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Hagstrom Keyboard Encoder Questions

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I have some questions regarding Hagstrom keyboard encoders. I am building a GA cockpit (Very Slowly) and as time and money permits I have been installing Go Flight gear. Due to the high price of these excellent panels I am looking for alternatives for switchology for things like Fuel Pumps, Magneto switches, Engine start switches and even with Mouse to Key module assigning switches to manipulate the GPS and other functions on the panel.1)First are these encoders user friendly for installation and assignments?2)What kind of switches can I use for inputs?3)Can I buy them from radio shack and if so what price should I expect to pay for switches?4)Do I need the breakout board in order to connect switches to the encoder?5) Do I have to have a minimum number of switches installed for the unit to work or can I add them as I go?6) Will I be able to use my normal keyboard while this is installed?7) Should I get the USB version?I just got the Mouse2Key program and see some really amazing possibilities here. My aim is to build a cockpit that will make it possible to follow a checklist without touching a mouse or keyboard and be able to manipulate all the controls without spending a small fortune. I already have the Nav/Com radios coverd with Go Flight GF-166's and a P-8. I also have two SunComm throttles with programmable keyboard emulation switches but I am out of switches and still have functions to cover. Also with the SunComm's the keyboard emulation switches do not allow me to hold a key down just act as a key stroke. Thanks in advance for any assistance,Ken

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Guest RichardL

Hi Ken,I'll try to answer as best I can.>1)First are these encoders user friendly for installation >and assignments?Yes! The Hagstrom USB encoder was simple to install. Just plug in the USB cable and windows recognizes it. The USB unit includes a Windows program to assign switches to keyboard commands. It's numbered 1 - 36 ( number of switches that can be controlled) and has check boxes for Repeat, Control, Alt, Shift, and then the keyboard keys. >2)What kind of switches can I use for inputs? I believe Hagstrom told me both monentary and toggle (on-off) will work.>3)Can I buy them from radio shack and if so what price >should I expect to pay for switches? Any switch that makes a closure, either monentary or on-off will work. No reason why a wall light switch wouldn't work. Price? Depend upon the switch. I have SPST switches I paid a few dollars for. I also have four, double pole triple throw switches that were $8.50 each.>4)Do I need the breakout board in order to connect switches >to the encoder? No, but it sure makes connections easier. There is a ribbon cable from the encoder board to the breakout board. Just connect them together. The breakout board is four sided, with a commom ground on each side. One switch wire goes to ground and the other to a numbered screw down terminal.>5) Do I have to have a minimum number of switches installed >for the unit to work or can I add them as I go? You can add as you go. Just go back to the config program and assign the new switches.>6) Will I be able to use my normal keyboard while this is >installed? I believe so. I have the encoder controlling an Airbus EFIS panel. It's on a different computer though. Be mindful of not assigning the same key commands to two different functions. >7) Should I get the USB version? I like it!>I just got the Mouse2Key program and see some really amazing >possibilities here. My aim is to build a cockpit that will >make it possible to follow a checklist without touching a >mouse or keyboard and be able to manipulate all the controls >without spending a small fortune. I already have the Nav/Com >radios coverd with Go Flight GF-166's and a P-8. I also have >two SunComm throttles with programmable keyboard emulation >switches but I am out of switches and still have functions >to cover. Also with the SunComm's the keyboard emulation >switches do not allow me to hold a key down just act as a >key stroke. Thanks in advance for any assistance, One note on MouseToKey. If you use that program, the screen which has the key command must be the active screen. What I mean is, if you have two windows screens open, that screen must be the one with focus. Have you looked at FUSIPC. It has the ability to assign joystick buttom commands to FS functions. Check out version 2.94 I'd email these questions to Hagstrom and see if you get the same answers. I'm sure they get these questions alot.Good Luck,Richard

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Thanks Richard That is what I was looking for. As far as the Mouse2Key thing I knew about the active window having to be open. I think this is the way to go with my cockpit. I just have to figure out exactly which encoder to get thewn go shopping for switches. If I have any more questions I'll post them here. Thanks,Ken

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Guest PANTU

Hi Ken,if you are looking for a real "cheap" and versatile solution (freeware) look here: http://www.fsbus.deOf course you need to do a few things by yourself, but this solution even beats Hagstr

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Hi Peter.Thanks for the link but I can't get it to work. Do they have another web address?Jim Brown

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Richard, I have one more question, Can I set up all my switch assignments for one aircraft and save that profile and then set up assignments for a different aircraft under a different profile and then load a data file that defines switch assignments for each aircraft? Or is there only one assignmet per switch possible? Thanks,Ken

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Guest RichardL

Ken,I don't see why you can't have multiple set-ups. The USB units config program has the normal drop down menu with Open and Save options. You should be able to have saved set-ups for the Boeing 737 or the Cessna 152.Let's say the Boeing's set-up is in the units non-volatile memory and you wanted to use the Cessna set-up. You would launch the config program, select Open, and install the Cessna set-up.A good question for Hagstrom I would think.Richard

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Hey there Jorge, Thanks! You need to walk across the street more often and see what I'm up to Ha Ha! The machine is gonna grow...I may need your help with a few items like soldering and such. Later,KenAnd Thanks Richard this sounds very promising.Ken

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