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Author Topic: Phantom CDU for computer interface  (Read 251 times)

Online mrwell

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Phantom CDU for computer interface
« on: November 25, 2014, 10:26:50 AM »
Hi,
time ago I saw Henkie with a CDU on his right console of till the gap and maybe use it for a FDR system.
Well I though that it would be a good way to control primary and secondary pit's computer from inside the cockpit without an ugly and out of place keyboard and mouse.

A friend of mine sold me, at a very good price, an almost new Smith Industries Phantom navigation system CDU .



It was very easy to separate front part from the box and "lucky me" it came out complete and with an standard DB25 male connector on it.



"Wow! I hope it has an easy matrix on it!"... an you know what? It has it   :yihaw:
I needed to open it completely removing all screws and the rotary knob and watching out not to loose or damage anything (lot of small springs for each button).



There is a PCB with an 8x9 keyboard matrix, a rotary, a potentiometer and a light (bit indicator).  No diodes on it though but not needed due to a separated row on the rotary. It has EL illumination but I wasn't sure on how to power it so I didn't try.

The only way I knew to easily test a button matrix was a Pokeys device. I think I can do it with PSCockpit too but I'm not sure how. So I did that. I created the matrix (with rotary inside), the pot and the light and it worked all but the light. The light works good with 5V then maybe it was my set up. I'll check it later.

Now the screen. Initially I thought on using inner CRT tube but I read some things from Henkie and Mike and I changed my mind. I'm no so good on electronics.
I did think about putting a 4.3" TFT but I need something for the mouse of the PC. I have two options: a BT touch pad I own or a 3" touch screen over the 4.3" TFT (I did't find a 4.3" one). I want to use push buttons around the screen gap someway...

This is a big panel so I plan to put it instead of the KG and I'll move the KG under the AVI PWR, replacing first ANTI ICE.
I don't have KG or ANTI ICE panels yet (not very useful in BMS 4.32...) so, no problem now.

I'll use the keyboard as it is, the pot for display bright control or other thing ff no display on it.
The rotary for selecting PC or system to control and the bit light for PC main activity.
I'll have to program something to use function buttons...

Any help with the EL backlight or other ideas are welcome ;)

Have fun!
MrWell

Offline clr4ils

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 11:10:01 AM »
That should look awesome. If it were me I'd place it where the warning lights and such are. I was using a Keydex for my pit that looked like a blackberry. Had a little keyboard and mouse pad and used Bluetooth. Works great if you're ever looking for a smaller option. Love the official look of this and henkies setup though.

Offline henkie

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 12:51:46 PM »
Nice job mrwell, you moved a few panels, but it works out.
I was not so lucky that I could see the traces on the PCB how all buttons were connected, and I did not want to take the button section apart. Too much risk it will not work after assembling it again. So, I used an Ohm meter and made notes while I progressed from one / checking all other pins while pressing each button in turn. Yup, took me the better part of a complete evening. But it turned out to be a matrix too  :yihaw:

I have not posted an update, but here is the short story (yes, I know, I write lots of text  :harhar:).
Not being able to find the schematics of the hardware, with pain in my heart I removed the CRT and boards.
The new approach: get a 2.8" TFT screen (that fits nicely in the CDU that I have) and connect it to a Raspberry Pi (RPi).
Already done! The button matrix does *not* connect to the RPi, but to the PHCC switch matrix! My plan: button pushes are sent to the main PC and all "smarts" are on the PC. Commands from the PC to the RPi is sent using RS-232. I already have some "wild" ideas for it ...I will post some in my build thread (when I find the time ...  :whistle:)
Probably this weekend.

With a CDU in the pit, let your imagination run wild. After the hardware, it is just software  :biggrin:

- Henk

Offline henkie

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 12:55:18 PM »
Forgot ... the EL backlight operating voltage may be printed on the housing (if you still have that).
Maybe there is some note on another location. These CDU are "common", so ask around before trying "a voltage".
My CDU has bulbs and they operate at 28V. Work real nice at 24V, but I will dim them along with the rest of the console panels.

- Henk

Offline Rufus

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2014, 12:55:46 PM »
That's gonna be pretty slick... :thumbsup: !
- Rufus

Online mrwell

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2014, 04:07:35 PM »
Thank you, guys.
Henkie, you inspired me, like you always do, and I'd think what else I can put on it hehe

It is written in the back of the keypad "5V for Bits" and 115V for ... (I can't remember now but I supposed it was the CRT tube). I tried with 5DV and 12DV just a moment and very afraid... nothing. I read about inverters are needed for EL so I'll buy one of 5V.

Clr4ils, I though about where to put it. There is no other 21cm space accesible and available. Initially I didn't want to move any panel but, hey, IRL each aircraft is different in his layout even when they have the same (versions, countries...) so I did minor changes on mine. I plan to use KG58 for Teamspeak control too. 
Maybe I'll put the touchpad besides the Inhibit button and I'll go for a screen in the CDU.

Have fun!

Offline henkie

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #6 on: Today at 02:23:58 AM »
5V for the logic makes perfect sense. 115V for the CRT ??? Maybe, could be ... but some high-voltage switcher still has to be present for the HT for the CRT. *IF* the backlight is indeed realized using EL foil that 115V could be for it. A DC voltage will probably not work and applying DC for a long time might be damaging.
EL foil works with an AC voltage somewhere between 80 and 120 V (roughly, 90 to 110V is more likely) and a frequency in the 700 Hz region. You might (for a short moment) try such a small inverter for EL foil  :whistle:
Don't hold me responsible if it goes wrong  :fineprint:

My guess is that the EL foil connections are "separate" of other connection pins, bt does not necessarily be so.

- Henk

Offline henkie

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #7 on: Today at 02:31:01 AM »
If you put a TFT screen with touchscreen in the CDU, why add a touchpad?
The touchscreen can act as touchpad.

I started with a simple menu on the display, to select the functionality. One of the selections could be "touchpad", and then the screen goes black (or whatever you like, such as some mouse pad graphics) and acts as a touchpad. A small button or a small specific area of the touchscreen (a corner?) stops the touchpad functionality and re-displays the menu.

I have added a few screenshots of what I have done so far.
At power-up, I implemented a nice "splash screen" (made by combining a few grabbed pictures from the net). Any first key hit will remove the splash screen and display the menu.
Just for your inspiration  :harhar:

- Henk

Offline goody

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #8 on: Today at 03:01:31 AM »

Henk your solution is very interesting. I have installed a touchpad and the controller of a Cherry keyboard in a CDU about years ago. Could you employ more pictures and information about your solution here.

Cheers

Online mrwell

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #9 on: Today at 03:32:01 AM »
Hi,
the touchpad was though because a tochscreen is not dealing well with BMS main screen but we'll see. If it act as a touch pack could be ok.

Indeed there are two pins in the DB25 only for EL and in the back it says "115 VAC for the lamp" then has to be for the backlight. I know it is an EL sheet because is very similar to the ones Mike did .
I couldn't find what is the output VAC of this inverter http://www.adafruit.com/products/448 but some of this could work? and an standard 220VAC to 115VAC could work too?. I seem to me too much voltage of that small (well, the size of the panel) and thin sheet.

Yeah, Henkie, post more about that RPi interface solution of yours!

Have fun

Offline henkie

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #10 on: Today at 06:46:00 AM »
Ahhh, maybe I should be more clear. The touch screen is *not* in any way connected to BMS. The touch screen and the TFT display are both connected to the RPi. When you touch the screen you get a screen coordinate (X,Y). The rest (interpretation) depends on your application, or simply ignore it. If I use the touch screen on mine (not yet decided!), the RPi will send the coordinate to the "BMS PC", and the "to be developed, RSN" software must do its trick  ;D

The inverter you shown (link) says it is for "wire" or "tape", so (as I  have no experience with this stuff) I do not know whether it is also suitable for foil.   ---  NO, you cannot use 220VAC to 115VAC (as far as I know), because the frequency is wrong!  50Hz is too low, it seems that 400 Hz (in the aircraft available) is OK.  Or maybe I am wrong, I recently heard that on some planes there is an 800 Hz net  :whistle:  Anyway, 50 Hz is most likely a bad idea.

The RPi / PSM (I named it "Pit Support Monitor" instead of CDU) is too preliminary. Have to finish a few other projects first!

- Henk

Online mrwell

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Re: Phantom CDU for computer interface
« Reply #11 on: Today at 10:18:00 AM »
Hi,
copied, NO standard 115VAC hehe Thanks.
I'll try some cheap Chinese EL sheet inverter just in case first.
We'l wait for those project too ;)
Cheers