Connecting XCSoar to X-Plane 11 from a networked PC

 

I had a request in a comment on my previous post asking me to describe how I connect XCSoar to X-Plane from a networked PC. The following method is the one that I use, but there is at least one other way to do this using a freeware serial port emulation product called “HW VSP”. I have not tried the freeware option myself.   If you want to use the freeware “HW VSP” for virtual ports emulation then I suggest that you join the UK Virtual Gliding Association (also free) and ask for help on their forum. I believe that some of the UKVGA members use “HW VSP”.

I use the product called Virtual Serial Ports Emulator (VSPE) by Eterlogic.com. You have to purchase a license to use it on 64 bit MS Windows.   I believe it is free on 32 bit MS Windows. Because I am running it on two 64 bit PCs, I bought two licenses but I am not sure if that is necessary or not. I have used it successfully on both a wired LAN and WIFI.  There may be a simpler way to do this, but this works and I have not bothered to try any other methods.

1. Install VSPE on X-Plane 11 PC and configure as follows:

Create a COM1 Connector device using default settings (this is the port that we will send X-Plane GPS output to). If COM1 is already in use on your system, you can use a different COM number.

Create a Splitter device with COM5 as the virtual serial port and COM1 as the Data source serial port. This will connect the X-Plane GPS output via COM1 to the TCP network server created in the next step.

Create a TcpServer device with Local TCP port 5555 and Source serial port is COM5. This virtual device will send the serial data stream received from the Splitter across the network to any TcpClients created with VSPE.

Save the configuration.  To re-load a saved configuration, you may have to stop the emulation first.

Click on the green start icon below the menu bar to start the emulation. Below is a screenshot of how it should look when you have started the emulation. NOTE: The emulation probably needs to be started before X-Plane  (it definitely does for FSX).

VSPE on X-Plane PC

I set this configuration up years ago, so I am not sure, but I believe that I used default settings for the VSPE emulation devices.  I provide screen captures of my settings in VSPE just in case I am wrong:

X-Plane PC COM1 properties:

X-Plane COM1 port properties

X-Plane PC Splitter properties:

X-Plane Splitter properties

X-Plane PC Splitter settings:

X-Plane Splitter settings

X-Plane PC TCP Server properties:

X-Plane tcp server properties

X-Plane PC TCP Server settings:

X-Plane tcp server settings

 

2. Install VSPE on networked PC with XCSoar installed and configure VSPE as follows:

Create a COM2 Connector device using default settings. This is the port that that XCSoar will read the GPS serial data stream sent from your X-Plane PC.

Created a Splitter device with COM5 as the virtual serial port and COM2 as the Data source serial port. This will get the serial data stream from the TCP Client device created in the next step and output it via COM2.

Create a TcpClient device with Remote TCP port 5555, The Remote TCP host  is the IP address of your X-Plane PC.  The Source serial port is COM5. This virtual device will receive the serial data stream across the network from the specified VSPE server PC.

Save the configuration.  To re-load a saved configuration, you may have to stop the emulation first.

Below is a screenshot of how it should look when configured.  Click on the green start icon below the menu bar to start the emulation.

With VSPE emulations running on both the server and client PCs and a successful network connection the status for each emulation device should change to “OK”.

NOTE: You may need to open port 5555 through your firewall on both the server and client PCs for the VSPEmulator.exe application.

VSPE on XCSoar PC

XCSoar PC COM2 properties:

XCSoar COM2 properties

XCSoar PC Splitter properties:

XCSoar Splitter properties

XCSoar PC Splitter settings:

XCSoar Splitter settings

XCSoar TCP Client properties:

XCSoar tcp client properties

XCSoar TCP Client settings:

XCSoar tcp client settings

 

3. Start X-Plane 11 Go to Settings –> GPSHardware

Enable the moving map/NMEA COM port and set COM1 with 5 NMEA transmissions per second. You can experiment with the transmissions per second, but 5 per second seems to work OK for me.  (click on image to view larger size)

EDIT: I have carried out some testing of the transmission rate since this post and found that values less than 4 per second or greater than 5 per second impact frame rates and cause stutters.  So on my system, 4 to 5 per second works best.

X-Plane 11 GPS output setting

 

4. Start XCSoar on the networked PC.  Double click on map display to open menu buttons. Click on Config menu button, select Devices button and configure Device A to COM2 with Baud rate of 4800. The serial driver is optional, but I use the Condor Soaring Simulator driver, which seems to work OK.  There are an extensive range of drivers available in XCSoar. (click on image to view larger size)

XCSOAR Device config

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