It occurs to me that I haven’t actually posted since before my flat move, so you don’t actually know what’s gone on with my temporary desktop simpit. There have been a few changes. So it’s worth a brief post describing those.
Long story short – because buying a house takes forever, I ended up having to leave my long-term rented flat and move into a short-term let for 3 months. Which is where I am now. I had mulled over whether to bring any simulator stuff with me, or if I could cope with 3 months without, and in the end I decided I couldn’t, so I brought the components of the desktop pit, while putting everything else in storage.
However, this flat has no friendly places to set up a desktop pit – which is to say, no desk – and so I splashed out and ordered one of these ‘pilot chairs’:
This gives me a base to put my equipment on, and with some jiggery-pokery I managed to put the monitors at the right height using a stack of boxes. All rather heath-robinson, I know, but needs must.
The pilot chair is an OK solution to a particular problem, but it doesn’t really work that well in my opinion – you have to keep detaching and re-attaching bits in order to get into the damn thing, for one thing – and the placement of the side-plates for TQ etc are a bit off. I actually had one of these a long time ago when I first started simming more seriously, but I got rid of it when I moved on to bigger things. This time around, I’ll probably keep it when I move and then convert the chair into the new temporary simpit I’ll be building.
Anyway, this worked but it was shoved in an inconvenient corner of the room, and the monitor was further away from me than I’d like in order to accommodate the pedals, which would normally fit under a desk but where there was no gap to put them in. I set up a multi-monitor solution but it really didn’t work that well.
Eventually, and having started playing a lot of Elite: Dangerous as well as FSX and P3D, I re-arranged the room, used a chest of drawers as a monitor stand, and bought a 37-inch HDTV to act as a main monitor. That works a lot better.
All my Saitek panels are now screwed together, and then screwed onto the top of the Saitek yoke. This is the advantage of the Saitek system. It’s not the arrangement I’d ideally have, but it works and more importantly it works with the pilot chair arrangement.
Sorry it’s not an ‘action shot’, but you get the general gist. On the left-hand pad you can see the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog throttle unit; the right-hand pad assembly, and the Warthog stick, are on the floor and are just visible at the bottom of the photo. The TrackIR receiver can be seen on top of the TV, and the weird prongy think on the left is the TrackIR active tracking clip-on attached to my headphones.
One thing which has been troublesome – getting so many USB devices connected. I’m now up to 12 USB devices connected, and even the best multi-port hub I could find just didn’t seem to be able to deliver enough power to all the devices, and some of them would blink on and off randomly. I finally solved this by getting a USB 3.0 10-port hub which is rated to deliver the maximum USB voltage to each port even with all 9 in use, and I connected the majority of my devices to this, with the rest in USB 2.0 ports on the back of the PC.
The hub has a handy feature in that 9 of the 10 ports are divided into groups of three with an individual power switch; so when I’m playing Elite, say, I can turn off the Saitek gear that I won’t be using. And when I play FSX, I can turn off the Warthog HOTAS. Though I’m planning to try flying military jets and helicopters using the HOTAS, and I’ve been convinced to download and try Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) which I’m told is pretty good for combat simming. That’s not my primary interest, but it’s certainly worth a go just for the fun of it.
So there you go… simming life continues. Now I must get back to playing Elite. Pirates don’t just catch themselves, you know.