As a real aircraft also a flight simulator needs some regular maintenance. Preventive maintenance is a prerequisite for a stability in sense of functionality and availability. It is absolutely no fun to deal with reduced functional capabilities or even a system crash during an online flight. With a fixed based simulator the maintenance will be focused more on software than on the mechanical devices. However, also the few mechanical devices will need some maintenance.
For me software maintenance means:
- Regular backups of all computers
- Operating system updates
- Add-on software and B737 suite (PM) updates
- Nav-data updates
- Scenery updates
Furthermore maintenance activities include functional upgrades and system improvements from 'lessons learned'.
All together needs on average 2 to 3 hours per week. The benefit of this effort is a flight simulator with high availability, up-to-date nav data, and well maintained sceneries.
All software related maintenance is performed from the Admin PC. For the XP Professional based systems I use the WINDOWS remote desktop feature, which works very well for this purpose. For the remote access to the FS server with VISTA as operating system I use TeamViewer.
Other maintenance tools are:
Flusifix allows you to tweak numerous things in FS9 and also corrects several FS9 flaws.
AFCAD 2 can add or modify almost all facility elements and several visible elements. This includes runways, taxiways, aprons, parking and communications. I used it several times for updating the ILS frequency after they where changed in the real world.
ConTEXT is a good alternative to Notepad as programming editor for SIOC. The program is freeware. I recommend to use a special Code template for SIOC with ConTEXT, as it can be downloaded in a thread of mycockpit.org.
Sooner or later you might be faced to a mismatch of the joystick IDs. This can happen with changing a joystick device to another USB port, with installation of software, or it just happens without any apparent reason. The result might be catastrophic for your flight simulator installation. Worst case you have to perform all joystick calibrations and key assignments in FSUIPC again from scratch. When it happened to me I found a very helpful tool in the Internet, called JoyIDs. With JoyIDs it is a only a matter of a few minutes to get the joystick IDs back to its original sequence.
The JoyIDs utility can be a real timesaver for those
that use multiple controllers!
AVSIM: http://www.avsim.com/ (search for AFCAD221.zip in the file library)