Avionics for Experimental Aircraft






Sorceforge Project


20 November 2005


This project has been active for the past months, but has not been publishing.  A working beta of bigScreen is now installed and has been serving up data during taxi testing.  A project web and download file update will be made as soon as I get flying, hopefully yet this year.





The experimental aircraft community has a long and rich history of leading edge innovation. One area that has remained relatively unexplored is scratchbuilt avionics. While there are a number of kits available to construct a variety engine, airdata and other instruments, few builders are taking complete advantage of recent advances in electronics and sensor technology.  These advances make it not only possible, but even practical to consider construction of robust, high quality avionics systems that outperform commercial systems, at a fraction of the cost.
The Avionics project aims to take advantage of these advances, by developing and sharing designs and software for constructing sensors, displays and complete cockpit systems.

The first project under development is a primary display, integrating flight, navigation and systems data into a single display.  As of July, prototype PFD and HSI diplays have been released on Sourceforge.

Our hope is to have numerous projects underway here, creating a community for sharing and supporting the development of a wide variety of sensors, systems, hardware and software.  If you'd like to join in, please contact Tom.



Updated EFIS release to efis.0.1.1.  This update repairs a z-axis display error which allowed the ASI and ALT tapes to show through the digital value window.  The coding error did not reveal itself on the original hardware setup, which was an unaccelerated VIA EPIA M9000.  When a GeForce4 NX440 was added, and the drivers updated, the error appeared.  Although the stock VESA driver used previously did not show the error, it was nonetheless a software problem in the PFD routine.

The new setup is painting the entire efis at 35 frames/sec, up from 5.  However, artifacts in the form of black specs are appearing on the PFD.  The severity of these artifacts varies with depth translation, but the problem remains with this build, on this hardware/software.  The current setup, which is the bigScreen target, is:

  • VIA EPIA M9000 mainboard, 256k memory
  • e-GeForce4 MX440
  • RH 8.0
  • XFree86 4.3.0
  • NVidia 1.0-4496
  • Ultimarc IPAC2 keyboard emulator
  • Innova STS-5215-SHP-XGA, a 2700 nits, 15" XGA display


Released the first EFIS package.  This package shows the planned display structure, along with rudimentary PFD and HSI displays.

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Copyright 2003 - Tom Dollmeyer