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lensman

PMDG 747X and screen readers/magnification

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Hi all,The PMDG 747 is so much better than the default FSX jumbos, I use it for almost all flights now. Due to some complications, I will not be able to have my cataracts removed any time soon. I cannot now read most of the displays - PFD, MFD, ND, EICAS, and the teeny tiny print on the CDU. Luckily, I've been using the sim long enough that I can do a cold and dark start without having to read anything on the overhead or the pedestal. I currently run it in almost-full-window mode, leaving the taskbar on the screen so I can access a program called the Virtual Magnifying Glasss to read the MCP. The screen reader I have can't read anything because almost all is graphical. If I drop the resolution to 800x600, it's like flying with blinders on. I completely lose situational awareness. I have a 22" LCD screen, and I usually run it at 1280x1024. [For FSX missions, lowering the resolution is much less of a problem]. For landings, I've had to stick to either CATII & CATIII autoland (no fun) or use the "yellow brick road" guides (bleah, but works). My cataracts are in the bottom half of my visual field, not at the center, thankfully. Buying a larger monitor is not feasible, but I do have two small LCD panels (12" or 15", I think). My graphics card is a nVidia 7900. I don't know whether it can run two monitors.Any and all suggestions would be welcome! TIA,dan "lensman" davison

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Dan,Sorry to hear about your predicament. There is however some things you can do to improve readability of the displays and the CDU.You can click on any display and it pops up. You should be able to resize this pop up i.e. making it bigger. Unfortunately I do not know if you can save these settings.Likewise with the CDU. You can resize it and making it bigger by holding on to the edges with the mouse.Your card should be able to drive two monitors if you have two connections for it. If you can attach another monitor it would be a good spot for the CDU and maybe some of the other panels.Hope it helps,

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Dan- By all means get those small LCDs operational- or if you can find an old full size CRT gathering dust somewhere, use it. I'm running triple monitors on an ancient AMD XP2200 1.8 with GeForce Fx5200 cards- a dual head and a PCI. With this rig I have triple views-LFwd,Fwd,RFwd as well as most popups open.You can mix monitors- I have an LCD and 2- 7 yr old CRTs. With a little colour balancing you can't distinguish them apart.Popups can be dragged to any size- even overlapping 2 mons if needed- although there may be an FPS penalty in overlapping. But an FMC or Overhead panel full size on say a 19" CRT should be fairly useable.The attached screenshots may give an idea as to the readability with multi mons. And situational awareness is spectacularly improved with the 180

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Hi, DAnI am also vision impaired and have a problem reading the numbers on the panel and the labels on the switches, etc.I get around most of these problems with a Microsoft Mouse with a built-in magnifier. It has only 2X magnification - but with the other suggestions made you should be able to set something up to be able to work with the panels.The magnifier can be turned on and off with a special button at the side of the mouse. The magnified area can be sized and it follows the mouse.Happy simming.....Bill

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Hi Bill,I haven't ever heard or seen the magnifiying mouse advertised. I just looked at MS' web site and it says *The Magnifier is not compatible with Direct3D

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Hi Mats,I didn't realize the PFD, etc. would magnify larger than the resize-to-the-bottom-of-the-MCP function on the taskbar. After trying a looonnngg time last night I was able to get the "undock menu" function to show up on the larger displays (when they pop to the top of the screen). The PFD, MFD, ND, EICAS, and CDU will all undock, so they can be enlarged. I knew that some of the information displayed existed because it's mentioned in the manual, but wow. I hadn't seen a lot of the EICAS info before. Of course, when they are all large enough to see, there's no outside visibility, so a friend is coming over this weekend and we're going to set up the second screen. I'll park all of the gauges on that one. I'm not sure why, but I never was able to get the CDU to enlarge. With the help of my kids, they were able to find the (one pixel wide?) resizing border. Now it is undocked and when enlarged to one-third the screen I can fully use it. Do you know if there is a way to leave the display enlarged and squish the keys down? Or "undock" the CDU display portion only? Lastly, any suggestions about the amazing invisible MCP? I know what some of the buttons do (VOR, MAP/PLN/APR, and the ND range adjuster) but there's more there but I can't enlarge the pictures in the PDF enough to read what's there. I've given up on whatever is at the very top of the overhead. It's too dark and even undocked and enlarged it's not visible. (ditto for the manual).Thanks very much for the suggestions - any others would be welcome.

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Alex,Holy frijoles! That is amazing. After seeing (well, sort of) your setup I called a friend and he's going to come over this weekend and help me add the second screen - the 7900 will do dual monitors. I have an old graphics card but I'm not sure if I have an available slot for it. I might be able to see in VC mode. I've never been able to do that. What is the black thing overlapping the left edge of your keyboard? A paper holder? (Sorry if that's insulting - vision not very good this morning). Did you need a special driver to get the three monitors to play well together? Also, is your resolution set to be the sum of the pixels across all three monitors (for example, is it 800x600 or 800 x 1800?).I'm going to buy one of those swing-arm round lighted magnifier things and see if that does any good for viewing the MCP. Maybe it will cut down on the number of times I ask the ATC to "say again". Hmm-if the kneeboard is un-dockable, I can resize that and read the ATC info in the "messages" section. All my computer equipment is bordering on the geriatric, but the low frame rates in FSX don't bother me much because they give me more time to better see what I'm doing. I probably spend more time in pause mode than I do sim-flying.Thanks for the great ideas!

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Hi, DanNo, you can not use the mouse magnifier with the screen in full-screen mode. I run my FS9 and FSX in non-fullscreen mode (windowed mode). Anyway, was told some time ago that performance of the flight sims is better when NOT running in windowed mode. And my experience bears this out.Regarding the pop-up screens obscuring your view: Do you have a "Z" buttonOne of the display buttons: on my 737 it enlarges the PFD, ND and EICAS in-place and does not obscure my view. Unfortunately I find that the PMDG aircraft (I have the 737NG)has the worst resolution for characters (numbers, labels, etc) than any other aircraft I have. Even with my magnifications I still have to sometimes have my wife help me out.I run my primary monitor, a 21" CRT, in 1024x768 resolution and my 22" LCD (wide screen) also at 1024x768.Happy simming......Bill

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Dan-The "black thing" is the right horn of my CH yoke- just above the keyboard is a light to illum the KB a little as necessary. (My setup is tucked behind the door into the master BR so extra lighting at the KB is useful. She got the den as a sewing room!!!)No- drivers are just those needed for the GeForce FX 5200 cards- AGP Dual Head and a PCI card- nothing special.In Control Panel/Display/Settings you should see a schematic pic of your monitors once they are plugged in. Drag these around to conform to your physical arrangement. Click on each in turn to highlight it, then set the resolution slider below to your preference. I use 1024x768 for each. (Any higher burns up FPS which I can't afford on my 5 yr old "Smithsonian" class 1.8 sys.)Below the res setting slider, there is a box to tick to "extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor". Tick this for the/all secondary monitor(s). Box above will auto tick for primary mon.Click apply, then OK. (your sys may have to be rebooted to apply)You now should be able to drag your mouse arrow from far left to extreme right of both/all three? mons. And you should be able to drag windows pages by clicking on and dragging the title bar. Kneeboard can be dragged to any mon but can't be resized.After doing these settings in display properties, click on "advanced".there is a box there to increase Font Size- I've never used these but they might be pretty helpful. Keep asking questions!!! Alex Reid

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Dan- Did a bit of playing around re visual possibilities with multi monitors. The attached screenshot shows all four- Outbd/Inbd Captain's CRTs and Upper/Lower EICAS CRTs Undocked, enlarged and dragged to a secondary monitor. Also FMC/CDU and Pedestal are blown up. Appears to be a lot of possibilities when you get that second monitor working.Be careful in allowing any image to overlap an adjacent monitor- possible frame rate hit. Also Overhead and COM panels seem to hurt FPS- I bring 'em up as needed.Cheers Alex Reid PMDG 747 CRT Enlargement with triple monitorshttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/185756.jpg

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Hi Alex,If I wasn't sure I would crush pins I would be hooking that second screen up right now. Patience, dan. I took your pic and enlarged it a lot and there's things there I've never noticed before. What is the white stripe on the left-hand-side of the throttles? I thought it was a sign, but in your pic it looks like it might be something important.Do you get the same frame rate with 2 or 3 monitors as with 1? Not that I care, since I'll take 10 FPS if I can actually see the whole thing. Thanks a lot, and pray for those monitor pins. I may not be able to wait. arggghhh. But many, many thanks!dan

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Dan-I think the "white (vertical?) stripe" is the elevator trim indicator- a vertical scale moves up down to indicate trim status with a green mid section to show normal trim state.Yes- there is an FPS price for multiple mons- but not as bad as it might seem. A recent benchmark test gave me these results-2 monitors on the same AGP card reduced FPS 35-40% approx.(day/night)3 monitors (3rd on a PCI card) " " 40-50% " "FPS depends greatly on locale- add-on scenery can be difficult with older processors. I run FS9 with mid range settings, AI fairly low, Autogen off. The FPS #s above were done at KSFO- default scenery, Ready for TO on R28R using the DreamFleet Beech Baron 58.My system is remarkably stable NO STUTTERS/PAUSES and is quite flyable with FPS in single digits- but double preferred!!If you should get stutters with multiple monitors, try retarding Hardware Accel 2 notches for the secondary mon(s). (Control panel/display/settings/advanced/troubleshoot) Worked wonders for me.There is some evidence that this unloads the secondaries, allocating more Sim horsepower to the main mon. Certainly the red FPS numbers really do seem lower than the overall "motion smoothness" would suggest. In any event, I now turn off the FPS indicator- doesn't seem to have much relationship to sim quality.Alex Reid

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Matts, Bill, and Alex.Wow. I have the 22" LCD at 1280x1024 and the 15" LCD at 1024x768. Mats - for a given flight, the undocked displays (PFD, ND, MCP, and FMC) *are* kept across sessions. I've named a special saved panel state but not tried it yet. Running with 2 monitors the frame rate is cut in half to about 10 when Alex's hardware acceleration decrease is added, and there is no stuttering. I'm getting what looks like flashes of lightning on the primary display but they happen in clear weather, turbulent weather, and real-world weather. It's only very mildly annoying, but not enough to set of my seizures. I didn't spread the desktop across both screens because both would turn white (except for "reverse video" of the characters in the red font. The screens stay white for a minimum of five seconds, and sometimes almost 2 minutes. When the picture comes back, no flight time has elapsed, though.I found a way to maginfy the MCP. One of the counselors at the low vision center at the hospital told me about a "Powertoy Taskbar Magnifier" which can be downloaded from Microsoft for free. (It took FOREVER to find it with the screen reader on). It magnifies the area around the pointer (like the MS mouse Bill mentioned) *and* you can set the amount of magnification (1x, 2x, 4x, anything more is pretty useless). To paraphrase Alice B. Toklas about Oakland, there's no there, there. The magnified letters, numbers, dials are just not readable. I have no idea what the "bank limit" is set to. Alex mentioned that the (long-lost-to-me) stabilizer setting is to the left of the throttles. Don't bother magnifying them, there's nothing to see. Well, all I see are the letters "APL". I will have to scan through the manual (with the screen reader, sigh) to find out how to change the stabilizer setting. The eye surgeon made an interesting suggestion today. I have "continuous" bifocals, and because the cataracts are all attached to the ciliary strings at the bottom of my field of vision, he suggested wearing my glasses upside down. The optics don't make sense to me, but it definitely helps. Do all y'all think it would be useful to collect this thread into a page on the wiki so that others with low vision don't have to go through the extended experimentation we did? Mats-who would I ask to do so?Oh, one question: the "Stall" and "Overspeed" messages in red text just slightly overlap the second monitor (which is placed on the right). Is there a way to move those messages, maybe on top of the "parking brakes/simulation paused" message area? I looked at various .cfg files and tried to look through the wiki but having to use the screen reader all the time means such lookups are s-l-ooo-ooo-w. (not been a good couple of days, maybe the eyedrops are working). Again gentlemen, my deepest thanks and please enjoy a virtual beverage of your choice on me. Best,dan davison

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Dan- re frame rate- try reducing some FS settings a bit. Notably AI set to no more than 30% and AutoGen turned off. I also keep clouds set to Simple in the Display/weather settings. Make sure 3D/virtual is turned off in the PMDG settings.At top of the Stab. Trim scale on Throttle Panel there is lettering-"APL(apply?)Nose DN"- similarly at bottom is "APL Nose UP". I have my assignments set so the fore/aft rocker switch on the CH yoke activates Trim. I don't think "APL---" means much other than direction of travel for the scale itself.Any possibility that the light flashes are caused by conflicts with the two different monitor resolutions? Also try different positions/sizes for the popups- sometimes this has caused flashes for me- especially in conjunction with the mouse arrow.Make absolutely sure no panel overlaps the adjacent monitor. Always return the mouse cursor to the main monitor to avoid FPS hit.Re glasses- I too normally use continuous focus glasses- but they are terrible for computer work. Several years ago, had a pair of so- called Computer Glasses made. Everything within 6 feet is in focus- everything beyond out of focus. Absolutely wonderful- a 100% improvement over normal continuous focus specs. (at 76 you need something that works well!!!)The virtual beverage was cold & delicious!Alex Reid

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Dan,can you confirm that your 22" is not widescreen? Because if it is you really should use 1680 x 1050 instead.

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Alex, Again, great suggestions, thanks! I'll make those changes later today and let you know what happens. AFAI can tell, there are no overlaps panel overlaps between monitors. The just-plain-old video performance goes down if the desktop is stretched.The light flashes appear to be random, and so far are only on the main monitor, and when the focus is on the main monitor. I almost always leave the mouse on the main monitor except when using EICAS or the CDU. However, I'll make the setup as you suggest. I see the eye MD on Friday to check on the eye pressure, so I'll ask about the 6' range glasses. I will have to go back to the documentation to find out what the stabilizer is and how it's controlled. There do not appear to be any clickable points on the stripes or immediately above and below it.Thanks again & more soon,dan

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Hi,Thank you for the suggestion. I really don't know. I'll check the doumentation & post back here. I don't think I've ever been "offered" a resolution of 1680 x 1050 by the monitor driver or the video card. (I'm in another room on the computer which has a better screen reader).More soon,dan

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Dan- Stabilzer is the horizontal tail plane that controls aircraft pitch up/down- set to establish desired airplane attitude: level,up,down. Essentially its correct setting will remove pressure from the pilot's control yoke- which actually controls the elevators. Depends on many factors- weight/ fuel/ passenger load and desired attitude-climb/descend etc. In the 747 it will be computed by the FMC.With the CH yoke I use the fore/aft rocker switch for trim. Go to FSim Options/Controls/Assignments/Control Surface Commands- Elevator Trim Down is set to Button 9, Elevator Trim Up is set to Button 10. Move the Repeat slider to full right.Now you've got dual mons working, check local computer shops for surplus CRT monitors- you might find a nice 19 or 20" for free. They now have little or no resale value and are a liability to get rid of!Alex Reid

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Hi Kirster,I checked the manual for the large LCD (Hann-G) and played with the nVidia driver. The maximum resolution on it is 1280 x 1024 via the driver. The manual doesn't list any higher resolution either. Thanks for suggesting I check.dan

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