• Review: Flight Illusion Gauges

    GSA-16, GSA-37 & GSA-80 Gauges
    Manufactured by Flight Illusion

    By Ray Andersen

    Intro

    During my ride around flightsim hardware I have had the chance of testing and reviewing numerous modules and parts that all contributed greatly to the general flightsim experience. However one thing that I had not tested was real time, old age analogue gauges since most cockpit components today are from the modern age of aviation where the general cockpit layout has changed to be a glass cockpit etc.

    Today the old age gauges are mostly used as standby gauges and in some cockpit layouts the old age gauges have completely been removed and replaced by huge TFT screens. I surely like the modern age cockpits but I find the old age gauges to be very nostalgic and they reminds me of the time where I flew smaller aircraft myself.

    I have had the chance of taking a look at three gauges from Flight Illusion which are the basic instruments but at different levels of complexity and age. The first gauge is the GSA-37 Attitude Indicator gauge with central pitch which is the original old age gauge. The second gauge is the GSA-16 Altitude Indicator gauge which is a combo gauge of the old age altimeter and newer LED display technology. The third and last gauge is a modern age gauge, the GSA-80 which is a replica of the IAS/Mach gauge found in the famous Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.

    To get all gauges to work I have also purchased the GSA-55PS which is not a gauge but a central interface board (PCB) including the power supply, so that I can hock up the gauges to my computer.

            

    Purchase, Delivery & Packing

    I purchased these units directly from Flight Illusion which is located in The Netherlands - well the R&D and the production are located there and the sales department is located in Belgium. The purchase went with ease because the web site is very user friendly meaning that you just add the unit you like to your basket and when finished just click to the check-out.

    Just a heads-up - these units are normally for professional usage for real pilot training simulators and due to the high quality and complexity of these gauges you might find the price range to be very high. However I had a secondary mission with these gauges and that was to find out how much they could increase my flightsim experience when being added to my home cockpit setup.

    After the purchase was completed I was informed that the gauges would enter production and be delivered directly when the production had completed. What I wasn't aware of was that the production lead-time was actually three weeks - this is of course not a problem but that could have been nice information to have received prior to the purchase. This is just because when I order some software or hardware I really want it urgently and now I had to wait for three weeks.

    That said, the production was on schedule and the units were all sent in due time and the delivery only took 36 hours from the production plant in The Netherlands to my office in Denmark. This was quick and easy and I really like the fact that I was able to track and trace the consignment all the way. The consignment was delivered to a SwipBox which gave me the opportunity to collect the consignment myself outside office hours. This was important to me because at the arrival I was not at the office.

    The packing of the units were good and consisted of a special made cardboard support around the units which held them firmly in place and then this combined unit was covered with some tight fitted wrapping plastic/film so that the units were 100% fixed. This combined unit was then put into a hard cardboard box which again features support so that the units were all fixed and unable to move during transport.

    Parts Included

    I purchased a set of gauges including the GSA-55PS which is the interface unit (PCB) including power supply, so the complete consignment included both the 3x gauges, the PCB, the power supply but also a custom made connection cable so that all gauges could fit on that one string and did not need each their own. This was a really nice discovery because that helps keep my wiring complexity in my home cockpit setup to a minimum. Only thing not included was the USB cable from the PCB to the computer even though it is stated at Flight Illusions web site that it should be included - however the USB cable is just a standard connection USB cable as normally used for other flightsim modules etc. so that was not an issue.

    The power supply is a direct plug into the wall socket and then into a converter that converts the 220V down to the voltage used in the PCB which is 5/12 volts where the 5 volts is to drive the stepper motors and the 12 volts is to power the lights. Well the conversion is to 12 volts and the PCB takes care of the rest.

    The connection wire is connected to the PCB using just one of the four connectors and then each gauge will get each a connector so that the complete setup is just by using that one string. If I were to max out the PCB then I could connect 16 gauges on each string making the total number of gauges to be connected using this single PCB, at total of 64 gauges - that is quite impressive!


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