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Guest jcuellar

Which is best: EPIC, INTERFACE IT, FS BUS, IO CARDS, ET...

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Hi all,The time is now and we decided to start with this ambicious project of a complete home build 737 NG cockpit.I have moreless 2 years using Project Magenta software in 4 networked PCand believe me this master piece software really changes the way of virtual flying. Thankyou PM team.Now, I need your expert advice on this, which is the BEST interface to use in this type of projects?, I'm not a programmer, nor an expert in electronics, but I'm sure I can lear with not toO much difficulty.I know there are several interfaces such as EPIC, Interface It, FS Bus, IO cards and Beta Innovations. Discarding the cost of each one which is the most suitable, friendly and powerfull interface?Looking forward for you reply.Best RegardsJaime CuellarMonterrey, Mexico

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Jamie, It depends how much you want to surrender money on interface cards. Or depend how much time you re willing to deal with it. For example:FSBUS-- Is known as most popular demands among to cockpit builder who wants to save their money. Good thing about FSBUS is they are free. Don't get it wrong... I mean you can get information for free.. But you would need to buy its components, board, or etc. The Bad thing is, it has lot of bugs, that needs to do some revision.. No worries mate, you'll get lot of help or feedback from those FSBUS users.EPIC-- I uses EPIC USB myself, based of my experience I would choose EPIC over other interface Cards. What's Good thing about EPIC is, they don't have much of bugs, they are almost compatible to everything-- I mean, Type of computer and version of MSFS or its thrid party. What's bad about EPIC, is they are expensive through.KE-72-- Unfortunately... It's unlike FSBUS or EPIC yet. KE-72 interface card can only convert switches into keystrokes. Which mean if you re planning to use Rotary Encoders for COMM, NAV, XPDR, MCP, or else. You may not want to consider using KE-72 but it'd be good to use on CDU. I uses KE-72 on CDU so that way I could save button space on EPIC.So likewise, it depends how much you are comfortable with spending time.$$ on interface cards. Hope this help and Good Luck

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There's also Beta Innovations "GammaRay" USB card - 256 inputs, can handle rotary decoders, switches, or (with an adapter) axes. I use his older 64 input card, and It's been great.Richard

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>EPIC-- I uses EPIC USB myself, based of my experience I would>choose EPIC over other interface Cards. What's Good thing>about EPIC is, they don't have much of bugs, they are almost>compatible to everything-- I mean, Type of computer and>version of MSFS or its thrid party. What's bad about EPIC, is>they are expensive through.And while EPIC is pretty flexible, I have the impression there's a lot of the "EPL" code to write to make anything work, so you will end learing to program it, whether you wanted or not. There's the bluesideup forum that deals wiht EPIC here on avsim though, I guess it might be useful to lurk there a bit and see how the stuff works in practice.EPIC is the most flexible, although, like mentioned, expensive. But then again, if you have a pretty beefy budget for the cockpit in general as well (there is a huge amount of stuff to do and lots of work) the EPIC itself might not be that big of a deal compared to the rest.People indeed tend to use Hagstr

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Hi,I would go Betainnovations without any hesitation. It's USB simple, affordable and work great. FSBUS for example is still connected on the RS 232 serial port. It's not up to date.Betainnovations, PLASMA 60 $, give you 16 analog axises and 64 buttons including ACE - Hall effect sensors - Knitter rotaries ans so on....Betainn. GAMMARAY 90 $, gives you 256 Imputs of all sort - rotaries, Knitter, Toggle and so on...Upcoming ELECTRONFLUX will give you 256 outputs. Leds, Annunciators, Stepper motors an so on....What do you need more ???? EPIC complete system is worth about 1000 $. It gives you a bit more flexibility but at which prices ?????With some upcoming programs dealing with systems ( take a look at Project Magenta)you will be able to do with any keyboard encoder what you only can do today with EPIC, access directly to aircraft systems normally accessed just my mouse clicks. That's all.For peripherical systems like Magenta I use also Hagstrom Keybord encoder, which are good for Glasscockpit control, MCP, an so on.RegardsRoger

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Hi !You can look www.opencockpits for IOCard Project.IOCard have the follow specifications :- Key Emulator Encoder (for CDUs ? )- Inputs (Max. 288 for a computer )- Outputs (Max. 256 for a computer )- Displays 7-Segments (Max. 256 for a computer )- can connect directly LCD-Displays (6 outputs for LCD), rotary gray encoders (2 inputs for rotary) and rotary switches (3 inputs for r-switches).- Circuits for : steeper motors, servo motors, rotary encoders 2 dephased signals, analogic inputs, etc.- Can connect with FSimulator and X-plane.- FSUIPC and IOCP protocol for connect with others aplications (Project Magenta, ON-737 all system simulator, A320 Canig

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very interested in this topic too, and i seem to be very interested in beta-innovations!

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Funny that you ask this question... I've started a spreadsheet of the different solutions out there just two days ago. Its not finished yet, lots of empty space... but here's a preview of it.http://cockpit.varxec.de/electronics/cockp...lectronics.htmlIts not linked into the general structure of my cockpit pages yet...I'd appreciate help in filling the gaps in my spreadsheet, corrections, more electronics not found in the list...Also, regarding IOCards:I am amazed at what they are doing with just standard logic ICs...but I think this is a little outdated... too complex, can't imagine debugging those circuits. Why not use Microcontrollers. They are easier to use, mostly even cheaper that a bunch of 74xx logic ICs and can be programmed. I even tend to think in the direction of programmable logic: CPLDs and FPGAs. Everything on one chip. No external components, except maybe the driver circuits. I'll have to check out FPGAs and VHDL someday...Regards,ManuelPS: If someone wants the spreadsheet in original format (for Gnumeric) or an excel export (dunno how good it is), please mail me.

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Actually, what may be most important of all is that you design and DOCUMENT your system so that you are somewhat independent of any of the controller systems. After all, a digital in is a digital in, regardless of which of the many routes it takes to get recognised by the controlling PC. There are only so many different types of outs and ins...Design your wiring harness to be modular, so that you can unplug and plug them into something else when the next big thing comes. Mark your conductors and connectors clearly, and create some kind of a consistent identity scheme that will make it easy to swap out or update stuff...Simpit

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Thankyou very much guys for your replies, definetley is not a easy decision I'm right now at the first stages of my planningl, but definetly EPIC seems to be the strongest interface, but I'll be reading more documentation until I take my decision.CheersJaime CuellarMonterrey, Mexico

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