For such a simple device, trim wheels can be the source of a surprising amount of frustration in flight simulation. The ideal of course is that you rotate your trim wheel a certain number of degrees and the wheel in the simulator mirrors that amount exactly producing the desired amount of trim. In practice it is almost never like that as the simulator has to cope with being mapped to a variety of devices all of which generate pulses or clicks at varying rates
- a key press and whatever auto repeat speed kicks in
- a hardware trim wheel which has a variable number of clicks per revolution
- a mouse scroll wheel which also has a variable number of clicks per turn
Since Microsoft Flight Simulator’s launch there have been a number of iterations in how they handle trim wheel rotation speed and it is easy to finds support threads on the MSFS forum expressing frustration about this issue.
In one test with the Spitfire MkIX we found that you needed up to twenty rotations of the trim wheel to achieve a full nose up trim!
An issue for all hardware manufacturers
This is a problem for all manufacturers of trim hardware, such as Flight Velocity, who had to rewrite their software to achieve a reliable solutions for customers.
We’re hitting this problem too particularly with the elevator trim wheel (the rudder trim wheel seems to work well for some reason) so we have a project underway at present that should provide a solution not only for AuthentiKit but for anyone making trim wheels for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Our aim is to provide a number of algorithms to give people flexibility to match the physical hardware to the sim as precisely as possible – after all we’re passionate about things being authentic and feeling right !
- Apply a multiplier so that each real click of the hardware encoder sends a multiple of clicks to the sim which could be fine tuned to the aircraft
- A two speed option – slow and fine or fast. The software detects when the wheel is being moved quicker and automatically applies a speed up multiplier
- Simulating an axis – the wheel can be calibrated so that you choose how many rotations/pulses of the wheel equate to a full range between 0 and 100%
Free and open to the community
Our intention is not to limit this software to AuthentiKit products, after all AuthentiKit is very much a freeware open solution and actually uses very simplistic technologies. We will make this software available for free download to anyone who may find it useful whether they use a commercial hardware trim wheel or a self-built home cockpit.