WX Advantage Radar Control Bezel Removed.
Are you building a mouse free flying environment or home cockpit for FSX or P3D and want to add a weather radar and GPS on to separate display’s such as the default GPS or Milviz / REX WX Advantage Radar; and then be able to control it with hardware as in real world, using digital encoders, buttons and switches? I guess like me then, you want to be able to strip away and remove the control bezel surround image, because it would not serve any useful purpose in a mouse free environment and take up valuable room on a small 7 inch display screen!
There may not be many of us who have the need to achieve the above requirements, but I did and expect others do too, so this article may be what you are looking for, to help guide you through the process, which I have discovered is not a well-documented subject. Good News is that it is a relatively easy and simple task to achieve. I hope this is assistance to someone trying to get a mouse free cockpit, although there will always be something that needs to be clicked on I guess.
The goal was to have a mouse free Flight Sim, which is pretty much hom my sim is now. The weather radar and GPS console is below the main monitor in front of me when I fly and the monitor sits on top of it.
My Radar and GPS console.
My article on how to remove the bezel from the default GPS in FSX – FSX-SE and P3D can be found at the FSDeveloper web site: - https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/how-to-remove-the-default-gps-bezel.445436/
The FSX / P3D default GPS with the control bezel removed.
Unfortunately, I have not found a way of removing the Title Bar from the undocked window. So, if anyone reading this knows how to remove the title bar and keep the drag and drop functionality of the window across multiple monitors, please post details below. On a small 7 inch screen, every pixel is a huge resource 😊
First and most importantly, I would like to say a very big thank you to the customer support desk at REX Simulations http://rexsimulations.com/radar.html and the developer from Milviz, https://milviz.com/flight/products/WXRadar/index.php without whom my goal to achieve a bezel less weather radar for my home cock pit button console would not have been possible. Thank you for all your help and support you have given to me with this project; and also a huge thank you to ScotFlieger from the Linda forum https://www.avsim.com/forums/forum/424-linda/ who has over the past years guided me in learning a bit of Lua code, his help was fundamental to my being able to accomplish, along with the help from the gents already mentioned.
Second, for an excellent review of the Milviz / REX WX Advantage Weather Radar follow the link to Mutley’s Hanger: - http://forum.mutleyshangar.com/reviews/bri/bs-wxr/bs-wxr.htm
The mini displays are Waveshare 7” HDMI touch screen displays (but I do not use the touch screen facility) https://www.waveshare.com/7inch-hdmi-lcd-h.htm (available on Amazon for about £60.00) There is a selection of display models to choose from, I went for the one able to be screwed to a panel as you can in the images below. Some of the models have their own outer bezels and stands.
Waveshare 7 inch HDMI display
This article discusses how to remove and strip away the outer bezel or frame from around the Milviz REX WX Advantage Weather Radar Display screen, leaving it clean to use on a separate display screen, see the picture below. Also, it briefly details how to assign hardware buttons or digital encoders to control it using hardware. The panel.cfg file can be edited with windows notepad, I use Notepad ++ which is a free download https://notepad-plus-plus.org/
This procedure has been tested and works, but anyone attempting this modification must do their own due diligence, I accept no liability and do not recommend editing the panel.cfg file unless you have a bit of experience and in any case ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make a copy of the panel.cfg before altering it.
Milviz REX WX Advantage Radar window, undocked with the controls and bezel removed.
If you have either manually entered the WX Advantage Radar lines or used the WX Advantage Gauge Management Tool, you will need to find the panel.cfg for the aircraft you want to edit. The original panel.cfg entries must be replaced with the edited lines and added to each aircraft that you fly, if you want to have a control and bezel less radar. You can Leave the original lines intact as well and you will then be able to use the WX Advantage Radar as it has been designed to be used and use it bezel and control free.
The Undocked WX Advantage Weather Radar window.
You will find similar lines at the top of the panel.cfg file to the ones below, these are from the default FSX C172.
Window00 = Main Panel
Window01 = Radio Stack
Window02 = GPS
Window03 = IFR Panel
Window04 = Landing View
Window05 = Mini Panel
Window06 = WX Advantage Radar
Further down you will come across the [Window01] [Window02] etc, on your way to [Window06] which is in this example, the WX Advantage Weather Radar.
Note the Window numbers will most likely not be the same as in this list. For example, A2A aircraft can have 15 windows in some cases. Make the Weather Gauge the last entry to save renumbering all the windows.
For example, if the last window title is Window15 = Parachute, add Window=16 as the WX Advantage Radar.
Window00-14=”different window titles“
Window16=WX Advantage Radar
Remember to number the WX Advantage Radar gauge parameters title the same i.e
I recommend reading about the panel.cfg to learn more about them first, follow the link to P3D SDK web site. http://www.prepar3d.com/SDKv2/LearningCenter/simobjects/panels_and_gauges/panel_configuration_files.html
It is best to copy and paste the original entry and comment it out using two backslashes // in front of the lines to be switched off, then you have the reference starting place to revert back whilst experimenting with sizes if needs be. Below and commented out is an original WX Advantage Radar entry from my C172.
//[Window06] // ORIGINAL
//ident = 71
//visible = 0
//sizeable = 1
//size_mm = 419,381
//position = 0
//window_size = 0.169211195928753,0.274235708603251
//window_pos = 0.0165394402035623,0.715589975051276
//gauge00 = MV_WX!WX2D,0,0,419,381,2
//gauge01 = MV_WX!WX,64,121,291,205,2
My edited line entries to remove the controls and bezel follow next: - (feel free to copy and paste this but remember to make sure the Window numbering )
[Window06] //Edited to remove the bezel surround and controls
ident = 71
visible = 0
sizeable = 1
size_mm = 292,207 //Resized
position = 0
window_size = 0.343511450381679,0.556719107690809
window_pos = 0,0 //Repositioned
//2D Bezel Removed line deleted
gauge00 = MV_WX!WX,0,0,291,205,2 // change 64,121 to 0,0 position gauge.
The panel.cfg lines above, will render the following image of the WX Advantage Radar gauge on screen.
The curved triangular clickable corner image can remain or be removed. (I kind of like them in place they serve as a reminder if the hard ware fails I can still use a mouse) their appearance is controlled on the line gauge00 = MV_WX!WX,0,0,291,205,2 specifically the very last number 2 switches the clickable corners image on/off, but does not switch off the clickable control in the corners, just the rounded triangular images.
The clickable corner control is in and around the grey curved triangles, see in the image below, also the images below have not been resized, the flight sim still thinks the controls and bezel are there surrounding the display screen, re size and reposition lines in the panel.cfg file still need to be edited for these images, these are so you can compare the difference between what is required by my small 7 inch HDMI monitors and the radar with a bezel and controls.
WX Advantage Radar, power off, controls and bezel removed, showing the clickable control image corners.
size_mm = 419,381
window_pos = 0.0165394402035623,0.715589975051276
gauge00 = MV_WX!WX,0,0,291,205,2
WX Advantage Radar, power on, controls and bezel removed, showing the clickable control corner image and radar overlay.
To switch off the clickable corner image, comment out or delete the last number 2 in the line: - gauge00 = MV_WX!WX,0,0,291,205 //,2
WX Advantage Radar, power on, controls and bezel removed, showing the test screen with the clickable control corner image removed. //2 (but the clickable coordinates remain useable, just unseen now.
Start the Flight Sim and load the airplane being worked on, open the WX Advantage Radar gauge window from the “View” menu in FSX or “Vehicle” menu in P3D. If the window size is not correct, change the values of size_mm=292,207. Whilst editing, its ok to leave the panel.cfg open in your text editor, but make sure to save any changes before looking for the amendments and testing the result in the flight simulator.
I leave the original size but comment it out and add amended values, like this.
It is not necessary to restart the Flight Sim after amending the panel.cfg file, just load another aircraft then reload the aircraft you are working on. In P3D I usually load the Avatar for speed. Once reloaded open the WX Advantage gauge window and see if the change is what you need, if not change the numbers slightly and repeat this process until the desired result is achieved. This is time consuming, but I hope the figures above will work for most without needing to fuss about changing them.
Assuming you know a little about Lua code and Linda (Lua Integrated Non-complex Device Assigning) https://www.avsim.com/forums/forum/424-linda/ Linda handbook
WX Advantage Weather Radar Lvar List for the controls.
RANGE DISTANCE SELECT
L var: WX_Radar_Range
Range dec: 81920 (0x14000) –decrease range
Range inc: 81921 (0x14001) – increase range
L var: WX_Radar_ModeSelect
Mode dec: 81922 (0x14002) – decrease mode
Mode inc: 81923 (0x14003) – increase mode
TILT UP/DOWN SELECT
L var: WX_Radar_Tilt
Tilt dec: 81924 (0x14004) --decrease tilt
Tilt inc: 81925 (0x14005) – increase tilt
L var: WX_Radar_BRT
Brightness dec: 81926 (0x14006) – decrease brightness
Brightness inc: 81927 (0x14007) – increase brightness
RADAR GAIN LOW / HIGH
L var: WX_Radar_Gain
Gain dec: 81928 (0x14008) – decrease gain
Gain inc: 81929 (0x14009) – increase gain
With the Lvars above, we can now programme Linda to assign a hardware control to the WX Advantage Radar.
For example to control the radar range selector by a rotary digital encoder knob, use the following. The it’s a simple case of creating a new function like this for each control, remembering to use the appropriate ID event ID numbers. In this example 81921 to increase the range and 81922 to decrease the range.
--## WX Advantage Radar
function WX_Range_Select_inc () -- function name
Def = "WX_Radar_Range" -- Lvar
Var = ipc.readLvar(Def) -- Variable
if Var < 5 then
ipc.control(81921) -- Increase Range
function WX_Range_Select_dec ()
Def = "WX_Radar_Range"
Var = ipc.readLvar(Def)
if Var < 6 then
ipc.control(81920) -- Decrease Range
It is outside the scope of this document to both discuss how to use Linda Lua or discuss the building of the hardware, suffice to say the Linda forum on Avsim is very good.
Here is a list of the main suppliers I used .
Switch Electronics: - https://www.switchelectronics.co.uk/
Leo Bodnar: - http://www.leobodnar.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=94&products_id=180
RS Components UK: - https://uk.rs-online.com/web/
Plastic Sheets: - https://www.plasticsheets.com/
Amazon: - google it 😊