Sign in to follow this  
kpop1364

A Home Cockpit for the Common Man...

Recommended Posts

Hi all,As the release of FS COF rapidly approaches... I'm seriously thinking about building a 'mini' home cockpit to run Microsoft's latest offering. In preparation, I've been doing a lot of browsing over at the "Home Cockpit" Forum; but, after careful consideration, I've decided that everyone over there is NUTS :-). Don't get me wrong, those folks are brilliant - they're smart, imaginative, passionate, and have done things with a piece of plywood that I can only dream about. However, I personally have no ambitions of creating the "perfect" A320 or 757 cockpit... I want something that is 'functional' for everyday use. In other words, I don't care if my cockpit still looks like desk furniture - I don't need twisty knobs, hydraulic jacks, dedicated EFIS monitors, or dual-slaved control yokes; but I would like a set-up with 3 monitors (upgradable to 6) for the outside views, 2 or 3 flat screens for the instrument panels, and a commercially-available yolk/rudder pedal combination. It would also be nice to use this setup to type the occasional Word document or play a round of golf on Links. Does anyone know where I can find specific information about creating a home cockpit for the common man?Thanks,Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Hi, maybe Project Magenta is something for you: www.projectmagenta.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flight Deck Solutions is offering a desk top of sorts...PS...be careful..this stuff is highly addictive!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was an article on this over at Flightsim recently. I believe it's still on the front page. Seemed pretty straight forward and incomplicated. Nice looking pit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what I know:1. Additional outside views will require a network of computers - one CPU per outside view. Project Magenta has a program called WideFS that allows FS to run networked between a number of machines. The good news is they don't have to be good machines - the load is quite small. You should be able to pick up old used machines at a place like Craig's List and be just fine for just a few hundred dollars. 2. Additional monitors used for just panels (overheads, quadrants etc) can be run off a separate video card in a PCI slot in the main computer.3. Project Magenta sells glass cockpit gauge components, FMCs and a VFR panel designed to run on their own CPU and monitor in a network situation. This is their primary product. 4. The best flight controls are found at Precision Flight Controls - pricy but orders of magnitude better quality than the (in my opinion) rather poor quality plastic stuff from CH products. Look at the consoles - combo yoke and throttles plus trim, flaps, gear etc. May be your best option for keeping this from morphing into a huge, huge set-up. 5. Go Flight will let you set up a radio stack -- fully cusomizable.Have fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only snag for the common man Marc, is the cost of additionalCPU's for outside views. We mere mortals struggle to get one hot cpu financed and working at good frame rates, let alone 2 extra.It's a great idea if someone else is paying for your units, likeyour boss, (as long as he/she doesn't find out).Peter Sydney Australia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Marc,Actually I am at the last phase of my "Multi Purpose Small Desktop Cockpit" project. Hope to complete it this month. It might be similar to what you look for.The machine has 107 controlable functions and is based on a Hagstrom KE72 card (72 button and switch functions), 3 GoFlight modules for auto pilot and communication (8 switches, 8 push buttons and radio rack dial and display), a 4 axis + 4 button controller and an MS joy stick.All are nicely put on one console (47x50x32 cm), located on my right side at knee level. It is lighted with LEDs so I can fly by night with no additional light in the room. For the time being I don't use foot pedals because I don't feel comfortable with them in front of my desk, instead I built two levers on the console - one for rudder and one for toe brakes. It works great after you get used to it. Total operational levers, grips and switches on the console are;switches (part with LED) - 28Push buttons - 52Levers and handles - 14Now, here is the main point. My concept was to be able to fly both multi engine commercial jets, such as the Fokker100 and g/a aircraft, such as the c172 on the same machine. Therefore some of the functions are "double". For example, I have both a two engine quadrant throttle and a one engine lever with seperate mix and prop levers, if you understand what I mean. In short I can fly in a very realistic way in Emma field with a c172 and make the complicated approach at Regio Calabria (both LAGO products) with the Fokker.The whole thing works on my home PC (though highly and costly upgraded - expensive video and sound cards, etc.) Me and my lady run other home tasks on that machine as well - e-mail, Word, etc.The only major change I see in the near future is adding another monitor (15" or 17") for instruments. I Have not decided yet. Probably I will after getting FS2004.The machine runs perfect. It is 80% completed and 20% are prototype. It is built from metal (old computer casing material) and I hope that after painting it will look nearly professional. I intend to write the needed documantion for you fellows who might want to get some ideas from it.Have funSeev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,It's me again. Wish to add two pictures.Please keep in mind, there are still final touchs to make. The poined handle on the bottom-left is for rudder. The lever next to it, on the right (L - R) is for toe brake.Under the GoFlight modules, where the clip holder is, There will be 11 buttons for ATC communication.That's it for now.Seev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Seev,Your set-up looks pretty cool... did you build the throttle quadrant yourself? Keep us advised on how things turn out. To be honest, you've actually gone a lot further in building custom components than what I want to attempt. Unfortunately, I'm not that good at working with metal and wood. I may have used the term "home cockpit" incorrectly - I think what I actually want is a multi-monitor rig with some high quality hardware. Like you, I also want something that will work satisfactorily with both single-engine props and multi-engine jets. I think it's wise for all of us wait on the release of FS '04 before buying a lot of new hardware. Anyway, the GoFlight modules along with the PFC flight controls are definately something that I'll investigate. I'll also be visiting Project Magenta and Schiratti.com for more info on networking PCs for multiple views. Thanks to everyone that offered their advice - I appreciate it!Regards,Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GoFlight is great for all your avionics as well as interfacing with standard FS commands. You should have a look at www.simkits.com which may save you the money for extra computers, monitors and whatever other disasters will come along with more computers. Both product lines require only one computer and some cash (less than additional computers and software licenses).Mannie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Marc,The throttle quadrant is home made, including gears. If you are not so good at metal, plastic and wood work better buy one. There are some on the market.GoFlight modules are a must, though there are other producers too. I believe they will work with fs2004 too, maybe some new drivers will be needed.If you allow me to say, it is nearly impossible to make a successful approach and landing with the keyboard and mouse only, because you have to perform so many operations within a short time (maybe 15-30 in 3 minutes or less). In addition, too many functions are multi key clicks which makes it crazy or worse, we give up and don't perform them, like open/close cowl flaps, etc. I would say that if you want a minimum setup for really injoying complicated flight procedures you need at least 3 GoFlight modules and a keyboard encoder such as an Hagstrom. You dont have to make the keys look like real. It is enough to have a simple board on your right side (next to the GoFlight rack) on which you press combination commands in one key press (like Ctrl + Shift + XXXX). I think such boards are for sale.Hopefully in FS2004 there will be more axis commands to make multi engine commands more simple. Even so, you can easily fly a twin engine with one throttle.And one last thing, I built my own console because it is my hobby but if handy things are not your immediate interest and money is not the issue, I would invest in a ready made, simple, small and reliable cockpit. And you are right, in this case better wait for FS2004.Have funSeev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Marc,My biggest problem when considering building a home cockpit is the desire to want to have it universal for Heavies as well as for GA. Currently I am restricted to space since I live in a very small room here on Nantucket for the summer but plan on getting a house soon in which I will be able to create the cockpit that will allow for both. My intentions are to not have multipule monitors but just one big one. Like a 42" Plasma. Currently I am using a 22" but firgure at the cost of 3 or so monitors/ computers its almost better to just get a nice big plasma tv. I would set up my system in a room (TV room) and would put up a dividng wall. Place the TV on a stand that allows for it to swing 180 degrees so that when I'm not using it for a computer monitor I would turn it around and it would face the tv room allowing for tv use. the cockpit would be in a small room behind the dividing wall. I would then set up the system using elite pro panel II console for the Captains seat and the CH yoke for the co-pilot seat. I would place the elite avonics ap 3000 in between the two as well as the aerosoft 747-400 mcp. Having this set up with pedals on both side would allow for GA flight out of the left (pilot) seat which is what I do more of and heavy flying out of the right(co-pilot) seat. Since I have a force feedback yoke I would put it under the yoke on the co-pilots seat to be used for coppers so that its between the legs. This works out nice if you attach it to the seat. I had this at my old place and built a small table on hinges so that I could colapes it when not using it.I've attached a photo of my current system which is CH yoke and pedals, ACP Compact and the force feedback. This is a great system for the common man. Doesnt take up much space, not to costly, and using all the buttons, switches and levers on all three yokes and console allows for only using the keyboard once in a blue moon. I have a22" monitor which works great and the acp compact is a great low cost radio stack with flaps and gear etc.Hope this gives you ideas.KilstormEdit PS: one thing to keep in mind if you want to use different yokes or controllers is to copy and paste the config file in another folder. That way you can then set it up for another configuration and copy and save that. I fly the chopper using the joystick so I have aconfig file saved having it as control of the flight surfaces. That way when I want to fly the chopper I will just switch out the config files and I dont have to reassign any buttons or axis.http://forums.avsim.com/user_files/15070.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this