<<<      Do It Yourself! - G1000 (and G500/2000/3000) displays to work with SimVimCockpit.

As always, I want to inspire you to make the parts of your home cockpit by yourself. Because it is simple, quick and free.

You can be surprised, but making such a "complex" module as G1000 is one of the most simple things that you could make for your cockpit!

If you still think you cannot make it yourself, what options do you have ?

Currently you can find a dozen of G1000 makers on the sim market that sell their products for price ranging from $600 to $10000. Some of these expensive systems are positioned as "professional, certified" devices for flight schools, that may even have their own software, but most are proclaimed as suitable for "home cockpit builders"!

Some of them are molded from ABS plastic and can be indistinguishable from real Garmin, with all right corners radius, colors, texture, backlight, every millimeter is a piece of art (you can hang it on the wall and admire it, blowing off the dust, or you can use it as spare parts for your real G1000 mask in the plane when it is broken).

The others are more simple, have a flat bezel surface, or it's just a mask on the monitor, with or no backlight, made from plexiglass, you do not feel sorry for scratching them with a screwdriver by accident - ah, big deal, for $800-1500 :)

You can estimate whether this is really affordable for you, and if it's worth to spend your money for few simple buttons and smooth surface. Even if you can find most simplified G1000 mask, it is still will be too expensive to use in your home cockpit.

Also, you can find at least one G500/G600 avionics replica for about $1000, it's also LCD screen with the bezel for displaying MFD/PFD using one of the known G600 program (note: the photo on the left is the real G500).

Some other devices such as GPS (430/530) are sold for price of about $200 to $1000.

You can estimate is it really worth it, by just learning more about how all this works You may be surprised. Read below about this.

Where are all the other Gs?

Why does no one produce G2000/G3000 ? Maybe because it is much simplier, it is just a simple frame with 12 absolutely similar buttons? How can someone convince people that this is a "very complicated" and expensive device? No chance. "C'mon, it's just a small monitor with a row of buttons!" And so it is.

Of course, I don't mention its control touchscreen here.

How does it work?

Each hardware module for the simulator performs two functions - input control (switches, buttons, knobs) and data output (displays, indicators and pointers). And, in fact, such modules as G1000, GPS (430/530), EFIS and other "complex" modules that have a TFT screen for displaying information from the simulator, are some of the most simple devices!

They are even simpler to make than some of the switch/annunciator panels or an autopilot module! Why?

  • To display information these modules simply use an LCD screen (monitor) connected to your computer using standard video cable (VGA, HDMI).
  • All (!) video information to be displayed is provided either by simulator itself or some additional instrument program that is present on your computer!
  • This means that the device itself does not use the LCD, it does not have any proprietary software or electronics inside to display something on the screen.

  • INPUT:

    Those several buttons (and 2-4 encoders) are also doing nothing for the module itself.
    All these control elements are used to send commands to your simulator, using one of these two methods of USB communication:

  • HID USB device protocol - emulation of joystick buttons, with no other software or plugins needed.
  • "Virtual serial port emulation" interface that should be supported by an additional program in FS/P3D or by a plugin in X-Plane.

So, as you can see, the structure of such device is very simple - it consists of only 3 parts: LCD display, one or several small PCBs with a few buttons connected to some input controller, and cover (bezel, that can be cut out from any suitable material, even cardboard!).

To send input commands to the simulator all the buttons are connected to the HID or "virtual serial port" controller (one small chip) which is connected to your computer's USB socket. All communication is provided either by X-Plane plugin (or program in FS/P3D), or by standard HID device protocol.

ArdSimX and SimVimCockpit software uses "virtual serial ports" for communication between the plugin and the controller board (if you're not using Ethernet connection).

As such, using our interface you can connect (directly or with extension boards) all buttons, switches, encoders to the controller with uploaded SimVim firmware and configure them for this specific device with ease.

What LCD screen to use

Do not think that you need some "special" LCD for your PDF / MFD / EFIS / GPS. In fact, you can use any available LCD screen, even a very old LCD monitor that you can find for free in your house, or buy on "second-hand" market for $5 ... $50.

As an example, I can count about 15 old monitors and LCD screens of different sizes stored in my household, a few of them are our own old used monitors, others were purchased for prices from $10 to $50.

LCD screen size

I don't know why you would need your Gxxx avionics to be a "detachable" module, if you are building you own panel of a specific plane. Or, maybe you are thinking - "oh, if I can make this for myself, so, I can make more and start selling"? Because, if you want it modular to carry it between your panels (supposing you have more than one panel in your home that needs this module), it is still cheaper to make it stationary (as bezel) for every panel.

1. If you absolutely want to make it as "module" you can find and buy the LCD screen or small monitor that exactly (+/-) fits your module screen size. It can cost you from 30 to 150 $$.

Here are some examples:

...to be continued... :)

How to display data on your LCD screen

How to make mask

How to configure and connect buttons

How to configure and connect encoders

Components and costs

Buttons (total cost $2-5)

Encoders (total cost $5-20)

LCD screen (old monitor LCD - $20-30)

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