Archive for June, 2006

the right console

Here are the plans for the right console. I’ve been sitting on these for a while, but thought I’d drag them out for a look. There’s a map/manual/drink bottle box constructed out of 7mm ply which should be reeeeaaasonably simple to build, though I’ll have to do some Pythagorasing.
Of course, this is the advantage with non-replica pits – I don’t need to worry that the real Viper, or Tiger, or C172 doesn’t have a big map storage box. If I want it, I build it!
map storage – luxury!
console_r_b1 (34k image)

pit test

Tested the pit “live” with Cougar, Killer and Burnzoire tonight. It worked really well and didn’t crash reboot. I was deliberately doing lots of TS transmission, though it was quite a hairy mission anyway.
I even got to test the recently rewired eject handle for real :) It worked flawlessly and I reflected on the quality of my workmanship as I floated to earth. At least I took 2 MiG-29′s and a MiG-23MLD with me…
Next: right console or helo controls? Probably the console.

links

Parkjets – ooh I want to build the F-14 or the F-4!
Pulsar – highly recommended toner transfers and DIY dry transfers.
FlightIllusion – cockpit instruments
Robitics Connection – might be useful for instruments

eject handle fixed

Not much more to say really. Re-wired it to the plasma in a spare moment today. Works fine.
I tested the new pitbox rebuild last night. AF works fine, but I’m yet to test it in a nice long multiplayer with lots of TS comms and lots of button switching. Then we’ll see if the stability problems were a Windows-getting-old bug or if it is something more serious.
I also added a bracket to hang my headset on, and cut some panels to cover the ugly gaps at the side of the monitor stand. They’ll be hinged so I can access the internals if necessary.
Next thing looks like the right console, which I’m designing when I get a chance now and then.

eureka!

I finally figured out why my pit Stores Config Cat I sometimes doesn’t work. If I forget to close down the ATi Catalyst control center, it has a pre-programmed hotkey for CTRL-ALT-C to launch it. Even if you have hotkeys disabled, it still intercepts the keypress. Guess what key I have mapped to CAT I?

update

After the latest in a long line of mid-mission crash reboots on Friday night, I finally rebuilt the pit rig from scratch. It’s a totally clean XP build now – with no sims installed except F4AF. I’ve also moved the X52 and pedals off the USB hub to dedicated ports of their own. Once I’ve reconfigured my X52 profile, PlasmaV2 and keymappings in AF, I’ll give it a good long multiplayer test and – fingers crossed – hopefully the crashes will be gone.
If not, I’ll move Teamspeak onto the MFDBOX and whip up a push to talk system using an old USB numeric keypad. It only seems to crash when I’m transmitting on TS, though this could have something to do with holding down X52 buttons as I’ve (once) had a crash during a long runway brake.
The trackball is in and, after a bit of getting used to, works well.

AHSA photos

Here are some photos of the Aviation Headset Adapters I’ve been building. Can you guess which is mine, and which 2 are for paying customers?
skank or quality? you decide
{{popup ahsa_collection_lg.jpg ahsa_collection_lg 1024×600}}ahsa_collection_sm (23k image)
the guts of the beast
{{popup ahsa_par_box_back_lg.jpg ahsa_par_box_back_lg 1024×721}}ahsa_par_box_back_sm (37k image)

progress

There has been some subtle progress on the pit of late. I wired in a little 4-port KVM I had lying around and can now control both PC’s from the one keyboard and mouse. A mate has offered to trade me a trackball for an old MS laser mouse, which is much better for me in the pit as there’s not enough room to move a traditional mouse properly. I’ll be bolting that in soon, when I get it.
The MFD box had some graphics card problems. The PCI Matrox Mystique I bought on eBay over a year ago doesn’t work very well – it has graphical glitches in Windows and now and then locks the PC up for about 5 minutes. Excellent. So, in the absence of any other handy PCI video cards, my only option was to trade my AGP Radeon 9000 All-In-Wonder for a 128MB GeForce FX5200 dual head. I lose the TV in the pit (gutted) but I gain dual-head capability and DirectX 9 support, essential for F4AF and FighterOps down the track. The FX5200 is an old card, but it’s fine for the MFDs.
My current pit TODO list is:
- re-wire ejection handle
- debug Keyboard Studio profile for AF to get rid of crash reboots (USB overload is the prime suspect)
- build COM interface for master caution (on hold as I may just get an ElectronFlux)
- design and build right console
- mount powerstrips and PSUs
- build master caution/SSOH FAIL panel
- cable ducting
- find some more RAM for the MFDBOX (I need 512MB – any offers?)
I’ve also been building Aviation Headset Adapters for myself, BigTonka and Commie. Tonk and Commie are getting the deluxe AHSA plus 1W amplifier integrated box, with a jack for external 9V power. Mine is the same, but with an additional 12V to 9V DC converter so that I can run it off a molex in the pit. It’s currently mounted on a cardboard box lid (!) but I’ll be getting around to drilling the aluminium plate soon. I’m holding off on shipping the integrated boxes as I’m designing in a couple of capacitors to remove any possibility of getting DC in the audio lines via groundloops. Thanks Lofty.
Finally, some of you may have noticed that vaaf.com has gone offline. The community has temporarily relocated to http://www.vaaf.net, with forums, wiki and Mambo CMS. Of couse the IRC channel is still going strong.

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