Hello and can anyone help me with Switch Interfacing on Sim Pit

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Posted (edited)

As a newcomer I thought it best to introduce myself. My Name is Bill, I live in the North West of England, I am a pensioner but have been a passionate flier since I was fifteen, having done my first air experience flight as an Air Training Corps cadet in a Glider at RAF Sealand, near Chester after which I was totally hooked on getting off the ground. I went on to get my PPL and became a gliding Instructor and eventually entered the RAF to become a Pilot.

Since then the years have passed very quickly, bringing me to my present status, where I tend to get my kicks over flying on my PC. I can remember purchasing Solo Flight (one of the first wire frame Flight Sims released for the Atari 400/800 and since have built up quite a collection of Flight Sim Programmes over the latter Years including FSX, IL2 and most recently DCS.

To improve my immersion I am looking at the prospect of building my own Cockpit for an A10C Warthog and need a bit of assistance with interfacing from actual panels on the Sim Pit over into the PC and was advised that maybe you guys would be able to help me.

I am looking for a means of transferring manual switching via a USB to a PC for use with DCS Flight Simulator program. I managed to find the item I want but its price is horrendous at approximately £100 when looking at what I now get for my pension. Here is an example photo of the device referred to as the UFC Panel.

I want to build my own UFC Panel to compliment this with 21PCB Surface Mounting Momentary Tactile Push Button Switches and 5 Rocker Switches (SPDT). The objective is to provide a connection via a USB connector if possible, over to my PC, so that this can be fitted to a panel I propose to make that will house two THrustmaster Cougar MFDs and the UFC Panel I refer to.

I have considered the possibility of using an Arduino Board with USB Output Port, as an interface, so that I can wire each of the switches (with Common Earth) over to the board, and the board will in turn output each of these switching operations as a unique signal down the USB Wire so that when it arrives into the PC the DCS Flight Sim Programme (which has selective programming for push button inputs) can be programmed to recognise the operation of each individual push button manually, and allocate it to a specific duty in the programme, the same way that the buttons and switches on a Joystick or Throttle Unit can programmed for specific operations.

Obviously, if this is not possible via Arduino, I would welcome any suggestions that anyone could provide as to a suitable inexpensive unit like the Arduino that would be capable of my requirements. I have seen a couple of items advertised but not sure if they will prove entirely suitable because of problems reported by users, both made by Groovy Game I know there are alternatives out there for multiple banks of switches and Potentiometers etc, given the many "Sim Pits" that have been built by enthusiasts, but I just have no idea where to begin looking with this being my first such project. Can anyone please give me some advice on a suitable available unit (preferably available in the UK for purchase) that I might find straightforward to apply to this duty.

Edited by BLUCHER

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Welcome to AVSIM.  A good place to start would be in the AVSIM Hardware (Controllers) Forums where we have many expert users with many suggestions.

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