Getting Started - Install and Test SimVimCockpit

What you need to start:

  • Get one micro-controller board built on Atmega2560 (Arduino Mega and similar clones - See details here.)
  • You need to get one Ethernet module if you plan to use Ethernet for communication (not needed for USB version).
  • Download SimVimCockpit software ( SimVimCockpit_v##.zip). Supported systems: Linux, Windows, OSX with X-Plane.
  • Unpack the SimVimCockpit_v##.zip file as-is into X-Plane ../plugins folder (as any other plugins for X-Plane).
  • Start X-Plane. The new menu item "SimVimCockpit" will appear in the X-Plane plugins menu.

    First start and Input/Output test

If you have no previously uploaded SimVim firmware, follow the steps below. If you plan to use LAN version, attach an Ethernet module to you controller board before and connect it to your router.
  1. Open the "Firmware Upload" window from SimVim plugin menu.
  2. Make sure you have the master board (Mega2560) disconnected from USB!
  3. Click "Master Board" button (to select master fimware to upload).
  4. Plug the master board (Mega2560) USB cable to the X-Plane computer USB port.
  5. Note: If you have the Mega2560 board with "original" Mega16U2 Serial UART/USB controller (the chip located near to the USB socket), wait until it completes its initialization and Rx LED stops flashing (about 20 sec.) before proceeding to the next step #5.

  6. Click "Detect Port" button (plugin detects new connected device)
  7. When USB port is detected you will see the "Controller Type" - Mega2560 box checked. If you need to upload the Ethernet firmware version set the "Ethernet" checkbox.
  8. Click "UPLOAD". Wait until firmware upload is completed (about 5 s).
  9. After upload the plugin will connect to this controller automatically.
  10. The connected board will appear in SimVim Status window.

  11. Firmware Testing

  12. Load some default aircraft (e.g. Cessna) in X-Plane
  13. Connect a toggle switch to pin #5, GND and throw it on/off
  14. The Pitot switch state will changing accordingly with your switch position
  15. The on-board LED on the controller board will change its state (Pitot Heat is on/off).

Firmware Update

When you update the SimVimCockpit to a next version, the plugin will inform you about need to update firmware (if there is new firmware) and present you the Upload window with the options already filled in.

  • For USB connection, just be sure that all options are correct and click "Upload".
  • For LAN connection, connect your master board to USB (or disconnect and connect it again) and click "Connect". After that, check the options and click "Upload".

Note for Linux users: Some Linux distributions not granting the user access to serial ports by default. In this case you need to add your user name to the "dialout" group (in Linux Mint, for example, this can be done via the Administration -> "Users and Groups" menu.)

SimVim Connection, notes

- You never need to upload the firmware to change I/O configuration, all you need to do is create new configuration file.

- If you have changed the data.cfg file while X-Plane is running, just click the "Reload Configuration" button in the Status window.

- With firmware uploaded you no longer need to unplug your controller board USB cable before X-Plane launch. If you use Ethernet firmware you don't need USB cable to be connected until you will need to upload new version of firmware.

After successfull first test you can be sure that SimVim plugin communicates with your controller, and you can start wiring all nput control and output devices to the controller and use SimVim Configuration tool to assign all of them.

Plugin should always establish connection automatically every time X-Plane is started, no matter how many times you did this and how many changes you made in the data config file.

SimVim Plugin Reconnection options:

  • 1. [Reload Configuration] button in the "Status" window reloads all SimVim configuration, it should be used when you saved new data configuration file
  • 2. [Hardware Reconnect] menu item resets everything inside the plugin and reopens all ports and reloads all SimVim configuration. Use it only if you have reconnected your board USB cable while X-Plane is running.
  • NOTE: The "Hardware Reconnect" functions also is added to SimVim as command, which you can use if you need quickly reconnect your system, either from another plugin, or script, or assigning the command "simvim/reconnect" to some keyboard key in X-Plane "Keyboard" menu.

- Data exchange sequence - Additional tech information is for those who are interested.

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