How does simulator panel building with FsXpand work?
This page in French: (Almost the entire Howto section translated in French too)
Build your own panels
FsXPand runs on your FS pc with FSUIPC. It connects to FsClient running on one or more PC's (or even the FS PC). Displays on dual-head or extra video card outputs are supported. No WideFS or Wideview required.
It can display almost any aircraft gauge want. Each gauge (or instrument) in the toolbox can be shown anywhere in your network, this only depends on the local selection you make.
FsXPand was designed with the user of General Aviation cockpits in mind. At the moment you will find mainly analog instruments in the collection. With version 5.1, we started to support 737 EICAS. With version 5.2, 747 EICAS and Fokker 100 EICAS were added. FsXPand allows EICAS panel swapping (primary, secondary, condensed...)
You can customize the panel gauges to suit your needs. Change appearance, drag and drop, edit values etc. If you can lay hands on a picture of your favourite cockpit, you will be able to set it up in minutes using FsXpand. FsXpand supports a total of 4 engines, piston, jet, and turbine. At least for the engine gauges, you can take screenshots of your gauges and use the bitmap in FsClient.
Eventually, FsXPand can run on a second PC via WideFS. This can be useful if you want to transfer the FsXPand workload from your FS PC to another one in your network.
A movie says more than a thousand words....
Two 6.0 clips for you, one changing course and another changing from FL100 to FL150, FS9.1 stock 737-400
A few Youtube links to make you happy:
A complete project with description:
Just an overview: Piranha demonstration
Linking aircraft controls
You do not have to buy additional hardware to connect controls. Standard game ports, USB game devices are all you need (see compatibility list). Controls are easily adapted to your needs. Lots of functions can be assigned to any button/swith/analog you wish to use. You can even create your own controls by using switches and variable resistors, and some skills with a soldering iron. No big deal. Version 5.2 supports the use of rotary encoders (full cycle like the CTS 288), connected to your game port.
Although FsXPand was designed with the user of general aviation cockpits in mind, you can setup controls for any aircraft you wish. You still can choose another solution for the panels, and use FsXPand solely for its control facilities.
The reverse is also true. If you are using custom hardware with you FS, you can leave the FS panels behind you and use the panels option of FsXPand.
Joystick values send through analog game ports tend to change (jitter) due to various causes. If your home-made controls are connected to USB ports via a USB joystick converter, like the Rockfire RM-203, the values will as stable as a rock and allow you to control very precise settings. Flyware is working to create compatibility with most USB products on the market with a high resolution to allow the use of precise controls.
You will not run out of controls very soon, for FsXPand will allow the connection of 8 joystick devices per PC, bringing the amount of analog channels to an amazing 24 per PC. Each device may have as much as 15 buttons, 120 in total per PC. All input is routed to FS.
Lots of functions can be assigned to any button/swith/analog channel you wish to use.
Take a look at the current assignments lists (analogs , switches , buttons , encoders). They allow the choice of almost any function required for controlling the aircraft. Examples are throttle, prop pitch, mixture, magneto for piston a/c with up to 4 engines, or throttle with reverse , spoilers, and jet starter for jets, and much more. A special one is the annunciator bar. More is yet to come - the libraries are under constant development.
You do not need to use additional hardware to connect controls. Neither do you need state-of-the-art client PC's or need to run multiple copies of FS. Non compromising - no dropping framerates.
- FsXpand permits the use of fuel selectors for each engine (2 engines aircraft only). In this way a realistic fuel management is possible for a DC3.
- The use of analog brakes is possible. Here comes in handy the sensitivity graph you can modify with each channel. It is easy now to make the brake pedal start braking exactly at the deflection you want.
- FsXpand can take care of realistic touchdown sound and ground rumble effect using low frequency rumble dependent on the speed, while touchdown sound depends on the vertical velocity at landing. This is in stereo, so you will really hear and feel the touchdown at one side when the wings are not fully level. Some basic sounds are provided, but you will certainly want to add sounds to your own liking.
The .wav file and the volume settings can be configured for each separate cockpit you wish to emulate. (More... )
- FsXPand can make use of non-linear scales on some instruments (IAS, VSI) by a custom sensitivity curve (to allow for the use of bitmaps on these instruments)
- FsXPand can send keystrokes from your stick buttons to the FS PC.
- FsXPand can swap EICAS screens
- Panels can be resized to match different screen resolutions
Myths you won't believe in any longer...
Realistic General Aviation panels can only be created by buying expensive hardware gauges driven by interface cards.
In order to create controls for your simulator or cockpit, you need to buy expensive interface cards that are hard to program and even require electroinics skills.
Only 2 joysticks can be connected to a simulator.
Myth 4Myth 5
Joystick ports render unreliable values, because of the jitter.
Building a cockpit requires programming skills.