View Full Version : need FSBUS pcb's ?

01-26-2003, 05:22 PM
Following on from the FSBUS thread, here are the details of prices for fsbus pcb's.

They will be produced by a company here in england from the gerberformat files on the fsbus website.

There are currently 2 of us who will be getting the pcbs, so if anyone else is interested, we can reduce the costs.

at present, I have had a quote for the following.

2 of each FSCom, FSLED, FSKEY, FSDisp3, FSdisp8 at £50 (~$81)
1 off Setup charge - £60 (~$97)
Shipping to the US would be about $12, although this is only an estimate.
Shipping in the UK, standard postage, or free if you are in the herts area!

This setup charge would be split between the number of interested parties and is one off. Therefore if you need any more boards, you would just pay for the board.

You are not restricted to purchasing the set, just let me know your requirements.

Blue Skies!


01-26-2003, 09:10 PM
>Following on from the FSBUS thread,
>here are the details of
>prices for fsbus pcb's.
>They will be produced by a
>company here in england from
>the gerberformat files on the
>fsbus website.

Just *triple check* that they will do those in the right way around and not mirrored. Remember that the Postscript files of the boards in the fsbus website contain the texts mirrored, so it can cause confusion. A good reference picture:


There you can see what side the components need to be in - that's the COM and Key modules in the photo.

Good luck and have fun! FSBus is one heck of an interesting thing :-)


01-27-2003, 04:17 AM
Thanks Tuomas.

The company will be using the gerberformat files which should be the right way round as they are meant for professional pcb etching.

01-28-2003, 03:31 AM
Okay, looks like we have another person interested. That will reduce the setup costs to £20 (~$32) each.

Any more for any more??

01-28-2003, 06:40 AM
Can I sign up ? I'm from belgium though. Will it be cheaper to go with you guys or order directly from somewhere else ?

I'll be reading much more 'bout this FSBUS tonight cuz this is highly interesting !!

I would like to obtain some interface which will enable me to have number-displays to put into my cockpit.

For the buttons I have already a Hagström keyboard encoder ordered which I should have in a little month or so.

But I still need a number-display thing.

Is this ideal for what I need ?? And which parts do I need then ?

pls feel free to send me an e-mail if you can tell me more 'bout this stuff cuz it's INTERESTING :)

01-28-2003, 07:25 AM
Hi PoRrEkE,

I can't imagine the cost of shipping a couple of pcb's to belguim would be anything to get excited about!

As for the display stuff, yes fsbus will do that. You will need the FSCom module to interface to the PC, and the fsdisp module for the displays that will drive 6 5x7segment led displays.

This amounts to 3 pcbs. one for the fscom module and 2 for the display module (one for controller, one for display).

Pity you've already order the hagstrom, but I don't see why you couldn't use both.

I would have to work out the pricing, but if you work on about £5 per pcb, and a max of £15 setup cost (although as you only require 3 of the pcbs this could be reduced).

Hope this is of some help


01-28-2003, 04:58 PM
Morse .. can you tell me this bit .. this order is solely for the PCB's .. right ? So there will be nothing else on there .. like the things (don't know the words in english :s ) resistances (?) and the chips .. ?

If not on the PCB's .. where can we find them ?

01-28-2003, 05:46 PM
Ok i think i got it right indeed that there's just the PCB's with nothing on them.

So my question stays: where do I find all the stuff that goes on there ?

I know some other belgian guys building at present and I'll contact them to know if they're interested in joining us here.

My initial plan was to build the cockpit at first, then add the switches, push-buttons and rotarys + spread the pot's of my joystick around in it. Then connect all via the Hagstrom card. Then find 3 x 17" displays + 2 PCI display-cards. Then buy the computer parts (my budget is 300 € at present and I'll be waiting to have a good enough computer fit into that budget before I buy any of that). Then put the computer together and connect all.

Once all of that would be finished .. ONLY THEN I was planing on looking for an interface on the COM or Serial port to make led-displays work.

But now I find myself in this position to have all this :) .. tough one ? Not really. Guess I should go for the PCB's (at least) right now :)

Maybe I'll think off collecting and assembling the parts that should go on them afterwards, who knows.

I'll send an e-mail tonight to find out if the other guys are joining in or not. Shipment to belgium will only be cheaper that way :) (or taxes or stuff like that ((if that will be the case .. i know that i'll have to pay taxes for the hagstrom)).

Then I have some practical questions as well.

So I'll end here now with a list with the questions:

1) Where do i find the parts that go on the PCB's (and are those all easely found ? are they cheap ?) ((I'm not a cheap person but i'm only a poor student :) )
2) How do we arrange the payment for these PCB's ?
3) Morse .. do you have a website 'bout your project ?

thnx in advance !
hope to see a reply soon :)

(cuz right now i'm not at home, but in Kortrijk where i have my dorm and therefore i'm not able to do anything and i'm getting sooooooooooooo bored and sooooooooooooooooooo frustrated here !!!! ;) Therefore all I do is search the net for info, mail people, post on forums, anoy people with questions ;) and work on my site)

Philippe Vanagt

01-29-2003, 04:09 AM
Hi Philippe,

To answer your questions:

Yes you are right, it is just the pcb's. In the UK we have RS electronics and Maplins for most of our component requirements.
(www.rswww.com & www.maplin.co.uk).

Payment... I guess a cheque in the post would be sufficient? I'm open to suggestions!

And no I don't have a website yet. I'm also in the early days of my project (only just drawn a rough diagram!). I will get around to doing something soon though.

As for getting the pcb's, well I'm intending on getting them, and I doubt if I will be able to really crack on with them immediately, but like you said, at least we'd have them.

No idea about the taxes. I'll just pop them in the post to you!

Anyway, let me know soon whether there is anyone else interested, then we can get on and order them.


02-01-2003, 09:51 AM

Further to Morse's component retailers, there is a compnay in Sheffield called N R Bardwells. Web site is http://www.bardwells.co.uk/ and thier prices I think you will find are very reasonable especially the postage. Same as Morse I have no idea about taxes, except I dont like paying them !. You could always try to geyt hold of an electronics mag they usually have suppliers in them.

Hope this is of some help.


02-01-2003, 09:56 AM

I have just re-read your post on the PCB's and I think you may have missed a PCB and that is the Display controller PCB. Hit me me with a wet fish if I'm wrong but it would change the cost a bit.


02-02-2003, 05:27 AM
<Wet fish at the ready> ;-)

The display controller is the fsdisp3 board. The display module (ie the one the 7-seg's fix to is the fsdisp8).

Are you using fsbus at the moment Bill? If so I would be interested to hear about it..


02-02-2003, 06:59 AM
Thanks Chris, could you use Haddock next time I don't like Cod :'(.

I see that on reflection, and looking at the diagrams again I was way off target, so I'll just grovel at your feet and beg your forgivness.

Am I using FSBUS !, no not yet but I have every intention of using it, when I get the time and more importantly the money.


02-03-2003, 04:03 AM
no problem!

Well when you get round to using it, let me know and I can get you prices on the pcb's. I'm in the process of sorting out/ordering pcb's for 3 other guys on here at the moment.


02-03-2003, 12:48 PM
Hello All

I'm new to this site and found it fasinating!!! The "FSbus" really seems neat!!! BTY- check out www.PCBnet.com & www.e-fabpcb.com for prices!!!! I looked at the FSbus sight and downloaded the info, but I'm an "analog guy" not digital.... has anyone "translated" the technical stuff any further?? I think I want to give this thing a try!!! Fortunatly, here at work we a PCB router for making prototypes and the boards will be no problem. As I have to re-layout the PCB's I thought I'd do it with surface mount devices (if nothin else, it'll make it small). Can anyone help me with how this all goes together???

For example, the 4 connectors on the COM III bd, does each one of those go to each of the other boards, or can anyone be used and the robbon cable daisy chained in any order you desire??



02-03-2003, 01:15 PM
Hi Gus, what do you want to know on the tech side ?

It is a great idea, but let down by the use of the com port.. I am developing a similar system for my own cockpit hardware using genuine instruments and decided ages ago that the serial port is not the way to go... to limiting, too darn slow..

Using the parallel port in bidirectional mode is far superier and allows far greater expansion.
I am planning to drive 30-40 stepper motors and want at least a 200 ms update of 2bytes per device.. with a reasonable amount of data the serial port will grind to a halt at above 1k BYTES per second... thats a lot, but send 200 bytes every 200 ms and you hit the limit.. not counting the other devices and button modules etc.

If you arent doing anything too fancy its a great idea, but for fleixibility it will reach its limits fairly quickly.

The PIC's used are also not what I would chose.. the 16F872 is a far better choice with 22 i/0 pins per chip.. I2C bus, ADC converters on board and hardly any price difference.

to sum up, the fsbus idea is fantastic, a great service to the fs public, it will work for most home cockpit builders using minimum services.

If you really want to 'go to town' , then look at the epic usb or do it yerself ;-)

as for programming for these kind of interfaces.. use C++ or Delphi, I personally am now using delphi. I used VB for a while but it is ridiculously slow.



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-03-2003, 01:29 PM
Hi Joe

I guess I'm looking at basic stuff.... navcom, flaps, transponder, ADF, gear... but again, I'm an analog person and my programing days in school ended with basic and fortran (in the 70's) so a "turn-key" solution would be what I'm looking for. Building circuits isn't a problem if I'm provided "ALL" the documentation and the software can be downloaded.


02-03-2003, 01:30 PM
as an update, there is a nice range of bi-directional parallel port cards (Dual port) for only £27 (UK)... these are pretty future proof...

you could use 16 bit output, 8 bit input, with a spare 6 bit device address bus (64 individual PIC devices !!!) and still have enough lines for flow control....

now THAT would be bloody fast !

Using a PIC 18F422 as the router would allow an incredible data throughput... but.. thats for the real McCoy.. I will probably stick to one parallel port for now lol...



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-03-2003, 01:37 PM
LAST EDITED ON Feb-03-03 AT 01:39PM (EST)[p]Hi Gus, I am not exactly sure what options fsbus allows from FSUIPC, and if you can select them ???

did you ever do pascal ???... Delphi IS pascal.. with a windows object orientated interface,

as for your analogue experience.. go for it.. !!!

Fsbus (if it will provide the interface to the fs2k2 objects you want) - is fantastic...

just look at the PIC ic's (A complete microcontroller in a chip) as a black box.... ie - if you dont understand it and dont want to... dont bother, just use it...

if you want to play.. the pic only has about 35 instructions in total to program it.. it is RISC, reduced instruction set computing... and very flexible.
I use a full pic development suite and hardware module .. it is programmed in PICbasic www.letbasic.com check out picbasic plus and the epic programmer.

If there are any specific issues on fsbus design you would like to ask, please fire away..



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-03-2003, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the info...... I do have some questions, but unfortunatly "work" calls, so I'll have to ask later..... BTY- I design DC to DC converters for a living.

02-03-2003, 01:43 PM
Nice one dood..

drop me a line when you get back.



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-03-2003, 02:33 PM
ok now .. i feel it's time that someone x-planes me the difference between "analogue" and "digital" .. :s

i hear these terms in school regularly but no prof has ever taken the time to tell us the difference.

am i right to think that digital is like all "0" and "1" .. so it's a "block wave"

but then what is analogue ? is that like a normal wave ?

or has all this nothing to do with it ?

make me see the light again :)

02-03-2003, 11:02 PM
Let there be light!!!!

If you talk to any "analog" person, and I know this may upset some "digital" people, but the truth of the matter is..... there's no such thing as "digital" because inside every digital chip there is nothing more than a bunch of analog circuits, configured to work in a "simple" fashion between set voltage limits. For example, a simple digital "latch" is really just 3 transistors.

I know this is a overly simplified explanation, but I hope to some degree it helps answer your question.


02-04-2003, 03:57 AM
the simplest explanation is that analogue circuitry deals with a variable voltage and digital circuitry deals with simple 2 state voltages - 0 and 1.

an example would be a switch... digitial.. either 0 or 1 . on or off...

a potentiometer or variable resistor producing a voltage between 0 and say 5 volts (constantly variable) would be a digital circuit input.

since the computer deals in 1's and 0's only.. how does it know about 2.75 volts for instance ?? :-)
well, you can use a circuit called an analogue to digital converter that reads the analogue voltage on a pin and then converts it to a digital representation. If the resolution is, say, 8 bits, then the 8 bits can represent 0-255 in binary, so the voltage can be read in 255 discrete steps.

Some examples and usual format - analoge or digitial

reading buttons and switches - Digitial input
turning on lights and leds - Digital output
7 segment display driving - Digital output
Stepper motors - Digital outputs
Servo motor - Digital output with pulse width modulation
Reading a pot ot variable resistor - Analogue input
Driving a moving coil meter - Analogue output

Since the computer sees only digital, all analogue values have to be converted to a digitial format to be used. For analogue out, you can simply pulse a digital pin whose output is via a resistor and capacitor to ground, the voltage at the rc junction is (with the correct components) proportional to the speed of refresh of pusle. You could use a Digital to analogue converter ic, but not necessary for most cockpit use.

Analogue values to be read from a pot involve simply applying a known, regulated voltage across the fixed resistance of the pot and ground, the wiper of the pot is fed to an analogue to digital converter. The resolution - or number of changes in voltage that can be determined - are decided by the number of 'bits' (binary) that the converter uses, as said above, 8bits will give 255 discrete steps, 10 bits, for example, would give 1024 steps



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-04-2003, 04:25 AM

So you reckon fsbus would be okay for doing,say, a panel for lighting switches, heaters, mags/ign, flaps, gear, com/nav?

I have been concerned about the serial port, but figured that they wouldn't be using it if it wasn't suitable.

I'm assuming the real limitations would come when trying to utilise analogue systems like a yoke etc through it??


02-04-2003, 04:29 AM
... and there's more ...

using the parallel port, are switches etc connected directly to the parallel port? is there an interface?

On the computer end, there would be some sort of program. I have a BSc is computer science so programming is not too much of a problem (although that was 6 years ago), so are there examples of how do interface it?


02-04-2003, 05:49 AM
Hi Chris, absolutely, it is fine for the basic stuff as you list.

The only real issue is if you wanted to either heavilly customise it or drive gauges in real time.. it would not be up to the job.

As for the parallel port in your second post...
the pc parallel port has 3 port addresses associated with it..
if the first port is 378 (hex) then this is the data port - either 'in' or 'out'.. selecting in or out is done via a control register bit (bit 5 I think) in base port + 2.. ie 37A (hex)
the second port, 379 (hex) is the status port.. ie you can read the status pins or write to appropriate ones.

to send data from the port in a basic way heres what you do..

write to port 37A to set port as output.
write byte to 378
the d0 to d7 lines on the port will now contain the data byte you wrote.

Ideally you should have a small micro (pic) or similar attached to the port.. to read the data byte the pic needs to know that valid data is available

if you take a pin (of your choosing) high by writing to the status port, the pic can use this as a signal to read.. after a read by the pic another status line is taken low or high (whatever you chose to implement) by the pic.. the pc now reads this status bit, if it is signalling low then the pc knows the byte has been read and sets up the next byte and the data available flag you selected..

A read is done by setting another staus line from the pic to the port to tell the pc that we require a direction change.. when the pc sees this is writes to the data control register bit 5 to select the data lines on the parallel port as input.. the reverse of the above can now take place..

this allows data to be written to, and read from, a micro attached to the parallel port.. what you do with this data is up to you... if you had, say a 16 * 16 key matrix, then you could scan the matrix and read the data back to the pc a byte at a time.... if you want - as I need - to drive 30-40 stepper motors in near real time, then you write the data and the motor address to the port, the pic micro acts as a mini router to send the data to the approprite control PIC via the internetworking serial bus of the pic devices - for instance IC2 -..

Sounds complex, but actually fairly easy.



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-04-2003, 06:21 AM
LAST EDITED ON Feb-04-03 AT 06:22AM (EST)[p]regarding the computer program...

I use Delphi 7, a pascal based language. Under XP you do not have direct access to the ports, however, it is possible using add ons.. I use a small com file to do this and simple commands from within Delphi.
the other choice would be C++..

Visual Basic is just too slow...

if you take a cable - 25 way pin to pin, and connect an led and 470 ohm resistor from pin 2 of the end of the cable to one of the cable ground pins then the following outline code will turn on and off the led...

(Sample - in whatever language you chose)

dim a as byte
a=1 // bit 0 set to 1
port 378=a

// that turns the led on

a=0 // bit 0 set to 0
port 378=a

// turns it off.

to select 2 leds on d0 and d1 (Pin 2 and 3 of the cable) to flash alternately..

dim a as byte
a=1 // bit 0 set to 1
port 378=a
delay 500 ms
a=2 // bit 0 set to 0 and bit 1 set to 1
port 378=a
delay 500 ms
goto start

as said, its fairly straight forward



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-04-2003, 03:07 PM
"a potentiometer or variable resistor producing a voltage between 0 and say 5 volts (constantly variable) would be a digital circuit input."

Sorry doods.. I MEANT "would be an ANALOGUE voltage INPUT circuit ." !!!. DOH !!!.. (Slarty slaps himself with a wet haddock.... )



System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-04-2003, 03:13 PM

now all pieces fall into place ..

i figured i didn't understand your explanation but now things make sence !


thnx for this info

02-05-2003, 07:01 AM
I guess this just goes to one point: Do you want to make a home cockpit that works in the foreseeable future, or do you want to start by writing your own code and designing everything from scratch - not possible for everyone, and also takes a LOT of time.. I have seen a bit of software development side of the world as well, and I have noticed there are things that work, and then there are Projects Done The Right Way(tm) that never get finished :-)

So, I have FSBUS here and it is absolutely great for switches and knobs etc. I will be doing the servo control board at some point, so then I'll see if it is fast enough for that stuff. But I guess the point is that it is a real solution that works and lets you concentrate on the larger part of cockpit building - making the actual controls and panels. The electronics are just the glue anyway, the real work is in the making of the actual physical things. Of course making working physical gauges and such can sure be rewarding and very interesting, no doubt about that. But with this cockpit building stuff it is very important to plan the thing in such stages that you can also fly with your creation - that was why you decided to build one anyway, right? To enchange your flight simulation experience, not to replace your simulation hobby with a weird woodworking/electronics/handicraft thing altogether :-) Both are fun though, but it's good to rememeber why the thing exists..


02-06-2003, 03:10 PM
>I guess this just goes to
>one point: Do you want
>to make a home cockpit
>that works in the foreseeable
>future, or do you want
>to start by writing your
>own code and designing everything
>from scratch - not possible
>for everyone, and also takes
>a LOT of time..

I have seen many a construction project that takes a considerable amount of time... or are you saying that one aspect is more time consuming ?? all aspects are time consuming dood, one concentrates efforts into the area you can do easily.

>have seen a bit of
>software development side of the
>world as well, and I
>have noticed there are things
>that work, and then there
>are Projects Done The Right
>Way(tm) that never get finished

AND, projects that work perfectly and do the job !!! :-)

>So, I have FSBUS here and
>it is absolutely great for
>switches and knobs etc. I
>will be doing the servo
>control board at some point,
>so then I'll see if
>it is fast enough for
>that stuff. But I guess
>the point is that it
>is a real solution that
>works and lets you concentrate
>on the larger part of
>cockpit building - making the
>actual controls and panels.

For you maybe..

> The
>electronics are just the glue
>anyway, the real work is
>in the making of the
>actual physical things.

For YOU anyway..... ;-)

> Of course
>making working physical gauges and
>such can sure be rewarding
>and very interesting, no doubt
>about that.

It should be, its what makes it partially real....

> But with this
>cockpit building stuff it is
>very important to plan the
>thing in such stages that
>you can also fly with
>your creation - that was
>why you decided to build
>one anyway, right?

Actually no. it is often the challenge of doing it that makes it worthwhile.. actualy flying it is secondary....

>To enchange
>your flight simulation experience, not
>to replace your simulation hobby
>with a weird woodworking/electronics/handicraft thing
>altogether :-) Both are fun
>though, but it's good to
>rememeber why the thing exists..

As said... you wanna fly a cockpit with minimal work.. some want to build it, some design it.. some will fly it eventually... dont promote blinkered views Sir.. it is a wider hobby than that.


System - >
3gig Intel + .. Size DOES matter

02-06-2003, 07:50 PM
As you say Captian ..

"for you perhaps" :D

I thought he was right and had a point. Not everyone wants to dig into all kinds of programing and electrical things.

Apparently .. you do ! And apparently you want to make working gauges etc ..

But it's just a fact .. not ALL of us do. There are prolly plenty of people aroudn here who just want to ge rid of the "desktop" experiance and move themselves into a "cockpit" environement. And if the gauges are displays .. or the gauges look like the real phisical thing .. *who cares!!*

(for me!) it's about having to move your arm to the right and up to switch some batteries or lights on and move your hand down/right to put some more throttles and look right/down to see info from your engine gauges and look up to see the outside view etc .. you know .. work and move and look into a more extended environement than just your keyboard, your display and your mouse !!

THAT is the point for me

and SURE the point is different for all cockpit builders and I thought that it was that that he meant ..

So lets get down to business and find me that print so that i can get some led-displays into my cockpit :)

PS. you guys: make websites 'bout your stuff, cuz I wanna see it all !!!!!!! find digi-cams to take pictures or find a scanner to scan your pictures and put them on there.
ow and for sure .. let me know the URL's ;) ... (((*duuuuuuh* :))))

02-07-2003, 08:06 AM
>PS. you guys: make websites
>'bout your stuff, cuz I
>wanna see it all !!!!!!!
> find digi-cams to take
>pictures or find a scanner
>to scan your pictures and
>put them on there.
>ow and for sure .. let
>me know the URL's ;)
>... (((*duuuuuuh* :))))

All my miscellaneous crap is in http://tigert.gimp.org/vatsim/cockpit-stuff/

But beware, this is literally a dump - there are some things that are not my own (though most are) and some very preliminary crap and ugly prototypes and yadda yadda...

I guess it could be interesting to wade through all that dung though :-)

We have a website too, www.mikkila.org/fsbus/ but I need to update my section there. However, that's the place we intend to keep up to date of course.

Happy digging :)