenty of YT videos where have achieved it. I I guess I just don't undrstand the logistics of it all. The programming, the linking everything together, the panel builds themselvess...

 

I'm not asking for links to tutorials. Just a quick rundown of how it happens and then comes together.

 

Please?

ASUS Sabertooth P67 :: Intel i5-2500 3.0 GHz :: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 :: 16 GB DDR3 RAM :: Crucial 240 GB SSD :: WD Black 2TB HD :: 50" Magnavox TV as monitor :: TrackIR 5 :: Saitek X52 :: Saitek Rudder Pedals

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People build panels in as many different ways as there are people. I've seen them made from cardboard, Masonite, wood, plastic, and metal. It's up to you, your skill level, and what degree of fidelity you're looking for.

 

Same thing's true for the interfacing boards, though there is a lot of interest in using Arduinos.

 

Software depends on the simulator software being used. Here, in DCS land, you have the great advantage of having DCS-BIOS which will do most of your interfacing software for you, but not all, you still have to set it up for your particular cockpit implementation. There's probably no way to avoid learning some programming.

 

This is a very involved hobby. You learn new stuff daily. Or maybe a better arrangement of those words is: You must learn new stuff daily if you're going to be involved in this hobby.

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People build panels in as many different ways as there are people. I've seen them made from cardboard, Masonite, wood, plastic, and metal. It's up to you, your skill level, and what degree of fidelity you're looking for.

 

Same thing's true for the interfacing boards, though there is a lot of interest in using Arduinos.

 

Software depends on the simulator software being used. Here, in DCS land, you have the great advantage of having DCS-BIOS which will do most of your interfacing software for you, but not all, you still have to set it up for your particular cockpit implementation. There's probably no way to avoid learning some programming.

 

This is a very involved hobby. You learn new stuff daily. Or maybe a better arrangement of those words is: You must learn new stuff daily if you're going to be involved in this hobby.

 

Yup!! I've used a lot of different stuff to make panels, project box, electric junction box, wood box. Atually, the best thing I ever did was getting your book on building simulated aircraft instrument many many moons ago, I still have that homemade marking gauge that I made from your book , lots of good ideas and information, even more valuable today. Glad you're still around

 

Marc..

Intel-Core-i5-2500-3-33GHz-16GB-Windows7 pro, GTX1060 3gb -CH Fighterstick/Pro Throttle ,CH pro pedals, Voice Attack ,Generic cockpit

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I see there are threads here on many various things. CNT, etc.

 

But for someone starting from scratch, how you one create all the panels (nevermind the electronics experience) and get everything to connect to the PC?

 

What type of board/connection is required to get it all to route into the computer running DCS?

 

Would it be a complicated programming-intensive job to make that happen?

 

I know NOTHING about programming. And I don't intend to build my own A10C simpit anywhere in the near future.

 

But I see I see plenty of YT videos where have achieved it. I I guess I just don't undrstand the logistics of it all. The programming, the linking everything together, the panel builds themselvess...

 

I'm not asking for links to tutorials. Just a quick rundown of how it happens and then comes together.

 

Please?

 

The easiest way is using just a simple project box, many size available, they are most of the time made out of plastic

 

Momentary switches, very cheap on ebay

 

To connect the switch to your PC, you have many option, one of the cheapest is using a cheap usb keyboard take it apart and hack it

 

Marc..

Intel-Core-i5-2500-3-33GHz-16GB-Windows7 pro, GTX1060 3gb -CH Fighterstick/Pro Throttle ,CH pro pedals, Voice Attack ,Generic cockpit

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To connect the switch to your PC, you have many option, one of the cheapest is using a cheap usb keyboard take it apart and hack it

 

If are some USB keyboard laying around without use... :thumbup:

But a ~6$ Arduino PRO Micro (or ~2.4$ Arduino STM32...) has more value per money invested, will teach more about controllers and require less work to use - and will send buttons press for games instead keypress. :D


Edited by Sokol1_br
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First, you need to get the mechanical part out of the way:

  • Choose a panel to start with.
  • Get the electromechanical components you need -- switches, push buttons, rotary encoders, servos or stepper motors for any analog gauges, displays, LEDs, etc.
  • Make a faceplate. Depending on your budget, available tools, and skills, there are many possible approaches -- a piece of cardboard with hastly scribbled on labels, a laminated printout of the panel, a plastic project box, engraving plastic with CNC-engraved lettering on top of an acrylic lightplate with LEDs behind it for backlighting...
  • Mount your components on the faceplate
  • If the faceplate does not come with its own box, plan and build a cockpit frame to mount your individual faceplates to

 

Then there is the electronics part, which is mostly independent of the mechanical part.

There are two generally different approaches to this. No matter which one you choose, you will also need a way to wire everything up, which usually means soldering.

 

The first one is to build a USB joystick and map the functions through the DCS options menu. There are several interface boards available, for example Leo Bodnar boards, the GP-Wiz 40, or one of the free USB HID firmwares that target some sort of Arduino board (EasyJoy 32, MMJoy and others). You don't have to know anything about programming to do this. This method is limited to input devices that can be communicated in terms of buttons and axis, such as switches and potentiometers. You also need to be able to map the control through the DCS: World options menu, which sometimes requires manual changes to some Lua files that have to be reapplied after every DCS update.

 

The second approach is to ignore the DCS options menu and use Export.lua instead. This is a facility of DCS: World that allows one to execute a program written in the Lua scripting language inside DCS. This program can imitate almost everything you can do with the mouse (i.e. manipulate switches and dials) and it also has access to a lot of information about the position of analog gauges, the state of indicator lights and the contents of some displays. Such a program can then communicate with other software or with custom-built hardware, which is often based on Arduino boards. DCS-BIOS is one of several projects that build on top of the Export.lua interface.

 

If your project works within the limitations of the first approach, it is the fastest way to success.

 

If your project requires the second approach anyway at some point (for example because you want to have physical indicator lights, analog gauges and displays instead of mounting a monitor behind your panel), you might as well start learning now and build everything with it, as it tends to be cheaper and more flexible.

 

Disclaimer: I am the developer of DCS-BIOS, but I don't have enough experience with all the alternatives to make a good comparison. Take everything I said about the limitations of the USB joystick approach with a grain of salt, as my knowledge about that mostly comes from reading a few forum threads here and there, not from first-hand experience.

 

This should give you a rough idea of what is involved in the construction of a simpit. Many details depend on your available space, time and money, the skills you have or are willing to learn, and how close to the original you require your simpit to look and feel.

 

If you are going with DCS-BIOS, you will have to learn a bit about programming, but it should make the learning curve shallow enough that you can start without any prior experience. To get an idea of what is involved, grab an Arduino Nano for $3.32 and make its built-in LED into some indicator light from your virtual cockpit (e.g. with the MasterCaution example that comes with DCS-BIOS).

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Thanks Ian! for this quick run down, Much appreciated

 

I was looking to build a "general use button box" at some stage and understand a little of the basics. The simplest way I see from poking around is to just use the GP-Wiz40 or Leo Bodnar board (plug and play) a "PnP" HID joystick controller.

 

Then just use Toggle Switch - Momentary (On-Off-On) It will only stay there as long as you hold it and then spring back.

Or Standard pushbutton Switches, this makes it fairly easy with no programing or hacking right? as these type of switches don't stay on and not held on constantly like some toggles. This is where I get a little confused as some hold the switch on and some act like a button press when moved to a different position.

 

This project here "FC3 USB all in one panels. Batch 2!" is a good example for what I would like to do at some point, I would just stick to one Leo Bodnar board first, then add more later. I'm also guessing the two way switches that are used, are just momentary up/down and take up two of the connections to make a normal switch. (No hacking again?)

"With this, all you have to do is plug in the 3 USB hook ups, fire up Xpadder, and double click DCS." Can Xpadder handle what the toggles switches do?

 

My question tho, can these boards work with SPST On-Off, SPDT On-On, SPDT On-Off-On toggle switch. Or do you need or does it make it easier to use Arduino boards etc for that for more control of the switch, or can you just hack the DCS setting where needed to use them with a Leo Bodnar board? As seen HERE for the Viggan.


Edited by David OC

i7-7700K OC @ 5Ghz | ASUS IX Hero MB | ASUS GTX 1080 Ti STRIX | 32GB Corsair 3000Mhz | Corsair H100i V2 Radiator | Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe 500G SSD | Samsung 850 EVO 500G SSD | Corsair HX850i Platinum 850W | Oculus Rift | ASUS PG278Q 27-inch, 2560 x 1440, G-SYNC, 144Hz, 1ms | VKB Gunfighter Pro

Chuck's DCS Tutorial Library

Download PDF Tutorial guides to help get up to speed with aircraft quickly and also great for taking a good look at the aircraft available for DCS before purchasing. Link

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Ian;3043636']

The second approach is to ignore the DCS options menu and use Export.lua instead. This is a facility of DCS: World that allows one to execute a program written in the Lua scripting language inside DCS. This program can imitate almost everything you can do with the mouse (i.e. manipulate switches and dials) and it also has access to a lot of information about the position of analog gauges, the state of indicator lights and the contents of some displays. Such a program can then communicate with other software or with custom-built hardware, which is often based on Arduino boards. DCS-BIOS is one of several projects that build on top of the Export.lua interface.

 

A doubt, although more appropriated for one that want build a panel with outputs - moving instruments, LED's etc for DCSW, this approach will not limit the use of this panel only in DCSW?

 

Or, this panel will be not compatible with other flight games/space games?

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A doubt, although more appropriated for one that want build a panel with outputs - moving instruments, LED's etc for DCSW, this approach will not limit the use of this panel only in DCSW?

 

That is correct. With the current version of DCS-BIOS, it is even limited to the specific aircraft it was built for. I'd like to fix that in the future, but it could take years until I get around to it.

 

I should have been more specific by what I mean by "flexible" -- I meant that you can adapt it to almost anything you can wire up to an Arduino board, such as a specific type of dot matrix display that is used on the CMSP in the A-10C, or a small

.

 

 

@DavidOC: You can use any type of toggle switch. XPadder can probably handle things like "every time this switch changes state, press this hotkey to toggle the state in DCS". This is one way of getting around editing Lua files, but it has the disadvantage that the toggle switch can become out of sync with the simulation, so you have to make sure that all switches are in the correct position before you unpause the sim.

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I started with a ~$400 CNC machine knowing nothing about CNC. Over time I learned how to create decent panels and figured out the electronics as I went. Every panel has been a challenge, but that to me is the fun part. Solving a problem - be it design, mechanical, electronic or programming.

 

We are fortunate to have DCS-BIOS and its author on here. He's always been very responsive to questions or the occasional bug. Also, we have several nice folks on this board who are more talented then me designing panels that give me ideas on how I could do things based on my skillset and tools. Bottom line I guess, pick up some $4 switches at your local hardware store, an Arduino, a copy of DCS-BIOS and discover what you can create!

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I'm only asking because at some point in the future I'd like to build all the panels for the A-10C. Backlit, proper dials, altimeter, MFD's, etc.

 

I see that without the proper equipment to make it look nice (CNC machine, etc.) it will probably takes years and probably a few thousand $$$ US, if not more.

 

But thank you all for the information.

ASUS Sabertooth P67 :: Intel i5-2500 3.0 GHz :: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 :: 16 GB DDR3 RAM :: Crucial 240 GB SSD :: WD Black 2TB HD :: 50" Magnavox TV as monitor :: TrackIR 5 :: Saitek X52 :: Saitek Rudder Pedals

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To give you an idea of cost, check what some of the parts sell for at simparts.de wow! No wonder others make their own to save on the labor cost that simparts would add to these components. They look very well done tho.

 

€239.50 for most gauges, such as the right engine fuel flow Indicator

 

How much and how long once you are somewhat proficient to build all these gauges I wonder?

There all 49mm with different markings, different needle positioning etc. 12 of


Edited by David OC

i7-7700K OC @ 5Ghz | ASUS IX Hero MB | ASUS GTX 1080 Ti STRIX | 32GB Corsair 3000Mhz | Corsair H100i V2 Radiator | Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe 500G SSD | Samsung 850 EVO 500G SSD | Corsair HX850i Platinum 850W | Oculus Rift | ASUS PG278Q 27-inch, 2560 x 1440, G-SYNC, 144Hz, 1ms | VKB Gunfighter Pro

Chuck's DCS Tutorial Library

Download PDF Tutorial guides to help get up to speed with aircraft quickly and also great for taking a good look at the aircraft available for DCS before purchasing. Link

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Why Do they look well done? Spelling errors lay out errors 980.00 euros for a CDU that has the wrong fence and font lay out and there are problem hooking it up to get to work reported. Cost to quality ratting not really a selling point on these but i will say their back lighting is really good

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/a-10c-warthog-supplies

CNCs and Laser engravers are great but they can't do squat with out a precise set of plans.

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