Air Manager CJ4 Working Title Panels

Depends on the plane you’re flying. If you’re using a plain radio or Garmin GNS 530/430 or G1000, that’s exactly how it works. You touch the knob on the Garmin / radio, then use the Knobster to tune it. THen you touch the button to transfer that frequency from standby to active.

With the CJ4, you use the MCDU screen.

If you want to see it in action for a flight, you can check out this video I put together a couple of months back.

On a side note, I plan on doing one using the CJ4 very soon once I get the plane figured out a bit more. I’m still very much learning how to use the MCDU and work the plane controls in general.

Looking at your video, I think I understood you to say you needed a knobster for each panel !!! That along with the cost of the touchscreen panels sounds a little expensive although it looks perfect for what I want. For the CJ4, I would need a knobster for the FMS (FMC), Radio panel, AP panel, curser control panel, PFD/MFD controls, ??? I’m sure I’m missing something. FYI, I don’t need all of these panels “poped out” at the same time. I just want to “pop them out” as I need them if that makes sense.

@PiperPilot3604 , you only need 1 Knobster. I have 2 for convenience, but it’s not necessary.

OK great … The knobster does work with the CJ4 panels correct ?? I will probably buy just 1 touch screen at the start. I can “pop out” to my touchscreen whichever panel I want to work with correct ?? Like I can pop out the FMC (FMS) when necessary and pop out the AP panel when working with it ???

Once you have Air Manager, all its panels work with Knobster. Dials just automatically work with in. In some cases, other rotary controls (like fuel selectors) will as well if the panel creators designed them as knobs rather than buttons.

You need to keep stuff popped out in a cohesive layout on your touch screen. You can’t just pop out screens willy nilly as you need them. It doesn’t work that way. But yes, you can get away with just 1 touch screen.

On a side note, if you happen to have a tablet or a laptop with a touch screen, you can use a program like Spacedesk (free) to make those screens wireless monitors for your main computer an use them with Air Manager just as if they were physically connected monitors. When I started putting together my cockpit, I was using a pair of tablets - a 5th gen iPad and an old, ancient Lenovo Android tablet. The screens were small, but it worked perfectly. I still use the iPad as a “side screen”. You can see in my photo above I have the CJ4 MCDU on it.

And for now at least, I don’t need the PFD and MFD on the touch screen as they are display only. I can pop them out on my 2nd monitor (non touch) and use the touchscreen for the panels that actually accept input. I think I could get those on 1 panel to start and maybe later add another panel. Am I missing anything ?? And what monitor (resolution etc) do you suggest ?? They vary like crazy. I’m thinking 15 " ??

Yeah in the CJ4 the PFD and MFD are non touch.
I have a smaller 15" that can easily fit both PFD and MFD and then on each side of that I have a 21".
For the instruments you don’t need anything crazy like 2K or 4K, that’s just a waste.
Here’s what I have.

@PiperPilot3604 This is what I have for my CJ4 layout. It’s across 2 15.6" touch screens. But you could technically reduce the sizes of some of the controls that can be interacted with and fit them all on a single 1080p monitor. They’d be small, but still usable. As you said, the PFD and MFD don’t need to be on a touch screen.

@FLRob27 - Now that I’ve added a few of my own CJ4 instruments (very simple ones compared to the ones you did), I’ve cracked open yours and repaired the ALT knob and starter functionality that weren’t working. Both now work (that pic above was take before I fixed the starter and didn’t have the it on my panel yet).

I’ve also added some functionality to a couple of your panels. The joystick on the lower CCP is now functional for panning maps, although there’s currently an issue with the both UP and DN on the joystick moving the map upwards. That’s a bug with the WT code though. I’ve reported that and hopefully it will be fixed soon. But man, being able to pan around the map like that is SOOOOO nice.

Other things I’m going to modify or am working on:

  • I’ve got an ice protection panel in the works as can be seen in my photo. A couple of the buttons aren’t working quite as intended atm, but I should be able to get that ironed out. That will be the last really essential panel in the plane that needs to be built.

  • My light panel is mostly working. Most switches do what they’re supposed to now. I still need to fiddle with the knobs for brightness of interior lighting and get that working. That’s low priority atm.

  • Adding emergency light arming switch which is currently INOP on your electrical panel

  • Adding standby flight display to your electrical panel. Currently INOP. I’m looking into how I can make individual instruments interact with each other. If I can figure out how to do that, I’ll be able to make my switch turn my custom standby flight display on and off.

  • Reviewing the funcitonality of your audio panel to see if more functionality can be added

  • possibly a rework of the graphics to have a more homogeneous colour across all of our collective instruments. I may consider making a black variant of the panels instead of the current grey colour. If I do that, I’ll add the options for black or grey as a user property in the instrument so that both black and gray are possible at the user’s discretion.

That’s all I can think of for now, but overall, this has been quite an interesting challenge to learn how to build instruments completely from scratch. It’s taken a lot of time (although nowhere near what it must have taken you to build the AP and MCDU panels) but the result is an amazing, fully functional CJ4 cockpit. I can’t even express how pleased I am with it.

Thank you so much for the work you’ve put into it so far.

@FLRob27 and @Crunchmeister71
Your work is awesome!! I’m still setting things up on my two 15.6” panels. I’ve also added some hardware mapping to use my encoders to drive the CJ4 knobs. It’s a bit weird because they are laid out for G1000 bezels in my cockpit but I’m getting used to it.

One request, which should be super easy to do myself but my .png manipulation skills aren’t up to the task:

Make bezel backgrounds for the PFD and MFD that are thinner around the edges. I know it wouldn’t be as “realistic” but I’d rather use more screen space for the MSFS pop out panels to make them easier to read.

I tried cropping the background.png file but I can’t get the transparent background to work. I’m only using MS paint, so maybe that’s the issue.

If you have time, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!!

Here’s to mouse-less flying! :slight_smile: cheers :beers:

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If you wanted to, you can just delete the sides and bottom of the bezel for the MFD / PFD in MS Paint and just keep the top of the bezel to hide the Windows title bar on the popups. Then you just have to adjust the Air Manager properties for that instrument to the size in pixels of your croppedimage. Then you won’t have any bezels on the sides and it won’t take up valuable screen real estate.

Or alternatively, you can download the free Paint . Net program. It’s a very basic image editor, but easy to use and does support transparency, which MS Paint doesn’t. Then you can just crop the bezels to whatever size you want. The same and readjust the size properties of the bezel in the AM properties to match the new size of your edited image.

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Thanks! I’ll give a try later today. I’m thinking I’ll crop out the outer half of the bezel right at the outline of what looks like a pull-out handle on the bezels.

Work is getting in the way of simming.

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Tell me about it. I was on holiday the whole month of July. I just started back up this week. It’s a rough week. lol

I only really started playing with programming my own Air Manager instruments totally from scratch in the last 2 weeks. I’d modified code, adapted current instruments to my needs and reskined some before, but that was the limit. I only dove in head first 2 weeks ago.

It’s only with the performance uplift of SU5 that I was actually able to fly the CJ4. SU 5 broke all the other planes I normally flew (Longitude, Baron, steam guage 172 and TBM), so I figured I’d try the CJ4. Used to get about 10 fps in it prior. I knew FLRob has made these wonderful panels, so it was a no-brainer. Then I started realizing there were a lot of other things missing that still required me to use my mouse. So it was time to make my own instruments to complement his.

Since then, I’ve been going at it building new stuff. I wish SU5 could have been released closer to the start of my holiday so I could have learned this stuff sooner and gotten more done. But now that I’m starting to have a good grasp on what I’m doing, I have some ideas…

Like, wouldn’t it be nice to have a single control that could switch your bright cockpit to a dark night mode when flying at night? Yeah. I’ve thought of that. And I have an idea…

I’ve been messing with Air Manager for a few months now, but mostly just adding hardware interface features. I have about 30+ encoders (some being double counted here because they are the dual-coaxial type), 25 toggle switches and a bunch of LEDs as toggle indicators. It’s set up basically as a Baron cockpit but I have a few extra toggles that can be repurposed. The graphics and instrument work you and others have done is awesome! I’m sure I could figure it out but I’m not ready to take on yet another learning curve to gain those skills. Plenty on my plate at the moment.

Speaking of lighting, yeah, I’ve had a bit of trouble with interior lighting, especially on the CJ4. My mappings don’t seem to work as they do in the Baron. I tried messing with it a bit but still haven’t come up with a good solution. My stuff is a mix of “native” LVARs, H: events and “legacy events” but some MobiFlight ones as well. I’m having trouble with the MobiFlight events. Maybe it’s something I’m not getting.
EDIT: I feel like I’m missing a required config file step or something. I’ve been looking at a Google docs spreadsheet as a reference. For some reason it says it’s private, so I’m not going to link here.
If you’ve seen it (as I imagine you have), the stuff off to the right columns suggests that there’s more to it than just adding the Mobiflight event.

De-icing and lighting are my current challenges with hardware integration. They don’t always work where they “should”. Obviously, a 152 doesn’t know about airframe de-icing, but I’m not trying to do that. :slight_smile:

What’s interesting is that with this hardware, I’m immune to some of the issues others are having with the in-sim mouse controls. For instance, the recent bug where the COM whole number would only decrease. I don’t get that because with the hardware script, I’m writing directly to the LVAR or sending an H: event (can’t remember which it is). I was also able to work around the “heading 10 degrees bug” that popped up a few months ago. I just read the heading bug value from an LVAR and increment/decrement it by 1 and send off a new value to the LVAR using the Air Manager script. I did similar things for altitude, VS, baro, etc. It took me a while to get dialed in but now I have something that works well… until they change the SDK. :grimacing:

First, make sure you ahve the latest version of Mobiflight and have the WASM module installed. In the WASM folder structure somewhere (can’t remember the exact spot, but there’s not much in there), there’s a text file called events.txt. That has EVERY Mobiflight MSFS event. THat list keeps growing with every new Mobiflight release.

As for lighting, what I’m thinking of doing is creating a mask for all the bezels and instruments in my CJ4 and make them black with yellowy-white text with a “glowy” effect you’d get at night from backlighting. I want this on every AM instrument in my panel, as well as the background graphic I use. Those dark overlays will start out with 0% opacity.

Then I want to create an instrument (just a knob) that I can interact with using my Knobster that will increase that opacity to like 80% or so to simulate flying at night. That way, I won’t have bright instruments on my monitors when I’m flying at night. It will look like my virtual AM instrument panels are being seen at night.

And last night, I watched a video on implementing inter-instrument communication in AM. I know how to do it now. This is going to be interesting. A lot of work, buit interesting…

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as you know, I am a big fan of your setup. I have the two touch screens with the knobster mounted on alpha and bravo. have been using air manager which is really good. aiming for a g1000 setup but popping out the instruments is so taxing on frames. I bit the bullet and purchased Skyelite. I got to say, for $23 its really pretty good. supports touch screen, (no knobster). Anyway thought you might like a look…

Very nice. I’ve looked at that but haven’t bought it. I rather like having my synthetic vision. I would miss it terrible in this. And of course, I don’t only fly G1000 planes, so that would rule out others. But if that works for you, then all is good. Very familiar looking setup there. lol Glad I could be be of inspiration to you. Especially with the Xbox contrller attached to the yoke. THat’s SOOOO handy.

The frame rate hit is a pain for sure. I go from about 45 fps down to 30-ish when I pop out anything. Still a nice mostly smooth experience for the most part, but that 45 fps rate is so noticeably better.

I find that on my system, after popping out windows, I get worse performance if the sim window has focus. If I give focus to my browser, LNM, AM, or something else, I gain a few fps back and frame timing is a lot more consistent and smooth. You might want to give that a try.

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Would you be willing to share your files?

I already have. These are the instruments that I built. I have a few more that will be coming shortly.

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Sorry, @Crunchmeister71, I see your additional CJ4 instruments in your link, but above you mentioned some edits you made to @FLRob27 panels to add/fix some functionality. Are those available by chance?

Not yet. I’m still working on those instruments. I’ll be sharing them on that other thread with my other instruments when complete. Probably within the next couple of days. I was busy finishing up some TBM and Cessna l instruments tonight and didn’t have time.

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