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How about a custom ROF control panel?


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#1 Chevelle

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 13:39

I have been noodling on this project.  It is kind of awkward (at least for me) to use the joystick and manage other keyboard things like mixture, radiator, bombs, flares, hand signals.....  So I have been thinking about making a control panel that would have many of the regularly used ROF functions assigned to buttons.  This panel would just plug right into any USB port and be seen as another keyboard.  There would be push buttons for each function.  When any one was pressed, the corresponding keystroke(s) would be sent.

 

These are the functions I thought would be good to have:

 

Engine Functions

  • Engine On/Off
  • Engine Blip
  • Radiator Open
  • Radiator Close
  • Mixture Rich
  • Mixture Lean

Bombing

  • Bomb Sight
  • Bomb Doors Open
  • Bomb Doors Close
  • Drop 1
  • Drop 2
  • Drop All

Flares

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • White

Sim

  • Pause
  • Time Accelerate
  • Time Decelerate

 

Navigation

  • Map
  • Autopilot Full
  • Autopilot Level

 

Views

  • Pad Lock Enemy Air
  • Pad Lock Friendly Air
  • Pad Lock Enemy Ground
  • Pad Lock Friendly Ground

 

I am not trying to put every ROF function on a panel, just the ones regularly used and that are awkward to use on the keyboard because they require two key presses.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Chevelle


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#2 Pirato

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 16:33

I would set the Blipswitch to a Joystick button. For Flares don't forget a Button for "Fire" and one to holster the Flare gun. Draw and Holster your personal weapon could have use too,"fire" is the same as for Flares.


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#3 bb5000

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 07:03

I have the Thrustmaster MFD’s...lots of buttons there, also configurable as key strokes. For DIY projects, there are cheap game controller kits available , for example : https://www.ebay.com..._from=R40&rt=nc
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#4 J2_SteveF

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 09:47

Check out GVL224, he makes custom throttle and control panels.

He also sells the mechanics he uses for the controllers.

 

He may be able to help you or at least give you some inspiration

 

One of his threads on SimHq

 

http://simhq.com/for...opics/4140505/4

 

He's produced some really nice BoS inspired throttles lately


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#5 Agent86

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 14:07

A gaming keyboard works well. You can program macros, so all your keystrokes are basically mapped to one key each, rather than 2 or 3 simultaneously. Of course if you like tinkering, this wouldn't appeal to your wants or needs I guess. 

 

https://www.razer.co...azer-blackwidow


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#6 Chevelle

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 16:46

Very informative posts and links.  Thanks.

 

So here is a first layout.  Important to note is that the maximum limit for the controller I am going to use is 40 buttons so if I need different buttons then something on this layout has to come off.  This is a keyboard emulator, not a gaming device (joystick) emulator.  When a button is pressed, this thing sends the corresponding key press(es) to the computer.  For example, when the BLIP button is pressed, this thing sends LSHFT-E. From the computer's perspective, there are two keyboards attached.  It doesn't care which one is sending commands.

 

The blank cockpit and external buttons are the pilot's cockpit view and of the pilot's plane respectively.

 

"PZ" is pause, DEC and ACL are time acceleration and deceleration, TIR is TrackIR on/off.  "Crew" changes to the different crew locations in multi-crew planes (CTRL-C).  "POS" changes the gun mount firing position (LSHFT-C).  "HOLD" is when the gunner holds onto (nestles) to the gun (LSHFT-T).  "AIM" is when the gunner is aiming down the gun sight ("T").

 

 

Attached Files


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#7 FourSpeed

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 02:18

...and, of course, if a hardware solution isn't within your budget, I'll throw in a reco for VoiceAttack.  Last I checked, it's 10 bucks for a registered copy, and you can make all of those commands Voice Activated...not only for RoF, but FSX, DCS, BoS, and pretty much anything else you play....

 

While I'm not affiliated with them in any way, I can honestly say that getting that was the best 10 bucks I *ever* spent on software...  For most games I play, I rarely use the keyboard (which is a godsend as my joystick is a cheapo Logitech Extreme 3D, with a minimal array of buttons).

 

Don't get me wrong - I'd love to build a simpit, but I can't do that for $10...      :icon_e_biggrin:

 

 

Regards,

:icon_e_salute:


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#8 J5_Klugermann

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 03:14

If you have an iPad virtual cockpit apps are available where you can map functions to the touch screen and customize them for each plane. It works well with BoX.


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#9 US103_Baer

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 05:16

If you have an iPad virtual cockpit apps are available where you can map functions to the touch screen and customize them for each plane. It works well with BoX.

 

Someone posted one of these for RoF/FC over on the BoX forum last week. Cant seem to find the link right now, but it looked useful


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#10 Chevelle

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:00

I'll look into it the tablet idea.  (I have a Samsung, not an iPad though.)

 

This is partly a project for its usefulness and partly as a fun design project.  $25 for the keyboard emulator controller and $80 for the 40 buttons.  (Could go with cheaper but these are illuminated and rather nice looking.)  The 3D printer will be busy for a while.

Attached Files


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#11 Lt.Vaughn

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 02:44

NICE looking project, Chevelle.

 

I have an older Logitech G940 and am able to get 95% of the functions you have on your "wish list" programmed on it.

The rest are controlled via VoiceAttack (still only $10.US) which requires only one (PTT) button.

Plus, I know a guy who writes exceptional profiles for VA. ;)

 

The G940 currently has 27 active functions controlled via button press or VA and an additional number of functions that aren't easily programmed to a single key press, e.g. game start, start mission, end flight and many others.

 

Keep up the fine work. I am very interested to see your completed console.

:icon_e_salute:


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#12 Dutch2

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 04:20

Someone posted one of these for RoF/FC over on the BoX forum last week. Cant seem to find the link right now, but it looked useful


And on the RoF forum: https://riseofflight...ur-rise-flight/
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#13 J2_Trupobaw

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 07:24

There's guy on BoX forum (sorry if you have already posted here) who wrote RoF panel for virtual keyboard app for Android and Ios. Basically, you connect your pad and PC to same network, and you have plane controls on your pad. Good in dark rooms where you can't see your keyboard :).
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#14 Pirato

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:20

Nothing beats the tactile feel when using buttons and toggle switches in my opinion :icon_e_smile:


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Dann ist Schluss mit "Tischlein deck' dich", da gibt's "Knüppel aus dem Sack"!


#15 J2_SteveF

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 11:27

Here is something I made a few years ago.

 

Used a Saitek Trim and 2 quadrants. 

Only one quadrant is standard.

The main quadrant used for throttle mixture and radiator was a faulty unit that I rewired for a Leo Bodnar controller board.

I ran the main throttle/mix/rad together with the switch panel above it off of a single BU0836A using a small matrix to give me more buttons.

The panel is something I knocked up in Paint Shop. Printed it out and placed it between a piece of black perspex and a clear sheet over the top.

Drilled and fitted buttons into that.

 

Very basic but did a brilliant job.

 

This was replaced by a single Warthog throttle a couple of years ago.

 

In hindsight I preferred my little simbox side console.

So might make another :)

 

 

simbox.jpg


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#16 Zooropa_Fly

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 17:20

That's a great looking little unit there Steve, well done S!


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#17 Chevelle

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 03:10

Here is something I made a few years ago.

 

Used a Saitek Trim and 2 quadrants. 

Only one quadrant is standard.

The main quadrant used for throttle mixture and radiator was a faulty unit that I rewired for a Leo Bodnar controller board.

I ran the main throttle/mix/rad together with the switch panel above it off of a single BU0836A using a small matrix to give me more buttons.

The panel is something I knocked up in Paint Shop. Printed it out and placed it between a piece of black perspex and a clear sheet over the top.

Drilled and fitted buttons into that.

 

Very basic but did a brilliant job.

 

This was replaced by a single Warthog throttle a couple of years ago.

 

In hindsight I preferred my little simbox side console.

So might make another :)

 

 

Looks terrific!  Very nice.  Someday I'll get to a fully custom setup.  Here's hoping.


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#18 Chevelle

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 00:43

I haven't done a lot of work on this project due to other priorities but I have made progress.  I prototyped a portion of the keyboard emulation circuit for testing and it works great.  Hit a button and the right keystroke sequence is sent out.

 

I added more functions until I pretty much fulled up the capacity of the microcontroller.  42 functions in all.

 

I tried 3D printing the panels and some of the frame parts.  They came out OK but not to my liking.  So I changed the design to have a wood cabinet.  3/16 high end birch ply should be fine.  It will be sealed and painted in the end.  As soon as I finish the drawings I'll send them out for quote from the laser cutter that I use for my R/C planes.  I'd like to have the panels with the buttons engraved so that is still a bit of an unknown at this point.

 

The circuit board is designed.  It will cost me about $35 to get 10 made from a few of the Chinese PCB makers.  There is about $60 in parts that go on the board.

 

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