• Rays Aviation Project Home Cockpit

    Before I put my focus on the connection of everything I wanted to mount the rudder pedals - I wanted them to be one with the setup and not just some "loose" placed pedals which I previously have had some issues with. Before I created this cockpit the rudder pedals were just placed on the floor, but when using them then quite often the pedals moved out of place when applying rudder; really annoying!

    Therefore I mounted a wooden bar between the left and right leg-support for the MiP and on this bar I mounted the rudder pedals using screws. Now the rudder was indeed an integrated part of the setup, and if they were to move, it would mean that the complete setup would move (not likely to happen).

    Last challenge in the build was the control stick - the quick and dirty way of adding that to the setup would have been to mount it on the right side console... but I had a different idea. Modern military aircraft like the F-35 have the stick mounted on the right side of the cockpit as also does the F-16, but I more like the idea of placing the stick between the legs as in the F-18.

    This would however mean that I needed to create a floor support or some kind of integration with my chair. The floor support idea I discharged quickly and started thinking about ways to integrate the stick to my chair.

    The solution I came up with was a special cut metal plate that could be squeezed in between the brackets below the chair meaning no screws or anything were needed to mount the plate. In the metal plate were drilled four holes according to the locations of the four mounting screws used for my control stick and mounted it now was.


    Connecting Everything - Part 1

    The build was great fun indeed but the next stage of the project would be even more fun, but also at times extremely frustrating it turned out to be - the connection of all modules and getting everything to work together.

    To get an overview I gathered everything into groups like controls, displays, PCB connected modules as well as what could be connected by VGA or HDMI or USB. Furthermore I also created a subgroup for the USB connections where I gathered USBs that could go into a hub and USBs that needed a direct connection.

    I found that the wiring was actually quite extensive and getting everything connected and working properly was a challenge in itself. The first step was to get the toggle switch panels connected properly to the PCBs before I would be able to connect them to the USBs - this was a nightmare - my own build panels featured a total of 6x 12-position, 1-pole rotator switches, 15 on/off click switches, 5 on/on toggle switches, 44 on/off toggle switches, 5 on/off/on toggle switches, 3 momentary on/off/on switches, a nose wheel steering module switch and the gear lever with 2 micro switches - color coding groups of wires I found to be a good idea!


    Finally I got all these wires connected to the supporting PCBs and could now set my focus on the connection of the USBs, VGA and HDMI, but... there was actually one more thing that I had to find a solution for. I had created a backlight function and had some various LEDs that needed power - some LEDs were connected through the PCBs from Opencockpits, so these I did not have to find a solution for, but the other LEDs that were a part of the setup together with the cooling fan for the Tracker IR5, I needed to have a power source for. That together with a 220v power source for the power converters used for some of the modules such as the CPFlight backlight function and the Opencockpits FMC v3 (CDU) and the Flight Illusion gauges.

    What I did was to build a 220v power station in the right console and from there I connected some power converters to build a low voltage power station, also placed in the right console - this low voltage power station contained output of both 5v and 12v - so now I had sufficient power to support all modules including the USB hubs needed.

    1. aarmin's Avatar
      aarmin -
      Congratulations on a project well done and above all getting joy and fun out of it.
      Many happy landings!
    1. henrystreet's Avatar
      henrystreet -
      Thanks for the in depth look. Will likely use some of your ideas
    1. dgsmith37's Avatar
      dgsmith37 -
      Awesome results. I can see your next project being a wrap-around screen. It's amazing how much you learn building a project that requires more knowledge than we start with. Thanks for the write up and pictures.
    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Quote Originally Posted by sammonsb View Post
      Don't see a tailhook lever. Must be a softie pilot not able to land on a boat.
      Well - actually on the Rays Aviation light and mission panel on the left side console I have a switch on/off/on named HOK => that switch controls hook up/down ... I could only fit 3 letters in the legends when cutting the panel with the water cutting machine.

      But you are right - my skills for landing on a carrier are not excellent

      Merry Christmas All

    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Thanks for the feedback all - if you need guidance in a similar project or just has questions, I would very much like to help out and share my experience with home cockpit building.

    1. jpgregg's Avatar
      jpgregg -
      This is fantastic! I love it. If you like, check out my setup (link below). It's very similar, although your interfaces are much more advanced. Do you have a website? I will be checking back with this article often as I upgrade my system. Thanks for posting!


      Happy New Year!

    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Quote Originally Posted by jpgregg View Post
      This is fantastic! I love it. If you like, check out my setup (link below). It's very similar, although your interfaces are much more advanced. Do you have a website? I will be checking back with this article often as I upgrade my system. Thanks for posting!


      Happy New Year!


      Hi Paul,

      You have a really cool setup!

      3 projectors gives an awesome view - what specs do your projectors have?

      My website is www.RaysAviation.Mono.Net and you are very welcome to visit :-)

    1. jpgregg's Avatar
      jpgregg -
      Thanks Ray. I will check out your website.

      I bought the projectors used, on Craigslist, for roughly $80 each (it's been a little time and I don't remember exactly). They are not identical. I have two 3M MP8670s, and one Panasonic. Also, my youtube vid says I'm running two 9800 GTs, but I upgraded a while ago, and am now running a single GTX660 (much better performance, as might be expected). Since I'm running 4 monitors off a single card, I run the projectors at XGA resolution, to keep frame rates in check. I also use megascenery, with autogen turned off - which also helps keep my frame rates in check. The projector screens are shower curtains purchased at k-mart, stapled and taped in the back, and stretched flat with a heat gun... works quite well.

      Thanks again for the link to your website, I'll be checking back often!

    1. TheSchwartz's Avatar
      TheSchwartz -
      Absolutely fabulous. I have been toying with the idea of doing something like this, but maybe on a smaller scale. Is there a tutorial somewhere on interfacing hardware to flightsim programs (particularly X-Plane)?

      A link would be appreciated
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