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Hornet UFC (potentially)


Brun

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I've got this daft idea in my head that I should build a UFC for the Hornet. Currently this exists as a 3D model and a shopping list of components. All good so far but the next steps involve spending money, so I have a few questions before proceeding.

 

3D modelling and rendering (although not in any sort of product design way) is my day job so this bit was reasonably straight forward...

 

UFC_001.jpg

 

UFC_002.jpg

 

UFC_003.jpg

 

UFC_004.jpg

 

The HUD panel is only in its early stages. More info and some questions to follow...

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One important bit of info that should've been in the previous post is that I'm using VR, so thankfully don't have to worry about the displays. I reckon the rest is distinct enough to operate by touch, but will probably add something to the main keypad buttons to make them more easily distinguishable.

 

 

Here's my current list of switches and stuff...

 

Square switches x20

Round switches x6

Rotary encoder x7

Rotary encoder with push button x2 for COMM channels, even though they're pull IRL.

Switch ON - ON x2 for HUD Day/Night switch and Alt Baro/RDR

Switch ON - OFF - ON x3 for HUD Rej, HUD video and attitude source selector*

Switch (ON) - OFF - (ON) x2 for HDG and CRS setting switches if I do that panel as well

Switch ON - OFF - ON for ADF selection switch*

 

*need to confirm whether these are set up (or if it's possible to) as 'special for joystick commands'. None of them are critical but it would be good to have everything working properly.

 

 

Since my electronics knowledge is minimal, this is the bit where I worry the whole thing could go tits up. I don't fancy matrix wiring, so figured Leo Bodnar's BBI-64 should fit the bill. By my reckoning if I include the HDG and CRS switches I'm up to 62 inputs.

 

 

Couple of questions...

 

1. Are my rotary enocoder selections suitable?

 

Edit 03/09: Encoders seem to work fine, some issues with noise.

 

2. In order to match the physical characteristics of the switches on the HUD panel, the Apem toggle switches are 'high current' components. I'm smart enough to appreciate that using components rated too low for their application is a bad idea, but are their any issues with the opposite, specifically when used with the Bodnar board?

 

Edit 03/09: No problems with switches, they all work perfectly


Edited by Brun
Updated switch details and answers to questions
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Asus Z690 Hero | 12900K | 32GB G.Skill 6000 | 3080FE | Reverb G2 | VPC MongoosT-50CM2 + TM Grips  | Warthog Throttle | MFG Crosswind Pedals

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As for cost, DIY definitely doesn't mean cheap. The components total almost £90, the Bodnar board is £35.

 

Getting the UFC (even without the HUD panel) 3D printed by Shapeways will be another £90. That's caused by the dimensions as far as I can tell, so there's no way to reduce the cost. Having said that, I've used Shapeways for a few smaller things and been very pleased with the results. Just a bit nervous that this is much more complicated and not getting it right first time would be an expensive mistake.

 

Current plan is to buy the switches and stuff (assuming no objections to my questions above), then check those against my model to make sure the design works. Think the next step would be to get the Bodnar board and test all that works, before biting the bullet on the pricey 3D printing stuff.

 

In the meantime I'm gonna add (subtract?) debossed lettering to the 3D model, which should make it easy to paint it (despite that being completely irrelevant in VR). Also have the various knobs to model but that shouldn't present any issues.

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Thanks. My 3D proficiency means the shiny renders look a lot better than the final product might :)

 

I'm hoping that the electronics side of things will be fairly plug-n-play. Rather than me charging to procure and assemble stuff it'd make more sense to just make the 3D model available for people to have printed themselves.

 

I've also not yet decided how to close the back of it. Rather than spend another ninety quid getting a custom-designed back printed, I'm thinking of finding a suitably-sized project box and making the 3D model fit that.

Asus Z690 Hero | 12900K | 32GB G.Skill 6000 | 3080FE | Reverb G2 | VPC MongoosT-50CM2 + TM Grips  | Warthog Throttle | MFG Crosswind Pedals

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Rather than me charging to procure and assemble stuff it'd make more sense to just make the 3D model available for people to have printed themselves.

 

That would be awesome, my 3D printer is warmed up and waiting to go :)

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Just a heads up, I was going to use encoders for the brightness, but you have to turn the dial about 12 full rotations to go from off to on... potentiometers might work out better.

 

 

What interface are you using? Couldn't Helios or DCS Bios say every click is (say) 12 clicks?

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Just a heads up, I was going to use encoders for the brightness, but you have to turn the dial about 12 full rotations to go from off to on... potentiometers might work out better.

Thanks. That figures, cos I've noticed similar when trying to change brightness using the mouse wheel. I wonder if they've just defaulted to standard 8-bit brightness which gives 256 levels, each requiring a single click?

 

Using pots would throw a spanner in my plan to use the BBI-64. I do have a spare BU0836A which takes analog inputs but wouldn't have enough digital ones. Could always use both and just deal with two separate USB devices.

 

If I stick with the encoders there's a 24 PPR version which might be more suitable.

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Very nice, the model looks very well done. I would be interest in seeing the Fusion 360 file if for nothing more than to try to learn from your render settings haha...they look great!

 

Meanwhile, mine consistently look like shit...

SJU-17A_Headrest_Pad_2018-Aug-24_09-36-01PM-000_CustomizedView2081672906_png.thumb.png.ee3824d362f2e32108f47c55d9686bb0.png

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Can't help with Fusion 360 unfortunately, this is all modelled and rendered in Modo. General advice for getting good renders is to use a decent environment image to light the scene. No idea if that's an option in your case tho'.

 

Finished the HUD panel and modelled the various knobs. The HUD panel is in two parts, with a front plate over the piece that the switches are mounted to.

 

UFC_005.jpg

 

UFC_006.jpg

 

 

Just pulled the trigger on the components. No backing out now :)

Asus Z690 Hero | 12900K | 32GB G.Skill 6000 | 3080FE | Reverb G2 | VPC MongoosT-50CM2 + TM Grips  | Warthog Throttle | MFG Crosswind Pedals

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I've no intention of producing them to sell, sorry. The design will be available for people to make their own though. It shouldn't need any electronics skills beyond a bit of soldering. If it does I'm screwed, cos that's all I've got.

 

It should be reasonably plug and play, the Bodnar controller will just appear as a USB device and need mapping in-game.

 

Got the lettering done. Obviously this won't print white, but the hope is that the embossing will take paint quite easily. It's very small in scale though so I'm not sure how it'll print. Think I'll get a small test piece printed to practice on.

 

UFC_007.jpg

Asus Z690 Hero | 12900K | 32GB G.Skill 6000 | 3080FE | Reverb G2 | VPC MongoosT-50CM2 + TM Grips  | Warthog Throttle | MFG Crosswind Pedals

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I've ordered two and three position switches as they are in the aircraft. Don't see how the functionality would work otherwise. The only momentary ones are for the HDG and CRS although I don't think I'm doing that panel initially.

 

That follows the same logic as the switches on the Warthog throttle, which have never given me any issues.

Asus Z690 Hero | 12900K | 32GB G.Skill 6000 | 3080FE | Reverb G2 | VPC MongoosT-50CM2 + TM Grips  | Warthog Throttle | MFG Crosswind Pedals

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Ok, In my Cockpit my Master Arm Switcher is the real one ON Off with lock (I need to pull before change the position). Usually, when I die or shutdown the game, etc, the switcher is at On position. So when I start the game again, the switcher in the simulator is at Off but in real life is ON, so I need to move down the swither and move it up again in order to send the Turn On Master Arm event to the game. Now do the same with 20 switches each time you reset the game. In reference to the Leo Bodnar, I am using the BBI-64 Button Box Interface and I am very happy with it, just for the time I've saved setting up each button/encoder is worth the extra cost. No matrix, no shift registers no diodes.


Edited by Icebeat
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Ice,

 

Are you able to set switches independently within each module using the BBI-64?

 

I hear what your saying about the momentary switches, on one hand you gain simplicity and on the other you loose fidelity. The only way around is a prestart/pre-flight checklist. In flight school the instructor always put one or two switches in an incorrect position to make sure we were actually doing the checklist.

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Ok, In my Cockpit my Master Arm Switcher is the real one ON Off with lock (I need to pull before change the position). Usually, when I die or shutdown the game, etc, the switcher is at On position. So when I start the game again, the switcher in the simulator is at Off but in real life is ON, so I need to move down the swither and move it up again in order to send the Turn On Master Arm event to the game. Now do the same with 20 switches each time you reset the game.

 

 

I appreciate that, but the flip side is that with a momentary switch you can never be sure what state you're setting it to because it just works as a toggle.

 

 

In other news, had some deliveries today...

 

UFC_008.jpg

 

Initial tests with the BBI-64 are very positive. The encoders and toggle switches work exactly as expected which is a relief.

 

Most of them feel very good physically as well. If anything the larger toggles actually feel better than the ones in the Warthog throttle. The only disappointment is the square push-buttons, which are heavy and don't have any sort of distinct contact. If there weren't twenty of them I might have considered trying an alternative, but there's no guarantee that would be any better.

 

Dimensions of all the switches match up with the ones I'd modelled from their datasheets, so the 3D model is good from that point of view. Am expecting a delivery of cap screws tomorrow so I can check the holes I'm making for those (the ones around the display) are correct.

 

Currently finalising the design of the case. Have a feeling I might be over-engineering the whole thing, but I guess that's better than the alternative. Unlike an aerospace engineer I have the luxury of no concerns over weight :)

Asus Z690 Hero | 12900K | 32GB G.Skill 6000 | 3080FE | Reverb G2 | VPC MongoosT-50CM2 + TM Grips  | Warthog Throttle | MFG Crosswind Pedals

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that is very good looking!

 

I have a custom built FA-18C UFC and here is the rotary encoders i use. They work perfectly fine with the software leobonar provides for them.

 

http://www.leobodnar.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_75&products_id=192

 

here is a pic of my set up:

 

hxu01UP.jpg

 

Not as good looking as yours but i also use this in VR so I dont have to look at it too much. With a couple hours of practice you get very good with hitting the buttons you want to switch!! so muuch better than using the mouse.

 

Billy


Edited by Beazle
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