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Guest David Lee 2

My latest cockpit pics

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My cockpit has evolved over the years and morphed as I've become excited about this or that release for FS. There is a side to me that would love to make a faithful recreation of a particular plane but the reality is I am just too fickly to limit myself. Instead I set out to make a good generic sim that could be used for almost any plane and I think I achieved that. Attached are some pics. Here are a few things I learned along the way that might help- It's hard to get the seat height right and that should probably be the first step in scaling your sim. I bought two new vinyl Chevy van seats from Ebay and they work well but I've never found sliding rails for them. Instead I made wooden bases and they slide around on the rug. Not ideal but it works. My seats are actually a little too high so in the future I will raise the rudder pedals to effect.- I use flat panel LCD monitors for the flight displays. I bought cheap 13" monitors because I wanted the small size but they have horrible contrast. Cheap LCD monitors in a darkened room glow like the vegas strip, even with a black background (it shows as silver at best!). There is a big price differential between cheap LCDs and good ones. Instead I bought window tinting paper from an auto supply and applied that. It helps but does reduce the color brilliance and makes them hard to read in bright light.- A 2nd PC runs the PFD usually with Project Magenta's GAIFR twin panel or with their RJ software. The middle monitor is for engine gauges. I haven't been that impressed with the flexibility of PM's engine displays so I usually use that as a second monitor for the FS9 PC and drag the secondary panels over to it. In the pic is a compilation panel I created with all the important switches and gauges for the FSD Aerostar.- I have a ton of Goflight stuff. The RP48 is probably the most versatile but the GF166s are nice too. The latter have knobs that are way too long and prone to injury. IMO all of the Goflight stuff is freakishly large and I wish they had tried to be considerate of scale. I probably could have fashioned something better than the GF_LGT but I've gotten used to it. The gear handle breaks easily and I found the trim wheel a little weak. I used to use a real Baron wheel hooked to rotating potentiometer. It worked well but now I just use electric trim on the PFD Mooney Yoke. I would love to have a GoFlight clock, advanced MCP (with LNAV and VNAV buttons), and OMI lights but I've not heard any rumors that they might be in the pipeline.- The step up to a PFD yoke was expensive but well worth it. Like night and day over a CH Yoke. My only complaint is the huge amount of real estate it takes up and I wish I could remove the throttle control because I find it pretty useless for my setup. I guess the newer models are longer and narrower.- My throttle quadrant is based on a real Baron unit I bought on Ebay long before you guys started bidding against me on everything! ;-)I used RC linkages and long sliding pots from Mouser. I use Rockfire USB converters to make the USB compatible but the converter tends to make the controls move in small steps rather than continuously. That makes fine adjustments difficult. Don't waste your time with the Radio Shack converter. It uses much larger steps in the conversion. The GF throttle looks too small and delicate to me but I am looking forward to seeing it at the Avsim conf. The upcoming CH unit looks big and ugly but who knows.- I use a KE72 keyboard emulator for the switch panel which is on the left side of the pilot seat (it's modeled after the C421 panel). It works great and was cheap.- Need to add one more LCD monitor to the panel and I am considering a touchscreen for an overhead panel (waiting to see what PM Systems offers). I would ultimately like to have a projection system but would still use my faithful TrackIR (which I still maintain is the best addon I've ever made to my sim).These are my opinions for what they are worth. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. I actually wrote something in much greater detail but accidentally erased it so this is a watered down version. Hate when that happens! ;-)David

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hey your description sounds like what i have in mind.but where are the pics????

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Hi Mike,I'm having troubles posting them. I resized them and they are well under the avsim limit for size but it's still telling me they are too big. Maddening! Bear with me and I'll get them.David

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looks good :)1 suggestion though:http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products...,CONTENTID=5003:DI use that one as well and is most handy in the sim. I put it on my leg while flying. No need for a flat platform. But since you work generic you can do it however you like.The idea in my sim is to build it in somewhere. A touchpad might be handy as well 777-style though I have a touchpad on my laptop and I hate it. I bought a simple optical USB mouse for my laptop and shortened the cable to about 40cm .. very handy as well :)

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Very nice David. You did a good job. I think a generic sim is more versatile than a specific sim. I have a question. I have read about the IR tracker and I am considering getting one. It is my understanding that they only work in VR cockpits. What do you do with the VR panel being on the monitor? It seems to be a waste to build a panel and then have one on the screen that looks differently from yours. It would be much better to use the screen real estate for the outside views.John

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Any plane with VC can have the VC removed.All you need to do is edit the mdl file with a hex editor. How you do that ? I don't know :(

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John,Yes, TrackIR definitely shines in the VC (not sure how I would use it otherwise). I usually adjust it so the view out the front is over the glare screen so I don't really see duplication of gauges unless I deliberately look down. With Project Magenta software there are a lot of things missing from most cockpits - caution lights, for example. So I can still scan those in the VC using TrackIR. Some complex models (Aeroworx B200) push my main PC to the limit so in that case and a few others I have taken all the gauges out of the VC panel (that is very easy to do) yet I still have the basic interior to help with my situational awareness. The PM software gives me the main info I need and I can always pop up a 2D panel when I need to (I use the GF-P8 for that). Honestly, if my TrackIR broke and they didn't sell them anymore, I probably couldn't enjoy FS again. David

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Philippe,That's a very good suggestion. I've thought about going that route but never shopped for one. I may just give it a try! ThanksDavid

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John,I bought the 3D glasses shortly after they came out and there were still some issues with drivers etc. Frankly, they were cool with some FPS games but I didn't think they added that much in FS. They gave me a headache, reduced the color brightness on the 3D monitor, and because I use multiple 2D panels much of the time they were a hindrance more than anything. I would be curious how many people continue to use them. I've thought about giving them another shot from time to time but I always feel the video driver business is a pretty fragile environment and I don't want to risk messing things up by reinstalling them.David

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Thanks David,I am considering purchasing both the 3D glasses and the tracking device. Your experience and that of others like you are very helpful to me in making a decision.I too, use a 2D panel for the gauges. I hadn't thought of how they would affect it.John

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