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hayhay7789

How do I build a 737 Home Cockpit?

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Hey everyone.

 

I just got a Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System and so far it is great. Now I have this message stuck in my subconscious: Build a 737 Home Cockpit. Just do it.

 

 

Okay, sounds simple enough.

Not. :(

 

I have looked EVERYWHERE I can think of to find ways to build this that will make sense to me (YouTube, Google, Yahoo) and I just can't find any websites that give me a simple way to build the 737-800's cockpit in my basement.

 

This is how I want to build my cockpit: I want to buy it piece by piece but I do not want to have to buy EVERY SINGLE SWITCH ONE AT A TIME.

That may have been a bit confusing. Basically, I want to buy the complete front panel, then some more displays, then the complete throttle quadrant, then the complete overhead panel, then the complete pedestal.

 

But even if I find a place to buy all those things, I may have another problem.

My computer.

My computer is a Mid-2010 13-inch MacBook. 2.4 GHz processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. I play FSX on BootCamp.

It runs all my add-ons (GEX, REX, UTX, PMDG 737) with decent FPS. However, I am a bit worried about connecting everything to my computer.

On my computer, I have one Ethernet port, one Mini DisplayPort (display connections), two USB ports, and one headphone jack.

 

 

To sum it up:

 

1. Where can I buy complete, plug-and-play parts of the cockpit? (e.g. buy the complete front panel, the complete throttle quadrant, the complete overhead panel etc.)

 

2. How would I connect everything to my computer? USB hubs may help, but what about displays? Would I be able to keep a steady frame rate?

 

Giving me a little bit of a tutorial would be extremely helpful :lol:

Sorry if that was all a little confusing.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

-hayhay7789 B)

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hayhay,

 

Your questions are kind of like asking how to build a car from scratch. But if you really want to build something elaborate in the basement get ready for some serious learning and based on what you said about having some of the elements ready to go so you don't have to go one switch at a time - it will ultimately mean a serious cash outlay over the coming months and years.

 

A great place to start is a site dedicated to those with the home cockpit building fever and that is:

 

mycockpit.org

 

They have articles on things as basic as how to put a budget together for your beginning project. Besides AVSIM forums I spend time at mycockpit.org

 

I would say the one of the great things about this hobby is you can start as basic as you like and then get as elaborate as you ultimately want and can afford to go including a full cockpit in the basement like you mention. Obviously the more realistic you go - the bigger drain on your bank account.

 

There are many companies out there that have components for the pits ready to go. You can spend from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars for components (like overhead panels for the 737) and everything in between. Lots to learn but lots of options and for most I think it can be a very rewarding hobby. Good luck, however you start but the site I list above as well as the amazing guys on AVSIM forums will help you learn along the way.

 

Also remember you can go in phases and learn things like spreading your processing and add-on load across a multi-computer network, then add multiple monitors etc. etc. (not necessarily in that order, but you get what I mean) You'll have fun no matter where you start. I'll get out of the way and let the experts chime in. It is all about fun even through the frustrating times and then enjoying the sense of accomplishment as you build from simple to more complex. Cheers.

 

Tim Pfohl (jet21)

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Flyengravity.com

Flightdecksolutions.com

Cpflight.com

Opencockpit.com

 

Thats a good start.

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Hi John, hows the NG projector coming along?

 

If you had to do it all over again would you still have gone with FDS?

 

I am also looking at flyengravity with their plug-and-play ICS route.

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Hi John, hows the NG projector coming along?

 

If you had to do it all over again would you still have gone with FDS?

 

I am also looking at flyengravity with their plug-and-play ICS route.

 

Great now that I have it flying, long three years to get here, but a year of that was bored with not being in a flying state so I put it under a tarp and did other things.

 

Absolutely on FDS! In fact, they just upgraded their MIP to a 2.0 version (better AFDS with dual color state, added new annunciators like the latest models of 737), so I ordered the upgrade kit for mine.

 

No experience here with fly engravity gear, so can't comment there, but I'll stick with FDS for the quality and excellent support from Peter, Steve and the staff.

 

I spent 16 years at Boeing and now the past few at GE Aviation and guess who's gear is in our labs?

Flightdeck Solutions

 

I do have other stuff, like CPFlight for MCP / EFIS and I was an early buyer of the Rev Sim throttle.

 

Funny story, Boeing brought the P-8 Poseidon demonstration trailer by GE for a a day so our folks could have a look since we build gear for that aircraft. In the back end of the trailer is the cockpit of an old united airlines 737 that Boeing hired FDS to make into a flyable demonstrator, complete with a mini wrap around view. I was in it watching a few folks take turns flying under the Golden Gate Bridge and trying to land at KSFO. The guy running it finally asked, "Do you want to give it a try?"

 

I said, "No thanks, I have one in my garage". He laughed and said yeah right.......so I showed him some pictures.........he stopped laughing and started asking all sorts of questions :)

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Thanks for the insight John -- it seems building a 737 sim is not impossible these days when you can order just about every part over the internet :)

 

My only concerns is space; and for a full scale 737 sim you'll be needing at least 5x5m (including the shell)?

 

I think Nat was using a 7.0m x 1.5m screen size for his visuals.

 

Still undecided if I should go for a single or dual trainer at this stage.

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My base is 8ft x 8ft, and the space I am in, third stall of my garage, is 12ft x 21ft. I dropped the projector idea and sold mine off for two reasons, space and I wanted the 5760 x 1080 resolution and couldn't get that in short throw PJs without spending a fortune. Using three 60" plasma's and they cost what three STPJs would cost, but I didn't have to buy a screen, or mess with warping software and that added cost.

 

Also don't have to deal with, what happens when one projector dies down the road. With TVs it's easy, any 60" fits just fine in my sim. Scott just ran into this issue when the replacement PJ, a refurb of the same model, was slightly off and projected a few inches lower than the other one. Since he was against the ceiling, he couldn't adjust any higher to line them up with the other two, so sold them and went LED TVs

 

Sure I only have 150 degreeFOV, but if I want more, it's just two more TVs to 210+ degrees.

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I know the original post was for building a 737, but did you know that building the Learjet 45 is far more cost effective and takes up quite a bit less space? Naturally, you have to have an interest in the aircraft to begin with, but it is worth taking a look at.

 

Take a look at Hangar45.net- EVERYTHING you need to build a complete LJ45 is right there. Need panels? No problem. Need a shell? No problem. Need a throttle? No problem. Again, all your questions for the LJ45 are answered specifically right there at Hangar45.net because it focuses only on the LJ45.

 

In full disclosure, we (FlightLevel180.org) sell high quality back-lit panels for the LJ45 and work hand-in-hand with all the other vendors at Hangar45.net. to insure full product compatibility project-wide.

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My base is 8ft x 8ft, and the space I am in, third stall of my garage, is 12ft x 21ft. I dropped the projector idea and sold mine off for two reasons, space and I wanted the 5760 x 1080 resolution and couldn't get that in short throw PJs without spending a fortune. Using three 60" plasma's and they cost what three STPJs would cost, but I didn't have to buy a screen, or mess with warping software and that added cost.

 

Also don't have to deal with, what happens when one projector dies down the road. With TVs it's easy, any 60" fits just fine in my sim. Scott just ran into this issue when the replacement PJ, a refurb of the same model, was slightly off and projected a few inches lower than the other one. Since he was against the ceiling, he couldn't adjust any higher to line them up with the other two, so sold them and went LED TVs

 

Sure I only have 150 degreeFOV, but if I want more, it's just two more TVs to 210+ degrees.

 

 

Nat managed to do a 180 degrees with one projector somehow - http://www.flightdecksolutions.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4724&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

 

FYI benq is launching their 1080p short throw projector for ~1200 soon (w1080st)

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Nat managed to do a 180 degrees with one projector somehow - http://www.flightdec...er=asc&start=15

 

FYI benq is launching their 1080p short throw projector for ~1200 soon (w1080st)

 

Well, 1200 x 3 = 3600, Screen and mount = 300?, Warping software = 200? ~$4k

 

Paid $2400 shipped for all three 60" monitors........ And if I get bored of simming, I have three nice new TV's for the house (we really don't need any, have enough now.....and a 138" Home theater :) )

 

The point to make though is you need to do what works best for you, whether its Projection or other means. Plan, Plan, Plan way ahead and don't make a mistake of buying things you think will work and end up selling them off later at a loss when you find they won't. I took a hit of about $300 on the Projectors after letting them collect dust on my shelf for 2 years. Not complaining, could have been much worse.

 

And a plug for Eric as I hear his L45 gear is top notch!

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Thanks John, and also you make an excellent point in that PLAN PLAN PLAN is definitely the best way to go- you will save yourself so much time and money in the long run.

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Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for all your help! I have a pretty good idea where I can buy my products now :)

I have two questions, however.

1. I am considering buying the MIP 2.0 Bundle from Flightdeck Solutions but the pictures do not show an MCP (mode control panel). Would buying a Cpflight 737MCP work with the Flightdeck panel? (would it fit properly, etc)

 

2. Does it all hook up by USB? If not, how does it hook up to my computer? If so, will all the USB devices affect my FSX FPS? Remember, I am running on a laptop. A very nice laptop, but not the best for FSX. I can't go out and buy a new laptop. My laptop is for college.

 

Thanks again :lol: You have just made my goal a little bit easier.

 

Hayhay7789

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Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for all your help! I have a pretty good idea where I can buy my products now :)

I have two questions, however - 1. I am considering buying the complete front panel from Flightdeck Solutions but the pictures do not show an MCP (mode control panel). Would buying a Cpflight 737MCP work with the Flightdeck panel? (would it fit properly etc)

 

2. Does it all hook up by USB? If so, will all the USB devices affect my FSX FPS? Remember, I am running on a laptop. A very nice laptop, but not the best for FSX.

 

Thanks again :lol: You have just made my goal a little bit easier.

 

Hayhay7789

 

 

That's correct, MCP and EFIS are separate. I use a CPFlight EL series, fits fine in mine, watch out for the old CPFlight USB models out there, they were 85% versions and will look too small (CP no longer sells them but they are on the used market at times).

 

USB won't impact your frame rates, however.....

 

Are you referring to the MIP or MIP / CDU / Glare package on the site, the 1900 - 2900 range item?

 

If so, you're going to need two 19" monitors, a 15" 4:3 monitor, a custome monitor for the lower EICAS, a hardware kit and a SYS4 interface board. All the switches and annunciators are wired to the SYS board, super easy to interface on that board. The only things that are USB is the SYS board, the MCP and the CDU.

 

Now with a laptop you're going to need another PC with at least 6 video outputs to drive the displays in the MIP if you're setting up Capt and FO right away plus upper and lower EICAS and two CDU, or less if not (CPTonly would be one, EICAS one, CDU one).Laptop can't drive those displays.....well I suppose six laptops could, but impractical.

 

If you're buying the assembled MIP all wired, then forget the above except the need for another PC with two or three video cards installed.

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Well, 1200 x 3 = 3600, Screen and mount = 300?, Warping software = 200? ~$4k

 

Paid $2400 shipped for all three 60" monitors........ And if I get bored of simming, I have three nice new TV's for the house (we really don't need any, have enough now.....and a 138" Home theater :) )

 

Hi John, I'm attempting to emulate something like this

 

 

Immersive Display Lite is 60 euro so it should be within reach :)

 

We will see how it goes, trying to find space to put the sim in is the problem!

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That's correct, MCP and EFIS are separate. I use a CPFlight EL series, fits fine in mine, watch out for the old CPFlight USB models out there, they were 85% versions and will look too small (CP no longer sells them but they are on the used market at times).

 

If so, you're going to need two 19" monitors, a 15" 4:3 monitor, a custome monitor for the lower EICAS, a hardware kit and a SYS4 interface board. All the switches and annunciators are wired to the SYS board, super easy to interface on that board. The only things that are USB is the SYS board, the MCP and the CDU.

 

Now with a laptop you're going to need another PC with at least 6 video outputs to drive the displays in the MIP if you're setting up Capt and FO right away plus upper and lower EICAS and two CDU, or less if not (CPTonly would be one, EICAS one, CDU one).Laptop can't drive those displays.....well I suppose six laptops could, but impractical.

 

If you're buying the assembled MIP all wired, then forget the above except the need for another PC with two or three video cards installed.

 

I'll be careful with the CP Flight EFIS -- I have heard even their current version is not to scale. Check out the flaps2approach.com review. I will be ordering the CP Flight MCP EL soon -- I would have liked the PRO but cannot justify the double the price difference. In the mean time I am building my radio stacks slowly.

 

If you have one of the newer video cards (e.g. nvidia 6xx series), you can have multiple outputs with one card. My 660TI has 4 outputs. You can expand that even more with the Zotac Displayport adaptor -- http://www.zotacusa....mi-adaptor.html

This completely eliminates the need for triple head to go (nvidia surround also negates the need).

 

Don't forget for the FDS panels you will also need to buy dimmer boards and a PSU for the back lighting.

I have done a rough comparison cost with both companies --

 

FDS-B737NG-MIP/MAIN-2.0-Bundle $2,995.95 1 $2,995.95 FDS-B737NG-MAIN-HW-2.0 $749.95 1 $749.95 FDS-B737NG-LDGGR $249.95 1 $249.95 FDS-IBL-DIST-DIM $59.95 2 $119.90 FDS-LCD-HLDR1 (PFD/ND/EICAS LCD Display Holder $79.95 2 $159.90 FDS-SYS3X System Interface Card (32In/64Out) $229.95 1 $229.95

Total $4,505.60

 

ALU1020 MIP frame structure € 1895,- ( ALU1020 minus the floor base plate € 1635,-) 1635 GLA1045 Glare PRO 565

MIPICS Full MIP ICS configuration 2095

ELG737: landing gear lever 199

Total 4494

 

FDS is of course in CAD, and flyengravity is in EURO. This doesn't account for monitors required for the system. So flyengravity is more expensive, but their system is completely plug and play, i.e. no wiring involved at all. How valuable is your time? I'll be willing to pay a little more if it means a complete simple solution as I have no experience with wiring. It also means a completely clean setup.

 

The other thing to consider is compatibility with other products. We talked about the CP Flight MCP & EFIS; flyengravity is built to adapt with CP Flight products; with FDS you will need a custom frame. Likewise, the FDS CDU (available in full color, flyengravity is not) is built specifically for the FDS CDU bay.

 

I would have liked to have gone the Flyengravity desktop panels way because it allows for expansion to a full panel later down the line if need be (I would like to start out with 2/3 MIP first to save cost), but subpanels and a standing desk frame are again missing.

 

Options, options options....

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Hi John, I'm attempting to emulate something like this

 

Immersive Display Lite is 60 euro so it should be within reach :)

 

We will see how it goes, trying to find space to put the sim in is the problem!

 

Appears to be two projectors in that setup, can't see a center one. I wouldn't attempt with two as that puts the blend line in the center of your view, good chance the runway will look a bit odd since it falls in the gap. :)

 

12ft x 12 ft is about the minimum with 0.50 throw projectors. I know I couldn't get the 0.70 throws in a 6ft radius arc. Flying fox used them but he's almost stacked and a larger radius screen.

 

The taller you want your image the farther back the PJs will have to be, keep in mind of the shell and any blockage of the projection. Higher ceilings allow for a higher PJ placement you can then angle down and correct with keystone, but too much and it looks like crap :)

 

Good luck, looking forward to your build pics!

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Hi John, FDS setup 3 projectors stacked as well with a 0.7 throw --

 

Don't know how well that goes with all the heat! Must have A/C blowing right into them.

 

 

So I need a 12x12 ft (3.6 m room)...

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Hi John, FDS setup 3 projectors stacked as well with a 0.7 throw --

 

Don't know how well that goes with all the heat! Must have A/C blowing right into them.

 

 

So I need a 12x12 ft (3.6 m room)...

 

Look at the back of the shell, that's eight ft wide.

 

That room is much taller than a standard eight ft ceiling as well, do you have the height to do that?

 

Don't know of any short throws with a zoom function, or offsets, so you're going to want to build your visuals first. Getting the stack setup correct is going to be fun. You can try it on a table first, build your mounts, mount it to a board, then when it's dialed in, flip it and ceiling mount it. It really need to be spot on as you're not able to slide the PJs around to correct and trying all that when the first one or two are on the ceilings going to be a pain in the butt.

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Thanks everybody :lol:

 

Settling on a JetMax 737-SK. In my price range and is exactly what I need. Maybe I'll buy the throttle quadrant later, for now I'll just buy some 737 levers for the Saitek quadrant from this cool guy. --> (http://flightsimpm.webs.com/apps/webstore/)

 

I cannot believe how much replies I have gotten over a period of only two days. Amazing! Thank you all!

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I am in the process of building a 737 home cockpit and if you want to connect displays and all of the saitek, etc. usb devices I have a solution for you. If you ave at least 2 usb ports and preferably one that is 3.0 this will work but if you only have 2.0 usb ports it will still work. For the usb panels, yokes, etc. get a regular usb powered hub. For the monitor connections use the plugable technologies 7 port usb 3.0 hub with 4amp power adapter and usb3.0 to vga convereters which they also sell. If you don't have 3.0 they sell a 2.0 hub for this use as well. Hope that this post helps!

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I am in the process of building a 737 home cockpit and if you want to connect displays and all of the saitek, etc. usb devices I have a solution for you. If you ave at least 2 usb ports and preferably one that is 3.0 this will work but if you only have 2.0 usb ports it will still work. For the usb panels, yokes, etc. get a regular usb powered hub. For the monitor connections use the plugable technologies 7 port usb 3.0 hub with 4amp power adapter and usb3.0 to vga convereters which they also sell. If you don't have 3.0 they sell a 2.0 hub for this use as well. Hope that this post helps!

 

USB to VGA connectors are not recommended for external displays as they are nowhere near enhanced enough for displaying 3D visuals. Major glitches and FPS hits, but they are capable of driving static or test style displays. They can be used for external CDU/DU displays, not the in-sim ones, but the external program types, prosim,iflycbe,simavionics. Now this was just my experience and not sure how much optimizations have occurred recently.

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Yes, I was thinking of driving a few panels off a cheap pc tablet :)

 

I've checked the pluggable website, they have 7+ lcds running off a USB 3.0 hub from a dell tablet. 

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