British/LW gauge illumination
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  1. #1
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    British/LW gauge illumination

    Before working on the illumination for Ankor Sahders in the night on all British and Luftwaffe gauges, some ?s have come up.
    To quote Gecko

    "For me there are still some unanswered research questions - what kinds of lighting systems were used, and how bright could you expect different types to be? Which markings were lit? Every word and note? Just selected parts of markings? Is that why many British gauges have both white and green numbers painted on them?"

    Anyone have any historical info on BC and NF a/c as well as LW NJ ones??
    Last edited by mongoose; March 20th, 2017 at 15:14.

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  2. #2
    Can't help you with anything RAF or LW but I came across this photo when doing research for my P-47:

    https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/instrument-panel-p-47d-15-xp-47h

    Scroll to the 11th piccie of the 15: The Museum also took a photo of the instrument panel lit by UV light (as C-5 cockpit lights were). You 'll notice that different coloured markings also light up differently under the UV light.

    ACC Member, ETO and PTO contributor & librarian

  3. #3
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    Thanks Joost. Interesting in that they seem brighter than those used In the VC texture files (P61). I hope we can find some more for BC and the NJ.

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  4. #4
    That picture looks like radium paint.
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  5. #5
    Most likely.

    But UV light can be used to enhance the effect (= brighter). See this quote taken from an auction site: "... Offered for your bid is a Grimes 28 volt ultraviolet cockpit lamp. These were used in many different warplanes, both Army and Navy. Their purpose was to give the luminescent paint markings on the instruments a nice glow in the darkened cockpit ..." (http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedi...pit-1559063126).
    This panel looks very bright for WW2-era radium paint. My guess is that they did light it up with some extra UV.

    BTW, The additional benefit of using a UV cockpit light would be that it doesn't affect your nightvision as red of white lights do.

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  6. #6
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    Info from the FSX Forum re lancs


    QUOTES
    I don't suppose anyone here knows how the gauges of these ac were illuminated at night?? Radium? UV? Combo?

    Nope none of that fancy stuff, just a simple red lamp or two shining on the panel and on the cockpit generally.

    That was really it?? Seems primitive compared with some USA ac?

    Afraid so and it was very basic compared to some but not all US aircraft, the reason was basically electrical systems. I have flown that era of aircraft and the cockpit lighting was woeful with one red lamp on the panel, a good hand held torch was mandatory if you wanted to see anything and as an emergency lighting system. The next step up was to put little eyebrow lights on the instruments, you can see these in the C-47 and a lot of other aircraft. Background lighting and internal instrument lighting followed later. There was an idea about that you saw better at night with a red light not a white light, but this actually is not true, so red lit instrument lighting has basically disappeared. There was also another important aspect minimising light glare that could be seen from outside the aircraft which was important in combat at night, one little light can be seen a long way at night, basically in a completely dark night you could see a match being lit from 20,000 ft.

    This era of aircraft were all pretty simple and uncomplicated electrically and generally electrics were only used where you could not use a mechanical lever or cable-pulley or hydraulic system. Most instrumentation was barometric, gyro or vacuum driven so no need for electrics. If you look at the Lancaster and a lot of other types of the period for example you will see the pilot controlled no radios, no radar and no bombing equipment, this was all done at the crew stations for that activity, all they had was a simple intercom system. Magnetos are not electrical per se but a simple magnetic system to generate a spark at the plug, the switches in the aircraft basically are wired to the ignition circuit to test the dual magneto and to break the circuit or turn it off, hence you could hand start most engines one way or another but really big engines meant a hand crank was hopeless and so starter motors would be fitted.

    US aircraft really changed that with the use of multiple electrical systems in aircraft (Boeing in particular). In WW 2 electrics were primarily for radios, radars and bomb dropping equipment, especially in British aircraft. Part of the design approach was also to use an external power source, like a starter cart which then was plugged in to energise the aircraft and get the engines started, once a generator was online the cart would be disconnected. Some even used cockpit mounted cartridge guns where you stuffed in basically a big shotgun shell and fired it off to spin the engine. Another things was all this early gear was bulky and heavy (look at a 1940's radio compared to a transistor radio and now digital) and space and weight was always a premium issue in any aeroplane. Radio gear for example could take up the space of two people at the back of a cockpit with big metal racking to hold it all. The rest as they say is history.

    END Quotes

    So I suppose that means we are back to a couple of small red lights. Has this been done as IIRC we have had something like this before. Now how this would go with Ankor's Shaders I don't know.

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  7. #7
    Ankor's shaders offer the ability to replace the stock cockpit light with up to two separate, directional light sources of any color. I have my doubts about your quote as I've heard multiple times about radium paint on British gauges, but maybe this wasn't standard? It seems very odd to me that only a red light was used, I would think it would be easier to spot while providing inferior readability for the gauges. That pic of the P-47 panel is very interesting Joost, surprised at how much color there is.

  8. #8
    Radium paint was used on British aircraft gauges: I have a photo somewhere of a fighter cockpit at RAF Hendon with a radiation warning sign on account of that. Elf and Safety, y'see: all pilots to wear lead knickers.
    Tom
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    SOH-CM-2017 DaveB's Avatar
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    I'm similarly sure that Radium paint was used on some aircraft instruments in the UK up to perhaps the 60's. Some years ago when I was an active volunteer at Brooklands on the Vanguard, we had a team turn up to check the integrity of not only the instruments in museum aircraft but also what we had kicking around as spares. Even before this.. the Victor nose section that used to live in the Strat chamber was deemed too dangerous to enter!! Damned shame as I really wanted to see inside it. On that note, I must check to see what was eventually done with it.

    ATB
    DaveB

  10. #10
    Just to make this easier...



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  11. #11
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    Obviously more investigation needed re RAF but also LW ac gauges.

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  12. #12
    SOH-CM-2017 DaveB's Avatar
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    What a great pair of shots! Y'know.. I never realised placards had been painted with Radium paint too. Makes sense I know but that's the first time I've seen it.

    ATB
    DaveB

  13. #13
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    From a Lanc site

    Hi James
    In the early years they used radium paint but in the last few years of
    the war the instruments were illuminated with UV light from an overhead
    lamp with a black glass, causing the numbers to glow.
    Norman

    From Mathias

    Hey James,
    it's a while ago since we last had a chat, eh? :-)
    They where radium-lit as usual and at least the Bf110 had two lights left and right of the panel that could be dimmed (hidden under the covers marked with red arrows in the picture below).
    Not quite sure right out of my head but I mean to remember they used red bulbs.


    Cheers


    Mathias





    More if I get it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gmpnkcpaknnidham.jpg   plggnagkfjedikeh.gif  

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMagee View Post
    Just to make this easier...
    I hadn't seen 'em side by side but there are some interesting differences to be noticed. One would be the Turbo tachometer: Only the whitish-yellow paint lights up (as orange) while the green markings are hardly visble. For the altimeter it is the other way around. Makes you wonder what was intended and what is the effect of aging.

    BTW, I did find that radium paint could be coloured by adding other components (mostly metals like copper etc.). The magneto switch and the top of the panel seem to reflect the UV / blacklight used in making the photograph. But what causes the blueish glow around the directional gyro and the artificial horizon?

    @James: Good to know! That confirms that we were all right () and see the development over the course of the war.

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  15. #15
    This is fascinating. They even put a little dot on the end of the toggle switches so you can find them and see what position they are in. My guess is, at least for US aircraft, all of the lettering is done with radium and the missing parts have just aged. Any idea how bright radium would be without the UV light?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    But what causes the blueish glow around the directional gyro and the artificial horizon?


    We used to check the glass seal blanks for electrical connectors with black light. If the glass was properly leaded then it would glow, and it passed our lot acceptance test.
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  17. #17
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    More re Lanc

    Hello James

    General dials with painted with a florescent paint like Radium paint

    Small shielded cockpit lights were place over one of two instruments, but were not used much to prevent detection from night-fighters.

    Best wishes from Canada

    re earlier post

    Thank you so much for that quick reply. Was the UV in conjunction with
    the radium or without? I don't suppose you know of any pictures?
    >James
    >

    Hi James
    No the UV did not need the radium paint which is probably why it was
    introduced, the new paint just glowed under UV light. I have one of the
    UV lights but never found the bulb they used. The early RPM dials were
    all white lettering, the later ones had some green lettering. I don't
    know of any other info or pictures.
    Norman

    end



    i take it that's about it for Lancs anyway. Assume others similar.

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  18. #18
    It's already been mentioned that the museum display items may have aged. The radium half life of 1600 years is no problem, but the ZnS in the coating breaks down over time and blocks the light. They're still about as radioactive as when they were made 75 years ago, but you can't see it. There is a similar aging issue with phosphor paints that were used. I was privy to some work in the early 90s with sealing phosphors from moisture in a way that would allow the light to still be seen brightly. Prior to that the phosphors would pick up moisture and dim significantly in less than a year. The result was the Indiglo brand of electro-luminescent lamps that you may have seen in a Timex watch, emergency exit lighting strips, or the dash of your car.
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  19. #19
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    Any thoughts on how to do gauges with UV and Ankor's Shaders?

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  20. #20
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    Ive been looking on paint.net (could use gimp as well) how to do UV lighting on the 'pit. One issue I see is that the gauges dds's are separate from the cockpit dds's. I assume if I'. "painting" the light effect I want it on both as per the picture above. Any ideas? otherwise I suppose I could actually try lights as I seem to remember from before but haven't seen those for a while.

    Since above I dug out this nugget! Don't remember it going further; Dan?

    http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforum...ckpit+lighting
    Last edited by mongoose; March 24th, 2017 at 15:38.

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

  21. #21
    That was before Ankor's shaders. It worked quite well, but is no longer needed.

    Look in the Spitfire VII/VIII package and you will see Ankor's new cockpit lights implemented. Using a combination of these and light maps should give you the results you want.

  22. #22
    AnKor's February 2017 shaders added another way to do this.

    For the cockpit or gauge texture you can create a dds file with the proper suffix to define it's behavior.

    Available codes area:
    +lrgb => colored light map, rgb channels.
    +lr, +lg, +lb, +la => grayscale light map (i.e. just the brightness) in one of the channels, i.e. "+lr" is light map in red channel.
    +sr, +sg, +sb, +sa => specular map in one of the channels.
    +gr, +gg, +gb, +ga => glossiness map in one of the channels (black - "rough" surface, white - extremely sharp highlights)
    So, if you want to have both specular and glossiness maps you need to name your texture like this: main_texture_name.+sr+gg.dds
    This will tell the shaders to look for specular map in red channel and for glossiness map in green channel.

    For some odd reason the previous implementation of self-illumination textures (+lrgb) worked as if the original texture was lit by external light source instead of actually emitting the light.


    This means that if you had absolutely black original texture, then no matter how bright the lightmap is you would still get the black color as a result.


    To fix it AnKor introduced a new suffix for textures: +light


    These will actually add the lightmap on top of original texture, so even black surfaces will appear "emitting" the light (think windows in buildings that look black during the day being lit at night).


    In addition to the ones listed above there are now two new suffixes for such emitting textures:


    +nlight -- these are only active at night


    +clight -- these are for cockpit use and only active when cockpit light is switched on


    Keep in mind that only ONE additional texture of this kind can be used, i.e. you can't specify +light and +nlight for the same original texture.


    Using the P-61 cockpit light effect as a starting point:

    In the TextureMagic.ini there is an entry to define the Cockpit light and you can set that to look like the dim UV black-light sheen if you want.
    light_uv.dds=Spot|130026|2.0||||30|30

    In effects.xml you'll need to add (you'll also need to create a light_uv.DDS file):
    <cockpit_light_uv ClassName="Shockwave" PullOnGround="0" CountCycles="1" Pulse="0" InitialDelay="0" Duration="99999" FadeInTime="0" FadeOutTime="0" Pause="0" PosX="0" PosY="0" PosZ="0" InitialSize="0.0001" FinalSize="0.0001" Texture="light_uv.DDS" BlendMode="QuadSprite"/>

    In the aircraft xpd you'll need something like: (the position will need adjustement for each specific cockpit other than the P-61 in this example)
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="cockpit_light_uv" PosX="-0.475" PosZ="3.3" PosY="0.375" Pitch="110" Heading="20" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="cockpit_light_uv" PosX="0.475" PosZ="3.3" PosY="0.375" Pitch="110" Heading="-20" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>

    In the SJT+P61_shared_textures\VC_texture_files you can rename the files to switch on with the cockpit light. For example:
    a_gauges_1_no_alpha.+lrgb.dds becomes
    a_gauges_1_no_alpha.+clight.dds, but I also had to boost the green channel at least 50% to get the phosphor/radium glow look.

    The only unintended side effect I noticed was that the gear lock indicator lights still change colors, but only light up brightly when the cockpit light is turned on.

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  23. #23
    I tried this in DPC Korea, and it didn't look quite the same (less contrast, and less green). What I needed to change to match the effect I was getting in the other install was to use the version of suneffect.xml included with the February 2017 Shaders which made the overall night effect darker.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

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    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  24. #24
    I was seeing display problems with the instrument light overlay when I zoomed out in the cockpit. The key is that the +clight.dds file needs to be saved with a MipMap.

    I've settled on a green that is RGB 10, 50, 10 (a little brighter than the picture above, but not as bright as the museum photo).
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  25. #25
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    A lot to digest here; especially #72! No doubt I'll be back with ?s ? First time to try it out on the Lancs after looking at the Spits as Dan suggested. back later.....sometime!

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

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