Saitek FIP owners, Tom’s primary flight display is now available. Like all his gauges, it seems worth every penny. I’ll be getting mine today and it will serve the right seat.
A2A Piper 250 LVAR List
If you’re looking to use your Saitek panels with the A2A Comanche, you’re going to need to create some custom assignments in SPAD.neXt. The LVAR variable list will help an awful lot on this, and you may find it here.
UPDATE: And there’s a very informative A2A forum post on the topic here.
New Gauges From Tom Tsui
Tom has released a gauge set for the Carenado CT210M. They should work great with that plane, and I suspect they will work with other aircraft as well as they probably use SIMCONNECT variables. I’m going to try the manifold pressure gauge in the Cardinal 177. Get them here.
Saitek Gear For Sale
I have a number of pieces of Saitek gear that I’ve replaced over the past year, and I’d like to offer them for sale to regular readers of this blog before I take them to eBay. Here they are, and all are in great condition unless I have stated otherwise. In each case I’ll sell them for what I paid for them, and for those that I bought as a package I’ll have a fair price based on the current market. Email me at ontheglideslope at gmail dot com if you have interest, and thanks.
Cessna Yoke + throttle quadrant (great condition): $235 + shipping
Pro Flight Yoke
(sticks just a little but works great – YOKE ONLY, NO THROTTLE QUADRANT): $129 + shipping
Pro Rudder Pedals – two sets: $214 each + shipping
(average of what I paid and current price as one set was part of a bundle)
Pro Flight Headset (fits standard audio PC jacks): $50 + shipping
A2A PA28 Cherokee FIP Gauges
Tom Tsui’s excellent set of Saitek FIP gauges continues to grow, now with a set for the A2A PA28-180 Cherokee. This is the sim aircraft I use when I’m practicing for my real-world flight training, which I do in a PA 28-161 (and the 180 is plenty close for me). While I most of Tom’s new gauges are for the six pack (for which I use generic general aviation gauges in RemoteFlight on the iPad) it’s great to have an accurate RPM gauge, and I know the engine gauges are soon to follow, as is the turn coordinator with autopilot. Thanks again, Tom!
Reader Mail: Saitek, SPAD.neXt, and A2A
This recently from a reader, and I thought my reply (while not completely thorough) might be of help to others. I’ve made some minor edits from the original.
I bought the Saitek Multi Panel and Switch Panel but I can’t get them to work with the A2A 182 or 172. I read about Spad.NeXt but am not comfortable using it. Is there another way to get Saitek and A2A to get along?
SPAD.neXt is the best I’ve found. Part of the key is understanding profiles and snippets. Load up your 172 or 182, and then in SPAD.neXt go to the profiles page and look at the available online profiles. There should be some that others have made for the A2A planes. Download one and assign it as the profile for the plane in Prepar3d. You do this all in SPAD.neXt, and it’s really pretty easy once you get used to it. This should have the right codes for most of the switch panel and multi panel switches. You can also go to one of those instruments – say the switch panel – click on a button on the panel (say, fuel pump), and then click snippets. You can then download online snippets for that switch, or for the entire panel. I think I published my switch and multipanel snippets – they’d be listed with “basementflyguy” as the author. Try this and see if it helps. Someone before you has surely already done the work of figuring out the variable assignments and you just need to find the profile or snippet online … [and note that you need to be a paid user of SPAD.neXt to have access to the library of online profiles and snippets, which is well worth it in my opinion]
And if you decide to roll your own, it’s really not too difficult. Every function in the sim has a command or variable associated with it – either a “simconnect” command (which is most of the stock functions) or an “LVAR” variable, which are custom variables like those in the A2A aircraft. To program a switch (say, the fuel pump), you click on it, pick if you want it switched up or down (for example), then assign the condition to be true when it’s flipped. You can pick a SimConnect command, a LVAR variable setting, turning on a light on the Saitek BIP panel, or several other things to result from the switch being thrown or button pushed.
The commands and variables are searchable, so you could select “LVAR,” it pulls up a big list, and then you can type “pump” in the search box and all the LVAR variables that have “pump” in their name pop up. You see one listed “TOGGLE_ELECT_FUEL_PUMP1,” and you suspect that’s the right one. Select it, leave the assigned value at “0” (because it’s a toggle – with other variables, like barometric pressure, the variable could have a real value like 2995 – and the SPAD.neXt screen shows you in the lower left corner of the variable list screen what the possible values are), click OK and that switch is now assigned. Flip it and it will toggle the fuel pump.
For the A2A aircraft most of the switches use LVARS rather than the stock SimConnect commands. You can find PDFs with all of those variables here: http://www.ontheglideslope.net/2016/07/08/a2a-cessna-172-182-piper-180-lvar-lists/
I know a lot of folks struggle with the battery and alternator switches. For the A2A Cessnas the variables are:
Assign those variables to those switches in SPAD.neXt to those two switches on the switch panel (with values of 0 for off and 1 for on) and you should be good to go. [Also note that you need to ensure SPAD.neXt is configured to read LVAR variables, and this is an option you set on the SPAD.neXt settings screen].
One last word: depending on when you have saved a scenarios some of the variables may already be “on” when you load the scenario, even if the switch is off. I often open the “mini panel” instrument menu in P3D just to ensure everything is clicked to off with all my switches off when I start a flight.
Some day I will probably write a little how-to on SPAD.neXt and A2A. Until then, I hope this helps.
Tom Tsui Does It Again
As I noted in this post, Tom Tsui has been working on FIP engine gauges for the A2A 172 and 182. They are now done, and this mean Tom now sells a full set of gauges programmed to work specifically with these A2A aircraft. The noise you hear is the sound of many A2A / Saitek simmers simultaneously praising Tom, the Lord, The Universe, or whatever deity they favor, for the existence of FIP gauges that correctly read the data of these highly accurate yet custom-programmed aircraft. Thanks, Tom. You do really great work for our community.
As for me, I’ll be grabbing them ASAP. I’ve eagerly awaited a manifold pressure gauge for the A2A 182, and now thanks to Tom, I will have one (and can now properly fly this airplane simulating appropriate throttle / prop settings).
A2A 172/182 FIP Nav Gauges
A follow-up to this post: Tom Tsui has now released the Saitek FIP nav gauges for the A2A 172 and 182. Get them here. The engine gauges are next, although Tom says it may be a month or so before they’re available. If you’ve not used his FIP gauges, I highly recommend them. They look great, work perfectly, and his support is top notch. Getting FIP instruments that work correctly with the A2A LNAV set has been a problem for some time, and Tom has fixed it. Great job, Tom.
A2A Cessna 172, 182 & Piper 180, 250 LVAR Lists
If you’re trying to get your A2A Cessna or Piper to work in Prepar3D with your Saitek gear using SPAD.neXt, then you’re going to need to do some button assignments using LVARs (local variables) rather than the standard simconnect variables. Fortunately, A2A has posted PDFs of these LVARs, which I have linked to here:
New RealAir Duke Gauges From Tom Tsui
Tom Tsui at FSX Times has another gauge update out, this time for the RealAir Duke. Great for your Saitek FIPs.