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Note: If you are going to start building your cockpit for the first time you should remember that it could be a very complex and long process, especially if you make a wrong decision choosing one of the "heavy metal" planes with tons of complex systems, controls and custom data.

You need to know much about many aviation-related things, and preferably you should have various technical skills, at least some craftmanship ability and basic experience in wiring and soldering.

To reproduce all tech solutions presented here and use SimVimCockpit you should understand all possible risks and carefully learn all aspects of using electric and electronic equipment.

Don't turn it into an "endless" process for yourself, trying to make a "real big bird", select a plane cockpit that you really can build in a couple of months.

    Before starting - plane, components

  1. Choose a real aircraft which cockpit 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 1: 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 2: for LEDs that only have the purpose of indicating a toggle or rotary switch position you don't need any output parameters, just use the 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.
  6. Note: You can make a simple "workbench" for all your devices to test all them before wiring in your cockpit. Here is our "big breadboard" as example.

Then, 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.


Before building - wiring notes.

SimVim Interface architecture allows you to have only one master controller board, plus input extension breackout boards, additional slave servo and stepper controller boards (Arduino Uno, Nano, Mini). Also the key-matrix input slave board is planned. For all input extensions, output (7-segment displays) extension and LCD/OLED one common 4-wire address bus is used.

If you need, this architecture is suitable for modularity - for every input "module" you can use a 6-8-pin socket jack to connect it to the address bus.

But think, why would you need to have separate detachable "modules" in your cockpit? My opinion is quite opposite - the best way is to make all in place, using soldering instead of multiple connectors, carefully planning all the wiring first, of course.

I don't think you will have several cockpits in your house, but even if you will, you don't need to make a removable switch panel and carry it between two cockpits, right?

It's more reasonable to make well organised wiring in each cockpit. You should plan your whole cockpit design before wiring, clearly realizing where every switch, group of switches, displays and annunciator groups will be located. This is not mass production, you do not need to think about universality and try to make some "unified" modules, PCBs (especially!), or connectors.

Start building

. Try to optimize input wiring (switches, buttons, encoders), groupping them and placing multiplexers right near of this group.

Example:




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