Friday, October 05, 2012

BK-117 Dummy Gauge

As one of a few customised projects that we've been working on lately, this is a (very) small dummy gauge that's destined for a local BK-117 helicopter simulator. The outside measurements of the gauge (not including the mounting bracket) are 36mm; a physical size that's not really conducive to its being made functional. 

Below is a larger-than-life photograph showing it in more three-dimensional detail ...

Fuel Valve Switch Guard

This post roughly details the evolution of the Fuel Valve Switch Guard that we designed recently for our Bell 206 MIPs, as we were never entirely happy with the look of the standard plastic missile switch cover that we had originally employed.

Through various discussions with those more intimately acquainted with this particular component than ourselves, as well as some online research, we've now developed a new version of our switch guard that we feel better reflects the real part.

The above photograph clearly shows an unpainted version of our initial trial - with the relative switch depths being taken into account on a dummy section of panel.

Here, with the cover lifted out of the way, you can see the lower section of the part sitting beneath the nut, through which we've fitted the appropriate switch. Because of the limited amount of room available to us behind the switch body itself (as the MIPs are designed to be positioned directly in front of an LCD monitor and thus can't have hardware protruding out the back!), we've needed to use the lowest profile switch that we can find whilst still having it maintain a decent quality and feel.

Below is a fully-painted finished version, complete with fitted spring etc.

And here it is fitted to the Fuel Switch Panel itself. 

These newly-designed aluminum switch guards are supplied as a standard part of one of our fully-populated Bell 206 MIPs, and there will be no increase in price. They can be purchased separately as well, with or without the Fuel Valve Panel itself, and we'll be getting those details up on our website shortly. 

Bell 206 MIP: Fully-wired, low-profile

As mentioned in the previous post regarding our needing to limit the amount of hardware extending out of the rear of the Main Instrument Panel's body (and thus preventing it from being held flush against the LCD monitors where the gauges are positioned), below are a couple of photographs to show the profile of a completed, fully-wired Bell 206 MIP that's ready to be sent to a customer. Please note that normally the sealing of the MIP is done with black material and not red as shown here (which might now be considered an easily identifiable mark of the first completed unit we ever supplied!) ...

This effect (the flattening of all wires and hardware) has been achieved by machining the appropriate recesses into the rear of the MIP itself and then running all of the cables and wires through these. Similarly, all five encoders, the Fuel Valve switch, the GPS/NAV switch, and the two pushbuttons have been recessed and/or modified so as to 'disappear' beneath the panel's rear surface.

The cables that we use are a combination of CAT5E and 6-Core, all of which extend out of the bottom of the panel where the pedestal would normally extend from. This keeps them all hidden away and tidily restrained. The 6mm bracket which covers these four cables together and holds them in the correct exit position is actually positioned well below the depth of where a normal LCD monitor would fit.

Our fully-wired and tested Bell 206 MIPs are naturally more expensive than our standard version (again, more details on our website soon), although for customers who wish to use the Ruscool range of Bell 206 hardware and software it might take a few extra hassles out of realising your own completed helicopter sim.