Archive for the ‘Unipit’ Category

latest photos

By popular demand, here are the latest photos of the unipit in its (and my) new home.

tidy!
pit0809_front (59k image)

pit0809_headdetail (36k image)

pit0809_left (52k image)

pit0809_overhead (55k image)

targeting mode control panel done

tgtctrl (184k image)

Not my neatest ever work, but looks nice all lit upski. Still have to wire the sucker, and the circuitry to get it working with my PhidgetLED64 is proving to be a little bit of a pain. The PhidgetLED64 is designed to work only with directly connected LEDs, but my lights there are 12v lamps. So, I have to design an elaborate circuit of optocouplers and relays/transistors/mosfets to drive the lamps. Not ideal, but there you go.

On top of that I need to finish my PitManager software to the stage where I can drive the lights from Black Shark. Now that I think about it, I wonder if Black Shark even provides the data hooks for that panel? Better check that before I spend a lot of time on the lights.

At the very least I hope to have the switches working (sans lights) by the end of the weekend. We’ll see.

*edit* OK the inputs are wired and all worked first time. Splendid. However, the landing gear handle obscures the laser switch when it’s in the gear up position. Workaround: raise gear, then lower the handle halfway so that it doesn’t trip the gear down microswitch. Another issue is that DCS doesn’t have absolute positions for the rotary, but only has “rotate left” and “rotate right” mappings. Bollocks, when will sim developers learn! Workaround: map the first and fifth positions only, and pulse it manually. That rotary hardly ever gets used anyway. Still, rubbish. Hopefully 1.0.1 fixes it.

targeting mode control panel

the real one:

Drilling template for mine:

KA50_TgtModeControlPanel_V2 (13k image)

The dimensions are off because I’m trying to fit it into a spare slot on my forward left console, above the gear panel and below the keyboard. The red shows where holes go through both the faceplate and the mounting plate, the grey is where the mounting plate shows through due to additional cuts on the faceplate (e.g. for mounting nuts etc).

Drilling and cutting tomorrow.

back in the saddle

Less than 3 months to run until the expo, so back into the Black Shark. Have forgotten pretty much… everything.

Spent most of tonight re-mapping keys and joystick mappings to get everything to work right. I’ve got a lot of panels to build if I really want to be able to play seamlessly. Trying to hit the DataLink or Targeting Control Panel, even the autopilot, with the mouse when flying manually in combat just sucks.

An overhead would be nice, and would give me back a lot of panel real estate that I’m going to lose to the collective. Hmm.

The audio mixer works well, enabling me to mix 3 audio sources (game audio, teamspeak comms and ipod) into one set of headphones and, without changing cables, direct all 3 out to the 5.1 speakers as well if desired. Good for expos.

Working on the PitManager software also, a little Visual C# .Net app that will broker connections from any sim out to any instrument. I see it working on a publish/subscribe basis, so the data feeds (LuaSocket etc) “publish” their data, and any instrument can “subscribe” to get that data.

the box o tricks

A few people have been asking how I hook up all my switches and lights to the PC. It’s quite simple really – via the box o tricks.

boxy. tricksy.
boxotricks (27k image)

In there is a BetaInnovations PlasmaV2 analogue/digital input board (essentially a joystick HID board), a BetaInnovations GammaRayV2 digital input board (256 inputs) and a PhidgetLED64 output board (64 LEDs). Rather than wire my panels directly to the boards which gets very messy after awhile, I breakout the board ports to five D37 sockets on the front panel.

The 4 on the left go to 4 of the 8 GammaRay ports (3 configured as digital input, one as rotary encoders) with 32 inputs on each port, and the one on the right goes to ports 0-15 on the PhidgetLED64. The Plasma is currently not connected.

The PhidgetLED64 is brand new, a thoughtful birthday gift from my dear wife :) First project for that will be the Ka-50 autopilot or the Ka-50 targeting mode control panel. Probably the latter as I use it more often.

not at all difficult to understand Russian
tcp (33k image)

the box o tricks

A few people have been asking how I hook up all my switches and lights to the PC. It’s quite simple really – via the box o tricks.

boxy. tricksy.
boxotricks (27k image)

In there is a BetaInnovations PlasmaV2 analogue/digital input board (essentially a joystick HID board), a BetaInnovations GammaRayV2 digital input board (256 inputs) and a PhidgetLED64 output board (64 LEDs). Rather than wire my panels directly to the boards which gets very messy after awhile, I breakout the board ports to five D37 sockets on the front panel.

The 4 on the left go to 4 of the 8 GammaRay ports (3 configured as digital input, one as rotary encoders) with 32 inputs on each port, and the one on the right goes to ports 0-15 on the PhidgetLED64. The Plasma is currently not connected.

The PhidgetLED64 is brand new, a thoughtful birthday gift from my dear wife :) First project for that will be the Ka-50 autopilot or the Ka-50 targeting mode control panel. Probably the latter as I use it more often.

yeah baby

Finally – with the aid of the TH2G, a 3.6GHz overclock and x48 mobo goodness, a solid 30FPS on high settings in instant action at 3x1280x768 plus a 1024×768 ABRIS/Shkval.

I retract my previous big fat oprah tits statement. THIS is big fat oprah tits
{{popup th2g_lg.jpg th2g_lg 1158×873}}th2g_sm (46k image)

There’s still a little bit of wierdness as the engine crashes every time I exit the mission (but retains the mission results) and screenshotting using the built-in screenshot key fails, but those things are minor. It works! It works!!!

For posterity, the settings used were {{popup th2g_settings.gif th2g_settings 800×452}}these. The only other mod is the 200 FOV mod to View.lua.

stock speed comparison

Q6600 @ 2.4GHz, P35 mobo, 2GB DDR-8500, 8800 Ultra, Vista_32: 11,654 in 3dMark06

Q6600 @ 2.4GHz, X48 mobo, 6GB DDR-8500, 9800GTX+, Win7_64: 12,168 in 3dMark06

Not as impressive as I’d hoped. However, I assume the GPU has some headroom and the RAM will help at high resolutions such as with the TH2G. We shall see, at least it’s not worse!

*edit*

And it went to 14,517 with a very easy overclock. Let’s see how stable it is…

decision

Let’s try the 9800 GTX+ (maybe with a teeny OC) in Win7_64bit with the TH2G on the main head (3x1280x768) plus the ABRIS on the second head. Will be able to use all 6GB RAM, and it seems there’s no way to use fullscreen in XP with what I want to do, so there’s no real reason to go to XP. This will also give me DX10 for FSX if I ever use it again :)

Will set the TH2G to use a wide perspective a’la the very bottom of this thread rather than using centre/left/right.

So this should get me decent performance on a single GPU with all 4 screens. If it can hack it, I’ll push the resolution up using the 5 meter VGA cable trick. I could also later make the move to Crossfire by picking up a couple of 4870′s!

pit screens – working it out

So there are a number of things I’m wrestling with. first is OS:

- XP 32: Stable drivers and supports fullscreen, but can’t use more than 3GB RAM which can be an issue with high-RAM GPUs. No DX10.
- XP 64: Out, because no trackIR drivers.
- Vista 32: RAM problem, can’t run fullscreen. DX10.
- Win7 64: Can use all RAM and has TrackIR drivers. Only problem is can’t run fullscreen. DX10.

So it looks like the contenders are XP_32 and Win7_64. I’ll try XP first, and if I can run fullscreen and get good frames, I’ll stick with it. Might dual-boot with Win7_64 for FSX/DX10?

Next: hardware.

- Dual Nvidia cards: poor performance on existing mobo. Dual PCIe x16 slots on the new mobo might help. Can run 4 screens.
- 4850X2: 4 heads on one card, should get rid of the multi-card problem. Can also run xfire for increased performance on 2 heads (e.g. a TH2G plus ABRIS).
- Single card: requires TH2G. eliminates double card issue.

Gah.

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