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Guest mmorrell

New King Air Gauges

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All,Thought you might like to see the engine stack for my KA sim. Stepper motors running on 12VDC and USB interface. These were built for me by Marco Leerentveld at www.flightillusion.com. Just a fantastic job by him on these. Price is comparalbe to Simkits, only custom (check out the LED readouts for PROP TORQUE and TURBINE RPM)...http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/66665.jpg

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Nice gauges, great looking, but 2000 $ for a bit plastic and some servos??? You can find each instruments from a real aircaft for 10 dollars on Ebay, sometimes less. That's 100 bucks and twelve little servos100 buck and you have something build with Steel and Alu. Add a cheap FSBUS/ IO Controller/or an 100 Bucks servo controller.I have sometimes the impression that the Simpits hardware providers are slowly going totally insane as regards prices. Soon, with the world crise you will find real aircraft for less then some simulator plastic parts. I do understand, they have not too much customers then the few ones have to pay the big price. Just some thoughtsRoger

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Roger,I grant you that not everyone will go for something like these, they are not "hobby items", as Pete Cos put it... but for those who strive for realism and have the means to afford them, you can't do much better. Sure, you could spend untold hours searching Ebay and boneyards for instruments that are in decent enough shape to modify and then spend many more hours reworking them, and of course that is a viable approach but I think you are WAY over-simplifying the skill, effort and time it would take to do so. You have to remember that there are 14 instruments in 12 gauges here... that's $158 each, assembled, tested, built to your specifications and delivered ready to plug and play. An off-the-shelf, preassembled, generic and uncustomizable (except for the paper face plate) TRC Altimeter will cost you $240, and you still need to buy the controller. I personally think these were a great deal :)BTW - I should have mentioned that the bezels are aluminum and these use stepper motors, not servos, which are much smoother, quieter and less suseptible to noise.Of course many sim builders either do not want or can not afford to put considerable sums of money in to their simulators.... some do. I personally have about 12K in to mine, and I am (almost) done buying parts. Some builders (Robert Prather, James Price and others) have spent tens of thousands. So your point is well taken, but when you really look at it and consider the target audience, these are certainly worth considering for the serious builder. I agree that there are some sim parts out there that are slightly over-priced, but considering the market, the engineering, suppilers and equipment required to build theese items, advertising and after-the-sale support required I find most are very reasonable. There are those that think that FSUIPC is too expensive... I think it's bargin. Just like these :)FWIW....

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Expensive, but amazing man!! Wish I have the dough... yeah Real parts can sometimes be cheap or expensive and sometimes hard to get or Interface... But then again if you have the dough go for the thing that each of you consider the best keep us posted on your project it is going to be really interesting.Kind Regards.Roberto Soriano

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Mitch, Its is hard to contradict your arguments. They are right in the world in which we are and it is a incontestable fact that every custom work has its price. But when I take a look at their Site I can see that the engine pack is sold as a basic product. I strongly believe that there are other ways (see the Simavionics.com B767 Throttle Quad made with Steel and Alu just a bit more expensive than the upcoming plastic junk of Chproduct and much cheaper than other plastic junk well known here)to build such items at reasonnable prices without concession about the quality.I got yesterday my radio panels from a well known company ( The Collins King Air type) and was just upset. Any other item for any other use made in that poor quality would just cost a micro-fraction of what we have to pay for it. My Wife asked if I payed more than 5 bucks. I started to cough.The same day I got (Ebay.co.uk) for a micro-fraction of the price I paid the six panels, a real Radio Audio Panel with 12 toggle switches and rotary swichtes, backlighted, wired, just had to put the electronic out and to plug it into my Gammaray Card. Mitch, I understand perfeclty your arguments, but I still strongly believe that there is something going wrong in our world anyway, but also especially in our small simpit builder world. Cheers,Roger

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Roger,Of course there are other ways, and of course, we are both right... I have purchased sim products that are excellent and others that are junk. I have also bought and modified many real aircraft parts for my sim and will be doing so with more. The engine gauges would have been way too difficult for my skill level and I definitley don't have the time to dedicate to learning and building them. From the start I wanted to stay away from displaying instruments on a monitor - just my preference. There are plenty of options for every simmer.I meet Marco at the AVSIM conference last year and was impressed with his products (even though for half the show his booth was down because of a crashed HDD). We discussed my requirements at that time and proceeded from there. As with all things simulated, this was a trade off... lots of folks build their own yokes - I bought a PFC for mine, but even so I still had to modify it. In one very important regard I am very lucky... I have what my wife and I refer to as "sim bucks" - money that I put aside that is dedicated to the sim. I was able to start with about $4K and started buying and selling parts and other stuff on EBay. I also got a great deal on a used King Air panel set as well as invaluable assistance from Ron Weins at Flight Deck Solutions... the right place at the right time.I also do side work (networks) for a few local small businesses that is on a cash basis and that goes to the sim as well (and it is also my AVSIM Conference fund - hehe). At this point the simulator is almost a self-sustaining concern. So for me this was the way to go, even though forking over $2K is NEVER easy :)I have also asked Marco to price out the Fuel and Flap Position indicators for me, so they'll be more to come!

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I LOVE THIS HOBBY...... Looks absolutely FANTASTIC Mitch. CONGRATULATIONS. Well worth the money. This is what our hobby is about. To build a Cockpit from scratch and the ability to build it from NONE real aircraft parts, and yet look identical to the real parts. That is a tremendous challange.... and we're doing it!!! Thanks to Cockpit builders like Peter Cos, who started building his own cockpit and then decided to share his talent with the rest of the world, this hobby would not be possible. THANKS TOO ALL!!!

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Matt,I share your enthusiasm as regards our hobby but far not the fact of building everything from scratch ...with plastic. Excuse me I have seen so much cockpits where you just had to be very carefull before touching one piece.My first attempt was that way. Each time when some fellow pilots friends came at home for "testing the beast", after that the sim was off for one month due to heavy maintenance.Since those experiences I decided to go with real part as much as possible, because it is just an other feeling having a Steel Throttle quad in your hand or a plastic one, an hydraulic damped Yoke and column than a plastic joystick and so on.....further if with a bit of patience all that real stuff comes cheaper than the plastic parts.it's my humble opinion.CheersRoger

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Not to belabor the point - but very little on my sim is plastic... only the TRC gauges for the copilots instruments and the handles on my throttles (which are plastic on the real one too)...

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Roger,I too have the same concern, dependability of the products are a priority to me. Therefore, I demand quality and durability! And I build my cockpit to take a beating.Roger, for you, if it takes using real parts.... GO FOR IT! You do what it takes to make your mission successful.

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I will have to agree with all of you guys you all have very good points, I

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Good point, and exactly why I commissioned Marco to build these - they look and act exactly like the real ones:) They really are "as real as it gets"... you really have to see them to appreciate it ;)Question - do any of you guys know anyone who has modified real steam gauge instruments for use in their sim that work exactly as they do in the real a/c? I sure would like to see some pics of them and the construction.

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Mitch,I have transformed some Instruments. You can see some pictures of an analog ADI on Mikes sites under real Instruments. But in the while I sold everything to a fellow german builder who took everything I had. Real Dassault Falcon 50 jet cockpit and a bunch of instruments including ADI and HSI,RMI, ASI, VSI, ALTThe work is amazing complicated and I had not the time and patience to achieve it. Each instruments is a new challenge. But if you need some infos, dont hesitateI have collected some experience. Write to my e-mail adress.Roger

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Roger..."The work is amazing complicated and I had not the time and patience to achieve it. Each instruments is a new challenge."My point exactly :)

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Mitch,Take a look at the forum on ViperPit.org. In the "Steam Gauges" thread, Craig Rochester posted some of his work on modifying an altimeter.Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.com

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Mike,Try as I might - I wasn't able to find this thread... did a search and found "Craigs Pit" but nothing on the modifications... I would like to see it - can you be more specific on the URL? Sorry if I'm being dense :(

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Mitch,After scratching my head a few seconds, I realized I had pointed you to a forum that you must register to access. ViperPit is tightly focused on F-16 sims. You can see only a fraction without logging on.What Craig did was to puncture the vacuum capsule and reseal it. He then connected the altimeter to a controllable pressure source. The source was made by putting an eccentric cam on an RC servo, and using the cam to move the adjustment on the regulator. I believe Matt Wietlispach has made use of a number of real A/C instruments and gauges. His site has not been updated for some time. I don't know what he currently doing.Are you interested in modifying / building from scratch / or..?Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.com

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Mike,Thanks... good to know I'm not as inept as I sometimes feel :)While I find it intriguing to work on that level, I'm neither old enough nor young enough to get that involved with every instrument on a "nuts and bolts" level- I simply don't thave the time at this point in my life, so I'm going with mostly commercial stuff. That's one reason why finding Marco was a godsend for me. I have more money than time at this point (but not that much of either). As you can see from the pic at the start of the thread, these are a very good representation of the real thing. I am modifyiing plenty of real parts such as gear lever, electrical power panel, but to modify the 38 some-odd steam gauges in a KingAir is way more than I am willing to commit to :)My next project for Flight Illusion is my fuel gauges and flap position indicator. I assure those who are wed to using only real parts that although I appreciate your dedication to the real thing, N714TX will be a very high fidelity sim when completed.

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Well, you are certainly getting some nice looking gear.I look forward to following your progress.Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.com

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At some point of the hobby one reaches the point where the money involved could also be used to acquire and maintain a private pilots license with a reasonable amount of flying hours. Our sim is low-budget because I want to fly for real as well, and avgas is not cheap :/But it's a good question to ask. Unfortunately for some people simming is not about choosing between sim or real life flying for various reasons (medical etc) -- but for those of us who could get a PPL, it's a good question to ask oneself along the way..Then again I do enjoy the building part as well, so this hobby is a very rewarding one even though I also enjoy flying on the real plane. At least in Finland, it seems that many sim pilots are having their own community, dreaming of flying for real, and it almost seems to them that the only possibility for them to be real pilots is throuhg becoming a professional airline pilot. However, there are many many other ways to have aviation as a great hobby too - if you have a local airport, go and have a look, see if there is a flying club with friendly atmosphere and good people - you might even get to see their planes and chat with them.I mean, some people put more money into golf clubs.. and I dont have anything against golf :) but you get the idea..//Tuomas

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Agreed - big time. I love to fly the real thng and do so every chance I get with pilot friends. Breaking the rules - they often let me fly most of the time except near the airport. I have 16 hours of formal instruction in the C150 (at $90/hr) but found myself with so little time that I often went a month or more between lessons. Often when I had time, the crosswinds at N12 were gusting in excess of 13 knots or it was crappy out. Last year we had something like 4 out of 16 weekends that it didn't rain.So while I pursued my PPL ever so slowly I got in to building the sim. Over time it took over my discretionary income and now over the course of the last 4 years I have come to this ($12K or so). Indeed, only the most untalented of pilots wouldn't have or be close to a PPL by this time, which would be 133 hours. But the sim kind of sneaked in and stole all my money :)I intend on getting my license after I retire - another 10 years or so, and I really try to fly-by-the-book, i.e; not to learn bad habbits by simming for years. Time will tell.In the interim I really enjoy it and can drink the occasional beer while preflighting the aircraft

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