Hardware Reviews

PoKeys56E® is an Ethernet based I/O device that combines a lot of inputs and outputs. The device features 55 I/O pins, which can be used both as inputs and outputs. Depending on the configuration some the pins can even perform as analog inputs. Other features are configurable PWM outputs and the possibility to connect encoders.

The PoKeys interface is also available with USB interface (PoKeys56U®). The USB version has the advantage that it can act as a joystick interface and therefore it is very simple to assign the inputs to the flight simulator by means of FSUIPC. But on the other hand this limits the functionality of the interface. With the joystick mode only 32 buttons and 6 axis are supported. However, users with programming skills can make more out of it, with LUA scripts, Delphi, or VB.net the full functional range of the PoKeys56U can be used.

PoKeys cards can drive directly low current LED's led with 4 mA and a maximum of 100 mA in total. The drawback of low level LED's is the lower brightness. The light intensity of low level LED's is typically between 0.8mcd - 5mcd (millicandela). Compared to standard LEDs (20mcd - 60mcd) noticeably less brightness. If low level LED's are not the way you want to go, you can get a LED Extension Board from flightsimparts.eu. This board has 24 outputs and can drive multiple led's per output for a maximum of 200 mA per port.

Currently flightsimparts.eu has a Display Driver Board under development which will act as interface between PoKeys cards and 7 segment displays.

The most of flexibility is provided by the Ethernet version, PoKeys56E®. The device can easily connected to the Flight Simulator network and the controlling software can run on any PC in the network. This makes interfacing extremely easy and independent of a certain PC in the network. After some test of PoKeys56E® I decided to develop a application which allows users to interface cockpit controls simple and straight forward to FSUIPC and SIOC. After some weeks of coding and testing I'm feeling comfortable to release the first version for test purposes to the community. The application is called FSSymphony and provided as Freeware.

News Brake 2-March 2014
FSSymphony 2.0 was released today. If your are interested in getting a free copy please write a mail to: contact@flying-the-winglets.de. For the the user's manual click here: FSSymphony User's Manual
Added March 2, 2014

Overview FSSymphony V2.0
The program acts as smart interface between the Flight Simulator, FSUIPC and the PoKeys56E ® Ethernet interface. FSSymphony V2.0 is compatible to the following flight simulators: FS2004, FSX, Prepar3D ® V1.4 and V2.1. FSSymphony V2.0 supports both cockpit builders with no programming experience just by let them select the required function from a drop-down list, as well as user who want to get deeper in functionality. They can define own functions, including manipulating offsets and doing logical comparison.

The program can also act as bridge to the SIOC programming language. Each of the PoKeys56E ® digital inputs, outputs, analog inputs, and encoders can be assigned to a SIOC variable. This gives cockpit builders a maximum of flexibility and the opportunity to interface SIOC scripts to the PoKeys56E ® interface.

Furthermore the PoExtBus for up to 80 additional output ports is supported and I2C bus has been introduced for 12 additional servo outputs.

The combination of these features gives cockpit builders a maximum of flexibility and the opportunity to interface none standard FS controls and own SIOC scripts to the PoKeys56E® interface. It also opens the access to the offsets of Project Magenta or IFly, to name just two.

A variety of examples for user defined functions and comprehensive description are included in the download package.

FSSymphony supports the full range of the PoKeys56E® input / output pins. For each of the PoKeys56E® I/O pins the user can individually determine whether it should act either as digital input or output.

Digital inputs, axis, and encoders can be assigned either to a SIOC variable or to a FS Control or to both of them for maximum flexibility.

For analog purposes 7 analog inputs can be connected to pins 41 thru 47. The analog inputs can be assigned directly to the FSUIPC joystick calibration facility.

PoKeys56E® together with FSSymphony gives users a high amount on flexibility to interface cockpit controls to the flight simulator and suits. Due to Ethernet connection the user is free on his decision on which PC of the flight simulator network he wants to run the interface software.

flightsimparts.eu: http://www.flightsimparts.eu/Shop_Electronics_Pokeys56E.html

Last Change: March 2, 2014