SimulConn background

A love for aviation

My name is August and I have always been in love with aviation, and I will use any excuse to get to an airport or in an airplane 🙂

In 2018 I attended an aviation school event, visiting a flight simulator used for pilot training.
I instantly got hooked on flight simulation, and all I could think about after that day was HOW I could build my own flight simulator at home.
I started out with X-plane 11, cause to me it seemed to be the simulator platform with the largest community support. But at that time it could have started with any platform.

Searching the internet, I quickly found out that building that cockpit would be at a huge cost. Hardware and software for interconnecting the controls were really pricy in the long run. So I decided to see if there was a cheaper and easier way to connect the cockpit hardware with the flight simulator.

During my investigation on the internet, I found Vlad, whom together with his dad build a software interface for connecting hardware controls with X-plane.
I found this interface, called SimVim, very easy to set up and use. And it is even for free. Today they changed the name to SimVimX and RealSimControl.

Now I just missed the hardware part. I started building different prototypes of the system, having wires all over the place. Then modifying, again and again, to make it work. It was a mess. But it was an inexpensive solution, compared to the more commercial solutions I had seen so far. For months I worked on getting my switches, LED’s, and displays to communicate with X-plane.

Due to the big mess of cable connections, and bad wires, noise, and other challenges, I decided to design PCB boards with a more professional approach. To be able to control all those wires in the back of the cockpit.

In early February of 2020, the hardware was ready, and I started building up my cockpit with SimulConn boards – the name I use for them.

At first SimulConn had to board types. A Master board connected to the PC, and one or more Multi IO boards. The Multi IO board has support for I2C LCD displays, LEDs and switches. This was a good multifunction board, but came short if you wanted to build a large cockpit. The Multi IO board still works with the newest SimulConn design, but I don’t produce it anymore.

I soon realized that an upgrade of the design was needed.

In February 2020 I introduced a more modular approach. The Multi IO board was dropped, and the Extension board came along to better extend the hardware around the cockpit, to the new IO boards.

And in September 2020 revision 2 came, with a major upgrade of the Master board, switching from SIP to  SMD components on the boards, and tweeking the design.

Currently  in june 2021, I am working on revision 3. This version introduces changes based on the feedback I have received from simmers using SimulConn.

/August

An early version of the Boeing MCP, using the Multi IO board
The Multi IO board - good for a smaller cockpit
Extension board introduced a modular approach
Revision 2 of the IO board introduced SMD components
Boeing 737 EFIS, using 3 INPUT IO boards