'The BODNAR CARD' Now With Encoder Support


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  ++ 15th October 2009 - Opencockpits FMC .pdf Added  ++ UPDATED Thursday 22nd July 2010
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   David J. Bullock is 'Setting the Standard'

David Bullock is a Fellow Builder I have known for 2 Years.  I am exceptionally impressed with the quality level of his build.  David has the kind of 'eye for detail' most of us dream of.  Once i started to see the level of skill put into this project, i thought it would serve as a benchmark for the rest of us.   Enjoy looking at David's progress and let's let David tell you what he's been up to..... Ian

Back in 2006, whilst working in Dubai, I spent many lonely evenings trawling the net, thinking about building a flight simulator. I chanced across Ian`s site and it all went downhill from then (at least according to my wife), I even printed out his whole website and took the papers on holiday with me – brave move.    Anyway, after much help and support from Ian, coupled with hours researching, I am now building and a broad outline of my simulator is:-

Full size 737 NG cockpit, sitting on a Simmotion Motion Base (when I have adapted the garage roof trusses to get the necessary height clearance)
Opencockpits panels for the pedestal, FMC and EFIS. Opencockpits MCP (via Ian)
Throttle from Symulatory
Overhead panels from Simmotion
MIP from FDS

I/O systems all based on Opencockpits H/W modules and components using SIOC as the interfacing programme
Genuine yokes, rudder pedals and seats sourced from the USA
Visual will be three projectors using TH2GO
Software Sim-Avionics 737 package, FSUIPC, FSX, SIOC  and lots of computers

Current Position
Basically, as per the following photographs. I am concentrating on getting all the electronic components completed and interfacing correctly before building and installing them in the cockpit. Dust, welding and heavy construction do not mix well with electronics

Rear of The Nav 1 RadioNav 1  Opencockpits panels rear view showing  wiring, double encoder and use of Opencockpits 7 segment  display pcbs which are  invaluable. Just remember to do the wiring for the decimal point on some earlier pcbs! (the green wire). I have used pin headers on all cards so that they can easily be removed and adapted (Home Made Dual Concentric Encodercorrected).

Home made double concentric encoder. I used Bourn shaftless encoders (Mouser part no 652-ESD0D-S00-GC0006). These will work with Opencockpits master cards and you just need to find or make the correct size shafts/tubes/wires to fit inside the encoder housings and superglue them in place.

Lausitz Aviation PedestalLausitz Aviation pedestal unit fitted with Opencockpits MasterCard and breakout pcbs for inputs/outputs on the base, with 4no display pcbs around the walls, all connected with IDC ribbon cable. Following tests, I have decided to do the panel backlighting with dimmable low energy mains bulbs. It is therefore important that the wiring is kept low and/or around the walls to avoid masking the light flow to the panels. It is also preferable to keep wiring runs to a minimum for both signals and more importantly to reduce voltage drops. The notches in the support rails for the panels, are to avoid masking the lettering backlighting.
Starting The Pedestal AssemblyRats nest wiring has started! There will always be errors, omissions etc, so I wire up loosely to prove everything works (eventually) and only then trim back, terminate and properly secure the wires. You will see here and from later photos that I do not use the common ribbon cable to hook up. This is a personal choice as I prefer to use molex type pin headers and connectors to give greatest flexibility, opportunity for change and to keep the cables out of the way etc to avoid conflicting with backlighting. I also find that delving through a nest of ribbon cables tends to dislodge some connections and creates additional problems. My route is more time consuming in the short term, but hopefully will prove a good investment.

Dummy Audio PanelThe dummy Audio panel complete except for one knob. The pencil knobs were made from 10mm acrylic rod, with machining on my lathe and milling machine – very tiresome and I nearly gave up! Sadly the end result was spoilt when I glued the knobs to their base, as three knobs have developed a different colour cast. Acrylic is very sensitive to this, for example the lower black band to the knobs initially turned the whole pencil knob black – I had to apply a white layer under the black to avoid this. The panel is a dummy one, though some knobs will light up and I will use the switches for other functions ( like generating a fire in engine no 2 at V2 when the co-pilot is taking off).

Rear Of The EFISFront Of The EFIS PanelThe business end of the EFIS –there is a lot happening in a small space!  Then on the right, the pretty bit of the EFIS, again using Opencockpits panels, though the knobs and centre legends were home made.
I wanted to achieve as much realism as possible, yet not spend a fortune and could not therefore find a suitable ready built EFIS that could provide the three functions on the BARO
More of the EFISand MINS shafts – ie a rotary switch, encoder and push button for the RST and STD functions. So I built one as per the photo left, by drilling through the shaft of a rotary switch and inserting a aluminium tube which drives The Whole Setup, EFIS & MCPthe encoder above. Into the aluminium tube I inserted a length of piano wire which actuates a micro switch above the encoder (the one with the green and yellow wires). So far it works!
The complete MCP and EFIS, I have changed the standard Opencockpit MCP knobs to more closely resemble the 737.
The Business End The working end of the MCP EFIS. Again, I have used an Opencockpits Master card with breakout pcbs, though there was not quite enough input connections!. The whole unit, when fitted to the MIP will be pivoted from the rear so it can be released and swung down for maintenance/corrections. All connections have been annotated, as I will never remember what goes where (you may think you can – but trust me, you will forget!!)

Flightdeck Solutions MIPThe FDS MIP – superbly made and it all fitted together like a dream – not the cheapest but you get real quality Home Made Gear Leverand accuracy The more observant (Ian) will notice that the Yaw gauge is the wrong way round. When I can get the MIP out of my shed, it will be corrected! You can also see the empty MCP housing and its`s base can be adapted to swivel downwards.
Fitted, Home made gear lever, based on as many photos as I could gather.
Rear View of Gear LeverA view of the rear of the Gear mechanism, based on pictures from suppliers

Rear of Centre MIP Flaps PanelRear of Flaps and N1 panel. Again, I have kept to the principle of being able to remove any panel easily by simply unplugging connections. The concentric switch and encoder mechanism can also be seen.

Back Of FDS MIPMIP wiring commenced – make sure that you have plenty of length in the wire tails as you can never be sure of the future routing at this stage.
There's a lot going on in hereMIP wiring nearing completion. The Opencockpits USB card,  Mastercard, servo and breakout pcbs have been mounted on a panel that is hinged and can easily be released from the top to access the MIP Panel wiring This Opencockpits USB Expansion card will also drive the MCP Mastercard and additional functions for the Throttles.
Rear of FDS MIP, Wired UpOverall view of the rear (left), showing wiring and support frames for the LCD monitors. I Sim-Avionics Instrumentationused Acer 19” widescreen monitors which fitted well and were easy to dismantle. The adaptable monitor support frames are based on an idea from FDS – I just decided it was cheaper to make them rather than buy them.     
Finally, All lit up! – I sat for hours just looking at it with a beer (or two) in my hand (Good Man David, i like your thinking - Ian ). The FDS integrated lighting is consistent and looks great. The software driving the displays is Sim-Avionics – will be good value when full 737 functionality is shortly added.

The Opencockpits FMC by David J.BullockPreparation and assembly of the Opencockpits FMC.  Running alongside the Sim-Avionics suite.
Have a look at the .pdf file HERE or click on the image in the left column.



David J.Bullock CHELMSFORD United Kingdom