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Building your own joystick/flight panel? Check this out...


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#1 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:12

Those of you thinking of building your own panels or joysticks are going to love this. I have already built a small panel for ROF giving me mixture, rad and simple engine functions based on the board from an old PS2 controller. This has its limitations though so when looking for something to make a more complex unit with less hassle involved (in my case a control panel for CoD engine/plane controls) I came across the boards made by this chap. They are so simple to use it's hard to believe. Simply select your knobs, buttons, sliders decide on your lay out and plug them in. Assign them in your game and you're good to go. :mrgreen:

http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/

Image

Image

I'm a cheapskate so I'll be using a BU0836, a selection of cheap sliders:

http://www.maplin.co...ntiometers-2215" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.maplin.co...miniature-dual- … eters-2215

Tasty switches:

http://www.bitsbox.co.uk/switches.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bitsbox.co.uk/switches.html

And 10k pots:

http://www.bitsbox.c...ntiometers.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bitsbox.c...ntiometers.html

I may even push the boat out and fit some rotary encoders. :geek:

I'll squeeze this into a flat project box you can get most places.

Those of you that are feeling more adventurous will be able to make your own stick.

8-)

These boards open a door for those keen on making their own controllers but not into the complexities of builing their own electronics.

Cheers

Ben
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#2 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:38

You going into business Ben?

I could do with a left hand console about 30cm by 30 cm viewing- complete with zoom and pan etc (maybe on a small stick for pan/view adjustment) as well as throttle, mixture and radiator to operate with my left hand. Make me one and I will reward you handsomely! And a couple of extra buttons.

I also want it vintage looking in a steam-punk style!! :)
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#3 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:49

Do a drawing Tom and yours will be the second on the monster production line.

Shouldn't be too hard to fabricate.

I'll let you decorate it though. :?

Will the the handsome reward come in a bottle from Russia? :mrgreen:
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#4 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:31

You asked for it…

Prepare to be wowed by my artistic/technical brilliance.

I think 30cm by 30cm may be too large - fit it into the smallest practical size possible.

Attached File  tom Cundall thing.jpg   27.19KB   7066 downloads

Reward will be monetary and alchoholic…
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#5 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 13:23

How about this Ant, the brass and oak finish would be extra though. Lol

Image

Nice and simple, I like it. If you want to hunt around for some styles of buttons and stuff you like anything can be used. There are some really nice antique looking musical instrument controls available. I'm going to use some toggle style switches on mine to give it the authentic feel. :mrgreen:

Does look abit like a DJ mixer….. :lol:
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#6 Nova...

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 13:43

Pretty awesome to custom make your own switches and stuff.
So tempted to build a cockpit again and add switches this time.
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#7 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 15:23

How about this Ant, the brass and oak finish would be extra though. Lol

Image

Nice and simple, I like it. If you want to hunt around for some styles of buttons and stuff you like anything can be used. There are some really nice antique looking musical instrument controls available. I'm going to use some toggle style switches on mine to give it the authentic feel. :mrgreen:

Does look abit like a DJ mixer….. :lol:

That looks amazing!

I'm not worried about the authentic early 20th century finish as my FFB2 doesn't have that… (yet!)

Are you seriously going to make this I'll refund you for all parts and your time! :)
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#8 SYN_Vander

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 15:43

Those of you thinking of building your own panels or joysticks are going to love this. I have already built a small panel for ROF giving me mixture, rad and simple engine functions based on the board from an old PS2 controller. This has its limitations though so when looking for something to make a more complex unit with less hassle involved (in my case a control panel for CoD engine/plane controls) I came across the boards made by this chap. They are so simple to use it's hard to believe. Simply select your knobs, buttons, sliders decide on your lay out and plug them in. Assign them in your game and you're good to go. :mrgreen:

http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/

Image

Image

I'm a cheapskate so I'll be using a BU0836, a selection of cheap sliders:

http://www.maplin.co...ntiometers-2215" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.maplin.co...miniature-dual- … eters-2215

Tasty switches:

http://www.bitsbox.co.uk/switches.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bitsbox.co.uk/switches.html

And 10k pots:

http://www.bitsbox.c...ntiometers.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bitsbox.c...ntiometers.html

I may even push the boat out and fit some rotary encoders. :geek:

I'll squeeze this into a flat project box you can get most places.

Those of you that are feeling more adventurous will be able to make your own stick.

8-)

These boards open a door for those keen on making their own controllers but not into the complexities of builing their own electronics.

Cheers

Ben

Yep, I can highly recommend Leo's controller. I use two myself (One for home made stick and one for panel/throttle).
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#9 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 15:46

That looks amazing!

I'm not worried about the authentic early 20th century finish as my FFB2 doesn't have that… (yet!)

Are you seriously going to make this I'll refund you for all parts and your time! :)


Of course Ant. Do you want the joystick part analogue like a playstation thumb or just 8 positions on a lever like a hat switch? I can do both Pas de problème. They are are both available and generally this will be a very simple build. Mounting the the stick could be a bit of a pain but shouldn't be too bad depending on what I can get. Payment will equal cost of parts and a bottle of the finest Russian spirit. Maybe we could extend this to a few beverages if I'm ever in your part of sheep land. This offer does not extend to everyone so on lookers don't get your hopes up. lol

Yep, I can highly recommend Leo's controller. I use two myself (One for home made stick and one for panel/throttle).

Nice chap can we see a picture of you home made kit? Making a joystick must be a bit of a challenge. I got some diagrams/schematics to make similar boards myself but when I stumbled across Leo's page and saw his prices it became immediately obvious that his boards were by far the best option. All the hard work is done and he leaves you with only the fun bit to do.

8-)
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#10 SYN_Vander

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 17:27

Image

Image

Image

Doesn't look like much, but the hall sensors are very precise!

I started out with something to put on my desk, I ended up with this: :)

Image
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#11 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 17:59

Image

Image

Image

Doesn't look like much, but the hall sensors are very precise!

I started out with something to put on my desk, I ended up with this: :)

Image


Very very very cool chap. I was wondering how you'd get pots on the stick, never thought about a hall sensor. That is possibly the coolest sized cockpit I've ever seen too. Fair play I bet all your mates are always asking you for a go, I know I would. :mrgreen:

If I had something like that I'd probably never leave the house.

Tom don't get any ideas. (imagines Cundle planning to put half an se5 in the middle of his lounge.)
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#12 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 18:11

Of course Ant. Do you want the joystick part analogue like a playstation thumb or just 8 positions on a lever like a hat switch? I can do both Pas de problème. They are are both available and generally this will be a very simple build. Mounting the the stick could be a bit of a pain but shouldn't be too bad depending on what I can get. Payment will equal cost of parts and a bottle of the finest Russian spirit.

I'm trying to get into Pan viewing rather than snap so an analogue stick to replicate a mouse would be useful.

Either side of the zoom can I have a seperate button? Thinking I'd want a return to centre snap view and a reset zoom button.

Smallest box/case that you can do but still have a decent size of view stick and levers (if possible)on it- I've got to be able to use it without looking down! Is it possible to do levers rather than sliders for the mixture, throttle and radiator? Again would only have to be xbox/playstation thiumbstick sized. But spaced enough that I don't grab the wrong one by accident (or all 3 at once)

Sounds like a bargain! Thank you Ben! :S!:
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#13 SYN_Flashman

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 18:24

My simpit in this thread uses one of those BU0836X cards, highly recommended

Your Virtual Cockpit?
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#14 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 18:43

Of course Ant. Do you want the joystick part analogue like a playstation thumb or just 8 positions on a lever like a hat switch? I can do both Pas de problème. They are are both available and generally this will be a very simple build. Mounting the the stick could be a bit of a pain but shouldn't be too bad depending on what I can get. Payment will equal cost of parts and a bottle of the finest Russian spirit.

I'm trying to get into Pan viewing rather than snap so an analogue stick to replicate a mouse would be useful.

Either side of the zoom can I have a seperate button? Thinking I'd want a return to centre snap view and a reset zoom button.

Smallest box/case that you can do but still have a decent size of view stick and levers (if possible)on it- I've got to be able to use it without looking down! Is it possible to do levers rather than sliders for the mixture, throttle and radiator? Again would only have to be xbox/playstation thiumbstick sized. But spaced enough that I don't grab the wrong one by accident (or all 3 at once)

Sounds like a bargain! Thank you Ben! :S!:

Tom, if you can find some little levers you can have them. As for the extra buttons no problem.

As for the analogue joystick it will be an alps unit exactly the same as used on a ps2 controller. It will centre itself but also doubles as a push button which you could use for centre snap.

http://uk.rs-online....oduct&R=0516035" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://uk.rs-online....web/search/sear … &R=0516035

I will stick a playstation thumb on it for you.

My simpit in this thread uses one of those BU0836X cards, highly recommended

Your Virtual Cockpit?

Very cool too. Do all you Syns fly around in these things? :mrgreen:

Mine will look almost office like in comparison. lol

Very cool chaps.
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#15 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 21:53

Well it's a little busy and I will definitely need to look at it to find what to push/press/twist/slide. I think I got most things covered for four engines though. Some features will still reside on the joystick including throttle and fire buttons. The centre switches are two position momentary. I missed out a few non-essential features as I ran out of channels. No doubt I will move things about a bit once I've used it. There are 40 basic channels and 8 analogue inputs on the BU0836, what more could you want for 17 quid! I'm quite pleased with my trim set up too. :mrgreen:

Any constructive criticism/help welcomed.

Cheers

(Please excuse my paint MS paint art skills)

Image
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#16 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 21:59

That is a solid controller - you should get on the 1C forums and sell them for £200 a pop - then you can buy this:

(Me and a friend are saving up/day dreaming of getting and building one of these - we've got hanger space if we need it and I've raised a bit of money towards it but it remains a pipe-dream at present):

http://www.pacificae...com/twister.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.pacificae...com/twister.htm

N.B. The friend is an engineer so will do the stuff that is essential if ever we get round to it!
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#17 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 22:12

My oh my Ant that sure is a beautiful toy. :0o:

And there was me saving up for a radial model plane engine. Seems you've got your priorities in the right place.

8-)
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#18 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 22:16



This made me :o
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#19 ImPeRaToR

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 22:33

Hmm sounds awesome to fly across europe with one of those, just visit your squadron mates with one tank load of (Diesel!?) fuel :D


Honeymonster, that scheme looks great but I am afraid I have not read all the posts so I am not sure what material you will use to actually build the box, is it wood?
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#20 hq_Jorri

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 22:33

(Me and a friend are saving up/day dreaming of getting and building one of these

Image

That's one giant staple machine…
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#21 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 22:45

Honeymonster, that scheme looks great but I am afraid I have not read all the posts so I am not sure what material you will use to actually build the box, is it wood?

Nope off the shelf plastic project box for that mass produced finish. :lol:

That's one giant staple machine…

LMAO :lol:

It doesn't look like a beginners plane to me. I wouldn't trust anyone to assemble it for me at the field either. One wing nut short and you could end up one wing short lol.
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#22 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 23:18

That's one giant staple machine…

Brilliant. :S!:
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#23 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:27

Tom do you require an interface for the Flak simulator on your controls or are you going to use it stand alone?
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#24 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:44

I'm going to use it standalone for now. Still perfecting it- my garage is full of the winos I've been testing it on*! As 777 will confirm getting a good quality product to Market takes time! ;)

(This is a joke - I don't have a garage. They are all in suitcases at the local dump.)
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#25 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 08:33

While the ROF server was down I had time to look through some of the awesome sim pits and panels on Sim HQ. I came across these some guy had got made/comissioned. Shows what can be done with a little effort. Yes that top one has the little levers like you want Tom.

8-)

Image

I'm tempted to build my own pit now, there are a surplus of genuine WW2 gauges, switches and panels on ebay at very reasonable prices. I would be single in a matter of days if I attempted this though. :(
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#26 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 08:35

Wow. The technical skills of people often leaves me speechless. Those are some professional looking panels! :)
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#27 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 08:43

I'm thinking of a grey/aluminium top, some brass screws and maybe even some lights to try and lose the made in china look of my panel now… Also I can see the the Mrs. nail varnish collection disappearing so I can re paint the plastic switches to give them a more old school look. lol

8-)
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#28 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:22

Look what the posty just delivered. :mrgreen:

Image

Still a few bits missing but plenty to make a start. 8-)
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#29 ImPeRaToR

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:35

I'm going to use it standalone for now. Still perfecting it- my garage is full of the winos I've been testing it on*! As 777 will confirm getting a good quality product to Market takes time! ;)

(This is a joke - I don't have a garage. They are all in suitcases at the local dump.)
OMG I did not see this yet! I was laughing so hard I was in tears!



Honeymonster, that looks very interesting. I guess you will post pictures of your progress anyway but please do :D
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#30 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 23:38

Quick update. I've changed the lay out a bit but most of the hardware is fitted. I still need to cut the slider slots with a router. Most of the toggle switches are 3 way momentary which means they return to the centre allowing adjustments of things like flaps in incremental stages. I've added some LED's for the undercarriage, canopy and bomb doors. The 3 LED's for the undercarriage are dual colour green/red depending on the switch position. I'm still not 100% on what to use each switch/button for. This has been by far the hardest thing to decide. I can't fit everything on so it's a case of trying to prioritise. Of course this can be tinkered with later anyway. Making an ROF controller is much easier since there are far less keys to worry about so don't be put off if it looks a bit busy.

I might paint the panel war green or grey, thoughts?

Anyway I cant wait to get stuck into the wiring. Here are a few progress pics…

Image

Image
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#31 SYN_Flashman

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 15:30

Id leave it black. I use those boxes (mysset up has 13 of them of various sizes and more to come, all black) and they look fine black. Also they are a bit flexible and its likely your paint will just flake off after some use.

Also if you get a label printer you can apply them directly to the black box. I use this one and it works fine.

http://www.google.co...ed=0CGoQ8wIwAA#" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.google.co...products/catalo … GoQ8wIwAA#

ALso before you start wiring. I strongly suggest you use Terminal blocks to connect your switches to your device (whatever you use). If you directly wire the switches to the device then later changes you make or if you have any problems are harder to deal with. I wish I had done this on my console and now many switches have wires that are too short for changes I have proposed and will require extra work.

I use these which are good enough

http://www.rapidonli...&catRef=21-3082" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.rapidonline.com/productinfo. … ef=21-3082
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#32 ImPeRaToR

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 15:45

Great stuff! I bet you can sell some of those :D
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#33 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 16:27

Id leave it black. I use those boxes (mysset up has 13 of them of various sizes and more to come, all black) and they look fine black. Also they are a bit flexible and its likely your paint will just flake off after some use.

Also if you get a label printer you can apply them directly to the black box. I use this one and it works fine.

http://www.google.co...ed=0CGoQ8wIwAA#" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.google.co...products/catalo … GoQ8wIwAA#

ALso before you start wiring. I strongly suggest you use Terminal blocks to connect your switches to your device (whatever you use). If you directly wire the switches to the device then later changes you make or if you have any problems are harder to deal with. I wish I had done this on my console and now many switches have wires that are too short for changes I have proposed and will require extra work.

I use these which are good enough

http://www.rapidonli...&catRef=21-3082" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.rapidonline.com/productinfo. … ef=21-3082

Hey Flashman

Thanks for the tips. I already have a label printer but they don't give the look I'm after. I'll probably use one until I'm happy with the layout though. I'm thinking of using stencils with white paint to try and give a WW2 effect although changeable top panels for different planes would be the ultimate. The paint will not flake if the box is scotched and a plastic primer is used. Black is the right colour for most Allied plane dashes but I'm not keen on the plastic finish.

I will be soldering everything. I don't like connector block. I repair electronics for a living so it's just as quick to solder for me. I'm using a single strand solid cable which more suits this method and I'm also very short of space.

This is a stand alone box so any future mods would mean another box as I've used every available function of the pcb. I think this and a keyboard is more than enough for me though. All fighter controls are pretty much covered.


Great stuff! I bet you can sell some of those :D

Thanks Imp. :)
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#34 SYN_Flashman

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 18:07

I bet you get the bug and build more…. Thas how I started! my first rig consisted of switches fixed into wooden IKEA magazine holders (the paper kind, not machine gun!) as a test…which lasted about a year, this being the flashman console mk 1

I then created the Flashman console Mk2 with the internals of the Mk1 but in an aluminium project box (with fake vinyl covering) and is something similar to your but without the axes. Basically its a black box with 30 or so switches on it.

I then moved onto the flashman console Mk3 which is the full left hand console and desk setup you see in my picture. I have recently started using the mk 2 again for Cliffs of Dover (IL2 only allows a maxiumum of 4 controllers and ths tick, ruddr and throttle took up the other three) so I have even more switches etc than before, in fact I surrently have 95 switches (including the sticks and throttles) and 17 axes in use, virtually all assigned to stuff.

Im now contemplating the Mk 4 version which will be more desktop stuff and a right hand under desk console (levers for fuel cocks, radiators and such), all mainly for Cliffs of Dover im having a full bombsight and autopilot setup using rotary encoders and such.
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#35 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 22:38

Crazy cool stuff you're doing there chap. Of course I don't have most of the bomber functions on my little desktop design but it should cover pretty much anything anyone would need in a multiplayer fighter environment. Yours is indeed a monster. I'm just using the cheapest Bodnar controller and a hand full of diodes to keep the costs at a minimum. The self centering toggle switches could of course be used for two things each, one when you toggle up and one when you toggle down.
I'm not planning to get carried away with this as much as I'd love a replica Spitfire, Wulf, Mustang, P38 or similar cockpit in my spare room I can see it seriously straining my relationship. :mrgreen:
This unit is tiny and could be carried around with a laptop (if they ever make one powerful enough to play CoD) and gives you decent engine control and improves game play, well at least that's the plan. It's a shame no one is making anything like this commercially as I'm sure most chaps would buy one at the right price. There's plenty of panels and the like for MSFSX but nothing for the combat pilots like ourselves.

I would encourage anyone interested to have a bash at building themselves a little panel for ROF. Mine is simply two buttons and two rotary pots for mixture and radiator. This coupled with my joystick buttons is all I've ever needed. For half the price of the average throttle quadrant you can have yourself a nice little purpose built set up for ROF. If anyone feels like having a go and is worried about getting stuck you can always post your issues on here. I'm sure between Flashman, Vander and myself we can help you get where you want to go.

Cheers

Ben
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#36 Miggins

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 23:17

You need to make it though.

I had enough trouble with three IR LED's and a resistor. Had to get a mate to solder up a working one, and I still ended up buying a track clip pro anyway.
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#37 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 08:55

You need to make it though.

I had enough trouble with three IR LED's and a resistor. Had to get a mate to solder up a working one, and I still ended up buying a track clip pro anyway.

You can buy screw terminal or pre wired knobs,buttons and switches chap. The more expensive Bodnar controller has push fit terminals so no soldering required. You just need to find a box you like, drill a few holes in it and then finally fit knobs and buttons of your choice.

Everything software wise is done for you. As soon as you plug it in you can just assign stuff in game to whatever you want.

This is what makes the Bodnar products so great. He makes custom controller building available to everyone.

Cheers
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#38 hq_Overmax

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 11:05

Nice work Honeymonster, To be honest yours does not need a lot more work to look as professional as the one from simhq. A good painting can disguise a lot. :D

I'm very interested in this and though about making a little box with a few switches for myself aswell. Now problem is that I do have little knowledge about that stuff. Would it be possible to post a little tutorial? First I need that BU0836. That one can be plugged right into the Computer via USB cable. So far so easy.

Now how do I connect a switch to it? Is it just two cables with one end connected to the switch (soldering?) and the other end to the BU0836 unit each (Again soldering or is it with clip sockets (my own translation))?

And last question so far: Do I need Software to let my Computer recognize the BU0836 device and the switches/sliders connected to it?
Edit: Saw the answer. It's plug and play. That's cool.
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#39 hq_Honeymonster

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 11:43

Hey Overmax

Once I start the wiring I will answer all your questions I'm just waiting for a small router bit to cut the fader slots at the moment.

The more expensive BU0836X controller has push terminals where as the cheaper BU0836 requires the use of connectors/soldering. The BU0836 also requires diodes if you want to use switches that stay on (not momentary) with more than 12 functions.

The BU0836X is by far the easiest option for the chap less keen on soldering and wants lots of functions. I will be using the BU0836 as you will see when I start doing the wiring.

The wiring of the switches depends what type you use and what you'd like them to do. I will cover this when I do my wiring if it will help you chaps.

Cheers
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#40 SYN_Blackrat

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 14:15

Very interesting read, something I have been wanting to look at for a while, of course mentioned to the wife about a cockpit (Dual purpose for car and aviation) and that met with a stony silence. :lol:
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