Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The next phase of the RNS530 ...

Based on the Garmin GNS530 unit, we finally have some photos of our RNS530 as supplied with the fitted LCD screen and a PCB with all of the necessary connections for operation, although on this model there is no USB Controller board fitted. The customer for whom the two units photographed below were manufactured is using their own interface system to communicate with it. This model has headers for ribbon cables on the rear to allow users to connect all buttons and encoders to whichever controller they wish.

Running during its initial power-up test, the graphics on the screen aren't quite positioned properly, but it gives a fairly good idea of what it's supposed to look like. It's just possible to make out the backlit buttons too, seen here under normal room lighting. You can see that it's running the Reality XP GNS software, which needs to be purchased separately of course.

And now in the dark.

It's always difficult to photograph illuminated items like this and end up with a result that accurately reflects what you're actually seeing in front of you. This is pretty close as far as the backlit buttons go, although the effect on the screen graphics has been somewhat less than desirable.

Below you can see the first two units side by side - front and back - and it probably looks as though there's not very much room for the panel to fit into a cutout. That's because, well, there's not really. We're looking at perhaps extending the dimensions of the front panel by a millimetre here and there to make things not quite as snug ...

  [ Don't look too hard for the errant thumbprint! ]

And finally, below is a photograph to prove that the first unit 
wasn't simply a one-off and can indeed be replicated!


Also, for details regarding the 'Bezel Only' version of these units, more information can be found at a previous post, here.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Our RNS430 and RNS530 Units

... or rather, our take on the Garmin GNS430 and GNS530 respectively.

We've had quite a few requests for these units over the years and after making our version of the Aspen EFD1000 we thought that we'd try to apply the same sort of process to these Garmin units.

There are actually three versions of the RNS430 and RNS530, as we've found that each simulator is being made or (more likely) has already been constructed in a certain way and any additional navigation units need to be able to fit around and/or into these constraints.

The types are basically (a) the Bezel Only, which can be used in front of an already installed MIP LCD screen, (b) the Bezel Only plus a fitted LCD screen - but with no interface board, or (c) the Bezel with a fitted LCD screen and its integrated interface board.

The versions that we're showing below are the Bezel Only units, as they just happen to be the ones that we got the first orders for; although, paradoxically, they're also the most difficult to make.

The dimensions of our units as compared with the official Garmin panels are below:

Ruscool RNS530: 162mm(w) x 120.4mm(h) / 6.38" x 4.74"
Garmin GNS530: 159mm(w) x 117mm(h) / 6.25" x 4.60"

Ruscool RNS430: 162mm(w) x 83mm(h) / 6.38" x 3.27"
Garmin GNS430: 159mm(w) x 67mm(h) / 6.25" x 2.65"

And now, on to the photos ...  the RNS430 first

 The three screws that you can see here are the means by which 
the unit is mounted onto the main instrument panel.

And below, again as the Bezel Only version, is the RNS530

Avionics Display for a Bell 412 Simulator

This was part of an interesting project that we were contacted about a while ago and which involves using second-hand iPad display screens behind some bezels that we designed and are in the process of supplying (two have been delivered and two are on the way).

Thankfully the company we're working with were happy to send one of the actual iPad screens all the way down here to New Zealand for us to take accurate measurements of and with which  to work our original prototyping around. The end result was actually a press-fit of the screen into the rear of the bezel, although of course there are also screws holding it in place, with four convenient little corner tabs already being a part of the screens' outer construction.

As you can see, some of the tolerances between the PCBs and the outer edges of the bezels are fairly tight due to our measurements being as faithful to the original avionics unit as we could possibly get them, although because these units are being fitted into instrument panels that are being laser-cut after the arrival of the bezels themselves, it means that accurate measurements can be taken from the actual pieces themselves, in situ as it were.

The company that's going to be using these units are actually doing all of the interfacing themselves, so the circuit boards merely provide a means of communicating with the switches.

And finally ... 

 The ghost in the machine!

Some work on the ATR Simulator ...

It's been a while since any work has really been done on my own ATR simulator, although over the Christmas holiday break this year (wow, that was a while back now!) I managed to get a few things done. Most of the work was behind-the-scenes sort of stuff, with some programming work being carried out that allows yet more overhead buttons and annunciators to be properly interfaced, although a visible portion of the progress (and the one most obvious to visitors) is the newly made Central MIP, which overlays the PC monitor.

Below are a few quick photos, the first image being the Central MIP prior to painting and the fitting of the gauge bezels and other panels et cetera ...

And below is the original photograph of an actual ATR72 cockpit that I was lucky enough to go and visit a few years back, and which the design of the above panel(s) was based on. There are discrepancies with various measurements here and there due to space constraints and the like, although hopefully the overall essence of the panel has been maintained. 

There's not really too much to show with regards to the additional interfacing that was accomplished on the overhead as the majority of it related to implementing some of the new abilities on our Input and Output cards, although I did have the overhead section down from above the simulator for the first time in a long while and so took a coupe of shots of it.

And I'm guessing that'll be about it unless we can find time for some Christmas holidays again this year ... !

Fibreglass King Air Yokeheads

Below are a few of shots of the King Air B200 yokeheads that we recently supplied to a local customer. The moulds themselves were taken from a real yokehead, and as is painfully obvious in these photos, they are clearly shown here in their raw form. We sell them in this rough state because we've found that a lot of builders would prefer to spend the time wiring the yokeheads themselves in order to save the money that's involved with us offering a complete, fully-wired set of parts (funds that can no doubt be spent elsewhere!) ...

An example of the detail achieved during production.

As we've already completed a set of these during the construction of the C90 simulator, below are also some photographs and explanations of our techniques and reasons, which might help anybody who's chosen to use a similar method. This is by no means the only way of dong things, of course!

First, the pieces themselves. As you can see, there are eight separate pieces that make up a pair: 2 x front sections, 2 x back sections, 2 x upper yokehead mounting, 2 x lower yokehead mounting. All of these individual parts are hollow, meaning that the larger main sections especially are still a little fragile at this stage. This can be remedied by filling certain sections of the yokeheads with a filling material later.

These yokehead mountings may also be filled, a rocker switch for the trim fitted, and two switches (for the AP Disconnect and the Push to Talk ) can then also be installed and wired.

The above photograph - from our previous King Air C90 build - shows where we've applied the filling compound. This is done in order to strengthen the entire head and also enables various holes to be readily drilled and tapped as necessary. 

Having arrived in the same condition as the first few photos, the entire unit has now been sanded to within an inch of its life, wired, and fitted together. You might also notice the aluminium plate that's now fitted inside the base of the unit; this provides greater stability and allows for the yokehead to be fitted very securely to the stem of the yoke.

The view from the back: prior to the wires being connected from the top section to the base, after which the entire unit is connected.

And the (almost) finished product - prior to fitting the timer in the pilot's side, the aluminium plate in the first officer's, and fitting the final mountings etc. ...

Friday, May 09, 2014

A customised panel

Below are a few quick shots that show the left-hand sub-panel from a much larger custom job that we're currently working on for one of our customers. 

As we're doing the majority of the interfacing here in our workshop prior to shipping the whole constructed unit to him, we've integrated a custom backlighting panel which also doubles as a backing plate for all of the hardware. Doing this means that the whole panel now becomes an entirely separate module that can be easily removed as one piece, allowing us to do the wiring and testing away from the main instrument panel itself if need be.



Wednesday, April 02, 2014

First installation of the RMC710 Autopilot

Late last week we completed the first installation of our new RMC710 Autopilot System into a local customer's King Air C90 simulator that we've been helping with. The post previous to this one explained most of the panel's details but we've now uploaded a short video of it operating to our YouTube channel as well.

Throughout this build we've customised a few components here and there and thought that this might be a good opportunity to share some of them, seeing as the astute amongst you will no doubt have noticed some differences to previous builds we've been involved with.

One of the most immediately noticeable differences is the colour scheme, which is a medium grey colour. This is probably illustrated by the following panels, as photographed whilst still in our workshop.


Actually (and if you've watched the above video, rather obviously), the above MIPs were made for a previous customer and incorporated the addition of two small Marker Beacon Indicators, each positioned at the top left of their respective panels. A more detailed photograph of one of these is below, although because of the amount of light in our workshop - and no available tripod upon which to mount the camera - it's a little difficult to see the illumination that we'd temporarily hooked up behind the blue legend. In person as it were, however, we were very pleased with the result.

Okay then, back to our local customer's simulator ... 

Below, you can see the two display units that had previously been purchased from another supplier and which were to be incorporated into the new build. We designed the main instrument panel around these and then the real work began: re-working the interfacing of the MFD and the PFD - although that's another post entirely if we ever find the hours needed to detail it. You can probably tell from the subsequent photos how involved the process was ... !

Oh, and skipping to the once again operational MFD and PFD ...

The LCD1000 all fired up

Alright then, so we've finally managed to put some time aside in order to re-establish access to the appropriate drivers, video outputs, and software needed to hook up the LCD1000.

Below are some initial photos (excuse the dust!), and a video with some commentary will be made shortly. In fact, if you haven't already seen it, we put up a video a while back which demonstrated how it operated using the 'bezel only' version of this panel, which can be found here.

There are a couple of minor issues for us to tidy up here and there, as this unit was essentially our first prototype, but to give you an idea of costings, these units will be sold for US$570-00. If you're interested (or have any questions), please feel free to contact us directly, as our products are typically available for purchase well before we get the time to actually advertise them properly on our website.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Evolution of the Ruscool LCD1000 Unit

For the past few months we've been selling a bezel complete with buttons and encoders (see the first two photographs), which is based around the Aspen EFD1000. It was designed to fit in front of an LCD monitor upon which the appropriate graphics were shown, with our PCB interfaced to its software, thus making the unit operational.

Below is a short video on our Youtube account demonstrating its functionality using the Flight1 Aspen software. It it also able to use the Aspen EFD1000 software from Friendly Panels.

This product has recently undergone something of a facelift, however, and has since been significantly upgraded and taken to a much more realistic level, having now evolved into the Ruscool LCD1000; a stand-alone unit complete with its own LCD screen.

As seen from the shot above, with the ability to now fit the unit actually into a panel as would properly occur in an aircraft, the thickness of the panel is much reduced. Similarly, with the LCD display unit now embedded deep into the panel itself, there is a substantially more realistic and aesthetically pleasing result with regards to the distance from the panel's surface to the graphics.

Jumping out at everybody - I'm sure - is the fact that the display isn't actually displaying anything! Rest assured that this is simply a logistical issue at present, due to some temporary relocations of computers and monitors about our workshop, and shall be remedied as soon as possible so that we can update matters with a proper video and some more details. It still uses the Flight 1 Aspen software, or the Friendly Panels Aspen software.

In the meantime, and going right back to the earliest origins of this product, below are some shots from a few months back that some might consider interesting: our first operational prototype of the 'bezel only' version ...