VFRHawk

Radio, Switch and Instrument panels

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Hi all,

I'm looking to move beyond the simple HOTAS setup I've been using for many years to control my flying in P3D, and wondered if people could point me in the right direction?

I mostly fly Manfred Jahn's C47 VFR, though I'm looking for things that will work with most any aircraft.

My primary desire is for a way to control the radios in the plane, as I like to fly VOR to VOR so tuning to each station, and then ideally being able to see the instrument so that I can see when I'm on the radial.  Secondary is some sort of switch panel to save me having to look up to the overhead constantly during engine start etc.

Now I've seen the Saitek/Logitech panels which at first glance look ideal.  However, I've read a number of stories about problems with the controls on the radio panel in particular (hint:  Don't search for Saitek gorilla knobs at work, it doesn't end well!) so I was wondering if that was still a problem or if they'd rectified the issue on newer panels?  The other questions were around the gulf that seems to exist between those panels and anything else price wise - the next panel up I've seen is something like 5 times the price!  Can anyone point me to a better quality panel that perhaps isn't that huge a leap in price?

Last question:  If I get a radio panel and instrument panel, can you mount them to one and other?  This would be sat on the corner of my desk, so they'd need to not move around every time you touch them and ideally be able to stack them (I know you can stack the switch and radio panels, I'm just wondering about the instrument cluster as its narrower than the others).  I lied, sorry, one more question.  Does the instrument panel have something that functions as an OBS?  There's something that looks like it might do the job but I can't find a video of anyone actually using one for VOR navigation to confirm.

Thanks

Graham

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1 hour ago, VFRHawk said:

Graham

Hi Graham,

Here is what I'm pretty sure I'm going to try - when I get done with my new build... From the reviews I've read - made from very high quality components at a reasonable price... Better quality than Saitek/Logitech I'm sure... They have a couple different models - not sure which I'm going to try yet... Around $200.00...

https://www.ignitioncontrols.com/default.asp

0PS4-NA1LEDS-2.jpg

Regards,
Scott

 

 

 

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I've had the radio panel for years now and have been mostly satisfied with it.  Saitek gear is what it is - relatively cheap, which means both affordable and not without some issues.

I've long used SPAD (and now SPAD.neXt) drivers rather than Saitek's which can mitigate many of the issues folks complain about, including regulation of the tuning speed so it's not so fiddly and I've never been bothered by that part of things.  However, lately one of my two selector switches has gotten jammed up so that it's hard to use (but keep in mind my unit is 4-5 years old).  I personally don't believe "Gorilla knobs" are a solution, but rather a workaround to a problem with the switch binding.  Note that this is the only switch I've had issues with, and I also have the multi-panel and the switch panel.

While looking for a solution, I note one user seemed to have some success pulling the knob, spraying silicon spray around the post and working it in by turning the switch with a pair of pliers.  Haven't tried that yet.

I don't have any of the configurable instruments, so I can't really speak to any of your questions on those - sorry.

Scott

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I've also been using the Saitek Radio Panel for many years, and you can't separate me from it!  Works with every freeware and payware aircraft I've ever used (most all of them).

Best wishes!

 

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Thanks for all the replies - I'll definitely take a look at the ignition controls stuff too.

Sounds like a lot of the issues are a little.. overstated..  so maybe I'll just buy the Logitech radio and instrument panels first.  Will have to investigate spad.next

Graham

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1 hour ago, VFRHawk said:

Will have to investigate spad.next

The original SPAD was pretty simple and intuitive, but doesn't work in P3Dv4 which is what I use now.  It's also no longer being actively updated.  The newer SPAD.neXt is far more powerful, but also less intuitive.  There is a learning curve but there are also lots of user contributed profiles out there so you can generally get where you need to go.  FYI.

Good luck with whatever you decide,

Scott

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11 hours ago, VFRHawk said:

Sounds like a lot of the issues are a little.. overstated.. 

No, the tuning knobs on the Saitek radios have traditionally been rubbish. That said, I bought one in summer 2017, not long after Logitech acquired the brand, and I found it unexpectedly worked better than the three or four I had purchased previously. I still don't know what to make of this, but perhaps they are better now. You can find a lot about my experiments with Saitek on my YT channel. For best result, buy the MotiveMods upgrade. This will double the price, but it does give you seven radios on one panel.

Edited by MarkDH
Political correctness police

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I've had my GoFlight modules for 15 years and in all that time only one module (GF166) failed and was replaced free of charge by GoFlight around 8 years ago.

The units are not cheap but they are of very good quality. There is a desktop AC-Rack that can hold up to 7 modules or 5 + Landing Gear module that takes up two slots.

They need power so I use a powered USB hub. I'm really happy with them.

https://goflightinc.com/product-category/modules/

 

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On 11/16/2018 at 6:34 AM, scottb613 said:

Here is what I'm pretty sure I'm going to try

wow....that is a pretty nice looking Box. I am going to have to have a look-see.

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7 minutes ago, shivers9 said:

wow....that is a pretty nice looking Box. I am going to have to have a look-see.

Hi Sam,

Here's the one I settled on for my needs - "VR_2" - Approx $225.00 with shipping... I don't have it yet - looking forward to getting it though...

0059-2.jpg

Regards,
Scott

Edited by scottb613

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Thanks....let us know how it is when you get it set up. I am thinking Vertx Da-62 and one of these would be sweet.

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On 11/18/2018 at 7:29 PM, Ray Proudfoot said:

I've had my GoFlight modules for 15 years and in all that time only one module (GF166) failed and was replaced free of charge by GoFlight around 8 years ago.

The units are not cheap but they are of very good quality. There is a desktop AC-Rack that can hold up to 7 modules or 5 + Landing Gear module that takes up two slots.

They need power so I use a powered USB hub. I'm really happy with them.

https://goflightinc.com/product-category/modules/

 

Thanks for that Ray, looks pretty decent and not bank breaking!  Shame they don't do an instrument panel for the Nav indicator, but the one in the cockpit works pretty well.

Graham

EDIT.  Does anyone know if the "standard" TQ6 uses hall sensors?  Pretty sure I read that the TQ6+ did now, but not sure about the normal one.

Edited by VFRHawk

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21 minutes ago, VFRHawk said:

Thanks for that Ray, looks pretty decent and not bank breaking!  Shame they don't do an instrument panel for the Nav indicator, but the one in the cockpit works pretty well.

Graham

EDIT.  Does anyone know if the "standard" TQ6 uses hall sensors?  Pretty sure I read that the TQ6+ did now, but not sure about the normal one.

The TQ6+ is a Virtual Fly controller and no the original uses pots. I had the original without the hall sensors and sent it back as I was constantly having to calibrate it. The new TQ6+ works like a charm and no need to ever calibrate it. I think there having 15% off sale right now.   Josh

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On 11/17/2018 at 2:11 AM, MarkDH said:

No, the tuning knobs on the Saitek radios have traditionally been rubbish.

That's not exactly been my experience.  They are relatively inexpensive units, and that certainly means there're going to be tradeoffs.  There are far better quality units out there, but they're typically 4x the price.  As for the MotiveMods upgrade, it appears to solve a problem that I really don't have since I moved to SPAD (or at least to the very small extent I do have it, it doesn't bother me).

My aging radio panel has served me well for the price.  And that's the key.  If I'd paid more money for them, I'd likely be far more critical.

Not trying to negate anyone else's experience, just offering mine as a potential counterpoint.

Scott

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2 hours ago, tttocs said:

As for the MotiveMods upgrade, it appears to solve a problem that I really don't have since I moved to SPAD

And yet, it exists.

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On ‎11‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 2:29 PM, Ray Proudfoot said:

I've had my GoFlight modules for 15 years and in all that time only one module (GF166) failed and was replaced free of charge by GoFlight around 8 years ago.

The units are not cheap but they are of very good quality. There is a desktop AC-Rack that can hold up to 7 modules or 5 + Landing Gear module that takes up two slots.

They need power so I use a powered USB hub. I'm really happy with them.

https://goflightinc.com/product-category/modules/

 

I can almost say the same, verbatim.  Only, I never had to send mine back yet  🙂  I have 7 modules and they are all excellent quality and perform great!

I am VERY interested in what Scott has to say though, about the "Ignition" item.

 
Bruce

 

Edited by CPC900
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Those of you with GoFlight modules:  Did you encounter any issues with shipping?  When I go to their site and add the radio panel to my basket, open the basket then fill in all the details under calculate shipping it tells me there's no shipping methods available?

I've raised a support ticket with them, but thought I'd see if anyone else has encountered the same problem.  I've tried multiple browsers.

Also, how do these units fare when sat on a desk?  I'm only going to have the one to start so can't see a point in getting the bracket to hold them yet.  I assume they're just a flat bottomed metal box?

Graham

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Graham,

I bought mine 15 years ago and at a UK Flight Sim show so can't comment on shipping.

Regarding using them you really do need to mount them in one of the units available - either a 2 module desktop one or the 7 module stand. Extra money I know but there is no back to them. All the electronics are on show and I doubt you would be able to use them with a mounting.

Only one is not going to help you much. Two GF-166s for Comms and Nav are very useful plus a module(s) for push buttons or switches.

You should also consider a powered USB hub as the 166 units do draw quite a bit of power.

Edited by Ray Proudfoot

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14 hours ago, CPC900 said:

I am VERY interested in what Scott has to say though, about the "Ignition" item.

 
Bruce

Hi Bruce,

It's on order - I'll post a PIREP when I get it and give those interested a heads up...

I've been corresponding with the manufacturer a great deal - he's interested in the Flight Sim market but to the best of his knowledge - I'm the first Flight Sim guy to try his product... All his products were initially designed for the automobile racing sim genre...

Regards,
Scott

Edited by scottb613

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Yeah, I think they could do well in the FS market, for the prices they are showing.  Just a little more customization for FS, would be neat.  You could almost put 4 of their units together and have a complete overhead panel, for a reasonable price 😉

Bruce

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16 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

Graham,

I bought mine 15 years ago and at a UK Flight Sim show so can't comment on shipping.

Regarding using them you really do need to mount them in one of the units available - either a 2 module desktop one or the 7 module stand. Extra money I know but there is no back to them. All the electronics are on show and I doubt you would be able to use them with a mounting.

Only one is not going to help you much. Two GF-166s for Comms and Nav are very useful plus a module(s) for push buttons or switches.

You should also consider a powered USB hub as the 166 units do draw quite a bit of power.

Thanks for the info Ray, I'm trying to get hold of them through Facebook currently.

As luck would have it they have a really good sale on right now, so I'm going to treat myself to a pair of radios, a flat switch panel and one of their 3 wide containers for it all.  Should sit on the corner of my desk quite nicely, and I have 3 spare ports in my existing powered USB hub that'll be right behind it.  If I can just get an answer about shipping!  Can't actually see any contact details for them on their website otherwise I'd email and/or ring them too.

Graham

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@VFRHawk, sounds good Graham. There was a time when Goflight had their own forum but they appear to have dropped that. Not sure why when their kit is so expensive.

I'm sure you'll get a reply to your shipping question. I have to say browsing their website leaves a lot to be desired. No 'Contact us' link. In the About section if you scroll to the bottom "experience" is incorrectly spelt under Thomas Crowell's name.

But worst of all if you scroll down to the bottom of About Us the link to 'Get in Touch' if you want to work for them doesn't work. If that was my company's website I'd be appalled.

If you go to the shop link right above their GoFlight logo top left is "Free Shipping on All Orders Over $75!". You can quote that if they add shipping charges on. :biggrin:

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12 hours ago, CPC900 said:

Yeah, I think they could do well in the FS market, for the prices they are showing.  Just a little more customization for FS, would be neat.  You could almost put 4 of their units together and have a complete overhead panel, for a reasonable price 😉

Bruce

Hi Bruce,

Yeah - seems the one missing control that might have been nice are sliders... I think the company is in Poland and I’m in the US - so he said to allow up to 10 days for shipping...

Regards,

Scott

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12 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

@VFRHawk, sounds good Graham. There was a time when Goflight had their own forum but they appear to have dropped that. Not sure why when their kit is so expensive.

I'm sure you'll get a reply to your shipping question. I have to say browsing their website leaves a lot to be desired. No 'Contact us' link. In the About section if you scroll to the bottom "experience" is incorrectly spelt under Thomas Crowell's name.

But worst of all if you scroll down to the bottom of About Us the link to 'Get in Touch' if you want to work for them doesn't work. If that was my company's website I'd be appalled.

If you go to the shop link right above their GoFlight logo top left is "Free Shipping on All Orders Over $75!". You can quote that if they add shipping charges on. :biggrin:

Actually I'm having a rethink Ray, I have had no reply to any of the messages I've sent them (they publish a customer support email in their downloadable manual, but it's invalid - has a space in it - so I tried tech support!) and there's a review on FB that's pretty damning.  If it's true, a guy spent over $2k on their gear inc an expensive yoke.  Yoke went faulty and 3 months later they've not replied to him.  Doesn't sound like a company I want to touch with a barge pole at this point tbh.

Shame, as the kit looked excellent.  Will give them a few more days to see if they reply to any of my enquiries, but if not will go back to the Logitech kit.

Graham

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Graham, remember it’s Thanksgiving today so everywhere is closed.

Those reviews don’t look good and no response from GoFlight is sad. I can only speak from personal experience and my modules have been great.

RC Simulations in Bristol stock GoFlight kit although their prices are high. Bob and Carol have been running it for years. Give them a call and I’m sure they’ll give you an honest response to GoFlight.

https://rcsimulations.co.uk/epages/93a3f77d-847d-4ca9-8b2d-6a951e9b272d.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/93a3f77d-847d-4ca9-8b2d-6a951e9b272d/Categories/GF1

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