216: Squeezing In

The seven Saitek Flight Instrument Panels (FIPs) I currently have are far less than enough to individually cover each flight instrument on the C172, not to mention the more complicated aircrafts.  I could purchase a couple more — the easiest solution.   But I am quite happy with my current setup, and the success of the recently made Integrated Fuel Gauges also strengthens the possibility for me to integrate all (ideally) C172 instruments onto my current seven FIPs.

The following is the layout I drafted which includes proximity consideration of the instruments in the cockpit.  No doubt, compromise is inevitable.

FIP Gauge PlannedS
Initial Draft to include all C172 instrument onto 7 FIPs (Click to Enlarge)

Moreover, in order to exploit the relatively low-resolution footage on the FIP for the inclusion of more higher resolution and detailed gauge images, taking up the whole 320 x 240 area seems to be unavoidable.   Also, this will sacrifice the text display area of the six programmable buttons on the left.

Although this could be solved by embedding the text to the gauge image itself, this approach, on the other hand, will make the new gauges highly customized to my own personal favorite.

Fuel Tank Selection via Knobs on the FIP

Anyway, the Integrated Fuel Gauges with the addition of Fuel Selection Lever is very likely to be the first one on the roll.    The Left, Right and Both fuel tanks, presumably, should be able to be selected via the two knobs on the FIP.

Again, time is still a critical and uncertain factor when these indicators will be done; especially many of them are to be worked on from ground zero.

21 thoughts on “216: Squeezing In

  1. Thanks to Christian, Hans, and Tom for the suggestions. I never thought about using multiple powered USB hubs. When I spoke about freezing, however, it was the monitor, not the FIP’s that was halting and then recovering. I don’t have a “gaming” system — just a regular ‘ol desktop.


  2. Tom,
    On my previous gaming PC had problems above six FIPs. After splitting FIPs, radio panels, BIP and multi panel over multiple powered USB hubs, things improved.
    On my current machine have no problems but that’s a “hulk” with lots of power.
    Still using the multtiple power USB hubs as makes it easier to “manage” the lot. ;)

    Not much time for gaming and flightsim at present. So I’m not able to try your setting as i’ve dismantled and packed most my equipment due to my move next month.
    Pity as i would like to test your setting as current mask setting is related more to my machine specs.

    Keep up the good work and I’ll keep following your progress on this. Still have one lose FIP so if you need a tester :))


  3. Hi. Looks fantastic! My solution is to buy old iPads, series #1, and instal apps from Remote Flight. They are good for incredibly detailed instruments and a moving HD map.
    Communication is over your local area network, wirelessly.


  4. Suggestion to Joe : Check the power supply of your USB’extentions. This could be one of the reasons for the FIPs to freeze. I’ve read on french forums that FIP doesn’t match with USB3. On my side I use several USB2 power supplied without problems. Rgds, Christian


      1. Tom,
        Is there a new set of 172 gauges that you released?
        I never rcvd the email with the download info. I would greatly enjoy these new 172 FIPs.


  5. It just keeps getting better Tom. Do you sleep?

    As much as I like the integrated gauges, I have 12 and wouldn’t need all of them integrated.

    Your comment about expanding the gauges to use the whole area keenly sparks my interest. Is that really possible? Giving up the buttons on most of my FIP’s would not be a problem to have the gauges expanded and centered in the FIP.

    I have not encountered any problems with computer performance as FIP’s were added either Joe.

    Thanks yet again
    Rick S.


    1. Yes, using up all the area on the FIP is possible. My Post 215 describes how to disable the button or use it without the text display.
      Neither do I find the problem Joe reported.


      1. My recollection was that if you did delete the button data etc that it would not center the gauge, am I wrong?

        Joe, I am sure CPU, GPU, memory etc “horsepower” makes for a smoother flight, so it may follow that there isn’t enough cycles to drive all your devices which would slow your FPS down. That being true I have found that splitting multiple FIP’s (6 plus) up on their own separate powered USB hubs does make a difference. I then run my panels, radios, AP etc on other powered USB panels.

        Also I think I read somewhere, and it proved true in my rig, that you should not run a Saitek Yoke thru a remote hub; it should be connected directly to the CPU. I do not use the hub portion of my yoke.

        One nice thing about using separate hubs for the FIP’s is that when you load FSX with all of the non FIP USB hubs plugged in, FSUIPC, SPAD etc will work fine because it finds all of your flight controls etc and you can then plug in your FIP hub cable (power enabled) after FSX loads and it will load all of your FIP’s in the correct order.

        The last I will say about powered remote hubs is that it makes it very easy to have a few cables and switches that when not plugged or enabled you will have no power going to the devices, say when you are not going to load FSX. This will definitely prolong those device’s life expectancy.

        Rick S.


      2. Hi Rick, you are right that deleting button data won’t center the gauge automatically. Background images have to be redone and positions have to be recalculated.


  6. Tom, the layout looks good but is really packed tight. I have one more FIPs so that would help me a little.

    Has the A2A readouts for the RPM and MP gauges been resolved?



  7. Hi Tom & Joe the number of FIPs affect computer performance. They, the way I see it, are displays although small ones.

    @Tom – Love the way you come up with these ideas to extend FIPs.


    1. Thanks Hans for the feedback. You are the second (I guess) person reporting that FIPs affect PC performance.
      Wonder if you use AffinityMask in your fsx.CFG. If so, try the following if it helps.
      AffinityMask=13 // Set to 13 for Panels included; Set to 20 for NO Panels.


  8. Tom,

    I have six FIP’s and have realized that I really need seven (at least) for the C172. However, six already tax the computer set up I have. The graphics card periodically freezes, but recovers itself after several seconds (usually just before touch down or some other significant maneuver!). Anyways, I would certainly welcome those “insert” gauges you have pictured!



    1. Hi Joe,
      Others have commented on your situation and given suggestions. Worth a try.
      Also, if you use AffinityMask in your fsx.CFG, try the following if it helps.
      AffinityMask=13 // Set to 13 for Panels included; Set to 20 for NO Panels.


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