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The purpose of FLAPS-2-APPROACH is two-fold:  To document the construction of a Boeing 737 flight simulator, and to act as a platform to share aviation-related articles pertaining to the Boeing 737; thereby, providing a source of inspiration and reference to like-minded individuals.

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Journal Archive (Newest First)
« Video Training Clip - SAS 737 Series - Review | Main | Powering, Wiring & Configuring the B737 Throttle Quadrant »
Thursday
Nov242011

Throttle Teething & Calibration Issues - It Was Expected

The throttle quadrant works well and I’m pleased with the outcome; however, as anticipated there are a few minor teething issues that require sorting.  There is a background “hum” noise, The engine one auto throttle switch is "sticky", and there are some minor issues with the calibration of throttle reversers and the speed brake. 

Background “Hum”

When the phidget software is turned on with FSX there is an annoying background “hum”.  Initially, I thought this background hum to be the low frequency AC noise, but then realized that everything is DC – so there shouldn’t be any noise.  After consultation with my technical engineers, I believe the cause to be either of the following issues:

1: When the phidget software is turned on it’s activating power to the servo motor to deploy the speed brakes.  The servo motor is ready and waiting for a command, but as there is no command for movement and the  servo motor has power running to it, it’s humming.  If this is the reason, then the installation of the Phidget 004 card (pictured left) will solve this issue. 

A Phidget 004 card has four relays which allow for three situations – on, off and always on.  When connected, the relays will tell the servo motor to “switch off “until activated by movement of the speed brake.

2: All power to the TQ is via 400 watt computer power source and a bench-top voltage reducing board (see last post).  I’ve been told that because all the power requirements are coming from a singular source, then this maybe a cause of noise.  The easiest method to solve this is to use two or three independent power sources.

I’ll have a better indication to root of the “noise hum” problem, once a Phidget 0/0/4 card arrives in the mail.

Speed Brake Calibration - Auto Deployment of Handle

Calibration is always an issue when simulating a complex piece of machinery such as TQ.  Calibration must take into account the various positions and operational requirements of the speed brake.  The speed brake must be recognised by the flight software in the following positions: off, armed and part/full detent.  It must also be configured to automatically activate (deploy) upon flare and touch down when the landing wheels touch the ground. 

The Boeing Operations Manual states: the thrust reverser can be deployed when either radio altimeter senses les than 10 feet altitude, or when the air/ground safety sensor is in ground mode.  Movement of the reverse thrust levers is mechanically restricted until forward thrust levers are in idle position.

Once touch down in achieved, the mechanical speed brake arm on the throttle quadrant will move automatically to the deployment position (full detent).  This is done by programming a squat switch.  A squat switch is standard on/off relay that tells the brake to either deploy or remain in the non deployment position.

Squat Switch & FSUPIC Programming

To program a squat switch I used  Phidget 0/0/4 card and programmed the F2Phidgets software to read "squat switch" in the interface.

To ensure that the speed brake was calibrated to FSX correctly I used FSUPIC.  One important aspect of the calibration is to ensure that the speed brake handle matches more or less the same movement of the virtual speed brake handle within the throttle of the B737 in FSX.  To check this you must open the throttle in FSX and actually observe  the virtual movement of the handle while manipulating the real handle.

Using FSUPIC, open the Axis Assignment tab and move the speedbrake handle checking that the arm and detent positions are correct.  Select "send to FSUPIC" and tick (check) the spoilers in the call out box.  Finally save the adjustments.

If you have not done so already, it's a good idea to have a FSUPIC profile set up to ensure that your changes are saved to specific aircraft.  For example my FSUPIC profile is called B737 Project.

Reversers

Once a Phidget 0/0/4 card is installed and the card relays calibrated appropriately to the speed brake, it’s hoped that the calibration of engine 1 and engine 2 reversers through detent position 1 and 2 will be straightforward.

After consulting with others and solving these issues, I'll post an update to this thread (here).  Perhaps the information may benefit someone else doing a similar throttle retrofit.

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Reader Comments (2)

Iain,

Great progress! I think you made the right choice with a real TQ rebuild. My Revolution Simproducts TQ really has "changed the way I fly my simulator" - I spend more time trying to fix the damn thing than actually using it!

Cheers!

FlyWJP

November 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFlyWJP

Hi Bill - Progress is "so so". But, it's down to only a couple of configuration issues and the throttle will be 100% operational. I'll post a video clip when all is completed. I must acknowledge that I did have help from others on the TQ project (thanks Mark & Phil)

November 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterFLAPS 2 APPROACH
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