Installing Custom PowerSDR Skins - W1AEX


There are two factors that affect where the PowerSDR skins will be found on your computer. The first variable is the operating system you are using. Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 store the skins folder in different places. I have no idea where they are in Windows 8 so I'll wait to hear from someone who has located them in that platform. The second variable is the version of PowerSDR that you are using. With early 2.x.x versions up through version 2.3.5 the Skins location moved around as PowerSDR matured. Then, beginning with version 2.4.4 the location was moved out of the Windows User Login account to the All Users account to allow access to the program for all users of a particular computer. To be honest, the hardest part of installing a custom skin is locating the current location of the Skins folder on your system. When you have found it you are pretty much on your way.

NOTE: If you are working from a Windows user account with a privilege level less than "administrator" you are likely to find that you do not have the necessary access to create folders and files in the area of the file system where the skins reside. It will most likely be necessary to work from an account with administrator status. Also, before you begin following the steps below, make sure that you exit from PowerSDR. When PowerSDR is running, it locks the skin files it is currently displaying and it also will not recognize any new skins folders that you install if they were not present when it was started up. So, it is best practice to exit PowerSDR before you make the changes suggested below.

NOTE: It is my understanding that Vista uses the same file structure as Windows 7 but I cannot confirm that since none of my machines use Vista.

 
Be aware that it might not be possible to see the skins folders and files unless you enable "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" in the Folder Options "View" tab, so keep that in mind. You can reach the Folder Options window by typing Folder Options into the Start Button search box.

The Skins directory for PowerSDR versions 2.4.4 through the current version can be found below:

In Windows 7 the path to the skins files is:      C:\Program Data\FlexRadio Systems\PowerSDR\Skins

In  Windows XP the path to the skins files is:      C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Flex Radio Systems\PowerSDR\Skins

The Skins directory for PowerSDR versions 2.3.5 and earlier moved around as PowerSDR matured but the paths below should point you in the right direction:

In Windows 7 the path to the skins files in older versions was:     C:\Users\your windows login account name\AppData\Roaming\FlexRadio Systems\PowerSDR\skins

In Windows XP the path to the skins files in older versions was:    C:\Documents and Settings\look in all the user accounts for the rest of the path\Application Data\FlexRadio Systems\PowerSDR\Skins

When you have located the PowerSDR "Skins" folder it would be wise to study the folder heirarchy used by PowerSDR when it loads each skin. Note that each skin has its own master folder which is used to name the skin and another subfolder named "Console" where all the skin files reside. To install a skin you will create your own custom folder (for each new skin) with a name of your choice, and then a "Console" subfolder to unzip all the skin files into.

To install a new skin simply follow these steps:

1.  Make sure PowerSDR is closed.
2.  Locate the Skins folder.
3.  Create a new folder inside the Skins folder and name it with the skin name you want displayed in the Skins list inside PowerSDR.
4.  Create a new subfolder inside the folder you just made and name this subfolder Console.
5.  Unzip the PowerSDR skin zip file you downloaded right into the new Console subfolder you just created.
6.  Start PowerSDR and select your new skin in the list in the "Appearance" tab.

That's all there is to it. If you cannot find your new skin in the list then you have created your folders in the wrong place. If your skin appears in the list but it does not load correctly, you have unzipped all the skin files into the wrong folder instead of into the Console folder. Find them and move them into the Console folder and it should be fine. The simple example below might clarify the wordy description above.

In the file structure screenshot below, I have created a folder named W1AEX AL82 and a subfolder named Console that will be the destination for the 400 graphics files in the next step. The Console panel files for this particular skin were made by taking a photograph of the front panel of my AL-82 amplifier and then importing the color of that front panel into the 10 console panel files that fill in the front of the Power SDR GUI. The panel for the background of the panadapter was lightened slightly to make it stand out a bit from the dark console. This is a very simple "flat" skin with no shaded texture in the panels, but it's a perfect way to start out.


2

To install this skin, download the W1AEX_al82.zip file (.75 mb in size) and unzip it into the Console folder you made. The W1AEX_al82.zip file contains a complete custom skin, which includes a set of around 400 PNG graphics files designated as console panels, buttons, and sliders. After installing the files for this custom skin, when you start up PowerSDR, the name you assigned to your custom folder should appear in the Skins list, and when you select it, PowerSDR will switch to the skin shown below:

al82


Troubleshooting Note: If the skin does not appear correctly when it is selected in PowerSDR then you have not placed the skin pack files correctly. Go to the Troubleshooting Page for help with the skins folders and file placement.


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