ArdSimX Interface for home cockpit builders
--- The latest date of ArdSimX software update - January 26, 2018 --- (see Notes here)
When updating, make sure you have both the plugin and the library of the latest versions.
ArdSimX is our current, fully supported X-Plane Interface.
NOTE: The next, SimVimCockpit Interface is currently under way, you can check all news and development status on our ArdSimX blog, Patreon or click SimVimCockpit menu above.
ArdSimX project was developed with main goal to provide controls (inputs and outputs) for your home cockpit X-Plane simulator without programming and advanced electronics knowledge. ArdSimX plugin supports both LAN and USB connection with Arduino. You can use several boards with ArdSimX for one system, with LAN and USB connection in any combination.
- The core part of this interface is ArdSimX plugin that need to be placed in the X-Plane's "plugins" folder.
- The second essential part of software is ArdSimX Library for Arduino.
All you need to start - upload the "base" sketch to your Arduino and configure inputs/outputs pins, it can be done just in few minutes to try. ArdSimX Configurator allows you to easily link all your controls and instruments to X-Plane using, without additional Arduino programming or libraries using.
The ArdSimX plugin also was a core part of our SimVimPanel project - the program providing a set of realistic, fully-functional aircraft instruments to be displayed on a computer that is connected by network to the main computer with X-Plane and ArdSimX plugin. For now the SimVim plugin is used for this.
Download ArdSimX_Library.zip archive and save it in some folder.
1. If you don't have ArdSimX Library installed, in Arduino IDE open:
- Menu --> "Sketch" ---> "Include Library.."------> "Add .ZIP Library..."
- In the opened dialog find the folder with downloaded ArdSimX_Library.zip file
- Select ArdSimX_Library.zip file and the library will be added to Arduino IDE.
2. If you have previously installed ArdSimX library :
- - When you download a new version of ArdSimX Arduino library, make sure you've replaced the old version. (you can just replace the existing ArdSimX folder in your Arduino libraries folder if you had it previously).
Get Arduino IDE software from the official Arduino website: IDE Releases. You can use any version of IDE greater than 1.6.6 for ArdSimX.
ArdSimX Plugin Installation:
Unzip the downloaded ArdSimX_Plugin.zip file "AS-IS" into your X-Plane/Resources/plugins/ folder (the new folder named "ArdSimX" has to appear in X-Plane "Resources/plugins" folder).
If the plugin is correctly installed the "ArdSimX" item in X-Plane "Plugins" menu will appear. This menu has three submenu items: Status, Reconnect and Reload Plugins (optional). Use "Status" to check the plugin's connections state and change the USB option, and "Reconnect" when you need the plugin to search for new connected devices.
ArdSimX - Getting started
- Prepare an Arduino board and any toggle switch to test digital inputs.
- If Ethernet connection will be used, attach Ethernet module to Arduino board.
- Connect your Arduino to USB port of the main X-Plane PC.
- In Arduino IDE Menu "Examples" find "ArdSimX 1.2x", open the "ArdSimX" sketch.
- If using USB connection, comment or delete the #include <Ethernet.h> line.
- Upload code to Arduino ( first, select a correct model of Arduino board in IDE menu! ).
Testing communication for ArdSimX Library
- Connect the toggle switch to pin #5 of your Arduino. The sample data.cfg file in ArdSimX plugin folder will be used.
- Start X-Plane, open ArdSimX plugin "Status" screen. Enable USB checkbox if USB is used. Otherwise the plugin will not scan USB ports.
- You will see connection status and a rotating bar during the search process (the plugin scans the IPs or USB ports if enabled).
- When Arduino responds and is configured you will see the message "Connected to" and the list of Arduino boards.
(including the number of inputs/outputs configured for each board numuber).
- When you throw a switch connected to pin #5 you should see a message from this Arduino #1 in the status screen: D5+ / D5-.
- You will see how the Pitot switch toggles in the on-screen panel and the on-board LED of your Arduino switches On/Off accordingly.
In these screenshots you can see the board with LAN connection only and two boards connected with USB and LAN:
Please note: having USB enabled in ArdSimX will prevent you from uploading a program code to your Arduino. To upload code without exiting X-Plane, disable USB in the "Status" window. After uploading the code to Arduino, enable USB again.
When you've made sure that your ArdSimX is working with your Arduino, you can start configuring it for your own inputs and outputs.
- When you use "Reconnenct" or restart the plugin it reconnects to all Arduino boards and receives the current state of controls.
- If an Arduino board configured for USB communication has been physically connected to USB port while X-Plane was already running, or, if you have changed the config file while X-Plane is running you should press "Reconnect" button to read the new config.
If you see "Connection status - Awaiting connection" message and a rotating bar in ArdSimX Status window for too long (more than 30 sec) try using "Reconnect" button and/or reset Arduino with the on-board "reset" button and wait for connection.
If the plugin still didn't find your Arduino board, see troubleshooting (or contact us).
ArdSimX - Troubleshooting
Follow these steps only if ArdSimX plugin didn't find your Arduino after you went through the previous "Getting started" steps.
1. General guidelines:
- Make sure you have correct version of ArdSimX library used when uploded sketch to Arduino board.
- Check your Arduino powering in case you have many devices connected to it. See this page for instructions.
2. LAN communication:
- Check your LAN connections, router settings, switch, make sure you're using the right cable.
- Check your firewall settings or admin settings and access rights.
- If you have more than one active network, make sure Arduino is connected to the same network that the plugin detects
- If Ethernet module has a sticker with MAC address, try to use it, adding the line in the "setup" section of Arduino code:
MAC_ADDR ( 0xXX, 0xXX, 0xXX, 0xXX, 0xXX, 0xXX ) // -- where 0xXX is the number as 0xDE etc.
- If you still have no auto-connection, you can try to define your Arduino IP and/or X-Plane IP addresses.
3. USB communication:
- Make sure you have commented (or deleted) the #include <Ethernet.h> line in your sketch.
- Some serial drivers on Windows and MasOS Sierra systems are known to cause problems. Trying different drivers might work.
- If X-Plane crashes just after the flight loading, try to remove other USB devices that communicate with computer using virtual serial port (like those bluetooth usb connectors used for smartphone communication programs etc.).
- The length and quality of USB cable can be a problem sometimes. Use a good cable.
- Use external power supply for all additional deviced connected to Arduino.
- In your Arduino IDE, check the name of the port your Arduino uses. ArdSimX for Mac supports port names starting with "/dev/tty.usb..." and "/dev/tty.wchusb...", for Linux supports port names starting with "/dev/ttyUSB" or "/dev/ttyACM". ArdSimX for Windows checks ports from COM1 to COM64. If your Arduino is using a different port name, please contact us and tell us the port name so we can make the appropriate changes in the plugin.