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23 August 2015

Finaly we are back again. Important changes!!! From now on you can find my website on a new URL
www.dakotaproject.dx.am. The old URL will still actif for a while but will no longer be updated.
We are still having some technical problems uploading some files from the download page. We are working on that issue and hope to get it fixed soon.

23 February 2013: You Tube

From now on you can enjoy some short films on you tube of the cockpit in action. Go the page film for the links to different films.
I hope you will enjoy it and I'm looking forward to your feedback.

 

12 October 2012: Upgrade to Windows 7 OS.

The article is finished and can be found in section software.

 

09 April 2012: Windows 7 upgrade.

After my old PC crashed, I was forced to bay a new PC. Not an easy task if you know I still use a parallel and a serial port. I wanted it integrated on the motherboard. The next question was, would it be possible to run all the old hardware of the cockpit on the new Windows 7 OS. I still wanted to use the flight instruments from Simkits and the modified version of the Velleman K8000 interface board. There are no updates for W7 for these two devises.

After some research I found a motherboard with a parallel- and serial port. We have installed two hard drives each with his own operating system. The first with W7 and the second with XP.

In an upcoming article I will describe how I resolved the different problem I encountered. This could be very useful information for anyone with the same problem.

 

16 June 2011

The new space is active. The new URL is http://users.skynet.be/dc3project

From now on this will be the main web space. I will link the old URL to the new on so you will be transferred automatically to the new URL.

 

15 June 2011 Very important notification

Due to changes of provider this web site will move to a new URL. The new web space still needs to be activated but will probably have the following URL. http://users.skynet.be/dc3project .

As soon as I have the confirmation I will let you all know on this page. Presuming this server space is still active.

I hope to meet you all again on the new URL. The contact e-mail adores is also changed see contact

Sorry for the discomfort.

27 February 2011

The translation of the article how to connect a switch to FS is completed.

16 February 2011

The Visual Basic program on how to connect a switch to FS is finished and tested with success. We are now working on the translation of the article. You can already download the program from the download page.

Have fun.

15 February 2011

After some time of inactivity we are back at work. The long awaited article about how to connect a switch to FS is now being written.
We are going to use a new piece of electronics for it named the K8061. Lets say the newest generation of the K8000 of Velleman. It is a USB version, so a bit easier to connect now a days. It is a bit more limited in in- and outputs than its older brother. But it will do the job.

At this moment I'm putting the last hand on the VB program. But it already works for 95%.
I have connected two pushbuttons to it and a one ON/OFF/ON switch witch we will program as a flap lever. With these switches we will demonstrate how to program a direct FSUIPC offset or use a keyboard command.

 

K8061

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14 February 2011

We will be attending the 20 the anniversary of the FSCB club. See poster.
If you want to come the entrance is for free. See you.

 

20 years FSCB

29 October 2010

FSweekend is comming up very soon at 6 and 7 November. It is taking place in the Aviodrome in Lelystad Netherland.

I will be attending there with the Belgium Flight Simulator Club (FSCB). So if you want to have shat or want more information of my project, dont hasitate to come by.

Aviodrome

 

14 August 2009

Verry important announcement

Due to changes by the provider, the URL of this website will change.
Until 1 October the old URL will still be available, after that it will stop.
From now the new URK is available.

http://home.base.be/verlejan

4 May 2009

On April 10 I became a member of the DC-3 Airways Virtual Airlines(see link for webadress). A nice club where you can find all sorts of information about the DC-3. From flight training to flight plans and a lively forum where you can ask all kinds of question. They have members who still fly the DC-3 today and can provide you with the right information.

Thanks to them I found the flight plans of the old routes of SABENA in Europe and in Congo.
But more spectacular are the flights over the Himalayas. (The Hump). These flight go up to 20.000ft and when you fly them with real weather you are in for a big adventure.

The Hump route Baker 1

 

01 December 2008

I will start with the sad news first. Our faithful hangar cat "Snoopy" has finnished his job on this earth with greath pride and glory and has now moved on to the eternal hunting-grounds. We will miss him.

Snoopy In Memoriam

His successor "Jaimmy" is still a bit playful and bashful and for the time being she doesn't want to be photographed. Either way the territory stays well guarded and kept free of all unwanted intruders.

In the meanwhile the pilot seat now has the same roller mechanism has the co-pilot seat. So visitors with long legs can now also take place on the pilot side. We also are making plans to make additional functions work. Like the Cowl flaps, carburetor heaters, tail wheel lock, aileron- and rudder trim. I will keep you informed of the latest progress.

19 September 2008

Time again for a little update. We have started on writing a new article on how to connect a switch to FS via the K8000. The example program still needs to bo developed in VB. So it may take still some time before the whole article will be finished. In the mean time I am also working on building the main instruments for the copilots side (Altimeter, artificial horizon, airspeed, climb and descent rate, slip meter and RMI). The main purpose for building these instruments is to take them to events as demo material to show people that it is possible to make gauges yourself. As a preview I placed a photo of a part of the altimeter here.

Tech draw Altimeter

Like you will notice this will again be a peace of artwork. We will keep you posted on the progress.

17 July 2008

The second part of the article about making your own management program is finished. For clarity I decided to make a separate article about writing data to FS and not mixing it with the connection with the K8000. I made a new page to explain how to connect a switch to FS. Of course this part still needs to be written. In the download page you can now find the WriteFS.zip file as example on how to program the write instructions in VB.

18 June 2008

Finally, a new update. Professionally times are still very busy. That's the reason why things are moving at a very slow passe. From the beginning of the week my annual vacation started. Between all the preparations of the holiday I found the time to make the new example program in VB about how to write data to FS. The only missing part is the connection with the K8000, or a simulation of the interface if you don't have one. This will give a demonstration how to connect a switch to FS. I have my laptop with me during my holiday, so if I want I can program this last bit. I will give you an update when I'm back.

4 may 2008

The translation of part one of the article about writing your own management program is finished. The second part is still under heavy construction.

1 March 2008

Time is passing by so fast. The year is nearly started and it is already March. Due to professional busy times we didn't have time to work on the cockpit. The only thing we did was making test flights. With these durability tests some minor problems came up that needs new and urgent attention. Some parts of the electronics are not up to the job and need to be changed.

Second part we are working on is a new article about how to make your own management program in Visual Basic. We start by explaining how to read out variables from FS. For this I wrote a small program that explains all this and that can be downloaded from the download page. It is an open program so you can see the source code and use it in your own program. The full article is still under construction. It is only available in Dutch at the moment. See Interface programma tussen Flight Simulator en cockpit hardware maken.

21 December 2007

Because the news articles start to become a little bit out of date. But they are possibly still interesting enough for some people, to follow the historical overview. I decided to put them in the news archive. This will be looked after by "Snoopy" the mascot of the project.

6 December 2007

Professionally it are hard times and so for the moment my hobby is running on a slow pass. But we are still working on the fuel indicator. This thing has given me some serious headaches. A few weeks ago, during a short vacation, I started working on it again. With the necessary measuring instruments and a test board I succeeded in making the fuel indicator work with the DAC of the K8000. According my test results and calculations it should be possible to let the indicator work on the tension off the output of the digital analogue converter off the K8000. But after a week of test flying the thing decided otherwise and the chip started smelling and broke down. So it seems I over overestimated the capacity of the chip. So this means I have to start all over again. However there is one thing I don't need to do again, that is the programming to let the indicator work. After finding out the right way to calculate the variables it seems to work fine. Hopefully we have some more luck next time.

6 December 2007

Professionally it are hard times and so for the moment my hobby is running on a slow pass. But we are still working on the fuel indicator. This thing has given me some serious headaches. A few weeks ago, during a short vacation, I started working on it again. With the necessary measuring instruments and a test board I succeeded in making the fuel indicator work with the DAC of the K8000. According my test results and calculations it should be possible to let the indicator work on the tension off the output of the digital analogue converter off the K8000. But after a week of test flying the thing decided otherwise and the chip started smelling and broke down. So it seems I over overestimated the capacity of the chip. So this means I have to start all over again. However there is one thing I don't need to do again, that is the programming to let the indicator work. After finding out the right way to calculate the variables it seems to work fine. Hopefully we have some more luck next time.

29 October 2007

In the mean time we have been very busy preparing for the FS weekend in Aviodrome in Lelystad in the Netherlands. We have made a new demo film to highlight the newest things. We named it 'Atlantic Ferry Organisation'. You can see a preview of this film on the web page FS weekend. (Sorry no longer available since 07 November 2007)

Further we have been working hard on the Outside Temperature gauge. This instrument has given me more than one headache. Then it worked than again it didn't without changing anything. Also the programming was not so easy. I could find the right offset in FSUIPC at first. Eventually every thing turned out well and everything works as it should. Now I can easily calculate the TAS (True airspeed) using the temperature gauge. Here is a photo of it installed in the cockpit.

OAT

 

15 September 2007

Every ship needs a figure head as a good-luck charm, on a airship it is in the form of a nose art.
On my cockpit it is become "Lucy Quipment". A very applicable name, because my cockpit is put togehter out of loose parts (loose equipment). This wonderfull peace of art is painted by my brothers son, Jens Verley. A big upcomming talent. See for youself. I am a big lover of Nose art and I am very pleased with this wonderfull beautification.
Hopefully she will bring us a lot of good luck.

Lucy Quipment

 

27 August 2007

After the sad news last time we have some better news today.
The motor is completely revised and turns like new. Even better then before, it makes less noise. The motherboard and CPU stopped working because the CPU cooler broke down. Everything is again tested and approved. Luckily no files were erased from the hard disk and it just took me some hours to get it up and running again.
All of this again showed me how fragile the system is and that I urgently need to invest in a good external hard disk and back-up system to save all the vital files. The extend of all these file is over 15 DVD's. A bit to match for a daily back-up on disk. So this has now become my priority number one. The construction of the cockpit and instruments are put on hold until this is resolved.

09 August 2007

Our DC3 is grounded for the moment due to a major technical problem on the motor. The main PC has broken down and is now being serviced. This means that I'm grounded for the moment, there is nothing I can do about it. It will take the technical staff some time to get it up and running again. I hope next time I can bring you all some better news

Regards,

Major Test pilot

15 July 2007

Again a month has past since my last news update. In the meanwhile we have been very busy working on the outside temperature gauge. The housing is completed, we just need to rework the air core and mount it on the faceplate and make a indicator needle.
We also made a table for the navigator. So we can lay down a map and plot our course and recalculate our course correction enroute. In the cockpit itself I placed also a document holder on the pedestal. So I can put all my documents I need for a flight in there. This keeps the cockpit clean and efficient.
I also made a front of two temperature instruments. Carb Air temp. and Cyl temp. These two instruments are not really necessary to fly the plane. They are only of important's to check the engines. Because I never use them I just put them in to complete the look in the cockpit.
The fuel selector instruction plates are also made. Now I no longer need to guess witch tank I selected. Very handy. Until so far the latest developments.

Outside temp gauge Outside temp gauge Outside temp gauge Outside temp gauge

 

04 June 2007

The article about the construction and mounting of the whisky compass is almost translated.
There is still one very important instrument missing in the cockpit to be able to do 'dead reckoning'. This is the out site temperature gauges. Without this instrument it is impossible to calculate the TAS and without the True Air Speed you can't calculate the ground speed and without this you don't now how much fuel you need. So this small instrument has to be in the cockpit to fly properly. Of course we still need a fuel indicator as well. This means we have to divide our time again over these two instruments.

 

06 May 2007

Again we are back on track. The housing of the whisky compass is finished. All we need to do now is to fix this masterpiece in to the cockpit. Behind the cockpit, were all the wiring are coming together, we did a big reorganisation. Because of the growing amount of instruments, the power supply wiring's also increased. Due to the big amount of wires it became a tangle of wires. Now everything is neatly put on a bus. All power wires are now equipped with an eye and screwed on the bus. Additionally we expanded the signal wiring for the hydraulic gauges and the compass. The renewal of all this took me a about a week but now it is again very simple to add a new instrument.

The hydraulic gauges are now mounted in the cockpit and work very well.

Hydraulische instr. Hydraulische instr. Hydraulische instr.

24 April 2007

The Mechanical part of the Whisky compass is starting to get its final shape. The complete inner part is finished, only the outside housing needs to be build. So now we can start testing the cockpit management software for this instrument. I only need to make a formula to recalculate the degrees, coming from FS, to the number of steps of the stepper motor. The read out function is tested and approved in the test form.

Whisky Compass

15 April 2007

Yesterday Dirk Anderseck, the founder of FSBUS, visited me. We exchanged a bit our ideas and after showing him my short film " The Berlin Airlift" we made a little flight together. Afterwards we talked a bit more about the technical side of the cockpit. It was again a fine day.

What the Whisky compass is concerned we made some good progress here. Thanks to the help of my cousin we managed to adapt the existing hex file for the compass to the specifics of the stepper motor I use. To find out how to recalculate the values for the new stepper motor would be almost impossible for someone who doesn't now anything of assembler. Luckily my cousin is a wizard in mathematics and know something of programming in assembler (only I didn't now this last thing) He managed to find the formula in no time and gave me the correct new values, this time in hexadecimal. Further he put me on the right track to understand and adapt the differences between the different version of MPLab. So after typing in the 14 pages of coding we finally managed to make a working new hex file. (After of course rereading the code for 10 times and correcting every little mistake) After testing the hardware all seemed to work like described in Mike Powell's book. Now we just need to build the instrument itself. We are again looking forward to install the new instrument. This will make the cockpit look even more real.

16 March 2007

There is again a lot coming up. First of all the housing of the hydraulic gauges is finally finished. It just needs to painted and mounted in the cockpit.
Our Whisky compass makes progress but unfortunately we again have a set back. The original firmware of the PIC that manages the stepper motor is limited to 800 steps. This means that with the type of stepper motor I use, the compass only turns 45° instead of 360°. This means that I need to adjust the firmware and set the limits higher. Because our dear friend Mike Powell is working hard on his second book and is behind schedule he isn't in the possibility do this for me. Unfortunately my knowledge of assembler is zero so this will again be a challenge to try and work it out myself. Last time when I was building my first instrument I also attempted this but after two months I still didn't have a working hex file. This could be because I had a different version of the MPlab IDE than the one Mike used for his book. Lets hoop that it works this time.

The project of the Fuel indicator is put to hold for the moment. After my last visit to Florent I explained him how I thought it could work. After a bit of thinking we discovered that I needed to include a inverter to the design. To make sure our theory is correct I need to make a test set-up to see if everything works fine. But for now we first want to concentrate on the unfinished things before we move on.

So that is it again. Ho yes, for those of you who like to see the cockpit in action I put a little film on the site that shows the engine startup.

Hydraulic Housing Hydraulic Housing

12 February 2007

Today I received a gift out of a million by post. It is a real logo in relief of the Pratt & Whitney engines. This really is the finishing touch. This unique logo was given to me by no less a person than the maintenance manager of the DDA Mr. Leo van Heijningen as his appreciation for my project. I am highly honoured to receive this from him. I placed this unique piece in a very special place in the cockpit. By this way I want to thank You again for this wonderful gift.

10 February 2007

We are now working hard on a new design of the print board for the fuel indicator. After some new testing to see if I can connect the four different DAC (digital to analogue converter) to this instrument. It seemed at first that I needed to install a second internal switch to be able to select the different input channels for each fuel tank. But after a good analysis it seems it can be connected in a way that I don't need the switch after all. But before making any electrical connections I need to sure my theory is right, therefore I will discus my idea first with Florent our expert in the field.

Fuel Indicator

The second thing under heavy construction is the 5th version of the VB cockpit management program. This will incorporate all the operations for all the newly made and planned instruments. And some fine tuning of existing features. All this is again a hell of job because the program is becoming bigger and bigger and the number of variables is increasing. This will occupy me for some time now.

 

27 January 2007

Time to celebrate. The english part of the website is now completed. All articles are translated.
From now on I can start concentrating myself again on building. So come and visit my web site from time to time to see the progress on the compass and fuel indicator. I'm planning on making some more technical articles on how to make print boards, the basics on how to make a simple visual Basic program to read and write data to FS via FSUIPC.

11 January 2007

The last few weeks I invested a lot off time in the new web site. Translating some articles and making a brand new virtual cockpit tour. Because a lot of people always ask me how does your cockpit look like at the moment? Now everyone can see it in the cockpit tour. There are still 7 articles to translate and then all pages can read in Dutch and English. After this it will be more than time again to start building the unfinished compass, fuel indicator etc.

That's all for now.

30 December 2006

A big part of the English translated articles are now on the new web site. There are still half of them who need to be translated and put in place. This is a heck of job.

I wish You all best for next Year 2007, stay in good health and the rest will come.

New Year

26 December 2006

So to hear on the first feedback of the new web site al seems to work fine. The people who work with Fire fox also can use the facilities on the web without problems. This was the main reason for me to start and build a new web site. I'm glad all seems to work now. I invested a great amount of time in it. Now the English part of the site needs to be taken care of.

Next to building the new web site I also did some testing with my Fuel indicator. This instrument is a real Dakota instrument from 1948. I bought it at the Antwerp Airfare some years ago from the Sabena technics old timer club. The funny thing on all this is that after all this time this instrument still seems to work well. It can be steered by the DAC (digital/analog converter) of the K8000. It only needs a tension that varies from 0.2V to 1.2V. This is enough to make the indicator go from 0 to its maximum.
By now adding a potentiometer I can scale down the DAC to 1/10 so the pointer can be positioned much more precise.
Now it is just a question of making a print board, connect it and adapt the program.

The last project in progress is the magnetic compass. Here for we are make up an new design. This all will be steered by a stepping motor. The print board is already designed, it is just a question of finding the time to put it al together and test it. There should be more the 24 hours in a day. What is it great to have a passion in live.

25 December 2006

The Dutch part of the new web site is now fully operational. So if you encounter any problems with missing links please contact me so can fix it. Thank you for your feedback.

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30 november 2006

The two air core instruments are completed and work perfect. Now all we need is a small panel to put the to instruments in so we can mount them in the cockpit. In the mean time we made some improvements on the copilots seat. Before it was to hard adjust. What was sometimes a problem for visitors with lang legs to get in and out the cockpit. There for we made ar roller mechanism that can be fitted underneath the seat , a bit similar like the real seat. With a simple but ingenious blocking mechanism the seat is now easily adjustable.
Here some photos of the last novelties.

news6 news7

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18 November 2006

The problem with renaming the air core instrument is now solved. The solution was to write the new name directly in to the Eprom via the PIC programmer. It still doesn't work directly via the firmware. Don't ask me why? I think there must be a mistake somewhere in the program it self or something else. Anyway the instrument is working perfect now and react very good to the given commands. I can start making the second air core instrument. When finished we just need to build them in to the cockpit and connect them. The next job will be the cowl flaps. I have all the necessary switches but is still need to find out how to connect them.
The Mjoy 16 is also connected to controls of the cockpit en seem to work perfect. It always a bit exciting to change things that are working by unknown parts. But if all works well it certainly was worth all the hassle.

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18 October 2006

After a quite and well earned vacation we are back in business. The first air core instrument is as good as finished. The only problem I have is to rename the instrument with a unique name. Probably there is a mistake in the PIC program, most likely the received name isn't put in the right memory position. For the rest it is working in perfect order and receives the right data.
Here is a photo for those who wonder how it looks like. This is a hydraulic pressure gauge of the landing gear.

news5

In the mean time we also made the Mjoy16. This is a DIY self constructed joystick with 8 axis and 32 pushbuttons. It can be connected by USB. A fantastic new peace of electronics. More about this in a new articles on witch I'm working on.
What else can you expect. I'm now working on new web site so people who work with the web browser Fire fox can also access my web pages. This means I need to start scratch and need to rebuild the whole site. So it will take some time for this will be finished and working.
So you see there still is long way to go.

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28 June 2006

The test with the first air core instrument is successful. After some set-backs it seems luck is on our side again.
After changing the defective IC who broke down due to overpower. We started testing again but without any result.
After a good tip from Mike, I tested the air core first without the electronics and it didn't work well. I took a new air core and this on seems to work well. After connecting it to the electronic steering all works perfect now. Here is photo of the test disposition.

news4

Now just finishing the housing and the first air core instrument is born.

Regards

Tech Sergeant  J.V.

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© Verley Jan 2007-2017