194: An FIP Display Order Setup Guide

TechLevel02W

I keep receiving questions from friends asking why the display order of FIPs are different every time when they start up FSX.  Followings are two of the most recent examples:

I have built a Saitek cockpit with 6 FIP’s so far.  It works great until I reboot.  It seems the USB ports start in a different sequence on each boot up.

When I added additional FIPs [using a single 10 port USB hub], they no longer would come up in the SaiFlightSimX.xml order.

Evidently, Saitek’s customer support is still lousy even after the product has been marketed for many years.   Anyway, here’s the revised FIP Display Order Setup Guide based on my Posts 28: Flight Instrument Panel Tweak – Part 1 and 118: Loading FIPs in Desired Order, and many replies I gave in various Comments.

HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS

¤ An electric-powered USB Hub (better be a blank new one.)

¤ An electric power bar or a socket with an ON/OFF switch (so that FIPs on the USB Hub could be turned on simultaneously.)

FIP-USB-02A  PowerBar
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SETTING UP THE USB HUB

== Step 1 ==

¤ Leaving the USB Hub unpowered and unplugged from the computer,

¤ Connect the first FIP (the one is to be displayed first based on the SaiFlightSimX.xml file) to the last numbered port on the USB Hub (as described in Post 118)

FIP-USB-01A
FIP-USB-01W

¤ Connect the next FIP to the second last USB Hub

¤ Repeat above steps until all FIPs are connected

== Step 2 ==

Plug the USB Hub power adapter to the power bar or the socket.  Don’t turn the power on yet !!

== Step 3 ==

Still leaving the USB Hub unpowered and unplugged from the computer,

  • Start up FSX

== Step 4 ==

After FSX is loaded,

  • Turn ON the USB Hub

== Step 5 ==

¤ Until seeing the light of the FIP’s Up/Down Arrow Keys start flashing,

¤ Now connect the USB Hub to the computer.

¤ A system notification may show up,  indicating the computer is installing drivers for the FIPs.

¤ After some seconds, the gauges should show up in the correct order as defined by the SaiFlightSimX.xml file.

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VERIFICATION

To verify if above USB setup for the FIPs is correct,

¤ Unplug the USB Hub from the computer while FSX is running

¤ Turn OFF the power of the USB Hub

¤ Wait for about 10 seconds

¤ Turn ON the power of the USB Hub again

¤ Until the lights of the FIP’s Up/Down Arrow Keys start flashing

¤ Reconnect the USB Hub to the computer again

If everything goes well, the startup order of the gauges should display in the correct order again.

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FIXES TO ANOMALY

However, due to system discrepancy (for instance, a USB port on a computer might somehow be assigned to another system device, etc), above USB Hub SETTING UP procedure could be affected, making the FIP showing up order deviated from what is planned originally.

To fix the issue,

Watch and Mark down the start up sequence of the FIPs from Step 5 above.

For example, if the start up sequence of FIPs becomes 4,3,2,7,6,5 everytime now,

Then, either

  • Re-plug in the FIPs to the corresponding USB ports according to the new start up sequence

or

  • Preferably, re-arrange the order of the gauges in the SaiFlightSimX.xml file so that the FIPs can then be started in correct order

Note that FSX must be restarted in order to effect the changes.   Moreover, remember to plug in the USB Hub only after FSX is loaded.

Then, use the verification steps above to check whether the corresponding fixes are done properly.

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SUMMARY

To ensure FIPs always starting up in the correct order, one must

  • Load FSX first
  • Then Turn ON the power of the USB Hub
  • Until Seeing the lights of the FIP’s Up/Down Arrow Keys flashing
  • Then Plug in the USB Hub to the computer to activate the gauges

Note that sometimes it may be necessary to repeat the plug-in process a few times in order to get the gauges to display properly.

Remember,
ALWAYS turn on and plug in the USB Hub to the system ONLY after FSX is loaded, so as to get the FIPs to start up in the specific order defined.

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