OnTop PCATDPrecision Flight control
Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:13 PM
I recently purchased the (OnTop PCATD FAA Approved Instrument Trainer
The FAA Approved On Top PCATD - Includes the On Top software package, Cirrus Yoke, Cirrus Rudders, PFC Power Quadrant with the 6 and 3 lever attachments, AV-1 Avionics Panel, user manual and instruction guide with integrated ground and flight training syllabus.)
I bought it to help mentor some high school kids with commercial aviation. It came with an older desktop tower and the ASA ONTOP software preinstalled. The system works fine, but the graphic have much to be desired. I have tried to hook it up to my home computer to use with FSX, but didn’t have any luck. The cable from the controls is a 9-pin serial connector. I bought a serial to USB off e-bay but would not recognize it. I tried installing the latest version of FSUIPC and still no luck. I then decided to order a low profile PCI serial card and plug it straight in. The computer still will not recognize it. I am not sure what I am doing wrong here. Do I need a special type of serial card for that system? Please help?? Thanks!
Posted 29 July 2012 - 10:24 PM
How are you expecting the computer to recognise it? If it is a serial port device, like all the older PFC units, it needs a driver. FSUIPC is not a hardware driver! Serial port devices have no standard means of identifying themselves, unlike USB -- one of the reasons USB is replacing them.
If the devices use the PFC protocol then you need PFCFSX.DLL installed. See the Download Links subforum, or the www.schiratti.com/dowson web page. However, if it was al made explicitly for OnTop then it may not use this protocol at all, but a proprietary one for that specific product, in which case you've got no chance with FSX unless PFC can offer you some conversion.
Posted 30 July 2012 - 02:23 AM
I must apologize head of time. I only know enough about computers to be dangerous. I will try to install this .DLL file you are talking about. Would you suggest going back to the serial/USB? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:52 AM
- Pentium-class processor, 133MHz or faster
- Windows 95,98, or ME; Also compatible with Win2000/XP after installing a free update from our "Product Updates" page
- DirectX Version 7* (included with the OT7 CD)
- 32MB RAM (Win95), 64MB RAM (Win98/ME)
- 20-35MB harddrive space, depending on the type of installation performed
- CD-ROM Drive
- 800x600 SVGA video adapter and monitor
- Windows DirectX-compatible soundcard
- (1)one gameport; 1(one) serial/comm port
Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:12 AM
If you have a real serial port (the 9-pin D socket) on your PC then use that. It will be more reliable. The USB-serial adapters are for modern PCs which no longer have serial ports. I have tried the cheaper such adapters and found them to be less than reliable, and I eventually changed to a serial card fitted inside the PC. BrainBoxes make good, reliable PCI and PCI-Express cards with one or two serial ports. I've been using those for years with no trouble whatsoever.
But first, before spending any more money, make sure the hardware is capable of use with FS. It won't be if it isn't using the standard PFC protocol which my DLL supports.
You will need to determine the actual COM port number to which you connect, and maybe also the speed the connection is set to in the hardware (9600 or 19200).
Posted 30 July 2012 - 11:48 AM
Posted 31 July 2012 - 11:47 AM
I called ASA ONTOP company yesterday and inquired about the flight control system. They told me that the system will only work on COM 1. So I went into Windows 7 and switched from COM 3 to 1 and rebooted the machine. The flight controls are now recognized using ASA ONTOP software, now I have to figure out how to get FSX to recognize it. You say I need the PFCFSX.DLL? I will look for that on the web. Where would I install that file? Thanks again.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 01:25 PM
If it only works on COM1 that's probably a restriction in their OnTop software, not in the hardware as it isn't aware of its PC connection number.
Only if the hardware is designed to work using the PFC serial port protocol, which seems very unlikely to me. You should have asked them about the protocol too.
The PFCFSX.DLL is another of my modules, like FSUIPC which you seem to already have found -- you'll find the PFC modules in the same places. In fact I told you explicitly where to find them in an earlier message here, two days ago.
Documentation is included and tells you what to do with it.
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