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Apache600

Custom Control Panel key questions

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Hello everyone.  
  I'm new to this Sim, and have been enjoying my time here so far.   But now comes the time where I go all crazy ... and build a control panel :) 
This is not my first rodeo, I've built control panels for IL-2 1946, IL-2 CLoD, and DCS.  So I have a bit of experience here.    

 

9520gZa.jpg

 

Since this photo, I've created two more expanded DCS FC3 panels.   You can see those here on the ED forums website:  https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=165291

Anyway, I have been planning out a few things so far, and have figured that for simplicity sake, I'll just be using momentary push buttons and switches.  Nothing against this sim, but there is a limited use to potentiometers (levers for gear / flaps / trim / etc.)   

 

Here's a list of commands that I plan on putting on the control panel.  Now I only have BoS right now (premium) so I can only see all the controls for those planes.   I think the Bf-110 has some Autopilot stuff, so I through those on as well (since the command is in my list as well)  And with the Ju-52, I put the 3rd engine toggle in there.    I'm wondering if you folks could take a look at these and tell me if I'm missing anything important.  Or if the list of control I see in BoS are leaving things out that would be there for BoM or BoK. 

Another question I have is about the mixture.  I know there's the mixture axes lever.  But is there mixture on / off for some of the aircraft, and the axes isn't used?

Control:

Trim Yaw Left

Trim Yaw Right

Trim Roll Left
Trim Roll Right

Trim Pitch Up

Trim Pitch Down

Trim Reset

Stabilizer Up

Stabilizer Down

 

Flaps Up
Flaps Down

Airbrakes

Attack Siren
Landing Gear

Tail Wheel Lock

Parking Brake

Canopy

Gunsight Position

Landing Lights

Nav Lights

Cockpit Lights

Eject

Altimeter Adjust

Radio Channel

 

Auto Pilot

Auto Pilot Level Flight

Auto Pilot Left Turn

Auto Pilot Right Turn

 

Engine:

Engine 1 toggle

Engine 2 toggle

Engine 3 toggle

Engine Start

Super Charger Mode

Engine Boost

Prop Pitch Man/Auto

Prop High

Prop Low

Prop Feather

Water Rad. Open

Water Rad. Close

Oil Rad. Open
Oil Rad. Close

Engine Inlet Cowl
Engine Outlet Cowl

Weapons:

Bomb Sight

Drop Bombs Mode

Drop Bombs Delay

Launch Rocket Mode
Bomb Bay Doors

Bomb Safety Switch
Reload All Guns

Flare/Personal Gun

Red Flare

Green Flare

White Flare

Switch Post

Switch Turret

Turret Control

Turret Nestle

 

Misc:

Briefing Window

Game Pause

In Game Map

 

Not on control panel, player required:

Pitch

Roll
Yaw

Throttle
Prop Pitch
Mixture
Machine guns 1+2

Bomb Drop

Rocket Fire

 

 

 

 

   Thanks everyone!  Looking forward to hearing your input!

 

- Apache600

Edited by Apache600
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I bought the #1 and I recommend it for all sims really. 

I am currently using it as a overhead panel for DCS choppers :)

mfs3_zpss7l5hbmo.jpg

Had it for a couple of years and it work perfectly. 


BTW your planned setup looking good, you might give another cheaper option for fighters only . Many do not touch bombers. As usual you have been very accurate on what is needed for a full setup

Edited by 216th_LuseKofte
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want.gif

 

Are all of those Arduino? I should get into that. I learned about during my time on the KSP forums. All I have is a Logitech Extreme 3D pro and a mouse + keyboard. (I do have a 60 inch TV/monitor but let's ignore that) So jealous...

 

About your control setup. Remember that you can stack controls in this game. I have 2 buttons (one opens, one closes)  controlling any and all water radiators/cowlings, and the same for oil rads. (one opens, one closes). Some things are aircraft specific so look into that as it may save you some time/space. 

 

Looks amazing though. I don't think you should post your address anywhere that I may see because I might break in and steal that stuff...

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Think that you list all possibles commands, Bombsight interface don't accept buttons or keys inputs, only mouse inputs.

 

 

 

Another question I have is about the mixture.  I know there's the mixture axes lever.  But is there mixture on / off for some of the aircraft, and the axes isn't used?

 

This depends on plane, and if IRL this command is operated by lever (like throttle) or by electrical ON/OF or PRESS and HOLD switch . And some planes has this control automatic, e.g. Fw 190.

 

 

 

...think the Bf-110 has some Autopilot stuff,

 

IRL Bf 110 has the "Kursteurung" common to Ju 88 and He 111, but in game only the "Autopilot for level flight" common to all planes, steerable left and right.

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Changed just a few things from my list of keys above.  Removed "Autopilot" and combined the "Stabilizer Up / Down" with the "Trim Up / Down" (since airplanes have one or the other, not both)

 

Here's the preliminary rough sketches.  

 

KfgYaiS.jpg

 

For the Eject and the Engine start/stop, there's an associated safety switch.  The Eject has a 2 way guarded switch safety and then the red square button.   And the engine start/stop has a 90 degree turn switch safety and then black button below it.  

Since this picture was taken, I added another cowl switch (only had 1 of the 2 in that image)   Some of the keys were moved a bit to make room. 

 

WcCf6qu.jpg

 

In this 3d sketch, the button placements are correct (as opposed to the other picture)   I will have a platform that drops down 140mm (5 1/2 inches) so that the joystick (fitted for an X-55 rhino) can sit closer to the lap then it would on the desk.   That throttle quadrant is the Saitek Pro Flgiht Throttle Quadrant.   Everything here is sized correctly.

PZ45-001-Saitek-PRO-Flight-Throttle-QuadSTICK-PROPERTIES.png

 

Actual construction should begin soon  .... if the 2 month baby here at home allows it.

 

- Apache600

Edited by Apache600

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Removed "Autopilot" and combined the "Stabilizer Up / Down" with the "Trim Up / Down" (since airplanes have one or the other, not both)

 

 

You can add there the Fw-190 adjustable stabilizer up and down, is the same case: same function with different name.

Edited by Sokol1

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Great stuff you're doing there :D

 

It seems you've covered all the main controls, even the attack siren!

 

I'm still learning this sim so I only know a part of those controls. Just to be safe, you may want to check the camera/pilot head controls, especially in the turrets if you're using TrackIR. It's probably something I missed but you need "turn head horizontally & vertically" to control these turrets. Initially it's bound to the mouse, but if you're using TrackIR you'll find that anytime you touch the mouse it will jerk your view around. So I unbound those controls ... but then couldn't find a way to switch mode and recover the control of the turrets! You could take advantage of analogue controls to replace the mouse binding and turn those guns - unless there's another way of course :)

 

You may also consider important orders, though you still have your keyboard (which will be relieved of a series of controls) but sometimes, in the heat of the action, it's awkward to reach for it. There's a helper switch to switch the altimeter reference AGL/AMSL, but the same can be done with the knob I think, which is more realistic.

 

Have you tried to check whether it was also possible to output values like altimeter, fuel gauge, ...? Of course that's something entirely different.

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Have you tried to check whether it was also possible to output values like altimeter, fuel gauge, ...? Of course that's something entirely different.

 

This is not possible, for now game don't export values - maybe in future.

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Update.   Just finished some additional work the other day.  

First off, the 3d model.  I changed the placement of a few keys after thinking about the ergonomics a bit more.   Biggest change is the 3 buttons now on the side wall (Briefing, Map, and Pause)

 

zDwhE9U.jpg

 

Here's the box so far:

 

wNbY6oz.jpg?1            fbsvlWz.jpg?1

 

And here's the grid lines for the button placements.  guide holes already drilled out.   Next step is drilling out the buttons and putting them in.

 

n8CaJmw.jpg?1

 

Trying to think of a color for the box and panel.   maybe a darker grey?    

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Further progress has been made.
Pic 1 has the Saitek Throttle quadrant, Pic 2 has the full X-55 HOTAS.

wE1yujt.jpg?1

 

n7xLl7k.jpg?1

 

Currently working on all the graphics for the labels of the panels.  After that, I'll paint it, put on the graphics, and then wire it!

- Apache600

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Great stuff I tried some time back to hack a keyboard controller. What do you use to take the signal to the game.

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Hacking keyboards is NOT an easy thing to do.  Oddly enough, it seems it is the first approach many people take (including my own) when coming into this "world" of panel building.  Probably because it seems the easiest.   Here's a post I made a long time ago showing some of my old keyboard hack projects:  http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3591655/Custom_IL2_1946_and_Freelancer#Post3591655    

 

Of the panels I have in that first picture of this post, the ones with Keyboards as their "brains" are #'s 2,3,4,5, and 8.     
I then bought some Desktop Aviator control boards, but have never used them because I stumbled upon Leo Bodnar shortly afterwards.  Panels #1,6, and 7 use BU0836X boards.   They are pricey, so all my DCS panels #9,10, and two not pictured, use multiple BU0836A.

 

With this BOS panel I will be trying something new.  The Leo Bodnar boards are great, but can only do 40 buttons (if you matrix out the HAT switch, they also do Axes, but i'm not using that in this panel)   So i'm trying something from a company called X-keys.   http://xkeys.com/PIComponents/USBEncoderBoards.php

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Well, you've been busy! Looking great already :)

The wiring must really be the funny part. I wonder what kind of chip they're using, it seems to be a nice little kit.

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What do you use to take the signal to the game.

 

Today this easy and can be cheap with Arduinos.

 

Besides L.Bodnar BU0836A and X other good option for ready to use boards is DSD.

 

For  Arduino boards are the freeware firmware MMJoy2, with support to 8 axis and up to 128* buttons, or the shareware (15$) EasyJoy320ne with similar features, or CUB firmware.

 

* Take in mind that Windows and most games see only 32 buttons, is need use keyboard emulation for the buttons above #32. IL-2 BO'X sees up to 64 and DCSW up to 128.

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Don't flame me , but at the end may be more simple to use a keyboard putting on adhesive stickers above the letters.. :rolleyes:

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I haven't tried any of the DSD boards yet.  I am willing to give them a shot though!   And Arduino stuff really is amazing.  I just didn't want to have to do any programming on the back end to make this work.  Leo Bodnar is great for that since it's plug and play.  The DSD board says it needs SVMapper in order to get the other 32 keys out of it.   I would assume Xpadder could work in place of SVMapper (I use Xpadder, I like it a lot more than SVMapper).   And X-keys comes with it's own software, so no need for SVMapper or Xpadder.      Any game will see more than 32 keys ... if you have the software in the background to support the control panel you're using.

 

@ Redglyph.   Thanks!   yeah yeah, I'll get back to story writing soon.

 

Lol, and no flame taken EAF_51_FOX   haha.   It would be much simpler to do that!   But this is going to look way cooler wouldn't you think?  :) 

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And Arduino stuff really is amazing.  I just didn't want to have to do any programming on the back end to make this work.

 

The Arduino based options I've listed don't require "programming" - just flash firmware, in same way one do in Tm HOTAS, VKB Gladiator, etc. 

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Alright, here comes another update.   Some assembly required :)
I took everything apart, so that I could paint and attach the face plate images.  Also finished are the bread boards to matrix out the electrical inputs for the controller.

Now it's time to put all the buttons and switches back on, re-assemble the box, and then wire it up!  (the wiring will take a little while)

 

VVzsMON.jpg?2

 

4yeOxKR.jpg?1

 

- Apache600

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Holy Scheisse, you must be a genius with wires and stuff   :-)

 

It doesn't look easy.

End result looks great though.....

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A genius would be more efficient than I   haha.

 

It's finished!   Here's a few pictures of the wiring process, and then the final assembly during testing.    Works like a champ.   I've really been enjoying using this.

 

d8eqAp5.jpg?1

 

uVoM00J.jpg?1

 

2X9mpke.jpg?1

 

tzoRki8.jpg?1

 

IrTEqTh.jpg?1

 

PVy2A0j.jpg?1

 

- Apache600

Edited by Apache600
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:o::wacko:

 

Impressive indeed!!!!

 

That looks just great.

You must be a proud man.

:salute:

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Lol, and no flame taken EAF_51_FOX   haha.   It would be much simpler to do that!   But this is going to look way cooler wouldn't you think?   :)

Ho yes m8! However GREAT WORK!! my "Hat off" for your stuff! :salute: ..  Me too I'm messing with a MS FFB2 stick extension.. really nothing comparable to your work but both are handworkers indeed. Cheers!.

Edited by EAF_51_FOX

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Holy ...  :o:  That's pretty neat!

 

There's no going back now, you'll only be allowed to fly your missions in expert mode!  :biggrin:

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Well done. It has inspired me to design something for myself. Never been happy with my set up. May be I'll have to do it my way to be happy.

 

I've never done this before looking over stuff for the last hour or so.

 

I have a question I'm thinking of using the Leo Bodnar BU0836X I think I understand whats going on but let me see for sure.

 

For starters, potentiometers is an axis and I should be able to assign them to to any axis command I like? for example radiators or cowlings.  

 

If it says 32 inputs. If I'm looking at the wiring properly a push button is one input but a rocker switch would be 2 inputs. One for up position, middle would be no input, down would be another input.

 

So essentially I could have 16 rocker switches for a total of 32 inputs. 32 buttons or any combo of the two.

 

Thanks guys 

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I've used the BU0836X in the past on a few of my projects.  It's a good board.   There are other options out there too.  I haven't used any DSD boards yet, but I've heard good things about them (see post #15).  You're correct about potentiometers, they will work as axes.  You have to get the wiring correct (just pay close attention to the diagrams on the Leo site) or else you'll fry the Pot.  Before you get your heart set on Pots though, make sure the game can do axes for the command you want them too.  

 

I personally did not use pots, because if I set the Pot to 50%, and then lost engine 1.  Switching to engine 1, I could move the pot all the way to zero, but then switching back to engine 2, and moving the pot up, the command (say radiator) would be at 50%, then all the way down to 1% when I started moving the pot again.  It's really not the worst thing in the world, I just didn't want to have to reposition switches after maxing one, or minimizing one.  

 

For the inputs, you actually get 36 (if you include U,D,L,R for the Hat)  which ... if you do some fancy bread board matrixing than you can get 40 by doing UL, UR, DL, DR, U, D, L, R).   So you can do those inputs how ever you want, rocker switches, momentary push buttons, and so on.   *** IF you use On/Off switches though, you MUST use additional software (SVMapper, Xpadder, etc.) so that the computer can figure out how to "blip" a key stroke when you flip a switch to on.   If you don't use software, then flipping an on/off switch would essentially be like holding the key down on the keyboard.

 

Hope this helps.  

 

To give you an idea of what I've used to power my control panels (in the first picture)   Leo Bodnar BU0836 #1 (2 of them in here), 6, 7.    Leo Bodnar BU0836A #9 (3 in there), #10 (2 in there).   Keyboards #2, 3, 4, 5, 8.   X-keys in the newest IL-2 BoS.  

 

- Apache600

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If it says 32 inputs. If I'm looking at the wiring properly a push button is one input but a rocker switch would be 2 inputs. One for up position, middle would be no input, down would be another input.

So essentially I could have 16 rocker switches for a total of 32 inputs. 32 buttons or any combo of the two.

 

Use a rocker (or ON-OFF-ON) switch wired in 2 buttons don't result much practical because with exception of flaps command, the game commands is done for momentary press in same key, e.g. press G for LG up, press G for LG down.

 

You can map this two BU0836 buttons wired in rocker ON-OFF-ON, example buttons #1 and #2 for Landing Gear in game (can map up to 3 different buttons/keys for each command), but are wasting buttons = using two for do the same thing. :)

 

Will be more practical wire both ON positions of rocker in the same BU0836 button, so rocker UP press #1 and rise landing gear, rocker down press #1 again and lower landing gear (or turn lights etc), but need pass through the null center position.

 

Using a ON-OFF switch and keymapper with "On press" in OFF and "On release" in OFF state (SVMapper, HIDMacros, Joy2Key) result more practical,

will use only one BU0836 button and the software press G for switch UP (ON) and G for switch DOWN (OFF) avoiding pass through the null middle position.

 

In both cases only the desynchronized issue is not avoidable, in a re-fly can happen the switch are down and landing gear are up. :)

 

If instead BU0836 use a Arduino board with custom firmware can program the switches for send only a momentary press (like press G in keyboard)  in ON and OFF avoiding use the keymapper software, example:  Lynx CUB 1 firmware: http://lynx.dk/cub-1-programming-guide/

Edited by Sokol1

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MMJOY2 firmware for Arduino PRO Micro/Teensy 2.0 is good option for use "rockers" (ON/OFF) without extra soft:

 

 


What are the modes of operation of the buttons / toggle switches? 
 
"Tumbler" - a button briefly activated once when the switch is turned on, and she's also a time when the switch is turned off. 
"Toggle switch ON" - button briefly activated once when the switch is turned on. 
"Toggle switch OFF" -button briefly activated once when the switch is turned off. 

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Or, to avoid any of that On/Off stuff, just get some momentary switches.  If this is your first panel, go simple!  If you go with On/Off switches, you'll also have to reposition each switch if you spawn into a new aircraft, and also have the switches in their correct positions for the phase of flight your spawning into.

 

   A momentary switch is like a button on a keyboard,  push it in to activate it, let it go and it will spring back out.  Every single switch on my IL-2 BoS panel is a momentary On-Off-On switch.  You can see that each toggle switch is in the center (as opposed to an On/Off switch where it would be either up or down like a light switch in your room)  Now there are 3-way On-Off-On switches that are not momentary too, but this panel is void of them.

   So, when I flip one of the momentary switches, say "Flaps" for example.   Pressing the switch up raises the flaps.  It's just like pressing the "F" key on keyboard.  When I release it, the switch rebounds back to the center position.  And now, releases my finger off the "F" key.  

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Yes, momentary switches is the approach used in X-55/56 throttle base buttons (MON)-OFF-(MON).

 

But you lost the visual feedback that some function, e.g. lights are ON be looking at switch position (up),

like is possible in TmW throttle base switches - that require TARGET soft for translate their ON-OFF in "on press" and "on release". :)

Edited by Sokol1

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But you lost the visual feedback that some function, e.g. lights are ON be looking at switch position (up)

 

That is true, can't argue that one.

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Or, to avoid any of that On/Off stuff, just get some momentary switches.  If this is your first panel, go simple!  If you go with On/Off switches, you'll also have to reposition each switch if you spawn into a new aircraft, and also have the switches in their correct positions for the phase of flight your spawning into.

 

   A momentary switch is like a button on a keyboard,  push it in to activate it, let it go and it will spring back out.  Every single switch on my IL-2 BoS panel is a momentary On-Off-On switch.  You can see that each toggle switch is in the center (as opposed to an On/Off switch where it would be either up or down like a light switch in your room)  Now there are 3-way On-Off-On switches that are not momentary too, but this panel is void of them.

   So, when I flip one of the momentary switches, say "Flaps" for example.   Pressing the switch up raises the flaps.  It's just like pressing the "F" key on keyboard.  When I release it, the switch rebounds back to the center position.  And now, releases my finger off the "F" key.  

You beat me to my question. I was thinking about that at work today. I was thinking the on off switch must be similar to a click button. Where it only gets a temporary signal and that is why you have to use a mapping software to tell it the circuit is still  closed. So I guessed if a push and hold button works why couldn't a momentary switch. 

 

That is the route I'm planning on going with for now.

 

Thanks again guys.

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Another question and something to think about.

 

With the talks of expanding to the Pacific next. Other then a Tail hook button. Does any one know if there something else that we would come across that isn't in the current planesets.

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I was thinking the on off switch must be similar to a click button. Where it only gets a temporary signal and that is why you have to use a mapping software to tell it the circuit is still  closed. So I guessed if a push and hold button works why couldn't a momentary switch. 

 

Is not need a software to tell that circuit still closed - games commands don't expect buttons circuits always closed (or key pressed and hold), but only momentary signal, remember that games are made to be operated with keyboards key press = momentary. ;)  

 

Why that solutions like CUB1 and MMjoy2 firmware is ideal, they do the inverse, make a permanent closed circuit (switch ON) send only a momentary signal for games - like press a key in keyboard.

 

But actual games handle well a button circuit permanent closed (ON)  - what happens with rocker/tumbler/toggle switch (ON-OFF). Old games no so well.

Edited by Sokol1

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