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The Geek Forge . com

I will only ever be, half the Geek that I wished I was.

Catch Up

Good golly, it’s been almost a year since my last post.  I blame apathy. Last November I built a Radio Stack for Flight Simulator X (FSX).  It uses an Arduino Leonardo clone, and third party software called “Link2FS_Multi”.

I didn’t have to use a clone, its just what I had on hand.

Other parts used:
4 MAX7219 display modules to drive the 7 segment displays
1 Elma E37 Dual Concentric Rotary Encoder with push button
2 Momentary Push Switches
1 Toggle Switch
1 Rotary Switch

FSX Radio Stack

FSX Radio Stack

After the Radio Stack, I got cocky and started work on a 737 style MCP/autopilot.
It uses the same type of interface, Link2FS_Multi to talk to FSX, but this time I used an Arduino Mega.
As of this writing the MCP is still under construction, but is partially functional.
I plan to program it to work with the PMDG 737NGX.  Not a walk in the park, as PMDG uses proprietary offsets with their aircraft. Fortunately they publish the offsets.

FSX 737 MCP Autopilot

FSX 737 MCP Autopilot



I need to document these projects with more photos and detailed explanation.


This is to help others figure out how to send data from an
ARDUINO with ETHERNET to a MySQL database
via the POST method through a PHP page.


Arduino Uno with Ethernet Shield

Arduino Uno with Ethernet Shield

I am not an expert. 
I am just a hack.
I do not understand all of the code nuance.
I take what others have done, substitute my variables and modify the code to my requirements.
There are a million ways to skin a cat.
This is one way that I have muddled through.
I don’t go into how to set up a MySQL data base, try google.


Make a PHP file called config.php.

CODE for config.php


Make a file called update.php

CODE for update.php



Multiple variables being posted might look like…

In PHP you can break lines for readability.
End of line or statement is denoted by a semicolon.


I had decided to try and document my projects for posterity, and to possibly aid others with similar projects of their own.  Hence, this site.  The documentation of these said projects, is a project in and of itself.  It takes time to take pictures, upload them, and write things about them.  It takes even more time to take good pictures, upload them, chronologically display the progress and write coherent things about them.  Time is probably my biggest hurdle…next to my BF3 addiction (which eats up time).  But also, there is that whole… working a full time job, being the “engineer” that keeps a house of six occupants operational, being a Dad, being a husband, being a car mechanic, being a computer tech, being a plumber, being a contractor, etc.


So far, I have failed at project completion and documentation.


I have ideas.  I have experimented with my ideas for proof of concept.  If I can focus, pull it together, follow through, get it done, and document it, I think I’ll have something worthy to share.

Note: I originally posted this on G+

Win98se good.
WinME sucked.
WinXP sp2+ good.
Vista sucked.
Win7 good.
Win8 predict suckage.


I rarely early adopt. I always wait for a service pack or two. And if reports are bad, I skip it like ME and Vista. I just started using Win7 about a year ago. Win7 seems to be more stable than XP.
The thing I hate about Windows development, is change for the sake of change. Win7 and Office 2010. Why not have the ability to go back to the menu formats that we are used to. We have only been using them for about 20 years. Build your new hipster menus if you have to, just put in the old style as an option. Hell, list it under Ease of Access, call me handi-capable and fit me for the old folks home, just give me the OPTION.?


The other problem I have with MS OS development, is they seem to be marketing their OS’s as an experience. This is ridiculous, the operating system is a utility, something you use to do other things, it’s a middle man. Imagine an electric company, saying, “We’ve built a new power plant called Powerplant8 and the new houses being built that use our electricity will be the best houses ever. This new Powerplant8 electricity is truely magical, you will love the experience….Oh, and by the way, the new house light switches have been replaced with pull chains and all of the plugin receptacles changed to a different design so your old appliances wont work. You’ll need to buy these new prettier appliances. But don’t worry, you’ll love the new appliance experience.”

I will only ever be, half the Geek, I wished I was.

Fortunately this allows ample room to grow.

I go by a number of names, Fess_ter_Geek, Fess_ter, Fess, and at work, they call me Fesstus.  I’m married with four, home schooled children, seven desktops, and two laptops in the house.  I build my own desktops and usually overclock to boost the price/performance ratio.

The first pre-built, store bought, desktop that I purchased was a Packard-Bell 486sx 25Mhz sporting a 5.25in floppy and a 3.5in floppy. It did not come with a CD-Rom drive or a sound card. I had to add those later and I also upgraded the processor which was the start of my computer hardware knowledge that eventually lead me to build my own.


My first exposure to a computer was about 1979 when I was 11 years old. My Uncle Norm, sold computer learning systems to schools, so as a salesman he had one for demonstration.

It was an ATARI 800, 8 bit computer. It was big, beige and brown and it was beautiful.  When my mother and I would go and visit them, 3 hours away with a “55 stay alive” speed limit, I would stay up until 3 or 4am playing Star Raiders until my eyes bled.


Around 1983-84 my mother relented and spoiled me with an ATARI 800xl of my own. It was a more modern looking machinealthough, disappointingly, it couldn’t run some of the original 800 software.  As I recall, some of the older titles could be run by using a “Translator” disk but there were others that wouldn’t run at all.  I still have my old 800xl in the closet.  Every four or five years or so, when the nostalgia hits me, I pull it out, plug it in, and relive a few old memories.  I took that machine to college with me and turned in a crappy paper or two written on ATARI Writer word processor and printed on an ATARI daisy wheel printer. (Whrrrrrr chunk chunk chunk whrrrr)

After college, the procurement of employment, and marriage, I started to get into the IBM type of machines or “clones” as they used to be called.  Today we call them “PCs” (pee-sees).  My wife brought to the marriage, in her dowry, an actual IBM PS2 that cost as much as a used car.  It was a 386 16 Mhz and sported the new IBMMicro Channel Architecture, MCA.  IBM was going to change the industry with MCA.  It was kind of like PCI slots. They were faster and “better” than ISA slots.  But, the “industry” thought otherwise and MCA was short lived.  The 386 had no sound card, most computers didn’t, and you couldn’t find one for it because there were very few MCA cards around.  With no upgrade options this led me to buy the first Packard-Bell.


Over the years as computers got faster and my knowledge grew, I started learning about overclocking.  When Intel came out with the Pentium II, their top end was a 450 Mhz processor. I was contemplating building two identical machines, one for my wife and one for me. It was going to cost a “Mint” for two top end processors. Fortunately, my timing and research revealed that Intel’s lower end processor, the Celeron 300a with a smaller on die cache could easily overclock to 450 Mhz and yield identical performance, in some cases higher, than Intel’s PII 450.  That was my first stellar overclock and price/performance, value success.  In the years since, my system builds have migration between AMD and Intel systems depending on which one was deemed best at the time for the price/performance ratio.  As of this writing I have both AMD and Intel systems running in my house.

In the last couple of years I have started tinkering with Arduino. If you have to ask, Google it.

I have been slowly remodeling my house. If you have ever dug remotely, into a home repair or modification job, you have likely found out that attempting to do one job usually reveals two other things that need fixing.

I like computer games, BF3, Flight Simulator, and others. One of my all time Uber Geek dreams is to build a full motion flight simulator platform. Oh yes, someday it will be mine and I will make it. In the mean time, I intend to learn to interface Arduino with Flight Simulator X via FSUIPC.  Speaking of Flight Sim, at one time I was involved with a Virtual Airline on VATSIM and did a lot of PHP web work for our site, learning as I went.  Then we had child number 4 and leisure time was gone.  I learned just enough PHP/MYSQL to be dangerous but not proficient.

I play guitar, rhythm and chords mostly.  If you don’t play guitar, I sound really good.  If you do play guitar then, I’m just a hack like all my other “talents”.

Well that’s the start, anyway…