Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm still here, no really, I mean it this time

Time to dust off the blog. Sim news later in this post, first though check these photos out:

Taken at Cambridge airport UK, a 737 cargo plane was unloading and loading racehorses, returning from and heading back to Dublin. I was there with a buddy of mine. We had just taken off from his field in a Piper Arrow (a first for me, take off from a grass strip that is) and dropped in to Cambridge for fuel. Shortly after the 737 landed and I was able to snap these shots.

Now what makes this so remarkable is that I took these photos on December 20th. ONE YEAR AGO! 

Reason I've been so quiet, I started a new job in January 2014. Less travel but more work. A lot more work. So much so I didn't get a weekend off until March.. Plus there was the "honey do" list to complete. Remember this drawing from a prior post (as in August 2011?):
Had to complete this project before getting back to the sim. Also since the cabinets are so big they were in the way of any other progress in the workshop. Got it finished this year, a photo of the finished product for you:
And so dear reader, enough of the excuses. Back to the topic. Now where were we?

Unable to put any build time in, I have however been collecting parts. I scrapped the original LCD screens I had in the MIP and have replaced them with some brighter, LED lit units. I needed to get a second monitor for the first officer side and I wanted them both to match. Snagged a couple of these Dell 19" models:

And a couple of 10" open frame units off of eBay:

Since you can now get single video cards that can drive multiple monitors, got a new unit for the external displays:
And another for the secondary system to drive the 4 MIP displays:
Unable to test it out since a power outage in the middle of a Windows update fried the secondary system... Will need to get that fixed but what a pain Microsoft - can you write some software that will self correct in the event of an incomplete update? Looks like I'll need to do a complete OS re-install.

All parts from Engravity are sitting around gathering dust for the first officer side of the cockpit. The MIP cabinets will get a complete rebuild to accommodate all the extra gear. 

Which brings me to what I've actually built of late. A couple of years back a colleague from Germany was visiting. He took one look at the wiring mess behind the MIP and wagged a finger at me, "Germans would not be happy with such a sloppy job". Shamed to rethink my handiwork and planning ahead for a similar mess on the FO side, I came up with the following board for the MIP control card:

Why you ask? Well, I had to send the board back to CP Flight for tests (it stopped working) and un-wiring what I did have hooked up was a pain. This way if the card does fail, all of the lights and switches will be connected to the terminal blocks and not the card. Also, I don't have tiny hands nor eyes capable of reading 3 point font. The terminal blocks give me more room and an easier view of what I'm hooking up. Once the new MIP cabinets are complete, I'll rewire all of the lights and switches to this board with ribbon cable. One day Frank will be proud of me...

In bits sitting around my workshop is a partially built control column mechanism. Will get back to that in due course. And of course, the wrap around screen awaits design and build

All for now folks, wishing you a happy new year.