Gotta have a logbook and Hobbs (hours meter) for your flight sim, right?

As a virtual pilot, aka a flight simmer, I figured it would be fun to have a pilots logbook. So I made a simplified logbook in a spreadsheet and printed on a landscape oriented A4 piece of paper to keep in my clipboard so I can fill it out after each “serious” flight, usually on the Vatsim network 🙂  If I’m just messing around or testing stuff, I don’t log it.  A screenshot of my logbook spreadsheet can be seen above.

Some may say it’s childish to fill out a logbook for when playing a game… to that I say, remember: The difference between adults and kids, are the cost of their toys 🙂
(also, it’s a hobby… so, haters gonna hate!)

Anyway, in that same ballpark, I figured a hobbs (hours meter) could be a fun addition to the simulator as well, to keep track of how many hours the simulator has flown.

Luckily, a hobbs meter is rather cheap. I got this one which I think looks nice:

Video – hobbs-meter-clicking

As you can hear, it has a loud and annoying clicking sound every few seconds while it’s active. I can easily hear it through my headphones.

Well, as mentioned, hobbs meters are cheap. So, back online and I found a digital one. This one is quiet, but unfortunately the display only shows digits when it’s powered (and thus active) and the display is much, much harder to read, compared to the analog one. Oh well, at least it’s quiet.

Currently it’s placed in the lower right corner of the cockpit, which makes it impossible to read the display from the pilot seat. So I’ll need to move it further up in my final panel build.

How does it run?

I’ll keep this short. Maybe I’ll post specifics later.

But basically I used an Arduino Leonardo and an Arduino relay. Hooked up the Leonardo to my PC and flashed it with Air Manager. Then made a script in Air Manager, so that whenever my plane RPM is above, say, 600, it would trigger the relay which turns on the hobbs meter. The hobbs is connected to a 12V LED transformer, which converts 230v AC to 12v DC, because the Arduino 5V is not enough to run the hobbs.

Here’s a quick photo of my “prototype” setup, showing the backside of the Hobbs meter:


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