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    Before start

  1. Choose a real aircraft the cockpit for which you want to build. Don't focus on any virtual model, either free or paid, build a replica of a real plane cockpit and then you can choose which virtual model (or models) to fly! Don't make a mistake choosing one of the heavy planes with lots of complex systems as your first cockpit. Select a plane that you can build in a month or so.
  2. Find a flight manual, reference guides and other tech documents for your (real) plane and find out how all the systems work.
  3. Make a list of all switches, buttons, knobs, lights and displays that need to be used in your sim cockpit.
    • Note: not all controls that you can find in a real plane need to be active in your cockpit! Some of them can be a "dummy" in the virtual model, or just "weird" to implement in your real simpit.
    • Note: for LEDs that only have the purpose of indicating a toggle or rotary switch position you don't need any output parameters, just use additional switch contact group for such LED (example - some korry-type switches).
  4. Read all about wiring on SimVimCockpit website, decide how it is better for you to connect every toggle switch or button, how many LED drivers (or registers) you need, etc. Select the type of displays you need for every numeric or text output, LCD or 7-segment. If you will need some pointer gauges, decide what option is better to use for each of them - PWM coil meter, Servo or Stepper motor.
  5. Make a sketch/diagram for all your input/output wiring.

Now, you can start configuring your controls and outputs. Open SimVim configurator, find a parameter that you think is the most appropriate for the selected control, display or annunciator, and assign it to the direct input pin, multiplexer input or output pin acccording to your connection diagram.


In general, when building a cockpit with SimVim, users don't need to concern themselves with the specifics of using "commands", "datarefs" (even for some custom planes), scripts or various options, and can fully focus their attention on the building process.*

    *at least, when you use:
    - one of X-Plane's standard, or most of freeware planes,
    - all custom or paid aircrafts that have data conversion files included in SimVim database,
    - all planes with data conversion files available for download in our repository.

It doesn't matter if your plane is a standard or customized X-Plane model, or some of the paid models - for any of them you need to create controls and assign outputs using SimVim Configurator that includes almost all possible controls, instruments and annunciators that can be found in any plane.*

    *will include all possible parameters eventually, ask if we miss something ...

All parameters are defined in SimVim database as abbreviated names that are meant to represent the real functionality in an actual aircraft cockpit, not limited to a specific virtual model's commands/datarefs set.

The idea is that a cockpit builder plans their cockpit and assigns these parameters to inputs/outputs based on what they should do (in a real aircraft cockpit), not how they would interact with a particular virtual model in X-Plane. For example, these two parameter names represent the LED indicator for Left Gear Unsafe/Transition and RotarySwitch for DC Meter source selector:



Behind every such SimVim parameter name stands a "macro", defined in the plugin database as a pre-assigned set of commands, or datarefs with values and conditions, or a specific SimVim function. This macro can also include a set of custom commands/datarefs, for example the parameters listed above consist of these sets of commands, dataref, values and options included in the plugin database (examples for standard and custom b737):

Left_Gear_Red =
standard: sim/flightmodel2/gear/deploy_ratio i=2 r=0.01,0.99
custom b737: laminar/B738/annunciator/left_gear_transit

DC_Meter_Source =
standard: sim/electrical/dc_volt_ext,sim/electrical/dc_volt_ctr,sim/electrical/dc_volt_lft,sim/electrical/dc_volt_rgt,sim/electrical/dc_volt_bat,sim/electrical/dc_volt_tpl
custom b737: laminar/B738/knob/dc_power_up,laminar/B738/knob/dc_power_dn q=laminar/B738/knob/dc_power:6

Notice that for the latter Laminar B737 example a pair of linked up/dn commands is used in conjunction with a reference dataref as a "macro" function.

Thus, usually you don't need to know about simulator commands, datarefs and internal structure of each parameter to work with SimVimCockpit, just select an appropriate data name from the configurator table to assign input or output.

But, if you have an aircraft model for which some of the selected and assigned parameters don't work, and there is no data conversion file available (yet) for your plane model, you need to find out yourself what parameter macros need to be replaced with your custom ones and create the "conversion" file to be placed in the plane folder (or later included into SimVim database).

As we plan to start making SimVim compatible with other simulators this feature (universal parameter names) it guarantees uniform configuration format, one configurator and possibility to fly on any simulator using the same data file.

Planes with custom commands/datarefs

As it was mentioned, it doesn't matter is your plane a standard, custom, paid, you should make only one main data configuration file with all needed parameters from the table and test every input and output in you aircraft model. Than, if some of assigned controls don't work with your plane and you need to use custom commands you can create the " data conversion" file for this specific aircraft model.

This data conversion file includes references for the main data file where the parameter name is "reassigned" to your custom commands/datarefs and placed into the plane root folder. Later we can add it into SimVim database, removing the need to have it in the aircraft folder.

Note: For some planes that have custom commands and datarefs this convesion file is already included in SimVim database and you don't need to create it. You can see the list of added planes here, for example there are some new X-Plane 11 Laminar aircrafts that have several new datarefs/commands, and B737 Zibo mod version.

Custom data converter

.... We will add custom data conversion tool soon ......

To use the custom data converison tool, you must first create your main configuration file.

At any time, you can load your "data.cfg" file into the online conversion tool, and it will list the parameters present in your configuration and the types of inputs/outputs they are assigned to. From there, you can select any of the listed parameters and enter the conversion options for it. The options available will depend on the I/O type.

You have to know what you're doing when assigning conversion options! You will need to find specific info on your aircraft model to know which custom datarefs/commands and values to use.

There is no need to edit all the listed parameters. Only edit the parameters that don't work as-is in your custom aircraft.

You can continue editing the conversion file at any time by uploading the file you saved earlier. Note that you still need to upload "data.cfg" first to get the list of all parameters and I/O types.

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