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Standby Gauge Software by Dave Ault

(Original thread started on 12-15-08 by Dave Ault)

NOTE: Dave Ault's website is down and his availability here at the hangar is minimal.  However, his Standby gauges are available here at the bottom of this post along with support from the members of Hangar45!  This thread documents Dave's progress while developing the three standby gauges for our Lear45 simulators.  If you have any questions or issues, please post in one of the related threads and we will be glad to help.

"Thank you Dave for your dedication to these three wonderful programs that help bring life to our Lear45 simulators!"

 

Photo of Dave's gauges working in Scott's sim!

Dave 1

 

I have started on the Standby Gauges and I am currently working on the Altimeter. I am using wx-DevCpp with the Allegro 4.0 Games Programming library. Artwork done using Photoshop. Keep an eye out for all the updates on the three standby gauges!

 

(Posted by Ron Rollo on 12-15-08)

Hey Dave, Eric and I were just talking about the standby gauges today. I think I am going to simplify my build and go with your software rather than dealing with mechanical gauges. I was also telling Eric that there are some hardware parts that we can fabricate to put in front of the LCD gauges that you are programming to give them an even more realistic look like pictured below:

Ron 12

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 12-16-08)

Added the other three wheels to the Standby Altimeter Gauge to show Altitude.  Displays in feet whether 'International Unit of Measure' is set to Feet or Meters in FSX.  Next job is to get the wheels to look like they are rotating and add shading to make them look round. Then add the Needle Pointer.

 

(Posted by Ron Rollo on 12-16-08)

I am thrilled that guys like you and Jason are working on these software projects. I am 99% sure that I have abandoned the mechanical route all together to go with the LCD approach.

 

For the new guys out there following the hangar threads:

There are at least two companies that make mechanical gauges for various simulator aircraft, but currently, there is nothing that is close enough to satisfy most of us Lear45 builders. The other big issue is that the Lear45 gauges are significantly smaller than the ones available on the market which means we would either have to modify the gauges or settle for a set that is larger than what should be there. This is why Dave is working hard to develop a LCD solution for the three standby's. This will also make the building of the MIP much easier and cheaper for the home builders.

 

I am planning on using two 15 inch ThinkVision monitors and a 15 inch "Wide Screen" monitor to cover ALL of the MIP. Some might say that 15 inch monitors are too short, but remember we are simulating CRT's. Take a closer look at this real picture of the copilot's DU's and you will see that about a half inch is not used around the inside perimeter of the bezels. In other words, the actual display is smaller than the bezel! This is how we can get away with using the 15 inch LCD screens. This also gives use more room in the middle of the MIP so that everything fits nicely and we don't have to stretch the overall MIP out. And the best part is, we can use LCD standby gauge programing like what Dave Ault is working on:

Ron 13

 

(Posted by Shane Barnes on 12-17-08)

Ron, I like that idea, just happen to have a few 15" monitors already! A few dollars saved to go toward 007! One question concerning Dave Ault's program, What program will it need to work with FSX? Will it work directly with FSX or will it need an additional program?

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 12-17-08)

Hi Shane, it requires the FSUIPC plugin for FSX. If you want to run it on a machine that is networked to the FSX machine then you will also need the WideFS plugin. Both plugins are available from Pete Dowson's site:

 

http://www.schiratti.com/dowson.html

 

I have never run the MS flight sims earlier than FSX. I believe that there are differences between some of the FSUIPC offsets for each FS version LJ45 Model but if FS9 or earlier versions use the same offsets that I have used for FSX then I don't see why they would not work.  The FSUIPC software development kit says that it supports FS98, 2000, 2002, 2004 & FSX.

 

The other thing that may prevent these programs working on earlier versions is how each learjet 45 model has been programmed i.e for the CWP, if the LJ45 model in FS9 does not set the variables correctly for certain failures then these warnings would not show. My gut feeling is that the standby gauges have a better chance of working with the earlier versions than the more complex RMU and CWP. I hope to release the Altimeter this weekend so if someone could then try it with earlier FS versions and post whether it worked then that would be great. I would also be interested in how well the RMU and CWP programs work with pre FSX versions of FS.

 

UPDATE:

I have finished my Learjet 45 Standby Altimeter Program and it is now available to download. Additionally, I have started my version of the ADI Standby Instrument. I'm still working on the artwork at the moment and will try to make it look as much like a real gauge as possible.

 

Ron, I will add the option to turn off the orange line in the middle so a real one can be used if required as requested. It should be finished before I go back to work ( Jan 5th ).

 

I have managed to get loads done to my ADI program tonight and hopefully it will be released in a couple of nights time. Here's some latest pics. You can see from the second pic that I have included the option of turning the bezel display off as requested by Ron.

 

(Posted by Ron Rollo on 12-28-08)

This is perfect for what I have in mind for myself and others. (Mechanical gauges are now a bad dream in the past, at least for me.) This is surely the way to go and save tons of time and money.

 

This new gauge with just the scale visible gives builders the satisfaction of fabricating some of the stationary parts without all the complexity of the moving parts! We will also be able to keep the proper scale with the aircraft, unlike what the over sized mechanical gauges have to offer at the present time. It will look so real that an observer would have to be right on top of it to know that it is an LCD!  Thanks Dave

 

(Posted by Jason Hite on 12-29-08)

Dave, from one developer to another, you leave me speechless once again. Great stuff.

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 12-29-08)

First of all thanks for your feedback guys, I really appreciate your comments. Its great to think that others are finding this stuff useful.  My ADI program is now finished ( two down, one to go ).

 

Features Include:

* Connects to simulator ( FSX ) via FSUIPC / WideFS ( Tested with FSUIPC V4.306 & WideClient V6.768 ).

* Realistic display, based on actual Learjet 45 Standby ADI.

* Bare Mode - Option not to display the bezel or shadows. Allow users to use it behind an existing bezel.

* Resizable.

* Remembers the position and size on the screen.

* Works with Windows XP & Vista.

* Source code included (Tutorial available that explains how to set up the programming environment ).

* Optimized code to reduce network traffic and CPU load.

* Shadows to give a 3D effect ( Shadows can be disabled to reduce CPU load on older systems ).

* Power off indicator.

 

I can only test this with FSX so if someone could try it with FS9 or older and let me know if it is okay then that would be great.  Also I would love a photo of my Gauges running in a MIP ( I haven't built mine yet ) that I could put on my website, so if anyone could do this for me then that would be great.

 

UPDATE:

I have made a couple of small changes to my Standby ADI (Attitude Director Indicator) Program.  There was a small bug that caused the "Not Connected" message to be displayed longer than it should have been.  I have also added the feature that when all power is lost, the scale stops moving.

 

(Posted by Scott Wegner on 01-02-09)

I put in my MIP in. For now it will show all three gauges thus far. I have one comment. I was running the PM GAIFR gauges before as standbys and they were nicely visible. For whatever reason, your gauges aren't standing out as much on my LCD monitor. They are almost a little to subdued. I am thinking it may be the shading you did that causes them to be a little dark in the panel. This of course will be a preference for the user but even looking at the gauges on this site in pictures they are a little dark to me. Off course, that probably makes them more life like but since there is no eyebrow lighting like a real gauge, they may need to be brightened up some.

 

UPDATE:

Looking again I need to get Plexi in front of the gauges and that will probably make a difference)

 

Here is a shot of Dave's gauges in my MIP:

Scott 2

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 01-02-09)

WOW! Thanks for this Scott, the pictures are great.  I'm really pleased with how these look when running in the MIP. Within a week or so I should have another one to fill that blank space.

 

Regarding your earlier post, I see what you mean about the brightness. I am currently working on V1.02 of the ADI which will better simulate the removal of power from the gauge. It will stop working after a random time to simulate the Gyro slowing down and finally stopping. I have increased the brightness of the scale for this release.

 

Regarding brightness: All my Gauges including the CWP can be twealed for colour and brightness etc to suite different monitors. For example if you look in the C:\Program Files\lj45_ADI\ directory you will see a file called artwork.bmp. You can edit this with something like Photoshop of the free Gimp editor and change the brightness, Color, Contrast etc of any part of the Gauge.

 

Thanks again for taking these pictures, it has made me want to start building my MIP as soon as possible!

 

UPDATE:

Version 1.02 of my Standby ADI Gauge is now available.  I have slightly increased the scale brightness and also now correctly handle the scenario of total power loss to the gauge. i.e it now simulates the Gyro stopping after a period of having no power.

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 01-05-09)

I was contacted today with the suggestion of adding a feature to my gauges that would allow them to be rotated for those people that wanted to run their center monitors vertically but could not rotate the screen using the graphics drivers.

 

I have added this feature to my ADI and Altimeter Standby gauges ( press 'a' to change the angle). I will do the same for my RMU and CWP but these may take a little longer as they are more complicated.

 

Additionally, I have finally started work on the last of my Standby Gauges (the Airspeed Indicator). I had assumed that this would be the easiest of the three gauges to program but with its non linear scale & separate rotating Mach scale I have changed my mind.

 

(Posted by Rick Trantham on 01-12-09)

I'll second that. I started on a printable Illustrator version for my analog gauge plate a while ago and it's challenging for sure. It looks like you've made some good progress.

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 01-17-09)

My Learjet 45 Standby ASI (Airspeed Indicator) Program V1.00 is now completed and available.  Phew! That's the last of the Standby Instruments finished. I have had a request to write an 'Angle of Attack meter' so will have a look at that next.

 

(Posted by Scott Wegner on 01-18-09)

Here they are....All three of Dave's wonderful gauges! Note that RMUs are in beta and from Jason at Flight Deck Software. In case you are wondering about backdrop scenery...this is Chicago heading east toward Lake Michigan. The plane is really not pitched down as far as it looks (as you can see by Dave's ADI) but I was looking slightly down with TrackIR. Scenery is FSX with UTX, GEX, FEX, and the new Megascenery tile for this part of Chicago.  Thanks Dave! Awesome Work! 

 

All three standby gauges working:

Scott 3

 

Scott 4

 

(Posted by Alaxus on 01-18-09)

I am very impressed with the gauges. I can't wait to get my hangar finished so that I can build my new MIP to run these gauges. An angle of attack gauge would be a great addition as well, though not all Lears had them, seemed to be a option.

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 01-26-09)

I have released three updated gauges.  This brings the features of these instruments inline with my other instruments:

 

(1) Standby Airspeed Indicator ( ASI ) - Can now be scaled to fill the screen.

(2) Standby Attitude Director Indicator ( ADI ) - Can now be scaled to fill the screen & added the "Find Instrument" feature.

(3) Standby Altimeter - Can now be scaled to fill the screen & added the "Find Instrument" feature.

 

I have allowed them to be scaled to fill the screen for those builders that want to use very small monitors. and the "Find Instrument" feature re-positions the instrument at screen coordinates 0,0 for when you cannot locate your instruments after changing monitor configurations etc.

 

UPDATE:

I have just released an updated version of my Standby Attitude Director Indicator ( ADI ). I have added two features, one is a shadow under the roll angle pointer and the other is that I have made the border width adjustable.  I will be adding the adjustable border width feature to my other two standby gauges very soon.

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 02-18-09)

Tonight I have updated all of my Standby gauges and the Angle of Attack gauge. They now all have the option to increase the border size and also have the option to smooth the graphics. The smooth graphics option improves the look of the instruments when they have been reduced to a small size.

 

Adjustment keys for latest versions:

i ............ Increase Size

r ............ Reduce Size

b ............ bare mode ( no bezel or orange horizon marker )

s ............ Toggle Shadow On/Off

a ............ Rotate Instrument

ALT+f ........ Find Instrument

ALT+i ........ Increase Border Size

ALT+r ........ Reduce Border Size

ALT+s ........ Toggle Smooth Graphics

 

Here is a list of the .ini file variables for the latest versions of the gauges:

 

ALT:

Horizontal screen position: pixels

Vertical screen position: pixels

Width of window: pixels

Shadow enabled: 0 or 1

Instrument Angle: either 0, 64, 128 or 192 (weird allegro angles, not degrees)

Extra border: pixels

Gaussian Blur: 0 or 1

Pressure: hPa * 16

 

ASI:

Horizontal screen position: pixels

Vertical screen position: pixels

Width of window: pixels

Shadow enabled: 0 or 1

Instrument Angle: either 0, 64, 128 or 192 (weird allegro angles, not degrees)

Extra border: 0 or 1

Gaussian Blur enabled: 0 or 1

 

ADI:

Horizontal screen position: pixels

Vertical screen position: pixels

Width of window: pixels

Shadow enabled: 0 or 1

Bare mode i.e bezel or no bezel: 0 or 1

Instrument Angle: either 0, 64, 128 or 192 (weird allegro angles, not degrees)

Extra border: pixels

Gaussian Blur: 0 or 1

 

NOTE:  There is no option to remove the windows border but you can increase the black border around each gauge instead.

 

Also the Allegro graphics library that I have used when programming the gauges does not allow you change the window size by dragging the corner with the mouse, hence the keyboard controls.

 

The code prevents the gauge from being reduced smaller that 120 pixels across so if you measure your 1024x768 screen width then the smallest the gauge can be would be (Screen_width / 1024) * 120

 

You can get smaller gauges by either increasing the screen resolution or tweaking the .ini file.

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 07-15-15)

I have updated my ASI Standby gauge (now V1.04). The jerky outer mach speed scale was annoying me so have made a small mod to smooth the movement.

 

(Posted by Ron Rollo on 07-16-15)

Thanks Dave! I never noticed the "jerky mach". I'll take a short test flight, discover it and then fix it!

 

This morning I uninstalled the older version of the ASI and install the latest version. I also had enough time to resize the ASI and confirm that it appears to be working, although I did not have enough time to actually get the sim up off the simulated ground. So far so good!

 

(Posted by Ron Rollo on 05-25-17)

NOTE: Dave Ault's website is down and his availability here at the hangar is minimal.  However, his Standby gauges are available here at the bottom of this post along with support from the members of Hangar45!  This thread documents Dave's progress while developing the three standby gauges for our Lear45 simulators.  If you have any questions or issues, please post in one of the related threads and we will be glad to help.

"Thank you Dave for your dedication to these three wonderful programs that help bring life to our Lear45 simulators!"

 

The last versions of the standby gauges are:

Altimeter V1.07

ADI V1.10

ASI V1.04

 

NOTE: Nvidia video card driver 301.42 (date 05-22-12) or earlier is required for standby gauges to work until a newer driver comes along. Standby gauges will not work and will turn Magenta unless 301.42 or earlier is used. Please let us know if you have any luck with newer video drivers or with other video card makers.

 

(Posted by Dave Ault on 07-30-17)

You may have already discovered this but thought I'd pop on and share what I had noticed with the latest Nvidia drivers.  I'm in the process of upgrading my PC and have replaced my video card with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB It is running driver version 372.70 so was surprised to see that the standby gauges ran fine on it.

 

Maybe Nvidia has fixed the issue that caused them to turn Magenta or maybe I just got lucky with this combination of card and driver? If you are going to try a later driver then I would suggest that you make sure you can roll back to the earlier one just in case:

Dave 2

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Hi Dave,

I hope you don’t mind but I was really inspired by what you had achieved (and your great artwork making the instruments) so I decided to rewrite your code and bring it up to date. I already have it working on both PC and Raspberry Pi 4.

My version now uses the latest Allegro5 library and has been rewritten to be more ‘c++’ like. I also combined the 3 main instruments into a single program and made it easy to add more.

My plan is to make the basic “set of 6” instruments and use it for the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 when I can get my hands on the SDK. Currently I am just simulating the values but I still have the FSUIPC_Read / Write calls in place so it would be easy to make it work with older simulators.

Thank you for putting your work in the public domain. I have done the same with mine:

https://github.com/scott-vincent/instrument-panel

 

Hi Scott,

Glad to see that you have not only found our website but you are working to make improvements where they may be needed!  Dave stops into the forums from time to time but for the most part, he has moved on from flight simulation so it might be some time before you see a response from him.

In any case, it is really cool to see you picking this up and running with it.  It is always nice to have guys like you around who can do software programing.  Are you looking to build a Lear45 sim by the way?

I took a quick look at your version of the standby gauges and I like the idea of having an all in one program to run the standby gauges.  I imagine a user would have the ability to choose to run just the three in the center of the MIP or all six which include the two AOAs and the overhead compass?

You have probably read through this thread and the other related threads to the standby instruments.  But just in case, I will update you in this thread where the standby gauges are currently and our plans moving forward.

First, Dave's standby gauges are fairly easy to install, work very well and the artwork looks great.  However, several of us experience issues where either one or two of the gauge programs would suddenly stop working and have to be restarted.  Not a fun thing to do in the middle of a flight simulation.  We believe this most likely has to do with sharing information from one computer to the other over the network.  Or maybe it is a Windows7 thing.

We also found that depending on where the programs were installed on your computer makes a difference.  Program Files (x86), on the desktop, in a share file somewhere, etc...  I can't remember what the final recommendation was but where the programs are installed matters and reduces the failure rate of the programs.

Another major issue we had early on was the gauges turning the color magenta.  That ended up being a graphics driver issue but it was never resolved in Dave's software.  The workaround fix was to find an earlier graphics driver and use that and turn updates off.  So several of us are probably running graphics cards with drivers that are several years old.  It sounds like the work you are doing would resolve that problem being that it is a fresh rebuild.

Because most of us here in the Hangar are building a full scale cockpit, the ability to move the standby gauges individually would be essential to the exact placement of the gauges behind the MIP.  It looks like your new standby gauge software addresses that but I am not sure if the tools resize and move each gauge individually or all three at once.

The last bit of information related to the standby gauges is that we are designing the Lear45 v2.0 to accept either the software version of the standby gauges like we currently have now displayed on a LCD behind the MIP or the option of mechanical gauges.  The three main MIP mechanical gauges would most likely be made available through Flight Illusions but we are still waiting on one of the three gauges to be developed.  Even if all three gauges are made available, not everyone would be able to afford them so the option of using LCD gauges will always be needed.  The new MIP V2.0 LCD version is going to use a smaller 10" LCD screen in landscape mode rather than the old way, using a 15.4 wide-view in portrait mode.  This resolves the distortion issues, especially from the copilots side of the cockpit.

Additionally, Jason Hite with Flight Deck Soft and myself are in the process of developing mechanical AOA gauges and the overhead compass.  Again, this is an option that not everyone would either like or be able to afford compared to the LCD software version.

With all that said, the LCD version of the standby gauges are a must have in our sims, even for the guys who plan to use mechanical gauges because that path may not materialize.  Thank you for taking them on and updating them.  As you move forward with your development, we have several members who can test your software for you.  Mark Speechley in Australia is the first guy who comes to mind.  He has a fully operational Lear45 sim ready to go.  A perfect platform to do any testing for you!

 

That's a great update. Thanks for all that info. I'm only just starting out and, as you can guess, my interest was piqued by the new MS Flight Simulator 2020 so I'm not looking to build a Learjet simulator specifically, it's just that Dave's gauges look fantastic and he was kind enough to make his code public, so that was my starting point.

I've got some way to go yet, and there's no rush as it's just a hobby of mine. The next thing on my list is to add some hardware to the Raspberry Pi (where I am going to run my intrument panel) in the form of some rotary switches for things like calibrating the attitude indicator. I will add some ply over the instrument monitor and incorporate the low profile switches.

Yes, the instruments can be individually positioned and sized in my program. But it doesn't actually interface with a flight sim yet, it just simulates the values currently, allowing you to modify the values to see how the gauges respond. I'm waiting to see what the FS2020 SDK is like and my plan would be to bypass FSUIPC completely and write the networking code myself.

I have managed to get in touch with Dave and he tells me there is no Learjet in FS2020 which is a shame although I'm sure it won't be long before somebody adds one.

My program will be flexible enough so people can add new instruments and swap them in and out as they wish. In fact, if anybody wants to create some bitmaps for new gauges I will be happy to incorporate them.


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