Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kiowa Bell 206 Annunciator Panel

This particular panel has been designed for a Kiowa simulator (a military variant of the Bell 206) and will employ 14 specially engraved annunciators that we've already supplied to our customer. As a result of this panel being supplied separately however, this unfortunately means that we don't have a full set of the proper annunciators fitted. 

For purposes of illustration, we've populated the panel in these photographs with some spare annunciators that we had sitting around the workshop - the legends, of course, will not be correct (!) ...

This first photograph shows one of the indicators illuminated on our workbench. For the annunciators to be made functional, we're supplying a slightly modified version of our usual Annunciator Controller and LED Circuit Boards along with this panel (some modification was necessary to account for the annunciators here having slightly different dimensions and layout to those normally supplied with our Annunciator Hardware).

The panel again uses our dummy Dzus fasteners and the switches shown above are captured 'between panels' so that it becomes a stand-alone unit. 

As with all replicas of course, certain aspects just aren't viable to reproduce in exact detail, and so the glass window here is merely a dummy feature; there is no actual hinge for it to swing open. Our goal, as always, is to find (and hopefully provide) a good balance between cost, functionality, and appearance for our customers.

The dimensions of the entire panel are 230mm (high) x 55mm (wide) and the design was developed from the photographs below along with some measurements that were supplied to us.

Apologies for not attributing the above photos to the photographer - 
we're not exactly sure where they came from!

Airbus A320 Parts

A couple of weeks back we were asked to design an Airbus A320 Gear Extension Panel to complement the label that we'd originally made and supplied a while ago (as part of a request for several small decal panels which included High Voltage, Call Sign, IAS Speed Limits, Park Brake, etc.) ... 

Below is a photograph of the finished panel.

Also, in the previous post we mentioned that rebates can be machined into the rear of our panels to allow for backlighting, although we don't currently offer panels that already have LEDs installed. We've made several prototypes for various backlighting designs, and whilst we're confident that this is readily possible, we just haven't had the time to properly focus our attentions in this area.

As this A320 panel is destined to have backlighting applied to it however (as we assume will be the case with most of our panels), all of the necessary precautions with regards to light bleed have been taken ... !

This particular panel will also be added to our website shortly; alongside the A320 decals that we mentioned earlier and which are already available.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bell 206 Hydraulics Panel

Nothing too extravangant with this post, just a couple of quick shots showing the Hydraulics Panel we made this week. It's been designed as an entire unit, complete with a set of our replica Dzus fasteners and fitted switches, and (once we get the moulds completed) there will also be two small 'dummy' light diffusers positioned where there are presently just two small guide holes. The appropriate 5mm diameter detents can also be machined into the rear of the panel for fitting LEDs if backlighting of the text is required.

Throughout the design process, different customers have provided us with a wide range of measurements for this panel - and even our own personal measurements of a real one differed from these - so we've tried to come up with a design that satisfies as many of its elements as we can. 

A few photographs we've seen have shown the Hydraulics Panel attached by Dzus fasteners which sit outside of the smaller grey panel's extents, so we've made this measurement suit the standard rail measurements that Dzus fasteners require. This makes the inner panel somewhat smaller of course, although we've tried to keep the proportions of this balanced so that this panel can be utilised separately if necessary.

The entire width of the panel (as seen here) is 145mm, with its height being 49mm.
The grey panel, if used by itself, measures 120mm wide by 44mm high.

When used with the rest of our Bell 206 panels and electronics (and Dodosim 206FSX), all three of these switches operate in the correct manner. The Caution Lights BRT / DIM facility is actually utilised by placing a different voltage onto the LEDs in our Annunciator Panel.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Latest Bell 206 Indicator Configuration

As a result of a customer's request (and always wanting to improve our products), we've now added another possible configuration to our Bell 206 Annunciator Panels. Whereas our initial design employed black legends with orange or red illumination, this latest version uses a more accurate combination of orange on black, black on orange, and black on red. 

The following photographs show the relative differences when the indicators are illuminated in different light conditions. The top photo is how they appear on our workbench beneath some fairly bright overhead fluorescent lights, and the middle one is an approximation of how they look in condirtions that are much darker and probably closer to that seen in actual simulator (my amateur camera work is responsible for the slight 'burning out' of the legends ... !) 

Above is also a more detailed view of the Replica Korry Legends whilst the photograph below perhaps gives a better perspective of the various thicknesses involved.

As for the method of illumination, we're using the Annunciator LED Circuit Boards that are supplied along with the rest of the Annunciator Panel. There are actually two boards connected side-by-side (below you can see me holding just one of them), as configuring the boards in this manner allows us a greater range of freedom in the future and means that we can use them for units housing more annunciators than the twenty shown here.  

In the picture above, the circuit board at the top left of the photo is actually our Annunciator Controller Board, which is supplied as a separate item along with its own software. The software allows the user to program a variety of conditions under which certain annunciators will be illuminated. We'll write up some more detailed information about how exactly this works shortly ... 

Shown above, this is how the LED circuit boards and the annunciator panel look like from the rear, and to accommodate for the fact that each builder's glareshield thickness is likely to be different (and to allow for the widest range possible) our LEDs are actually mounted (unshortened) into adjustable LED sockets. This allows them to be simply pushed in to sit at the correct depth without any soldering or screwing etc. (or to change LED colours if you use them for a different application) ...

The LEDs used here are all ultra-bright, rounded 5mm LEDs, with all of them except for those behind the red legends being white in colour. White LEDs are good for illuminating most colours, but when it comes to lighting red material, red light will work much better.

The Annunciator LED Circuit Boards have the 'Lamp Test' functionality built in, so you just need to connect your pushbutton. (The pushbutton is already supplied with our B206 Annunciator Panel, of course)