• Review: Flight Illusion Gauges

    Software

    Before being able to use the gauges you will need to install some software. All software can be downloaded from Flight Illusion's web site and is of course free of charge. What you need is a USB-to-COM driver which is an external download but the link to it you can find on Flight Illusion's web site. I found that I already had a USB-to-COM driver so I did not have to do that download.

    The second piece of software needed is the software created by Flight Illusion which enables you to control and setup the gauges. This software is downloaded directly at Flight Illusion's web site and here you can select specific flightsim versions as e.g. FS2004, FSX, P3D, X-Plane and IL-2. This review is done based on FSX so I of course downloaded the FSX version.

    The download was quick due to the fact that the size of the file was limited and the connection to Flight Illusion's download server was really good. The installation was also very easy, just activating the included installation wizard and after a few seconds the software was perfectly installed and ready for use.

    What the software does is to provide the interface with the flightsim and the gauges using FSUPIC and also enables the simmer to customize his/hers setup. E.g. in the Figure 1 image I have created my own setup and named it Ray.cfg - to see the actual configuration I entered the "Configuration" button.

    The configuration is as shown here below (Figure 2) featuring all the three gauges that I have included on my string and as example I have included Figure 3 which shows the specifics for the altimeter gauge GSA-16.

    What you can see is the ID number for each gauge which is defined automatically but which is also editable so that I could re-number the gauges to be 1, 2 and 3 if I wanted to. Also is a description of the device, a model number, a version number, both the first and second function and the connection status. The reason for why the status is set as Unknown is simply because I had not connected it to FSX yet.

    You can also see that the ID 101 = the Digital/Analogue Altimeter does not feature a second function which is correct because it only features the altitude function, where e.g. the ID 103 Attitude indicator features both a pitch function and a bank function.


    Figure 1

    Figure 2

    Figure 3

    In Figure 3 here I have entered the specifics for the altimeter which opens up a control panel where I can set various values, change the ID, the function, modes, backlights, etc. The other two gauges have similar control panels that of course are customized to their unique specialties.

    When setup as wanted I just clicked the button Apply/Assign and the Ray.cfg that I had created was/is automatically updated.

    GSA-37 Attitude Indicator Blue/Brown With Central Pitch Indicator Button

    The first gauge that I tested was the GSA-37 which is an attitude indicator including the central pitch indicator button. Flight Illusion has several different attitude indicator gauges and the reason for why I selected this one, was simply because I wanted a gauge including the pitch function and the blue/brown color reminded me of the cockpit of my Diamond HK-36 Super Dimona which I used to fly.

         

    This gauge is actually very complex and features two stepper motors, one to control the pitch and one to control the bank. The bank is a 360 degree continuous roll and the pitch is a limited increase/decrease which is supported by the bank function meaning that if you are to do a loop you will see the pitch go up and suddenly the bank will rotate 180 degrees and give you the display of exiting the loop. This is also as in real life so the indication works perfectly.

    The motion of the gauges is smooth however compared to a real life attitude indicator the "wopple" of the horizon is not 100% perfect but still it creates a highly realistic flight experience. The reason for not getting the same effect then the real life gauges is probably because this gauge features the stepper motors to drive the horizon.

    The sound created from the two stepper motors a something that you can hear but it is really just a low noise. When I did my first test of the gauge it was not mounted into any setup yet, so therefore the sound was directly and of course noticeable. During a later test of the gauge where it was mounted into a frame and then into a setup which shielded the back side of the gauge, the sound became even lower.

    As mentioned earlier the gauge also features the central pitch indicator button which is a feature where the simmer can control the view of the pitch. You can on the images of the gauge see a rotator at the bottom of the gauge and by turning this either clockwise or counter clockwise the pitch display within the gauge will either raise or drop.

    The button is quite firm which means that the simmer does need to be aware that he/she is actually changing the pitch view of the gauge, which of course is a superb idea since this gauge could mean life or death - well in real life anyway.

    Overall I am very impressed by this gauge and the complexity that this gauge is built with. The gauge itself is super slim and can fit into almost any panel without a huge re-build. The materials used for this gauge are many and I am not able to make a list of them.

    The specifics for the gauge are height and width of 83 mm, depth is only 27 mm and the weight is app. 200 gr. Power requirements are 5/12 volts as described earlier and the gauge features two LEDs for the backlight function. Connection is a daisy chain 10 pin on a flat cable.


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