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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:59 am 
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A2A Spitfire Crew Chief
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Location: The South West of the large island off the north coast of Tasmania
Stunning work, I love visiting this thread from time to time!!

The wiring system is ingenious, very nice. Modularity in a pit is important, once up and going you will find that maintenance runs at almost the same ratio to flying hours as a real aircraft does! There is also, as you obviously know, always one more DOOR to move the damned thing through!

Your instrument panel is a work of art Ed!! And your idea of putting the Saitek switch panel where the gunsight would go is also very good. Does that panel control some of the functions of items around the pit (and they are just for show) or is it for extras?

Anyway, great work and you make me very jealous, looking at your pit coming together ;)


Darryl

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:13 am 
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Thank you Tug, Jacques, Lewis and Darryl!

Lewis, making the rudder pedal itself was not difficult but the offset making them match the real ones to clear the center box was a challenge. If anyone wants the plans and build pics just ask. They could be made to fit any pedal manufacturer and mount on top of the originals. I don't like how they droop due to the extensions but adding my old dive weights as a counter balance will get them straight. The weights also give a heavy feel to the pedals making them feel more like real planes I've flown.

Darryl, as you have seen throughout this build I tend to make simple tasks complicated. :? I've looked at other pits where the builder stated they had something fail and had a difficult time doing a replacement. I guess we all hope for the best but plan for the worst. I had to make this modular since the pit is being built in the garage shop then will have to move into the house. The doors DO get smaller the closer I get to my office, err, hanger. The pit is 38 inches wide and the shop door is a single car garage door so no problem. Then the front or back patio door drops the opening to 36 inches where the office/hanger door is 30. I mentioned to the crew chief that I was going to have to widen the office/hanger door. I look I got suggested that I needed to find another option.

So the side, rear, front dash and base are all separate. I wanted to bring them inside and with a little reconstruction and wire connecting be up and crashing, er, running.

Regarding the MIP, I can only take credit for being smart enough NOT to make the MIP bezel that sits on the LCD. I considered doing it myself but I wanted a thin bezel with thin pots and did not have the tools or pots for the build. I did have to make some adjustments to the MIP frame to accommodate the shape of the LCD. I moved the gear lever and ignition switch from the Saitek to place them in their correct locations. Since I wanted to minimize the need for a keyboard the Saitek switch panel was used since I didn't see the need for a gunsight. I'm going to program the rocker switches to functions in the sim and will use the buttons for any data input such as frequencies. I was getting lazy and chose not to run wires from pots on the floor for the defroster, hot air and cold air so I installed pots in the Saitek panel. I do have a mini wireless keyboard with touch pad that can be stashed out of sight.

Take care
Ed

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:29 pm 
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A2A Chief Pilot
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:31 am
Posts: 4009
Location: East Coast United States
Raceguy wrote:
Hello everyone. I hope your holidays were safe and joyous!

Thank you all for visiting this page! I am honored and humbled by the number of views and comments this project has received.

I got to spend a lot of time in the shop over the holidays but there is not a lot to show for the work. The wiring work was long and interesting. I wired and checked over 275 connections and it’s a good thing I did because I found some errors. One example, I had added 15 buttons to the Saitek panel and used one common ground for all buttons. This would have worked with the original board but I switched the buttons to a different USB board which needed a common ground for each PAIR of buttons. A little time redoing the buttons and they worked!

I have labeled each DB25 cable numerically and each of the 25 wires inside them A-Y so I could place the wires on the correct board and in the correct pairs. The side panels are removable so the pit can be moved into the house and reassembled. The DB25 cables will be connected and hidden behind a panel that covers the space between two ribs. You can just see one connection hanging behind the bomb salvo levers in image IMG_3364a. There are 4-5 cables on each side.

I also spent time researching the placards for the Mustang. This pit is NOT an exact match to any particular bird but a combination of what I liked. Three placards needed additional information so decals were made and placed as needed. Also some lettering was not in the placard kit I purchased so more decals were created. Yesterday and today I installed the placards.

While making the decals I thought I would take a shot at adding detail to the rudder pedals. The real pedals have raised text that looks lighter than the pedal due to wear on the raised parts. I can’t print white so I chose a light gray. The photo is darker than the actual pedal but you get the idea.

Thank you again and take care
Ed



This work is so far beyond "good" it's unbelievable; it's museum quality. In fact, it might be even better than THAT!
Dudley Henriques


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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:29 am 
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Posts: 187
Dudley

Thank you very much for your kind words. I am having a lot of fun building the pit and really look forward to flying both Mustangs that you and the A2A Team have so artfully recreated.

Take care
Ed

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:40 pm 
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A2A Chief Pilot
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Location: East Coast United States
Raceguy wrote:
Dudley

Thank you very much for your kind words. I am having a lot of fun building the pit and really look forward to flying both Mustangs that you and the A2A Team have so artfully recreated.

Take care
Ed


Flying our old girl using your pit will be about "as real as it gets." (That is without spending a LOT of cash :-)))))))
Dudley


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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:57 pm 
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Thanks Dudley. I must add that my Crew Chief has been very supportive during this project. This was no where near the cost of a real P-51, but not cheap either, yet she never hesitated when I said I needed or wanted something. She's a keeper!

OK, let's talk radios.

In March of 2015 I found a vintage radio for my Mustang pit and posted pics in this thread. This was right after the start of my build so after cleaning gold paint from the top and some general cleaning I put it aside to work on later. I kept thinking about the radio as I was not sure how I could make it work in the sim. I thought about adding lever switches that the radio buttons could activate but there is not a lot of room for switch mounting. At one point I thought about mounting it as a dummy and using something else for the radio.

A few weeks ago I dug out the radio and repainted the top and one placard. I left the sides as they were with a few scrapes and dings. The top was down to bare metal and the red was totally gone from one placard. After the top dried I used an Opti-Visor to see the details and added white to the letters then repainted the red placard. I then put it aside again to ponder the wiring as I worked on other parts of the project.

Yesterday I grabbed the radio and started doing some testing. I had removed all of the original wiring in 2015 so first I checked the lights. I have no idea what voltage they are so I attached a variable power source and started adding power little by little. I was shocked when each of the bulbs worked! They start to glow at about 6VDC but I didn’t push them too far. Since that went so well I sprayed some electrical cleaner on the original circuit board as it was a little sticky. When that dried I connected power to the board and again tested switch by switch. I should have bought a lottery ticket because the original board worked!

The following pics, with a little information, will tell the rest of the story.

Take care
Ed

The first three pics are the radio as purchased, cleaned up and the placard repainted. Some of the pics are from 2015 after initial cleaning.

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The next three pics show the top as purchased, cleaned up and repainted.

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This pic shows the original inside from the bulb side.

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With the old wiring gone I got out the soldering iron and first aid kit!

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This pic shows the original inside from the circuit board side

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And cleaned up and new wires added. (First aid kit not needed so far!! YAY)

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So, time to test all of the connections by adding power.

Success, button A pressed and the light is on!

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I flipped the radio master toggle and the light came on as it should.

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More buttons pushed and we are still green! Now I can put the first aid kit away for another day.

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:49 am 
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Master Sergeant
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:40 am
Posts: 1283
Location: Ontario, Canada. CYSH
:shock: What a great job on the clean up of the old radio box, looks like it has just come out of the factory :D

Keep smiling
Tug :)


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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:29 am 
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Thanks Tug!

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Posts: 187
Hello everyone

I decided that the radio was missing some fittings so I visited my source for aviation related equipment, Lowes Home Improvement, and picked up the needed devices.

I cut 60% off the reducer, sanded off the factory details and roughed it up to simulate a knurled knob. I also removed the details from elbow then inserted it into the reducer. I applied a coat of silver and when that was dry mixed up some flat black and white and liberally applied the mix. After a few minutes I wiped off 95% of the mix leaving a mottled color. The mix added more detail in the grooves of the knurled knob. A similar process was done for the smaller elbow.

I attached the large elbow to the original threads of the radio with two set screws. The smaller elbow was a good fit and threaded onto the original connection.

I ran the wires through the larger elbow and mounted the radio in the pit.

Thanks for checking out this update!

Take care
Ed

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:20 am 
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Location: Ontario, Canada. CYSH
Looks great, without the before and after pics I would have never known how you had done it. :D

Keep smiling
Tug :)


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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:24 am 
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Thanks Tug!

I like to support my aviation suppliers. Lowe's, Home Depot and Hobby Lobby just to name a few. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:22 pm 
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I have found a great tool for the shop that helps me see the problem when something is not working right . More on that later.

I had originally tested the radio connections on my bench using low power and everything worked. Yesterday I made all of the connections to the DTA 2250 USB board with the pit wires to check in the calibration tool. Nothing worked. OK, I rewired the lights going directly to the 2250. Nothing worked. I disconnected the lights to just test the switches. Nothing worked. I disconnected all but 1 of the switches. Nothing worked.

So, as I stood there looking at my pit, frustrated and REALLY disappointed that I may not be able to use the radio in the sim, guess what I noticed.

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See this area ^^^^^^^^ I had not connected the main cables!

What is the tool? It’s a mirror. I have found the problem and it’s me.

Oh, well. Now I have something to do today!

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:00 pm 
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:lol: That sounds like something that I would do :lol: Glad to see that I am not alone :wink: Nice that you found the problem though :D

Keep smiling
Tug :)


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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:25 am 
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Looking Great! Looks so real! Are you going to have a canopy on it? That would be cool. Now, you WILL do a nice video showing us everyting working when it's done....right?

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 Post subject: Re: P-51D cockpit build
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:03 am 
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Posts: 187
Thanks Tug and NM.

Regarding a canopy, this was supposed to be a 6 month build and next month will be two years. :roll: I agree it would add to the immersion, or suffocate me if I made it too airtight, but it's not in the plans at the moment. And now, you want a video, of everything working!! :shock: Testing goes like this. Before I flip a switch, I verify where the fire extinguisher is located, I turn my head, close my eyes REAL tight and scrunch down in the seat waiting for the flash of bright light because I crossed some wires. After the last few days this might be the biggest static model airplane ever built! :cry:

Take care
Ed

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