For MuVIT hardware, the first thing you are going to need is a computer. We built the original MuVIT on an HP 4540S which has an i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, a pretty basic system. Of course, more processor is better especially if you start turning on more graphically intense functions. In many situations, you can do your classes on the same machine and can just click on the simulator to start it. The software is very undemanding of system resources and we routinely run PowerPoint concurrently.
The minimum MuVIT hardware requirements for Virtual Sailor are:
CPU: Intel Core I5
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6500 GTX
VRAM: 1024MB of Graphics Memory
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
OS: Microsoft Windows 10
You can test your system’s hardware by downloading a demo of the Virtual Sailor NG package and trying it out. If all works fine you can go to the Virtual Sailor website and buy the full program for ~ $40.
One thing to consider for the computer is that you may want an SSD (Solid State Drive) if you plan to take it to boat shows as the physical handling can be a little rough on rotating media (e.g. hard disk drives).
The console is one of the critical MuVIT hardware components and often the most expensive one at approx. $450. It has built-in throttles which will support single or dual engines arrangement based on the software configuration. It also has 26 buttons that can be used to turn on or off functions and options within the simulator. If the console is not something you want immediately you can run the simulator completely from the keyboard and mouse.
We are currently moving away from this console for a couple of reasons; First is the cost, at $450 it isn’t meeting our requirement for a low-cost solution. Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to source. Currently, the only source seems to be the manufacturer VRInsight. More information on the console and configuration can be found on our VRInsight tutorial page and the VRInsight documentation. It will still work with Virtual Sailor NG, but we can no longer recommend it to our members based on the cost and single-source. See below for our alternative options.
The Logitech Wingman wheel is used for many of the simulators as the ship’s wheel. They can be purchased in the $40-$50 range used. We generally get these off eBay and only had a problem once when they sent one with the wrong connector, so make sure the one you ordered has a USB connector. These can also be sourced from Amazon and likely many other places new if you want to pay well over $100, it’s your call. Based on what we’ve tested, almost any wheel should work, (Logitech G27, 29, 902) some need power, and some don’t. The powered ones often have the advantage of being self-calibrating. The buttons can be configured as the horn, binoculars, etc. as needed providing great flexibility in configuration. Some like to set the paddles behind the wheel to pan the view, which makes it easy to look around, again that’s whatever your preference is.
If you do buy a used wheel, they sometimes do not include the power supply cube. The Wingman wheel doesn’t require one but it does make the feedback better since it firms up the wheel, without it the wheel is very light and overcorrects very easily. You’ll want a 24V adapter like this one from Amazon. Some wheels like the G27, 29, etc. won’t work without the power.
Alternative MuVIT Hardware
We recommend a console based on an app called UnifiedRemote that runs on either an Android or iOS tablet or phone to serve as the buttons, effectively creating a glass console. You can even make sliders that function as throttles. The buttons can be labeled as to function making them easy to identify and use. This is an app you download from either the Android or Apple store as well as a server component you install on the computer running the simulator.
Using UnifiedRemote scripting and a scripting language called Lua you define the buttons, locations, colors, etc. There is ample how-to documentation available on the web.
Alternatively, you can purchase one of our ready-to-go scripts or we can develop a custom one for you. Contact us for more information. So, take that old tablet or phone and give it a second life as a MuVIT console. Recycled hardware is free hardware.
While you can buy throttle quadrants they are almost all geared to flight simulators and while they can work, they do come with their own issues and often a hefty price tag since they are a specialty item. For this reason, we have developed our own throttle quadrants which we 3D print and source ourselves to keep the price down.
The prototype is shown, you can select if you want knobs or handles and what color. As you may notice in the picture it can operate as either a single or dual engine control since we print it as 2 separate parts. It also comes with a table clamp which isn’t shown in this picture. Contact us for more information.
A powered chill pad for the laptop is highly recommended to help with cooling. Although the program is not computationally intense, the graphics can be quite intensive and depending on your drivers and graphics subsystem can generate a fair amount of heat. While it won’t hurt the computer it can cause performance degradation if it gets too hot so for that reason we recommend a good cooling system. Which one to get is a function of your laptop, its size, and the layout of the cooling vents. Depending on how many USB ports your laptop has you may be able to power it directly or you may require an external USB power source such as a small cellphone charger type adapter. Amazon and other vendors have an ample supply at decent prices.