Thursday, April 18, 2019

AS350 Main Instrument Panel

Here are some photos that show an AS350 MIP that we designed for a local customer back in 2017. It was designed to sit in front of an LCD monitor, so everything was constructed to be as low-profile as possible whilst still being functional.

[ Click on the photos to see the larger images ... ]

A separate post that details the individual bezels and their hardware will follow shortly ...

Backlighting was also incorporated ...

And the following viewpoint shows how little (if anything!) protrudes out the back ...

LCD1000 Units - some improvements ...

Whenever possible we like to make improvements to our products. Sometimes these stem from better manufacturing processes, and sometimes they're the direct result of customer feedback and suggestions - which we're always keen to hear!

Several of these enhancements are shown below on our LCD1000 units (which are based on the Aspen EFD1000) ...

Adjustable backlighting

The button back-lighting in these units can now be set by the user at any time, and the selected brightness will be saved in memory. The saved brightness setting will even be used after the unit has been turned off.

It's a simple process to perform:

Press the BRG1 and BRG2 buttons at the same time to enter the brightness setting routine.

Press the BRG2 button to increase the brightness.

Press the BRG1 button to decrease the brightness.

When satisfied with the brightness, press the CDI button and the setting will be saved.

More accurately profiled knobs

As shown below, the knobs are now subtly tapered to better reflect the real ones.

Cabin Briefing Panel

Always keen to help out our customers with some custom requests that they can't find elsewhere, below is a Cabin Briefing Panel that we made for a King Air simulator a couple of years ago.

The size of the window was based around a single-row 5x7 dot-matrix 8 character display that our customer already had and which was fitted once the panel was received, hence the empty space shown in our photos.

It all looks pretty enough from the front, although it's a different story from the rear. This is not the typical way that we build our panels, but with a one-off job, sometimes there are aesthetic compromises that need to be made. To ease the drama of opening the parcel to find this inside, a wiring diagram was supplied so that everything could be easily wired up by our customer once the panel arrived ... and we'd discussed how things were going to be constructed prior to beginning the job too, so there weren't too many surprises.

Custom Altitude Alert + V/S Panel

This customised Altitude Alert Panel was supplied with its own USB controller, and we wrote a small program which allows it to operate with FS9, FSX, ESP, and P3D. 

The Altitude Alert controller uses a 12 Volt DC power supply and we normally suggest using a spare computer power supply for the 12V, as these are cheap, easy to find, and reliable. All of our control boards are fitted with the correct type of socket for this.

Also included was a small beeper for the 'alert' sound.

Below is a screenshot of our software running; the digits actually change whilst the unit is operating too, so that the incoming information can be verified in real-time.

Pushing the ENG button allows the user to change the vertical speed settings. This will also light up the VS text next to the ENG button.

Pushing the ARM button will allow you to change the altitude alert settings. This will also light up the ALT text next to the ARM button.

The SET knob is a dual encoder. The lower knob changes the value in 1000's and the upper knob changes the value in 100's.

The above photograph shows the panel during the initial test phase, with the illuminated text and one illuminated button. 

The especially keen-eyed reader will also notice that the width of the display is not uniform across all of these photos. This was because we actually had to re-make the front panel halfway through the process on account of forgetting about the extra 'minus' digit ... !

King Air ACU Panel

This is a panel that we built for one of our good customers a couple of years ago as a one-off custom job, although we actually supplied a pair of them. 

It's based on the MD41-1408 unit from Garmin.

As you can see in the next couple of images, we had an interesting time trying to get the correct sort of lighting without having too much undue light-bleed visible between the different legends.

And to give some sense of scale and sizing ...