Build your own home cockpit simulator with SimVimCockpit!

This project is designed for every aviation enthusiast who has ever dreamed of building his own cockpit simulator, as a handy tool that makes it much easier for you.

SimVimCockpit is an extremely easy to use control interface for cockpit simulator. Spending just a few minutes you can connect some switches/LEDs and assign their functions using SimVim Configuration tool.

Supported systems: Linux, OS X, Windows

Cockpit Controls:

Up to 500 inputs for toggle switches, buttons, encoders and multi-position switches can be assigned, this will cover all your needs in creating controls for a cockpit of any complexity.

Up to 31 (16, one extendable) analog inputs can be allocated for axis controls (or rotary switches) that all can be calibrated from menu in the plugin that allows you to set the axis zero-position and movement range (auto-saved in a file).

Output to Instruments, displays, annunciators, etc.

Hundreds of digital outputs are supported (for LEDs, lamps, relays). Some of them can be assigned directly to any free Arduino pin, for others 16-output expansion boards are used.

Up to 16 7-segment LED displays can be connected, with many configurable display options, including: display type, more than one parameter displayed (with offset), conditional output (dependence of other parameters), etc.

For pointer instruments you can use either stepper motors or moving-coil meters (servo will be added later). Nonlinear scale mapping is supported for all gauges.

Other options:

One configuration file for different planes with a "matching" file in each plane folder, if necessary. Any parameter state can be stored in memory stack with a button and recalled at any time. Any input/output is configurable "by condition" (can be activated/deactivated based on other parameters conditions).

    What you need to start:

  • One Arduino Mega as controller board
  • Ethernet module (if you will use Ethernet connection instead of USB)
  • Download SimVim Plugin and install it to X-Plane
  • Test connection following the "Getting Started" steps below
Then you can connect all input controls and Output devices to your Arduino and configure every input and output in SimVim Configurator.

Schematic diagram

Here is a simplified diagram of SimVimCockpit system. It shows principally, how all inputs and outputs are connected (the PWM and servo outputs are not included in the diagram):

Note: SimVim plugin is also a core part of our SimVimPanel that displays instruments on separate computer and receives data from the plugin independently from Arduino I/O.

Getting started / Download

- SimVimCockpit software

First start and Input/Output test

If you have "fresh" Arduino, that has no previously uploaded SimVim firmware, follow the steps below. If you plan to use LAN version, attach an Ethernet module to you Arduino board before and connect it to your router.
  1. Do not connect Arduino to USB port before X-Plane start.
  2. When X-Plane is fully loaded, connect Arduino to your computer USB port.
  3. ! If it was connected before X-Plane launch, unplug and plug it back!
  4. Open the "Upload Firmware" window from SimVim plugin menu.
  5. Press the "Detect Arduino" button in the "Status" window.
  6. --------------------------------------------------------------------
  7. A submenu should appear with the new USB port detected.
  8. Select correct Arduino type from the list (default is Mega-2560)
  9. Set the "Ethernet" checkbox if you will use Ethernet module.
  10. --------------------------------------------------------------------
  11. Click "UPLOAD". Wait until firmware upload is completed (5..10 s)
  12. When the upload is completed, the plugin will connect to this Arduino.
  13. The connected board will appear in SimVim Status window.
  14. --------------------------------------------------------------------
  15. Connect a toggle switch to pin #5, GND and throw it on/off
  16. The Pitot switch state will changing accordingly with your switch position
  17. The on-board LED on your Arduino will change its state (Pitot Heat is on/off).
  18. --------------------------------------------------------------------

After successfull first test you can be sure that SimVim plugin communicates with your controller, and you can start configuring it in the Configurator.

SimVim Connection, notes

- Once the firmware is uploaded to your Arduino board you no longer need to unplug the USB cable before X-Plane launch. If you will use Ethernet connection then you don't need USB cable to be connected until you will need to upload new version of firmware.

- You never need to upload the firmware again to change input/output configuration, all you need to do is create new data configuration file and connect all input/output devices to your Arduino correctly.

- If you changed the data.cfg file while X-Plane is running, just click the "Reconnect" button in the Status window or select "Reconnect" from the SimVim plugin menu to let plugin read new configuration and send it to controller.

Firmware Update

If your Arduino already has SimVimCockpit firmware and a new version of the firmware becomes available, the plugin will inform you of this and present you the Upload window with the options already filled in.

  • For Arduino with USB connection, just be sure that all options are correct and click "Upload".
  • For LAN connection, connect your Arduino's USB cable to the computer (or disconnect and connect it again) and click "Detect Arduino". After that, check the options and click "Upload".

- If you have any problems with the connection, please let us know by e-mail.


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