GENERAL

Determine the correct system for interfacing (controlling hardware) such as e.g. the Overhead is a difficult and not an easy choice.

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The most important thing is that it is a system that meets the following aspects :

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  • Compatible with ProSim737;
  • Easy to use;
  • Reliable;
  • Availability of a lot of I/O ports;
  • No event -‘delay’;
  • Preferably with multiple opportunities;
  • Cheap.

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At the time of this writing, I have the choice between the most common systems that are currently in use at various cockpitbouwers :

  • I/O cards from Opencockpits with SIOC (script);
  • Phidgets (with o.a. the PhidgetsLED-64);
  • SYS cards from Flight Deck Solutions;
  • Bodnar (Joystick Controller);
  • Pokeys Joystick Controller or a multifunctional USB Interface card).
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THE SELECTION

On the basis of the conditions listed, a selection must be made between these different Interface systems. There are of course Pro's and Contra's :

OC and SIOC
The script is the major obstacle. You should already have a good knowledge of the SIOC-lingo, otherwise you are depending on others. You can have a ready-made script but at the least change you're stuck.

I've also noticed in other cockpitbouwers, with OC and SIOC in the sea are gone, to come back on their steps due to not reliable of the software, poor support of OC and a bad OC manuals.

This, with the result that the interface will change to Phidgets, FDS Sys and Bodnar or PoKeys.

SYS of Flight Deck Solutions
Excellent equipment with excellent service, but e.g. the blue leds, which are both dim as bright, the SYS-cards will not be controlled. With these cards you can only have 1 status. This problem also applies to the cards from Opencockpits.

Prosim provides apparently itself for both the lighting intensity and thus it seems that you do this with the Phidgets LED cards this can do. These would be the signals from Prosim have to accept.

Bodnar vs. Pokeys
If you have the various ‘features’ look at the Pokeys cards, the choice is quickly made.

Pokeys versus PhidgetsLED-64
A major disadvantage is that the Pokeys card resistors must be used with Led connectors. More extra work so ...
On the other hand, you can with the use of resistors, all leds optimum light and adjust light intensity.
The Pokeys card is limited in the number of Leds (20-24).
Flight Sim Parts, where the card is purchased, a solution found by an additional print, add that to 24 high power leds can be connected to it. A total of 48 led outputs. This extra PCB, you have to make it yourself.

Phidgets
Excellent maps, easy to use, but a bit more on the expensive side. Nevertheless, it is worth considering. There may possibly be a good marriage arise between Pokeys (connection switches), and PhidgetsLED-64 (for connecting Leds) ...

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TEST POKEYS 55 CARD

This ‘new’ Card in the cockpitbouw I'm at the track came via the Prosim forum.

The POKEYS 55 comes from the company PoLabs and Belgium is sold through Querit bvba (FlightSimParts) from Merksem.

This card in particular caught my attention because of its simplicity in use, inexpensive, multifunctional capabilities of interfacing and compatibility with Prosim737.

Currently, you can in ProSim with this map the following to connect:

  • Switches;
  • -Leds;
  • Potentiometers (e.g. for the brightness of the DU's to arrange).

Other possibilities that this card has are still not implemented in FS or ProSim737.

But that is still to come...

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Technical

  • Compatible with USB 1.1/2.0 HID standard;
  • Standard USB keyboard simulation (with triggering support for up/down keys);
  • Standard USB joystick simulation (6 axis, 32 buttons with triggering support);
  • 55 digital inputs with pull-up resistors, freely mappable to virtual USB keyboard's keys;
  • 55 software controlled digital outputs;
  • 5 analog inputs (10-bit), mappable to any of virtual USB joystick axes (with adjustable low-pass filtering support);
  • 1 software controlled 10-bit analog output, controlled via included software;
  • Up to 25 encoder pair inputs (3 high-speed encoder inputs);
  • 3 high speed encoder inputs;
  • Up to 64 256-character long keyboard macro sequences;
  • Intuitive and user-friendly software;
  • Up to 16×8 matrix keyboard with triggered keys/alternate function support;
  • Two 8×8 matrix LED display support;
  • Up to 6 high-speed fully configurable PWM outputs support;
  • HD44780-based character LCD support (up to 4×20);
  • ExtBus support for adding up to 10 external shift registers;
  • Support for Connection signal output;
  • Support via communication DLL library and protocol specification that allows porting to other system.
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Joystick or USB Device

Real USB device (no virtual COM-port)

The big advantage is that you have a card with 55 ports. They are not always classified on the 20 digital Inputs 35 digital Outputs. It is the user that determines how the map will be used.
If you are 55 digital Inputs connecting the map will only deal with the 55 digital Inputs, you will want to 41 digital Outputs to connect there will still be 14 ports are available, you can fill in for himself, for example, 5 analog inputs and 7 digital Inputs.

The Pokeys card adapts automatically to what you connect.

Another, not unimportant advantage is the price. This is cheaper than all the other cards (+- €1 per port).

A drawback is that the Pokeys card must be able to communicate with a software package such as, for example ProSim737. Currently is that outside of ProSim737 nil but there will be in the near future.

Joystick Controller

If joystick controller is hereby limited to 32 Inputs and 5 analog Inputs so there is not much difference t.o.v. other joystick controllers. It might be a good alternative and maybe that is the price the choice sets.

The advantage is that you get a User Interface that makes it possible sneltoesten to add.

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Ports and GND

The map features 55 ports that one may freely choose. All of the ports are indicated on the map.
The connection of the port with a wire, done by means of a screw. You will need a screwdriver of max 2 mm.

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There are 5 analog ports with (from 43 t/m 47) which one e.g. potentiometers can be connected to adjust the DU Brightness.

Also on the card are there 3 connections for connecting the GND. These points are also marked on the map. You may, for example, the SNE of different types of switches connect and eventually connect with one of the three GND connections, or they be distributed across all three.

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Installation POKEYS 55

The POKEYS 55 is supplied without a USB cable. So, you need to decide to purchase. The map is very small (63 mm x 47 mm) and takes up so little space.

After connection and detection of the USB Pokey 55-device by the pc start then the module Prosim737.

One goes to the tab-sheet Drivers and check the box at ‘Pokeys USB / Ethernet and press the OK button.

ProSim737 will everything automatically configures and self care or to In - or Outputs.

In the Main tab of ProSim737 will Pokeys card number (Serialnr that on the back of the card is glued to) are visible.

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Connect (Interface) of a switch in ProSim737

Then open it in Prosim737 it ‘Config’-screen and if you opt for the tab ‘Switches’.

In the example below, is there a connection made for the ‘Parking Brake’ :

  • Choose a role (event);
  • Select the Pokeys card;
  • Choose the port on which the switch is connected.
  • Press OK

It could not be simpler ...

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The configuration with ProSim737 is very simple, no scripting, nothing to define it in the Pokeys software that one can use it. Just plug-in, 55 ports are available and ProSim737 will do the rest. I can also mention that there is no ‘delay’ between the hardwareactie and ProSim737. That's all ...

To be a good "accounting" to get any action it is programmed to which port displays the contents of the Config.xml in ProSim737 a clear overview. The gates in this xml-file to see his knocking or not at all. One should always own count.

Reason : This is because in program language the poortnummering start from 0. So if you are in the XML is a port 35 to see that actually is the port 36 on the PoKeys.

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I have 2 test to be performed with this card. The first test was with a toggle switch (ON/OFF) for the " Battery switch ON/OFF’ and the second test was the use of a potentiometer for controlling the brightness of one of the DU's (PFD). Both tests went without a hitch.

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Connecting switches to the Pokeys 55

Toggle switch (ON/OFF)

The ON (+) to the connector on the switch is connected with one of the 55 ports.
The OFF (- ) connector on the switch is connected with one of the SNES.

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Potentiometer

The runner on the potentiometer goes to one of the analog ports, that is 43 t/m 47. One side of the potentiometer goes to the GND and the other to the 3.3 volt port.
Best a potentiometer of 10 kOhm linear.

One has e.g. a opposite reaction so that when the potentiometer works the other way around than expected, the GND and 3.3 V connections just swapped.

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Note. Testing of Leds is not yet done

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Pokeys 56E

The Pokeys 56E is a variant of the Pokeys 55. This card is used as a Ethernet card and is the same as the USB version. Only difference is that they not can use as a joystick controller and that they have a separate 5.0 v power supply need.

Both cards can in ProSim737 be configured and are easy to distinguish in the serial number on each card. Prosim let this serial number is also visible in the configuration.

These Pokeys 56E is especially useful when you're dealing with an ‘overpopulation’ of USB devices or to a lack of USB ports.

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Conclusion

The POKEYS cards comply with most conditions that I necessarily find the use of an interface Card, i.e.

  • Compatible with ProSim737;
  • Easy to use;
  • Reliable;
  • A lot of I/O ports;
  • No action-‘delay’;
  • Multiple possibilities and the future;
  • Cheap;
  • Good and quick service of Flight Sim Parts (Querit).

With these assets have the maps of Bodnar formidable competitors with the Pokeys.

The POKEYS 55 and 56E still have several capabilities that are not yet addressed for FS and PROSIM737 and we look so reikhalsend forward to the further evolution of it ...

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*** Continued ***

Translated by Yandex.Translate and Global Translator