MAN NG272 Drivers Workplace

  • I apologise in advance, firstly for this being in english, i have tried to use proper english words and not slang, so google translate should not mangle it too much if you need to translate it into German, and where i have used German words, i tried to use umlauts where relevant.

    Also, that this is going to be a very long post, with a few photos, about my Bus Drivers Workplace build from the beginning.

    Sorry the photos are large, i can't seem attach images directly to the forum yet, so i've uploaded them to a photo hosting site, but i cant set thumbnails it seems.


    Some people may recognise me from my old youtube channel Gazz292's omsi dash build


    Back around 2011 i discovered an amazing bus simulator called OMSI, i had played about with train and truck driving simulators before, but Omsi offered so much more, i found that i really loved the interaction of the bus simulator, i wanted to be a virtual bus driver :)


    I then decided i wanted to make my own driving desk (FAP), so to make a dashboard that looked like one in the MAN SD202 in the game, i simply found the texture for the bare dashboard, printed it out life size, and glued it to a piece of wood and cut the shape out!
    i then added a few switches to it, for the gear selector i found an old tape recorder button set, and connected the switches all up to a 'leoBodnar' usb input board,


    I then got chatting to a bloke called Theo on the aussie-X forums, and he very kindly offered to write a .dll that got some data out of omsi and sent it to an arduino, this was the 'Gazz.dll' that i shared on my old website, and quite a few people built their own little dashboards using that it seems.


    This is what my very first "dashboard" looked like...


    I had some indicator lights working, and a set of gauges out of an old van, but they were propped upright and not in the dash yet, and a trucks air brake lever with micro switches in the bottom.

    I had also mounted my driving force GT steering wheel upright, by screwing a |_______| shaped piece of wood to the computer desk to clamp it to, and then unscrewing the wheel and putting it back on 180 degrees out.


    Then in 2012 i managed to find someone selling a real dashboard from a german bus, and arranged to get it shipped over to me in England, i can speak very limited German, so finding these parts was hard for me.

    It was such a disappointment to get a parcel with a letter on it saying it had been damaged, the body of the dashboard had split in half!!! but i was able to glue it back together and use it, and I still use it to this day.


    I then managed to buy a few more bus items, including a more suitable dashboard insert, and a tachograph that matched the MAN SD202 buses from omsi, at this point i was copying the omsi D92 version of the SD202, and i set about connecting them up to work with the Gazz.dll, which at the time was the only way i knew to get the data out of omsi.

    Then Omsi2 came out, my .dll stopped working, i believe it was patched to work with Omsi2, but around that time i discovered Komsi.


    This gave many more outputs than my Gazz.dll did, and promised to be way better with the ability to even get the data for the LCD's on the IBIS and ticket printer, so i switched over to using Komsi, and even helped a little bit with its development... which was mostly begging for features which Lars very kindly added :)


    I soon fell in love with the MAN NG272 bendy bus in Omsi2, and decided this was the Drivers Workplace i would be building from now on, i had managed to buy the steering wheel from a MAN bus, and made up a little plastic adaptor to fit that onto my Driving Force GT steering wheel system.


    This close up shows how rough it was , i simply turned a piece of delrin on my little lathe, and forced it into the bus wheels splines, then made the screw thread on the end, it worked perfectly.

    You can see that i also bought the indicator / wiper switch too, and i had that screwed onto the force GT wheels' body, i even got the auto cancel function on the indicators to work,

    It was feeling more and more like driving a real bus all the time.


    I soon started using the TrackIR function in omsi, this really brings the drivers workplace alive, but of course i couldn't just wear an old baseball cap with it, i bought a BVG bus drivers hat, and i fixed the TrackIR sensor to it, so i could now look around and use the mirrors on the bus without having to touch the keyboard, this really made the bus simulator feel immersive.


    I played about making a simple gear stick so i could drive the manual gear buses occasionally, and added a 3rd pedal to my driving force GT's pedal set for a clutch (it connected to the main usb input board i used to send the dashboards switch inputs to the sim... there is no way to connect it to the driving force GT setup that i know of)


    I had a 7 channel surround system too, with speakers mounted on the back of my computer chair, so i could hear exactly whre Manfred was on the bus when he moaned at my driving :)

    I even got a bus microphone and had that connected so i could make 'announcements to the virtual passengers' ;p... if you've seen my old videos, you know i say hello back to the passengers as they board the bus... it's all about the immersion here.


    So, my dashboard was getting more and more complex, but as you can see in the next photo, i am still missing a few items to make the drivers workplace complete.



    All those lights on the dashboard work, the tachometer and the fuel, water and oil pressure gauges work, the switches light up when i operate them, the only gauges i didn't get working are the air gauges, i was in the process of converting them from air to servo operation, but i wanted to keep both needles working in them, most people do away with the red needle and have a servo work just the white 'main tank pressure' needle,

    Unfortunately the tiny servo's i was using, whilst they fitted in the gauge body, they burnt out so easily... part of that was me running them on 5 volts when i found out later they should run on 3 volts max!!


    To operate all the lights and gauges i was using an Arduino Mega, due to this having so many pins that can be used as outputs, i even had some custom 'varlists' for Komsi to allow me to run more than the stock 32 outputs Komsi allows (Lars was really patient with me and helped me figure out how to do this, unfortunately so much time has passed that i have forgotten a lot of it now, so i am slowly reacquainting myself with how it all worked)


    I made a PCB with a load of transistors on it, that plugged onto the Arduino, and i could safely run the 24 volt lights of the dashboard without blowing up the 5 volt arduino or computer.

    I do plan to make an updated version of that PCB sometime, which i will of course share here if wanted, this time i will likely get a professionally made board made up, as that is a cheap option that wasn't there back in 2013.

    As you can see in the following photo, i had to hand drill over a hundred holes, it is not pretty, but it did the job.


  • Now to show just how far i would go to copy the NG272 from omsi,

    i had already gone out to Germany to collect some parts (Plus the drivers desk from a BR 111 train! and a few omsi parts from a seller who would not post to the UK) and i made sure to visit berlin where i rode the entire route 137 (what was route 92 from omsi) i still have that bus trip on my video camera somewhere, and boy was it amazing to see how realistically Omsi had been created.


    Whilst in Germany i met Lars (the inventor of Komsi) i had asked him to bid on a pay table for me that could not be sent to england, thankfully it sold for way more than the money i had transferred to him to buy it with, because i found a small tram museum at a train station (i think it was the KVB) back then they had a little shop in Köln train station that opened only on a Thursday evening i think.

    That happened to be one of the days i was near there, and they were selling the pay tables really cheap, i remember it started snowing as i was waiting on Leverkusen train station to go to Köln for this pay table, this was handy, because my girlfriend at the time was being horrible, and refused to come with me, and it was heavier than i thought,


    So i attached my belt to the box it was in, and towed it behind me as i walked back to the hotel from the train station, the snow allowing it to slide easily!



    I already owned a coin changer, and i had attached microswitches to the levers that push the coins out, to get electrical signals to the computer, that operates the coin changer in omsi.

    So owning the pay table the coin changer goes in was a great addition, i was missing one thing, the ticket printer.


    I found someone selling an Almex A90 in england, unfortunately it had a totally different keypad to the German versions, plus, i wanted to build a Berlin BVG style drivers workplace,

    So, i am a member of a hackspace that had a laser cutter, and i designed a whole new keypad out of plastic sheets, etching the buttons and filling them with black wax for the legends on the buttons, and gluing things together to make the buttons that would sit inside the burron frame,

    and finally a switch board that the buttons push against.

    This is the result (English Almex A90's are red)


    And this is the buttons and panel after i had just cut them out, showing how i stacked the cut out buttons to make T shapes that would stay in the button frame.


    I have the laser cutting DXF files 'somewhere' for this, but i can't see many people wanting to replicate the Berlin style ticket printer, i know a lot of people like to drive different buses, so a more universal printer is better, but i wanted to recreate the Berlin version of the NG272, as i love that city.


    If you are wondering why i have an obsession with German buses from the 1980 to 1990's. my dad was in the RAF, and we were posted to Germany from 1983 to 1990 (Rheindahlen, Sankt Tönis and Krefeld, all in Nordrhein-Westfalen) i was aged 5 to to 12 when i was there, and when i lived in Krefeld it was a 1 hour bus journey to the school in Düsseldorf. so Omsi allowed me to relive my childhood, and hopefully LOTUS will do the same.


    So, it is now 2014, and my Driver's Desk looks like this


    The BVG drivers hat is sitting on the microphone, and i have sprayed my almex black as it should be, you can even see in a real 'gas pedal' from a MAN bus, i also have the correct parking brake lever, a foot brake pedal, and the correct MAN steering column to match...

    unfortunately i do not have the steering column bracket (Lenksäulenhalter) and i am trying to find one, but the bus scrap yard i used to buy parts from might have closed :'/ (Homburg und sohn) as their email isnt working anymore.

    If anyone has this part, please let me know as i want to buy it.


    The steering column in that photo is one from a car, it had electric power steering, and i was hoping to use that as a force feedback motor, but unfortunately it is far too slow working in reverse.


    However, i will be using EMC FFB to drive my force feedback system when i connect a motor up to the MAN steering gear, this will allow me to get the full 6 and a half turns lock to lock on the wheel that buses have!!


    I then decided to step things up a little bit, and start to build a proper drivers cab.



    The seat base is actually the one from my train drivers workplace (that i never built) as you can see, i was still playing with SD202 things, i.e. the heating controls, someone helped me by getting a sketchup view of the cab from a bus in omsi, and i used that as my plans, i had good contacts with a bus scrapyard in Germany, and i was able to get most of the parts i needed (but never that Lenksäulenhalter that i need now :)

    I even managed to get the proper suspension seat base from a MAN bus, i did get a seat from england tho... from an Iveco truck, but it was brand new and cost me almost nothing.


    :thunderstormy::rainy::thunderstormy:


    Unfortunately my story almost ends here!!!

    It's about June 2014, and I finally split up with the horrible girlfriend who used to be violent towards me,

    But after this my life went downhill for various other reasons, i moved out of the house that had this garage i was building things in, and to a place that didn't even have a garden shed, so all my simulator equipment had to go into storage, and i'm ashamed to say that i even had a couple of attempts to take my own life -_-


    Things didn't begin to look up again until late 2018,

    I am currently living at my parents house, but they let me build a large shed in their garden, so over this summer (2020) i was building this shed, of course it's not just a basic shed, it is insulated, has heating, lights, an emergency stop power system, plumbed in air compressor (using some old German train air brake pressure gauges for air gauges) my electronics build bench, room for the bus simulator build, my little lathe and so on

    I am even adding to my tools with a tig welder being delivered soon (a new skill to learn) and a 3D printer for christmas.


    I was finally back doing my omsi cab, but a lot of the forums have closed down (OmsiDeluxe, aussie-X etc) and i have to face facts that omsi is sort of old technology, but people are still hanging onto it, it's a great simulator, and has lots of content for it, but LOTUS is the way forwards, and when they release a bus similar to my beloved MAN NG272, i will be changing over to building my drivers workplace for LOTUS.


    So, finally, the latest photo of the mock up of my bus cab:


    As you can see, this is made up using scrap wood as it is only a mock up to get the dimensions worked out, i have the proper plywood and timbers to make the floor properly, it will have side panels and basically be boxed in like the drivers area in a bus, i'll make a drivers door that when opened swings the pay table out of the way.


    I am currently playing with Komsi and an arduino Due, trying to get the IBIS LCD to work, when i last chatted with Lars (a year ago now i think) he told me he was making a similar program for LOTUS :fantastic:


    Oh, and i am still trying to find that MAN Lenksäulenhalter, if you have one for sale, or know of a bus scrapyard with a 1990's style VöV bus in it, please let me know, as i need some other parts for this project too.


    Thankyou for reading all this, i hope i haven't wasted too much of your time, and i will update this thread as i make more progress on this build.

  • Impressive, thank you for telling us about your project! I love your enthusiasm. :)

    Rheindahlen

    So you lived in my home city. Unfortunately I never visited the JHQ before it was closed in late 2013 and now it's derelict and no longer publicly accessible. Missed the chance to take some photos for a possible Lotus map including the bus routes going there.

  • I have not made any new changes to the drivers workplace yet, but i have been preparing the room it lives in,


    That white wiring conduit on the wall was in just the wrong place... the parking brake is at exactly the same height, and as i plan on building the cab sides to about 1 meter high i didn't want that conduit behind there.

    So i pulled that all out and ran the conduit higher, silly thing is a month ago i moved that conduit down to go around the corner and under the cabinet for my 3D printer (that i am getting for christmas, but i'm getting things ready for it)
    So i had to basically put the conduit back on the level it was, and have it drop down around the corner.


    The yellow pipe just below the conduit is the air line from my compressor, this terminates in a regulator and the brake pressure gauge from a BR111 train:



    I have the the 2 needle gauge in the other room in the shed for main pressure and reduced pressure from the regulator in there.


    My girlfriend also gave me an early christmas present, a Tig welder!!!



    My old mig welder created far too much molten metal splatter for me to safely use it in a wooden shed, so she bought me a tig... which does not create weld splatter, this is a new skill for me to learn but it will be very handy to build the metal frame of my bus drivers workplace.


    I am also playing with arduino's and LCD's, trying to get Komsi working with my LCD for the ticket printer and IBIS, the ticket printer LCD is fairly easy, i can just send it the raw data that komsi reads.

    It's the IBIS display i'm struggling with, i don't think there's an easy way to just read what's on the IBIS display in the bus and send it to the real LCD, that's why Lars read loads of different values with komsi, and they get sent to the arduino as a string, then that string gets read and puts the data in the right place on the LCD.


    The next update should have me doing actual work on the drivers workplace, i need the rain to stop so i can cut the new base panel, as i need to use the tablesaw outside the garage to cut such a large piece of wood.

  • Today i started on the woodwork for my drivers workplace, a fairly simple construction of a piece of 15mm plywood, with 89 x 43mm CLS timbers for the frame, which lifts the cab floor up off the workshop floor (gives me room to fit the steering motor and foot brake valve under the cab floor)


    The wood is cut straight, it's my shed walls that are not at 90 degrees.


    This is what the cab floor looks like underneath:

    The 2 cross braces are for the seat to bolt down into, and the one where the floor panel turns at an angle is the end of the cab area of the drivers workplace, beyond that will be the space for the computer and areas to house the control electronics, and to give a space for me to place a 42 inch television that i use as a monitor just behind the dashboard.



    Here i have bolted the seat down, screwed down the pole that the pay table mounts on, and just placed the old dashboard metalwork on the base, that is showing my very simple and unsatisfactory steering column mount, i hope to get the proper item from a scrapped bus as i need the quick release adjuster mechanism that allows the wheel to be pushed away from the driver as he gets in and out of the seat (i am not as thin as i used to be :sshht:)


    I will be welding up a whole new dashboard frame, including the frame for the switch panel that goes to the left of the driver's seat in a MAN NG272, as well as making other structural parts of this drivers workplace out of steel.



    And a view from the side: The black box on the gray leg on the right of these pictures is the 'data cabinet' that my 3D printer will live in (when i get it at christmas) and yes, that grey leg is sitting on an old angle grinder disc, it was the perfect size to raise the leg the few mm needed to get the cabinet level 8o


    The grey circle that is the pole mount for the pay table needs cutting off flush with the sides.. but it was gone 20:00 when i got to this point, and i don't think the neighbours would like me using an angle grinder this time of night.


    I need to buy some rubber matting for the cab floor some time, and i am waiting for an order of steel to arrive, then i can get on with making the steel frames for things like the door panel that will go in front of the computer and the reinforcing braces for the pay tabe pole.


    The drivers door will hang off the paytable pole on hinges, and i will cut the very top of the pole off, and weld it back on with a bearing in the middle so the entire paytable can swing out with the drivers door when it is opened, just like it does in a real bus.

  • A new year, an i plan on finishing my drivers workplace in this one :)


    I've only done a little bit of work on the actual drivers workplace recently, as i have been busy rebuilding my little lathe, new bearings in the headstock, some new gears, a new cross slide lead screw and nut, and then adjusting everything nice and tight:



    I need to use the lathe to make a few parts for the FAP, that's what the lump of steel and the bearings sitting under the tailstock are for.

    I need to make a part that allows the pay table to swing as the drivers door is opened and closed, to do this i will turn that piece of round steel so one end fits inside the top of pole the pay table is fixed to, and the top of that metal piece will have those 4 bearings fixed to it.

    The pay tables bracket then clamps onto the bearings and it can rotate on the pole easily, a link will fix the rotation to be with the drivers door, just like in a real bus.


    Onto the drivers workplace, i made a sliding 'sunken' drawer for the PC to sit on that is as low as i can get it:


    So now sits below the bus cab floor, this will allow me to pull the PC out for maintenance if needed, but the rest of the time it lives under where the monitor will sit behind the dashboard.
    This PC cabinet has a big fan in the top, so that will vent the CPU heat upwards, where it will vent out the front where the door to access the PC will be, the PSU vents out the very bottom of the case, and that vents under the floor of the cab, and out through holes in the front beam, and the graphics cards vent out the back into the area that is closed in behind the PC in this photo, so a big fan on the front wall of the cab will vent that heat out,

    the H bridges for the force feedback steering system will also live back there and their heat will be vented out that way too.


    You might be able to see that i have made it so the whole bus cab can not be pushed tight against the wall of the shed, this allows for the venting of the PSU and GFX cards there.
    There will be another panel above the PC for the monitor to sit on, and in that space will be wiring from the dashboard to the Arduino's that will live in the side panel.


    And here is the cab with the PC pulled out:



    That horrible piece of wood for the pedals is from the old build, that will be changed and i will get the angle correct then drill the holes in the cab floor for the workings of the brake pedal to go through, then the pulleys and motor for the force feedback steering will have holes in the floor too.


    But before i get to that i will be starting welding up the metal frame for the dashboard to attach to, which will connect to the pay table pole, and then i can make and fit the other side panels and the drivers door... then take it all apart to paint it.


    I'm hoping i can source the bracket i need for the steering column, and a few other parts i need for this build soon.




    I have also been working on getting an LCD to work with Komsi for the IBIS, i made a mock up ibis and am programming an Arduino to run the LCD reading data from Komsi, the data is live here:



    This is the omsi mas3 ibis texture printed out and laminated, and a 24 x 2 character LCD stuck in the window with an Arduino uno running it.

    I imagine the same thing could be done to make a replica ibis unit for LOTUS, i'm thinking of designing a PCB for the switches to go behind the button areas, the LCD will mount on that PCB, and an Arduino plugs onto the back of it,

    Then design a 3D printed ibis housing and you can assemble a replica ibis.

    Of course i'd release all the files for others to do the same, or adjust them to their specifcations.



    The problem i'm having is that Komsi does not seem to have a terminating character on the ibis data output, so it's making things hard to detect the end of a packet of data, (i have a very clunky workaround but it needs setting every time i start komsi)

    Also i have found out that there is a 'stringvarlist' 'IBIS' that sends all the text that is on the in bus ibis's LCD from omsi, so it shows the 'falsche route' when you enter a wrong number, the date and time when you press zero, and so on.


    But to do this i had to change an entry in Komsi's .OPL file, i really wish i could get in contact with Lars and ask him if it's possible to do one last update for Komsi to make it perfect for those still using omsi and building drivers workplaces, people who will move over to LOTUS one day.


    Things like adding the terminating character on the IBIS data output, the ticket printer output uses ';' so the same for the IBIS would be nice,
    unfortunately the printer output is stuck at updating every 1000 ms, where as the IBIS output can be seat at say 200 ms, where it updates fast enough to show everything on the lcd in time with the simulator one.


    An option to use the IBIS output how Lars set it up, to work with a mas1 type IBIS with a 16 x 2 character LCD, or use the 'IBIS' stringvarlist and send the whole LCD data in one string plus the delay data for mas3 style ibis's.


    Make the bus interior temperature data live, using the stringvarlist 'cockpit_temperatur' i am going to be modifying a digital LCD thermometer to change temperature with an Arduino, so it can show the bus temp just like in omsi.


    Make the interior display output live, but an option to use the stringvarlist ''IBIS_cabindisplay' so people can use their own controllers to run a LCD/LED type display from it.


    And the icing on the cake would be a new output for the Dreiha style heating controllers lights, just a simple output like the dashboard, letters with 0 or 1 after them for all 23 led's, things like 'cp_taster_heiz_Smog_light' and so on.


    Unfortunately i think i worried Lars when i last spoke to him a year ago, i was at a bad place mentally then and i was thinking the wrong things about a very important part of my life, and the way i mentioned them was not right.



    But anyway, that's the update for the new year, not much built on the actual drivers work place, but stuff worked on to allow it to be built.

    Thankyou for reading all this.


    Und ich wünsche Ihnen allen ein frohes neues Jahr :obus::thumbsup: