Integrated Flight Instrument System (IFIS)

11 Aug 2016 08:28 #30436 by Algernon
Hope I've got that acronym right... it's a little while since I read the relevant part of the pilots notes.

Basically, I wanted to tap Scott's brain on this system, the four components at the centre of the panel. You have the combined linear ASI and Mach indicator at the top, and then below, from left to right, the altimeter and VSI, attitude/flight director unit and nav display. I assume they use plastic cells which are whipped in and out depending on mode to display the various things (there are quite a lot of them) and I assume this makes them complicated, difficult to obtain and repair etc, and probably incredibly expensive (not to mention that, if you found one working and intact, it probably ought to go to one of the real preservation Lightnings rather than being bodged about with).

But you can't really do a cockpit build without them. So, the other thing I want to know is - could you obtain unserviceable items somehow, and retrofit them with cheap LCD screens, with custom software to emulate the physical operation as a graphical output? Could you even build your own assembly out of one LCD screen, but with individual casings to make it look like separate units? I reckon there are a few ways to go about this without spending a fortune...

They're a major component of the Lightning's cockpit so it would be nice to find a low-cost solution.

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11 Aug 2016 08:29 - 11 Aug 2016 08:31 #30437 by Algernon
Scott, did you manage to get any measurements out of your panel yet? If so, it would be interesting to know the size of the cutout for the IFIS bits (IIRC, it's only the three units aligned horizontally that have a cutout, not the ASI/Mach)...

EDIT: No, I'm wrong - the cutout extends right to the top of the panel, so the ASI would be topped off by a small warning panel, then the glareshield.

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11 Aug 2016 08:44 #30438 by Warty

Algernon wrote: Could you even build your own assembly out of one LCD screen, but with individual casings to make it look like separate units? I reckon there are a few ways to go about this without spending a fortune...

They're a major component of the Lightning's cockpit so it would be nice to find a low-cost solution.


Or maybe use a cheap second hand or out-of-date machine and get it in colour? Have you looked at the Phi interface?



There is also one that runs on an iPad via HTTP

Mac 10.10.5 Yosemite, FG3.6RC
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11 Aug 2016 08:52 #30439 by Algernon
Yes, that was actually my intended approach - a low cost or second hand machine getting information across a network, as you suggest here. I've had a look at Phi before now, and also used the Android app to keep an eye on a flight whilst cooking dinner or whatever, I think it's certainly the way to go.

I'm fairly certain the display and computer hardware/software wouldn't be a big leap in the dark, as it's all known technology, and I think there is already quite a lot of documentation out there by people who have built their own MFDs etc. The bit that I think will be trickier is getting an authentic looking case - perhaps even impossible...

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11 Aug 2016 09:18 - 11 Aug 2016 11:15 #30442 by ScottBouch
You've read my mind... I was worrying about these..

I had the chance last week to buy an altimeter / Rate of climb instrument, but i decided to save the cash as getting it working would have meant tearing it apart and frigging the motors.

The artificial horizon (one vertical, one horizontal) that carry an "O" around the display, but the Nav instrument is a different kettle of fish altogether.. it has a big flat ribbon, that is fed over a pair of rollers at the front (and I assume is kept on a drum, or zig-zag of rollers behind). this ribbon and roller assembly rotates on a carriage. The ribbon has different sections printed on it for ILS and Tacan, plus a runway indicator (pair of bars) that move in front of the ribbon.

I'd be tempted for these to use a single computer monitor, and make a physical overlay mask.. may be the easiest option... I think with a bit of Aluminium bashing, something half realistic could be made up...

I have previously looked through the wiring diagrams to see what the interface looks like to these instruments.. they are directly wired to other pieces of equipment, the flight data computer etc.. but there is no indication of what pin does what, so to adapt them for use would mean tearing them apart (which in itself would be vert interesting) but would result in a frigged instrument that's cost you a lot of money.

again, I wish I'd bought this stuff up years ago, the prices have gone crazy since certain ebay sellers started pushing.

I've just read a bit of the PHI wiki.. so would the HTML files reside on the FGFS machine, and yor remote machine just reads them? I imagine you need LAMP installed too to server the page?

Would be cool to build the display in HTML5 and have a simple computer display it to the simulator screen! I'd imagine you could get away with the old favorite Raspberry Pi 3 for this as it's just displaying a web page?

For a real build, the only issue I see is the switches for Probe Light and Flight Refuelling, as the switch body would clash with the top left corner of screen to the left of the IAS.. maybe these switches would have to be built slightly further forward, in front of the corner of the screen.

The Services pressure gauge could be software generated like the other instruments, as it also overlaps where the screen would be.





It'd be good to get something good out of this , as these instruments are also ysed in the Hunter T7A, Folland Gnat, Certain Buccaneer and Harrier models too.

Cheers, scott.
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11 Aug 2016 10:56 #30446 by Algernon
I would perhaps not go for an HTML solution, as I think it would be trickier to implement transitions between modes realistically - dunno, would have to investigate all the options. But certainly, some sort of casing over a single LCD does seem to be the way to go. Getting the right switches and knows could be interesting...

More to follow (am on the mobile in the pub)...

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11 Aug 2016 11:44 - 11 Aug 2016 23:05 #30449 by ScottBouch
I've just done a little more work on the panel layout drawing.. didn't get chance last night as my wife was supposed to be out, but her friend cancelled, so we had a great curry instead!

The main panel cut-out where the instrument crate sits comes out at 382mm wide. EDIT: After some re-jigging, I think the cut-out may be more like 389mm wde... 7mm difference..... I have some more work to do to get the answer spot on. This is all coming from: fguk.eu/index.php/2013-09-03-13-01-02/ee...cockpit-panel-layout

I originally scaled the panel against the distance between the DZUS fasteners on the C1607/4 controller, so if I've made 0.25mm error here, it'll be about 0.5mm error in that measurement I gave you for the cutout. EDIT This scaling meant that round indicators wouldn't fit into the holes, so have re-scaled it against their diameters, which may now throw ouththe radio controller fastener pitch.

EDIT, EDIT:

I thought of another method to check what's right; In the photograph, scaling the front of the Radio controller (known 144.5mm as I have one here to measure) against the IFIS cutout, I got 407mm!! That's loads bigger than the first attempts from the panel drawing.. hmmm..



This may mean the engineering company who produced the drawing, may not have been quite as accurately as thought... Or my methods are rubbish...

Cheers, Scott.
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