Building an Robinson R44 instrument Display For FSX (part 1)

I have always been impressed with the amount of detail, people put into activities and I never thought of myself as being in that category, but I have decided to give it a go with building a Robinson R44 helicopter instrument display. My interest was triggered by picking up 2 of these


which are replicas of R44 cockpit instrument gauge housings.

The following poster shows what an R44 cockpit should look like


so the first thing for me was to get the amber lights installed. I found some 12v led lights on ebay. I was attracted to them because they have the correct dome amber covers as the original but the originals have a black surround. I also want them to be 5V to connect to an Arduino (although Im not sure yet how I will get them so work), so time for some DIY light hacking.

First get the maps as shown


then take them apart completely, so they look as follows


Now we want to remove the 12v led from the white capsule housing. It is possible to remove it without destroying the led (its only the white capsule housing we need for this) but otherwise use a very small screwdriver to winkle out the led and then pull with a pliers so it looks as follows:


Finally, repeat for all 8 lights (in my case Im using a mixture of red and orangle lights as they did not have enough yellow lights in stock but I will probably go with all yellow. The following picture shows the lights with my prototype finished led)


Note that the prototype has a black top not chrome – so time to start sanding and painting.

Now, sand the tops of the chrome housing (so the paint has something to stick to). I used P150 sandpaper. Make sure should sand the edges as this is typically where paint starts to peel.

After sanding the the tops of the lights, apply some masking tape and fill in where the light will go with some damp paper towel.


I though the chrome effect was actually plastic but I think its actually some kind of metal but I had already purchased paint for plastic so will have to make do. The next stage is to spray the tops and edges and leave to dry.

Before spraying (as you can see Im no paint expert and its all rough and ready) 🙂


and after 1st coat


Now while these are drying its time to get back to the actual lights.

I purchased some bright components 5mm led’s 5-7v prewired off ebay. These are really handy as they already include the resistor.


we are going to use these to replace the 12v led’s that we removed from the white capsules.


but before we put them into the capsules, wrap some electrical tape around then so that they stand proud of the capsule by about 1 inch when inserted. This is about the width of the electrical tape 15mm approx


then put the back in the capsules


Im still waiting for the paint to dry so here is a picture of the prototype. The pain looks a bit rough at the side but its only the head on view you will see



and now  we have 5v led Arduino ready Robinson 44 warning lights ready for installation in the instrument housing


The next post will see if we can control them with an arduino before later connection to FSX.

WhereThingsAreBorn 🙂


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