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External USB panels/displays

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External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:55 pm

Hi,

is there anyone, group, individual, etc., who is looking into integrating external USB panels / display into flightgear?
At least GoFlight is offering an SDK on their homepage.
Also interesting would be the Saitek modules, as they are relatively cheap compared to GoFlight and especially interesting would be the Saitek instrument LCDs.
As I understand, most of those external systems are HID devices, so integrating the buttons should only be a matter of writing mile-long XML-files.
However, I think, addressing the display units in e.g. the NAV/COM panels would be very desireable to.

Pointers are welcome.
I do have a fair understanding of this stuff and 10+y experience on Linux systems so I would also be willing to contribute if there'd be a few more people interested. I just don't have the time to do this kind of project alone.

-S
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby damiao » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:46 pm

Hi sgofferj ,

I was looking for this same stuff and just found this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_sE_nCscuI

I´m novice with Arduino but this appear to be a welcome add to FG.

At this point I believe that with Arduino (PIC) you can do anything you want....

Hope helped...

Damião
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:39 pm

So, here are some manufacturer reactions...

I wrote emails to the support of GoFlight and Saitek.

In both emails I indicated that I would be interested in looking into integrating their panel products into Flightgear for Linux.

GoFlight has an SDK on their website, but it's an .exe-file and I don't have any Windows box flying around here, so I emailed them, telling that I can't do anything with an .exe-file because I use Linux and asked them to email me some documentation. They actually tried to sent me something back but attached to the email was an unpacked .exe-file Image which was blocked by my anti-virus gateway.
Following, I received an email from John Krieg, telling me that his email was rejected and if I want the SDK, I should provide him with a working email-address. I replied that his email contained an unpacked exe-file which was rejected by my AV-gateway because usually only virii send unpacked exe-files as email attachments and that - as I wrote in my initial email - I am using Linux and have no Windows system available, thus cannot do anything with an .exe-file. I further asked politely if he could provide me with specs and whitepapers as PDF. I didn't receive any further messages from GoFlight after that.

Saitek didn't respond in any way to my message to the support.
Last edited by sgofferj on Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:57 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby snipey » Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:08 pm

from the saitek forums i know that the sdk they are advertising on their site with the product is an undocumented .dll and i havent seen them provide a lot of support for it on their forums, so for saitek it might be easier to contact the guys that made the xplane plugins for the panels to see if they could help you
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:47 pm

Found the X-Plane plugins at github. Open source and VERY well documented! The comms with the panels is no rocket science. I even think, I could maybe knit something. Let's see how the budget looks in January.
Is there some kind of plugin interface or do I have to talk to FG through a socket like fgcom? I'm a bit worried about potential lag when the machine is on high load.
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:25 pm

Saitek finally answered:
Dear Sir,

an SDK has already been sent to the Flightgear team. Please contact the Flightgear team through their website for updated compatibility with the Linux OS

Ahja... Let me guess... They mix up FG with X-Plane or does FG actually have support for the Saitek panels under Windows?
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:41 pm

And another mail from Saitek:
Dear Sir,

we are happy about your interest in developing a Linux driver for our products.
As the Flightgear team is already working at drivers for several months, please contact Alain xxxx for the latest SDK updates. His email-address is xxxxxxxxx@wanadoo.fr.

Thank you very much for your understanding.


Well, what I really don't understand at all is, why they can't just email me the SDK. Sending already 2 emails with excuses is much more effort than just sending emailing me a few PDFs or a ZIP-file or whatever.

So, bottom line: Hands off Saitek - miserable support!
Besides - no more news from GoFlight yet.

Seems they all have well enough customers and just don't need a few hundred or thousand potential customers more...
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby F-JJTH » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:12 pm

@sgofferj : I think you can ask the SDK to Alain. Alain is a French man who works on a dynamic plateform as you can see here : http://equipe-flightgear.forumactif.com ... ur-fg#9993

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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:06 pm

I think, there's more than 1 Alain in France ^^. And in my opinion, it's the job of the manufacturer to get the SDK to me, not my job to go searching for it, because it's in their interest if there are drivers. If they are not interested, then I look into other hardware. There's enough hardware on the market from different manufacturers.
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby F-JJTH » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:21 pm

Yes there's more than 1 Alain in France ;) But I don't think there isn't more than 1 Alain who works on a dynamic plateform AND have asked the SDK from Saitek AND have received it AND who use FlightGear because her system works already for MSFS :D

I'm totally agreed with your opinion about manufacturer ;)

[EDIT]
I don't know if you know SIMKITS : http://www.simkits.com
Moreover the SDK is available ! http://www.simkits.com/sdk.php
Hoping to help your project ;)
[/EDIT]

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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:45 pm

Ummm... Why would the SDK for SIMKITS products help me with SAITEK products?
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby F-JJTH » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:05 pm

Because you said that :
sgofferj wrote in Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:06 pm:If they are not interested, then I look into other hardware. There's enough hardware on the market from different manufacturers.

It seems that SAITEK wouldn't send you SDK... if I follow your way : now try with other manufacturer for example with SIMKITS. It's just a proposition, your are free to do what you want !

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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:34 pm

Ah, now I understand :D. But simkits doesn't really have anything that would interest me. But opencockpits has :).
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby sgofferj » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:36 pm

F-JJTH wrote in Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:21 pm:I don't know if you know SIMKITS : http://www.simkits.com
Moreover the SDK is available ! http://www.simkits.com/sdk.php
Hoping to help your project ;)


I had time meanwhile to check the SDK. It's pretty much useless, because it only describes how to talk to the Simkits driver/middleware which is only available for MSWin as it seems.
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Re: External USB panels/displays

Postby F-JJTH » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:23 pm

Yes the SDK is only available for MS (but I think he can run on Linux with Wine).
Linux seems supported by simkits, thus it seems he's interesting manufacturer. But if you don't interesting about Linux compatibility I understand your opinion ;)

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