3. How to start?
It may be hard to decide where to start building. Some people like to make a full detailed plan, others just start somewhere.
I have setup this document in different sections.
- The basic interfacing explains how to drive your keyboard with switches, and how to connect separate potmeters to your game port. If you have little experience, maybe some experiments with simple test circuits is a way to get familiar, before starting out building the real cockpit controls.
- The full cockpit controls overview section gives you an idea about the functionality of the complete setup.
- The controls description section shows all parts and dimensions in detail. You can build the modules one by one, since they are not cross-linked.
- If you are lost on how to connect everything, the cockpit wiring overview shows the whole scheme.
Your sim setup also depends on available space. If you want to use an existing table, check the height for the yoke and your legs. (I’m 1.76m tall, and the setup just fits my size).
- From flight experience enhancement point of view, building the flight yoke is one of the best additions. It is also the base for the whole wooden case dimensions.
- Rudder pedals with toe brake are easier to build, and add a lot to your flight control capabilities.
- Elevator trim comes next in realism, together with the throttle/prop/mix section.
- Adding transducers to your sim is another great enhancement. You can start with one, to see (feel) the effect. Other family members will also appreciate the effect for games, like StarWars Racer.
- The other levers like gear, flaps and parking brake are fun to have, and are very easy additions.
On the cheap:
If you want to make use of dump material, get a good idea of what you might need, and regularly check your local dump/junkyard for goodies.
- Old VCR’s, fax machines, printers contain lots of useful parts, like gear wheels, timing belts, metal rods, etc. which are otherwise hard to get.
- Old copy machines are the ultimate for salvaging more heavy duty gear wheels, belts, pulleys etc.
- Old motorcycles or cars can provide the engine key switch.
- Old car radios can give you the transducer amplifier IC’s you were looking for.
- Old speakers can serve as base for building transducers.
Where to buy parts:
Since the availability of parts varies a lot in different countries, I cannot give much advice here.
I have listed the web-sites of major part suppliers, where at least you can view component spec sheets. Those suppliers however do not sell loose parts, only large quantities. For single parts, electronics and computer shops are the best bet, and you can find alternatives by talking to the shopkeeper. Otherwise, mail order service is the only way.