SimVimCockpit – Hardware

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The SimVimCockpit interface does not require any specialized and expensive electronic components, it has a “modular” structure based on the cheap, widely available, ready-to-use modules and one 16 MHz AVR microcontroller ATmega2560 (like the Arduino Mega and compatible board).

Of course some components, LED drivers, or stepper drivers may require basic soldering skills (like this breakout board).

The system architecture includes the parallel “address bus” (a set of signal wires) that is used to extend the number of inputs/outputs to hundreds (using simple input extension boards and output drivers) and allows you to make a full set of inputs/outputs for any complex cockpit.

Preliminary notes:

* If you are going to start building your cockpit for the first time you should realize that it could be a complex and very long process. You should have enough knowledge about aircraft systems, have handwork, wiring and soldering skills. Some knowledge about data structure of X-Plane would be useful.

Before start building your home cockpit with SimVim interface first read all wiring and configuration pages on this website, collect all needed components and then start wiring all needed switches, extensions, displays, LEDs, following the plan that you should have.

Control unit

As the central control unit the SimVimCockpit interface uses a single master board. As such, you can use one of the Mega2560-based controller boards available on the market. To make the controller work with SimVimCockpit you need to upload SimVim Firmware to it directly from the plugin menu.

All 70 controller pins are available for inputs and outputs (direct and extended), except those used for serial communication or reserved for Ethernet module (in LAN version). Potentially, you can have more than 500 digital inputs (plus extended button matrix slave board with 150+ inputs), up to 32 axis inputs, 300-500 LEDs, several LCDs and tens of 7-segment displays.

8 pins (# 22 … 29) are reserved as 4 address bus lines used for all extended inputs/outputs and 4 control lines for output devices:

The SimVimCockpit project is always in a constant development state, it still has a lot of potential, and its functionality can be improved and changed during the development process.

Though the main input/output connection options mostly stay intact, the configuration protocol and hardware connections can be changed, sometimes drastically.
Please don’t rush to make some kind of complex PCBs, modules for yourself (and especially proposing them to the community).

Besides, the SimVim architecture is specifically designed the way that anyone can simply buy ready-to-use, cheap modules and breakout boards listed on this website on the “Components” page, connect them as described on our pages, and that’s all.

next >> SimVim – Electronic Components