Weekend Update

Quite the weekend! The simulator and I really made the rounds…

  • Friday I brought it by the company picnic at my office and let my boss and my mentor try their hand at the controls
  • Saturday my family and extended family took it to the Overland Park Fall Festival parade and handed out 25 pounds of candy and 250 flyers
  • Sunday my family took it to my daughter’s elementary school carnival and raffled off a 2 hour block as a fundraiser
  • Monday I took it to the Blue Valley CAPS engineering courtyard to demonstrate it for some high school students that are working on a flight simulator as part of the program

Indiegogo campaign came to a close late last night – final tally of $458! Once Indiegogo sends the funds I will put the order in for the t-shirts.

The weekend revealed a few issues. These will need to be addressed before it is moved in the back for the winter…

  • Nuisance GFCI trips on the generator (switching to a non-GFCI twist-lock plug)
  • An apparent short-circuit in the 24 VDC bus (seems to be related to the motion of the platform)
  • Door weatherization, actuator speed, internal electric compressor and additional sensors
  • Need to move PSU to UPS power so door can open during power failure


Clear Air Visibility

I have read conflicting reports of what the maximum visual range would be for pure air with no aerosol or humidity.


296km visibility at 40km AGL

As you can see I got the geometry for the whole planet up and running as well as a pixel shader fog algorithm. The fog color is based on the zenith sRGB values from the Vanera spacecraft observations and varies with altitude.


Generic Non-PnP Monitor

Out of the 6 HD monitors that make up the display, only 2 were allowing me to use the FHD 1080p resolution. The other 4 were listed as “Generic Non-PnP Monitor” on the display properties.

I reached out to AMD (the graphics card manufacturer) and the DisplayPort to VGA adapter manufacturer (a Chinese company). After spending a lot of time messing with a ton of different suggestions from the manufacturers and on various forums, the problem turned out to be the VGA cables.

svga-connector-diagram[1]    z2Jav[1]

In a race to the bottom some of these cable manufacturers leave out expensive copper wire that they don’t think people will miss! The one that is missing in my case is the SDA (pin 12) which is apparently responsible for “plug and play” detection of the monitor’s capabilities.

Hopefully this will save you some time … swapping the cable out for one you know works is the easiest way to troubleshoot this IMHO. And if you buy cables you should either check for continuity through all 15 pins (and the chassis) or hook it up to make sure you have all the features you are expecting.

Length of a Day

First, the sun rises in the west on Venus, not the east.

Venus rotates slower than any other planet in our solar system… 243 days. That is actually longer than it takes for Venus to revolve around the sun (the Venus year is 225 days). The net result is a solar day that lasts about 116.75 Earth days.

Fortunately for the gameplay we aren’t tethered to the surface and we are suspended in a medium that is moving, on average, 200 km/h. That cuts the day down to about 192 hours or almost exactly 8 Earth days.

So that means that the “magic hour” lasts about 8 hours but then we are in complete darkness for almost 4 days!


Campaign is LIVE on Indiegogo!

Please contribute (even if it is just $1) to help the campaign trend in the first few days next week. Thank you for all of your support!


Here is the t-shirt design my brother-in-law whipped up late last night.  You can get it at the $30 contribution level or higher.