Friday, February 22, 2013

Conditional 64 Outputs Board

Over the past few weeks we've made some fairly significant changes to our 64 Outputs Board software which greatly improve its versatility. Below is a basic overview of what these alterations are, although more detailed posts regarding some of the aspects detailed here will likely follow in the next few weeks.

Also, the details on our website haven't been able to keep up with us, and these will be updated in the coming days. The PCBs themselves are the same (as indeed will be the price!), but the programming of the processor chips and the software interface behind them have been altered.

Anyway, on to the improvements ... 

Upgrade 1: Configurable Warning System now available

We have now added a Warning function to four outputs on our 64 Outputs Board. This allows users the ability to add a large number of conditions that can be used to trigger various warning lights. (Master Warning, Master Caution etc.)

We have allowed these special Warning outputs to use outputs 7 and 8 on banks 7 and 8.

The system works by having up to two specific conditions that must be true (ie. Battery Master, and Avionics Master etc.) (or they can be left blank) followed by any one of up to another 25 conditions being true.

One (or any) of these four warnings can also have a physical switch connected to the Ruscool 64 Outputs Board, which will act as a Reset button for the particular Warning light when it is activated. This means that if the Warning light is triggered, it can be turned off (reset) by pressing the button, and the Warning light will turn on again if another condition re-triggers the warning. If the warning condition resets itself, or an action by the pilot corrects the fault, the warning lamp will go out without the need to press the reset button.

The example below will light the Warning output if the Battery Switch and Avionics Switch are 'On' and any of the other conditions are true.

Upgrade 2: Configurable Switches added

Another new feature is that users now have the ability to connect to three inputs for use as custom switches or pushbuttons as well.

As shown in the example below, the first switch is set as 'momentary', which means that it will operate as a pushbutton toggle action.  

You can use these switches to control any FSUIPC offset or FS Control (event). They are labelled as 5, 6 and 7 because the first 4 switches are dedicated to the Warning resets and switch 8 is dedicated as a lamp test switch (more of which is explained below).

Upgrade 3: New Lamp Test options

There are now two options for how the lamp test can be operated.

Method 1: The lamp test can be triggered by the user through the assigning of an offset which will then be used to trigger the lamp test. When this offset is changed, the outputs that have been 'flagged' will be lit. 

This can either be a valid FSUIPC offset, or any unused (reserved) offset that you are using
either from a Ruscool 64 Input board, another input controller or from within Flight Simulator. The offset type must be a single byte that sends either "1" or "0".

Method 2: A physical switch can be connected to the Ruscool 64 Outputs board and the lamp test can be controlled that way. Switch 8 on the 64 Outputs board is dedicated to this function.

You can also specify whether the lamp test is only triggered if the battery bus has voltage or whether it's always triggered regardless of the battery status.

Eg. Offset Trigger

Eg. Switch Trigger

Monday, February 18, 2013

A re-design of our ATR Autopilot Panel

A few years have elapsed since we designed the first version of our ATR Autopilot Panel and so, using some newer techniques that we've developed in the interim - along with some slightly altered dimensions - this panel has recently undergone some design alterations.

Below are some photographs of the prototype ...

For photographic purposes, the buttons here are only temporarily 
attached to the rear of the panel with masking tape.

It's difficult to show here, but the engraving of the panel isn't on the front surface, where it would be exposed to a lot of wear due to the pilot's operation of the trim wheel.

By means of comparison, below are a couple of shots showing the earlier version 
(circa 2005)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cessna Citation Range: extended (and modified)

Over the past couple of months or so, as a result of some new information being provided to us by one of our customers who's currently building a Cessna Citation Mustang sim, we've been able to incorporate some measurements that now resemble those of the actual aircraft much more closely. 

As regards to the products that were previously up on our website, these changes affect the dimensions of the Left Switch Panel, the Right Switch Panel, the Lighting Panel (all of which are considerably smaller), and the Landing Gear Panel also, although to a much lesser extent.   

As well as these alterations, we've also added a few more bits and pieces to our Cessna Citation range of products, including the Oxygen Control Valve Panel, the Test Panel, and IAS Placard (all on the MIP), and the Oxygen Supply Panel too, which is part of the main sub-panels.

Oxygen Control Valve Panel: The knob that is fitted here should actually be black, although as we were supplying this particular panel without any of its associated hardware, this was actually just one of the spares that we already had in stock (and used for photographic purposes ...) 

IAS Placard: not much to explain here ...

Oxygen Supply Panel: The asymmetrical appearance of this particular panel is due to its location on the extreme right-hand side of the sub-panel set. Attached is a push/pull switch with a flat aluminium knob fitted to it.

Test Switch Panel: complete with two-step knob

Combined Sub-Panel Layout

Lighting Panel: This panel has now been updated with the correct cut-out into which the throttle quadrant would normally sit. We're hoping to organise a Cessna Citation throttle kit set (similar to the King Air kit that we currently sell), although this is likely to be some months away yet.

As well as updating the dimensions of the Left Switch Panel, we've also altered the appearance of the starter buttonheads too. The previous photos and drawings that we'd worked off had always shown simple black buttonheads, although these designs are a bit fancier.

Here they are temporarily in position, though not held in place with the usual mounting bracket and switches that we can supply if required by our customers.

The Landing Gear Lever (above), although not overly affected by the measurement changes, has undergone something of an upgrade with regards to the indicators that are now housed within it. These small annunciators are actually part of a separate item that gets affixed to the rear of the panel itself (incorporating a new design that will be discussed in a subsequent post shortly). You'll notice too, that in this particular shot, there's a simple hole through which the gear lever protudes. This was due to our customer's request and the units that we typically sell have a 13mm vertical slot into which our own gear lever assembly can be fitted.