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Electronics and the beginner

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Greetings to all. For those of you here that have built your own electronic componentets, MCP with digital displays, etc., or are in the process of doing so, I would love to hear what your take is on someone who has just about zero knowledge/experience with electronics. As my project comes along, everday I ponder the time when I will have to start thinking about my options for an MCP/Autopilot. While I could do without an FMC and such, I'd really like to have an MCP as a first. There are commercial options for one, but I'd rather build my own if I could. Costs are a factor and secondly I would always want things in my cockpit that I built and know how to fix or replace if it were to break. So for those that are involved in building and took that step to build their own components or are in the process.......what is your take? Approximately how long would it take for me to learn enough to take the building route? Where is the best place to start or do research? While I have not updated my webpage in quite a while, the address is www.geocities.com/prob757 I will update it soon with photos of the main panels and some guage faces that I built.

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We all started at precisely zero. As long as you don't set impossible goals (a complete MCP by next Thursday), you can build whatever you need.It helps if you can partner with someone local who has some useful skills, but it's not critical.You might find it worthwhile to start with someone else's design, get it working, then modify as needed. FSBUS, Intergrated Flight Systems, Beta Innovations, LPT-Switch and IOcards come to mind.Mikewww.mikesflightdeck

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Mike .. again you're the first to give a good push for the newbies.And it surprises me every day how our hoby is growing each week !!I started off one year ago and maybe I'm wrong but I have a feeling that there were many out there building a sim, but nothing compared to the nuber of people on the job today !?!It is booming and I hope that Daken Skys come out with some interesting stuff soon cuz now it the time for them to get their stuff on the market. This is super. The more builders, the bigger the market is for hardware vendors, the lower the prices will grow, the more sollutions for us there will be ... super super super :)Just wanted to make a note to you Mike. This might not be the only place cockpit builders gather but as far as I know this is the biggest and you're doing a great job with your posts and for sure with your website.Makes me think of it .. have you started building a sim ? And are there any pics of that ?

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Thanks Philippe,I am building a sim, just very, very slowly. I started by building the instruments and gauges, and slowed progress by taking time to write a book about it. I'm about done with the book and will start building flight controls. (And probably write about that as well)The sim will be modeled after a Bell 206. However, I must admit that the A-10 in LO:MAC is looking increasingly attractive. The upcoming patch release lists data exporting as an upcoming LO:MAC feature.Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.com

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A-10??? I would never have pegged you for a mil simpit man.Yeah, LOMAC news is great! Home cockpit building is finally getting some serious attention by developers and pretty soon data exports will be an integral part of every flight sim.-Leo

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Sorry dude,We are starting to use your thread as a chat :(Let me give you a thing more to work with here.Did you already notice the website: http://www.iflightsystems.com/index.htmAs far as I know there are no people with experiance with these products but they sure are good priced I think and it looks to become equally powerfull as FSbus. I get my FSbus (hopefully) for a better price than this but that's not assembeled/flashed/tested. There is a german site where you can order assembeled/flashed/tested FSbus systems from and I can tell you.. those are a lot more expencive than these Photon things.You might concider this.

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Blimey!You guys sure do jump in and talk about stuff that doesn't *quite* answer the man's questions :(Sure, there are loads of useful pointers mentioned, but the best method is to spend a while just looking around and asking people questions. Many of us here do this, and we do, in one way or another, learn how to do something new.Take a look at sim-builder's websites, there's a lengthy list of them on Mike's webpage for you to look at. Feel free to email/contact the website owners and ask them in-depth questions about how they did things. Take ideas from them and either copy them or be creative and try your own ideas.For example, with my sim I've spent literally months gathering data about the 737NG (which is what I'm going to build), more months on what hardware is out there that I can use, and yet more months fitting the two together. I split my sim into several manageable sections so that I can concentrate on one area at a time without getting swamped down with data. My first project (and probably many others did the same) was the MCP and radio kit. For these I had do decide which hardware solution would work best, then decide which software I would use to interface them with.As for the hardware, there are loads of different options to choose from. Your choices mainly depend on 3 things: Size, time and money. If you have a large room, loads of cash but a fairly busy lifestyle, you can opt for pre-built kit that costs a fair bit of money. If, however, you have a small room, not muh money but plenty of time to kill, and you're feeling creative, you can opt to make your own designs. This isn't hard, but it is time-consuming. You'll also need the required tools and materials too.Ultimately, the choice is yours, so look around and see what there is, and check back regularly as people come up with great ideas all the time. So get out there and get stuck in!

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Thanks Mike and to everyone else that responded. I fear and dread the day that I will need to start learning the electronics part of this hobby, but I do want to build my own components. I always think to myself, in this hobby, it pays to know electronics. On the cosmetic side, I'll update you guys with some guage faces that I have completed. I got some really nice results and for anyone interested, I will explain it step by step on the webpage very soon.

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To borrow a few words from the late Douglas Adams: DON'T PANIC!Buy yourself a cheap solderless breadboard and some 24 gauge solid hookup wire. (www.allelectronics.com cat# PB-840 for example)Sit down with: A. soda, B. beer, C. wine, D. All of the above.Try some simple stuff and have fun. Post questions here. Many answers will be posted. Pick the ones that look like the most fun and go at it again.Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.com

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