Adding some outputs to the cockpit adds another dimension to the simulator experience. As with a real cockpit, gauges and warning LEDs/Lights enable you to spend more time looking at the window, and less time bringing up gauges on screen.
I use a mix of the Simkits CCU (Central Control Unit) and Phidgets devices in the pit. The Simkits CCU primarily drives the gauges, the Phidgets devices drive LEDs, LCDs, and Lights (i.e. incandescent bulbs).
The Simkits controller and gauges are mount on the right hand side of the cockpit. Three of the gauges that are not connected to the CCU are wired up to the Phidgets 4 port servo controller via the DB15.
The gauges connected to the Phidgets controller provide outputs that are not natively supported by the Simkits CCU. As of June 2004, Simkits doesn't support Twins, but this is road-mapped to be out in a September timeframe.
The Simkits CCU can now be driven via SDK, meaning you can drive the gauges from sims other than FS200X. The Simkits SDK is easy to use, allowing you to drive the gauges from a networked computer.
Phidgets are USB devices that provide an exceptionally easy to use interface to the outside world.
The Phidgets uses in my sim include the TextLCD, 0/16/16 I/O, PhidgetLed, and the 4 Port Servo card.
The two large resistors and diodes on the left hand side are used to provide low levels of back lighting to the switches with lights.
Dual color LEDs can be driven from the PhidgetLed, the legs must be connected across rows, i.e. one leg connected to pin 1, the other one to pin 9. I used the dual color LEDs to indicate gear status, Red when up, yellow when moving, and green when locked down.
The Phidget 0/16/16 provides a sink for 12V lights. The Phidget TextLCD displays simulator status information and also has 8 I/O lines. These can provide input into the code driving the gauges and lights.
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