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Custom Simpit Design

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#1 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 12:22 AM

Edit:  I thought about it, and no reason to make this all about my one build I am commissioning.  Why not talk about all manner of custom setups?  For instance, has anybody here attempted a long-handle/Modern Grip conversion for a MSFFB2?  What type of gear do y'all have?

 

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Some of you may be aware of the Ukrainian custom builder GVL224, but I was not until recently when I fell in love with the idea of a throttle-body that does what I want it to, not what Thrustmaster says.  I saw the "IL2: Sturmovik" body commissioned by Jason for some sim convention, and I thought, "Perfect!  I can do better!"   Some of the button placement makes no sense on the original from a human factors / design standpoint, and the throttle handle could have so, so much more. 

 

https://forum.il2stu...ol-axes/?page=6

 

So after some back and forth with Vitaly, I have come up with my version of the design.  If the build quality is as good as people say, this thing will absolutely destroy the corporate competition for only $305 shipped. He does have many highly functional bodies for much cheaper, in the $70 range, but I want something where I can sit a friend down and say: Just read the labels.  The only thing Vitaly does not do is Hat Switches for some reason, I don't think he has a quality source for the part, but that would have been really nice on the throttle for DCS MFDs.

 

So I put it to you, experienced pilots of JG1:  anything that you would do different?  Any binding that a more experienced IL2 pilot would put instead of "Sun Filter" on a toggle?  I feel like I am missing something critical but I haven't played every plane enough to know what. 

 

I'm already thinking as I type all this that I should move the Radiator Oil dial to the right edge and the Trim Switches over so that all the Cooling is even more tightly clustered...

 

Thoughts?

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#2 Klaiber

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 12:46 AM

Wow.  I'm seriously impressed.


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Hals - und Beinbruch!


#3 Luftritter

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 12:59 AM

A very complex subject.

 

Does anybody really want a controller designed for one specific sim?  Or, do you want it to be a little more universal, considering the expenditure.

 

The main throttle physical offset of the handle is opposite in your two thumbnails that you've posted.  Personally I'd want it offset to the left, considering that most people are right-handed and would be operating the throttle with the left hand.  I'd also want the second axis to be right next to it, in case you want to use it for a second throttle on a twin-engined plane; or it could be used for prop pitch in a single-engined plane.

 

In the case of potentiometers, no two are exactly the same.  Would there be an accompanying utility to properly calibrate them that would work with Windows without trouble?  Or, could Hall Effect sensors be used instead.

 

In the interest of university, I would not want labels which could not be changed.  Here's one example of a non-thustmaster throttle which could possibly serve the same purpose, with known software compatibility and (somewhat more?) widespread usage, etc.:

 

Throttle


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#4 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:50 AM

It is a fun and complex subject!  For instance, ROF/FC will need...10% of this throttle.  DCS will need some keyboard bindings still.  IL2 will be juuusstttt right.  Elite Dangerous will...uh, I don't play a lot of that these days so this isn't *for* Elite, and TBH all I do in that game is explore in an Anaconda, so I use mouse control like a dirty heathen. 

 

I am not sure what you mean by the Physical Offset for the main throttle. The "Prop Pitch" handle is nestled up to the main throttle on the left, like a secondary throttle. Do you mean that you would have the Main throttle on the Left and the Prop Pitch/RPM handle on the right side?  So that if I were to use them for two separate engines, engine 1 would be my left hand?  That would make the throttle thumbwheel super awkward to use.  My plan for two-engine management in IL2 (for instance, on the A20) is to use the three buttons on the throttle to cycle engines as needed.  DCS is the game where I would want to have "Prop Pitch" be Engine 1 and Throttle be Engine 2. 

 

The Wheel potentiometers that he uses are said to be "very accurate" by other purchasers.  I forget the exact travel of the Wheel potentiometers, but he told me something around 300degrees, which sounds about right.   

And yes, I have thought about the labeling and layout quite a bit.  I like making little things myself, so it wouldn't be a big deal to print up/stamp-out a set of stock-cards that slip over the controls to re-label them.  One thing that attracted me to this design is the size, nothing too cramped, and is therefore re-label-able compared to a very compact design that uses A1/A2/E1/E2/E3 nomenclature. Yes, labels aren't really necessary for the owner, but they are something I want so that if I have a friend over and say, "Hey, want to hop in a TIR/ForceFeedback/HOTAS/Pedals WWII simpit and try it out?" they can look at the body if they forget a control. 

 

The most important, for me, are the physical levers.  That Virpil thing is alright, and it has the adjustable Detentes for AB that I am kludging together on this build, but it doesn't have the wheels and levers that I want.

 

Tl;dr:  At the end of the day, I really like custom stuff, physical levers, and might be a bit of a control freak, so working with Vitaly to design this gets me far more excited than a store-bought item. 

 

EDIT:  Attached changes to "cluster" controls around flight phase. 

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#5 Snaggle

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 12:11 PM

One Word, WOW!!


S!

JG1_Snaggle_J4

 

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#6 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 11:14 PM

I've been looking at the Virpil stuff as a possible grip for a long-handle FFB mod, and I found a video on that throttle Luftritter posted that is very interesting.  It has a lot more going on than I thought!

 

 

Subtle differences in design, for instance, the wheel on the front of the throttle is an Axis, not an encoder.  I really like the little encoder-dial/buttons on the bottom right, though.  Those would be great for radio bindings (I'm going to ask if Vitaly can source these).  And of course the Virpil has hat switches.  My commission has 8 Axes, the Virpil has 6, but the Virpil has twice the amount of buttons on a remarkably small area.  If DCS were my going to be my primary game, I would take a harder look at having a crapton (80!) of buttons. 

 

One part of the "dilemma" is that IL2 doesn't allow separate keybindings for planes, DCS does.  If it did, then I wouldn't feel any need to have the forward Pot-wheel on the right side for Inlet Cowl Flaps, I could have another axis instead, but since my primary game will be RoF/FC/IL2, I want almost every control bound on this one thing.  I'll admit the Cowl Flap wheels are probably the silliest quirk I want on this build.   

 

Last bit I want to say on custom stuff vs price vs A Quality Brand etc etc:  I have confidence that I can modify/repair a build by Vitaly, since he is using parts sold to hobbyists, and the wiring will be done in a relatively large case, wired from Poles to PCB.  A professionally designed piece like the Virpil likely has a lot more...complexity?  Logic? Design?  Whatever you'd call it, I doubt the connections in such a unit would be easily modifiable by a guy with a soldering-iron, some crimp connectors, and no real electrical engineering experience. 


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#7 Luftritter

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 12:10 PM

I had pretty much made up my mind to replace my quadrant with the Virpil throttle later, since I have a joystick on the way from them (supposed to have shipped this week). Might as well order it now, considering how long it takes to get this stuff.

My biggest worry is the instructions; I've heard they're not in English.
"People who believe they are ignorant of nothing have neither looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what is known and unknown in the universe." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

#8 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 03:10 AM

For a one-stop system, I gotta say that the Virpil system looks far better than the Thrustmaster stuff.  Meant to mount on desks and the throttle is a lot denser.

 

Currently for my commission, I have changed the rear row of buttons to Encoder/Button, with the right three labelled R1, R2, and NAV for a modern radio.  I think that is the last piece of the puzzle. 

 

EDIT:  Likely the final changes.  You can't really see em, but I added a row of three Encoder buttons at the back of the unit labeled R1, R2, and NAV.  Apart from the lack of a NAV2, that will function for most modern radio/navigation operations in a sim. I also finally decided to create a "bombing cluster" so that all my labeled toggles for IL2 are all about combat and flying.  All the random little things like "Sun Filter" can be a keyboard reach. 

 


For a one-stop system, I gotta say that the Virpil system looks far better than the Thrustmaster stuff.  Meant to mount on desks and the throttle is a lot denser.

 

Currently for my commission, I have changed the rear row of buttons to Encoder/Button, with the right three labelled R1, R2, and NAV for a modern radio.  I think that is the last piece of the puzzle. 

 

EDIT:  Likely the final changes.  You can't really see em, but I added a row of three Encoder buttons at the back of the unit labeled R1, R2, and NAV.  Apart from the lack of a NAV2, that will function for most modern radio/navigation operations in a sim. I also finally decided to create a "bombing cluster" so that all my labeled toggles for IL2 are all about combat and flying.  All the random little things like "Sun Filter" can be a keyboard reach. 

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#9 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 06:14 AM

Hallo,

 

I just got this custom build delivered, and I mentioned it oft-hand and Luftritter wanted to see more.  So here she is: Davjack's GVL build. Uh, actually just see this post here on the IL2 forums for a couple photos and a description of the build quality.  https://forum.il2stu...#comment-725685

 

In a nutshell, this is a very well built piece, and it was built to my specifications, and that is really satisfying, even if I made mistakes on the labels, and I did.  That labeling is laser etched into the finish on the metal, but a piece of tape and a fine point pen solves any of my own mistakes. For instance, the Trim Up/Down switch is redundant, since I can use my Joystick's hat switch, but I didn't understand that when I made the design.  Vitalij made exactly what I asked him to make.

 

There are 4 levers and 4 wheels (4 main levers, 2 wheels on the side, a wheel on the thumb position under the throttle, and a wheel/dial on the front body labeled as Oil Rad).  The thumb wheel being "zoom" allows me to bind the hat switch on my stick as trim, which is realistic in DCS and also convenient.  This setup gives me a full tactile setting on manual for the P-47 in IL2: Mix/Prop/Throttle/Turbo/Intercooler/OutletCowlFlaps can be each an independent piece. In fact, the rear-right wheel is dedicated for outlet cowl flaps, which are rarely used in flight for fighters. It's nice to be able to feel them, though.

 

Other planes are more simple. While this unit lacks a Hat Switch, the 9 buttons on the end of the throttle offer good versatility (including being used for TS and TIR management).  GVL's encoders use "hat switch" logic, so you can't have both. The encoder (grey wheel) on the throttle handle adjusts gunsight range. My rear 3 encoder/buttons are labeled R1/R2/Nav like a GA aircraft stack, in prep for Deadstick.  In IL2, I use those encoders for 110/Spitfire manual rads.  Last note: the analogue switches are the same basic American switches that were physically used in the P-47.  The whole build is metal and resin...like an original WWII aircraft.  I can't overstate how nice that feels.  If you've handled old equipment vs newer plastic stuff, you'll know what I mean.  

 

I have already disassembled the main body in order to investigate making a custom "throttle gate" for WEP/Afterburners on various aircraft, and it is very fixable if anything goes wrong.  Unlike a dedicated PCB build, I could replace a piece of this build using a soldering iron and basic skills.  My "throttle gate" will be a simple piece of thick rubber sheet placed such that it causes slight friction at the point where the throttle lever hits Combat Power, with different sheets for different planes.  Really important for Afterburners in DCS...

 

Overall:  I love it!  I can't speak to this unit vs another, but for $305 I am completely satisfied that GVL took 1 month to email with me and design a custom piece, and delivered a work of art.  The only problems are my own, for some labels don't fully work with Il2 because I didnt fully understand the game, but tape and memorizing re-binds fixes all of that  The unit is solid metal, nothing wiggles, and if it doesn't last a lifetime, I can fix it. 

 

I would recommend buying a unit from Vitalij. He does sell a lot of cheaper modules that are made from the same high quality units, but have less functionality.  He will also make insanely detailed 737 stacks, as you can see on page 7 of his IL2 thread.  https://forum.il2stu...#comment-691937

 

I personally love the value from mine: it is all metal and strong resin. It was made to my spec. 

 

You can see all sorts of what he does here: https://forum.il2stu...r-control-axes/

 

EDIT: And yes, this sounds like a total advertisement, but I will say that I only ever promote products that I actually use, ever, anywhere.


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#10 Luftritter

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 02:22 PM

Thanks for the info and review! :)
"People who believe they are ignorant of nothing have neither looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what is known and unknown in the universe." -Neil deGrasse Tyson




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