One of the main focuses of this project is to find effective methods of building a simulator that is not only realistic, but also transportable. As of now, my entire simulator can be transported by removing only 2 screws. The following methods can be implemented to allow portions of your simulator to be transported effortlessly.
Each technique is explained in detail below:
1. Use 25 Pin (Parallel Port) connectors to connect each panel to the keyboard/EPIC card.
2. Attatch panel frames to a removeable face rather than by attatching them to the base.
3. Completely dissasociate each panel base and make each section independant
25 Pin Connectors
With a little bit of common sense wiring, it is possible to make each panel completely detatchable from your electronic interface. By wiring your keyboard card, barrier, EPIC card, or other device to a 25 pin connector, you can construct similar connectors that run to one or more computers.
In Figure 2-1, a momentary switch is connected to the keyboard card via a 25 Pin connector interface. When the connection is closed, the circuit works just as if the switch was wired directly to the keyboard card. This can be applied to a lot more than just the keyboard card, and up to 12 switches can be wired to a single 25 pin connector.
Dissasociation of Panels
Panel dissasociation is a technique in which you cut each major panel base seperately. Areas such as the center pedestal, throttle quadrant, and instrument panel should be at totally operable in the absence of all other panels. If a panel depends on signals from other panels, try using the 25-Pin connector technique listed above to eliminate the permanent dependancy. Any extrusions built into panels, such as throttle basins, monitor stands, or CRT basins, should be easily removeable. Right angle brackets and hinges can be a great asset in making your sim even more transportable, as well as more accurate.
When cutting your wood, try not to leave any pieces more than about 2.5 ft in diameter. If a piece needs to be long for purposes of stability, simply use a brace of some sort to hold the panels together.
Using Removeable Frames
In order to build an effectively transportable simulator, it will be necessary to make your face panels removeable. This can be accomplished by cutting a frame from a seperate piece of wood, rather than by using the popular method of partitioning. This step is not nearly as important as the steps above, but it does make upgrades and installations infinitely easier.