X-Trident AB412 idle stop switch compatibility mode

Many of us sim pilots love flying the great AB412 by X-Trident, and some probably noticed that there are no keybindings for an idle stop switch on the collective head. That kinda surprised me, given that the 412 collective head is very close to release now =) Thankfully, guys on X-Plane forums (including the 412 developer) were very kind to point me in the right direction, and I’ve been able to write a very simple script to fix that.

What it does, is it simply assigns PgUp and PgDown buttons to the idle switch. I will then be able to send these key presses from the Simchair firmware, in a similar way to the DCS Huey compat mode.

For the script to work you’ll need the FlyWithLua plugin, extract it to your XPlane11\Resources\plugins folder. After that, put the script to XPlane11\Resources\plugins\FlyWithLua\Scripts folder (remove the “please read the manual.lua” file). If you want to change keys for the switch, you have to find out their numbers with a sniffer. Put it to the same folder, reload all Lua files from the plugin options menu in X-Plane, and it will show you the numbers you can put to the script instead of PgUp and PgDown.


AB412 collective head showcase!

Have you ever dreamed of starting the engine of DCS Huey without touching your mouse or keyboard? Now you can, with this open source Simchair MKIII collective lever. I’ve been working hard on software for the last couple of days. The head now supports 4 different switch operation modes to cover all your needs, 3-way  mode selector switch option (which will triple your buttons or spring-loaded switches number), IDLE CUTOFF compatibility mode for DCS Huey. Because of the latter, the realistic startup procedure can be performed, with one exception.

In a real heli, the idle stop button controls a solenoid valve. if the battery will die in the wrong moment during startup  (that happens sometimes), this valve may not open and you won’t be able to shut down, resulting in a burned engine. That’s why you want to position throttle just a little bit off the idle stop position on the decrease side, but you can’t, due to how DCS handles throttle operation past the idle cutoff switch. This is really a minor issue, still, if you want the procedure to be as realistic as possible, connect an external power prior to startup. Note that when flying in multiplayer, chat window has to be closed when using idle stop related operations with the collective.

The fresh software snapshot with all the goodies included is available on GitHub


AB412 collective test print photos and thoughts on software


Finished the first test print of the head, and it looks good! Seems like it will be quite interesting from a point of software: with 3-way switches, there will be 17 buttons + 2 hat switches, and if we add a mode switch, it will triple this number. The question is, whether the master controller will be able to poll all this stuff and return values to windows without lags (in windows joysticks have weird limitations of 32 buttons, 1 hat switch and 2 7 axes per piece, so it will have to look as several joysticks to work everywhere). In the worst case scenario, it will be a semi-scale head with 2 hats, 11 buttons, 1 rotary axis and (probably) a mode switch.

Master controller software bug fix, please update

When working on a flight test video, I noticed that emergency trim release with SENS_SWITCH function had not been working properly if force trim release button was pressed (actually the case when you may need emergency trim release function most). This was just fixed, so please update your master controller software.

Download it from GitHub

IKEA GUNDE upgrade for better comfort

An upgrade for the IKEA GUNDE chair that serves as a frame for Simchair components starting from MKII version (it was used in MKI version as well, but the frame was a separate piece of steel then). This particular chair was chosen because it’s very lightweight (something around 1 kg), it’s foldable, and it’s cheap. It is important, as Simchair will support flying FPV RC aircraft in the future, so one has to be able to carry stuff to the field.  I use it not only as a flight chair but as a work chair as well, so I decided to make it more comfortable. You can fit two IKEA MALINDA pillows to it, using the 10x20mm aluminum rectangular pipe with new printed parts. I find it quite comfortable and will probably add parts for several back angles to choose from. The current inclination of the back is the same as in the original chair.

I have added new parts to the frame_parts.zip archive.