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  1. #1
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    I'm new, but old...

    Hi all,

    I'm new to most of this. I've installed and flown the PMDG 74F a number of times, and (being a former commercial pilot) am constantly amazed at the reality it enables me to experience. All I am missing is a cockpit mockup, some real nubbins, FMC's, a decent visual system and we're in business for keeping IFR skills up to date. And a cockpit door with locks to keep interruptors out, of course!

    Now, funny things aside, does anyone have some helpful hints and tips on where I might get started building a full scale, as real as it gets, 74F cockpit?

    What are all those comments about EPIC, PHIDGET, FSUIP etc.? And might it possibly be as simple as ordering parts and assembling or is a significant development effort required?

    Cheers

    - Balt

  2. #2
    300+ Forum Addict AchillesP's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome aboard,

    In short words you will need, cockpit parts (panels), computers, projectmagenta program, switches, cards and visuals.

    Hope not to miss somethink.

    A small description how all together works.

    Flight simulator give offsets throu FSIUPC to progectmagenta, and projectmagenta work with those offsets in order to give extra offsets that flight simulator is not capable (to expand the realism). Then you take those offsets and set up them with cards (PHIDGETS) in order to give and take commands to the flight simulator throu switches.




    Quote Originally Posted by balt View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm new to most of this. I've installed and flown the PMDG 74F a number of times, and (being a former commercial pilot) am constantly amazed at the reality it enables me to experience. All I am missing is a cockpit mockup, some real nubbins, FMC's, a decent visual system and we're in business for keeping IFR skills up to date. And a cockpit door with locks to keep interruptors out, of course!

    Now, funny things aside, does anyone have some helpful hints and tips on where I might get started building a full scale, as real as it gets, 74F cockpit?

    What are all those comments about EPIC, PHIDGET, FSUIP etc.? And might it possibly be as simple as ordering parts and assembling or is a significant development effort required?

    Cheers

    - Balt

  3. #3
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    HI Balt, and Welcome to Mycockpit.org.

    This hobby is quite exciting indeed. I am sure you will be able to find 99% of what your are looking for will be right here in either our download section or the forum threads.

    In the Download sections some people have provided measurements for many different aircraft.

    A lot about our hobby is making concessions to the little things that don't really matter. For each of us these concessions are a little different. For me, I don't need the circuit breakers in the aft overhead to work, for someone else, they may not need to have the exact seats in the sim.

    You will find your way, and we will be very happy to help you get where you need to go.

    To answer your first question, regarding, EPIC/Phidgets/Open Cockpits, These are all the different companies that make the USB interface cards that you wire all of your switches, LED's, and displays to, to bring your cockpit to life.

    All you need to get started, is a Copy of Microsoft Flightsimulator FS9/X and a registered version of FSUIPC from Peter D.

    Have a look through the Photo Gallery, and spend some time researching and planing your project it will pay off in the end.

    Please remember no question is irrelevant, if you don't know... Ask, we are all here to help each other.

    Best regards,

    Trev
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    Trevor Hale

  4. #4
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    Wow, thanks for the heartfelt welcome! Well here I go, first silly question:

    Am I correct in my perception that:

    1. FS is only used for flight dynamics and visual system

    2. project magenta (are there others?) provides the glass cockpit, and both reads and writes data into FS to control the airplane. The autoflight system for instance is modeled in project magenta, and it simply gives control surface inputs/thrust settings back to FS.

    Are there any particularly good names in the business? It appears to me that certain items that I find important for realism (real control columns, thrust levers) are hard to come by. Do you have any recommendations on finding those (short of buying a wreck in the AZ desert...)

    Cheers

    - Balt

  5. #5
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    Poor guy! Taken down by the simbuld virus in your prime...

    Welcome to the forums! There's a lot of advice I could give you, but instead of wasting a lot of time writing (and thus forgetting a lot of important things), i recommend you to look at my website. Read through it, and you will get a lot of info from my experience as a simbuilder.

    I would certainly recommend Flightdeck solutions as their products are great. Dunno if any other companies make parts for the queen?

    And do start with the MIP. Getting something to actually fly while building is extremely valuable! Keeps your motivation up. The only reason why I'm still building, is because I am a stubborn lunatic. I started with the overhead, and haven't flown anything in my cockpit until now, except for the FMC and the radio module I have. BIG bummer! Imagine how happy I was when I got my MIP up and running for the first time yesterday? I could FINALLY raise and lower the gears with a proper gear lever - and not just hitting the g on my keyboard...
    Last edited by Trevor Hale; 06-01-2008 at 04:54 PM.

  6. #6
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    See? I forgot an important advice: I would recommend you the SYS interface cards from Flightdeck Solutions. I have fooled around with opencockpits before. While they're really bang-for-the-bucks, the setups is rather complicated. With the sys cards, once you've wired everything up, you can set up your simulator in a matter of minutes! It took me 10 minutes to set up my MIP (main instrument panel, or dashboard if you will). It just doesn't get any easier!

    But remember that the SYS cards only handles inputs and outputs (at least that's the story today), and you can't use LED's that demands high voltages. But that's not an issue, since there are LED's available for about any demands out there.

  7. #7
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balt View Post
    Wow, thanks for the heartfelt welcome! Well here I go, first silly question:

    Am I correct in my perception that:

    1. FS is only used for flight dynamics and visual system
    100% Correct Flight Dynamics, visual system, and is the vehicle that allows us to interface through all the other software.


    2. project magenta (are there others?) provides the glass cockpit, and both reads and writes data into FS to control the airplane. The autoflight system for instance is modeled in project magenta, and it simply gives control surface inputs/thrust settings back to FS.
    There are some others around, however Project Magenta is the Norm, and most of us are using it.


    Are there any particularly good names in the business? It appears to me that certain items that I find important for realism (real control columns, thrust levers) are hard to come by. Do you have any recommendations on finding those (short of buying a wreck in the AZ desert...)

    Cheers

    - Balt
    I personally suggest for the most realism, going with CPflight Hardware for your autopilot and EFIS controls, however they do not have 744 Stuff, they only have 737 stuff.

    Flightdeck solutions has some 744 stuff, and they would be an option for you.

    If cheap is the name, you may want to check out our classified section as there are some used interfaces around.

    Do your homework.. and I mean lots of research when it comes to your interface, it can be the most expensive part, but it is really the thing that makes your cockpit tick!

    Ask many questions and read all our forums, the information there you will see the problems some of us are having with our interfaces, and solutions that we have come up with.

    For every interface on the market, there is pro's and con's just make sure you have a good understanding before you get out the credit card.

    Trev
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  8. #8
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    Hi Vidar,

    amazing project you have going! Looks very professional. A good example to develop by I think. I'll have to get myself a starting budget of a few grand and see what I can do with that.

    Cheers

    - Balt

  9. #9
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    Trevor,

    one confusion: The benefits of an addon like PMDG's line of aircraft lie within the many parameters and subsystems they simulate. I don't understand how project magenta fits into that picture? If project magenta is doing the calculations in the auto flight system for instance, how does it know that one of the IRS's has failed?

    Cheers

    - Balt

  10. #10
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Well, keep in mind that there are still quite a bit of (not simulated) items in the flight sim world. However with that being said I will give you sone food for thought.

    Can we please use for example the PMDG Boeing 737, as I know this aircraft but not that of the 747, I am sure you can apply the same logic to both, but for now, let me just use the 737 for an example.

    There is a gentleman on this site by the name of Westozy. he has completely built an AMAZING, and I mean AMAZING 737 simulator based on the PMDG and therefore does not require Project Magenta. all gauges are undocked and placed on multiple monitors attached to that same computer.

    However with that being said, he will run into some issues when it comes to annunciators, and other advanced overhead functions, Inputs are fine, as there is Key to mouse software and programmable inputs via keystrokes that can function the switches for the overhead. However the annunciators and other outputs are difficult as PMDG does not set all the Offsets that we read with our interface cards to illuminate LED's or actuate Servo controlled gauges.

    So Many users that can afford the Project magenta software will use the PMDG 737 for the flight model and Livery, however strip the PMDG of it's panel and use Project Magenta in it's place as it can be placed on multiple Computers spanning across a network and each computer can serve a function. CDU, computer, EICAS computer, Pilot and FO PFD, Etc.

    Using The entire Project magenta suite you control and program (the entire overhead) and all the features, as well as modify how a spacific system or annunciator will behave if you have an IRS fail, etc. By programming a switch to control the (hydraulic switch directly) you increase realism as well as performance.

    I am not saying that you couldn't get by using the PMDG aircraft, what I am saying is there is a possibility you will only get so far with your simulator before you realize you will have to bail on the PMDG aircraft and switch to Project Magenta.

    One other feature that is a pain in the butt using the PMDG is the CDU. You cannot seperate the (Display) from the Keyboard in the PMDG, and therefore you will need to rely on a mouse in the sim to always control the CDU. If you go with Project Magenta, again this problem is solved.

    There is so much to say, Pro's and Con's with both, that It is hard to type everything about it.

    I can tell you that Project Magenta is concentrating on the 737 Model, and although there is a basic 744 model in place, please be aware that it may not be 100%.

    Also, there is always small (and possibly anoying to others) bugs that creep up with the PM software, but we are all dealing with these issues, and Project Magenta for the most part is sorting through them bit by bit.

    Thank goodness for free updates to the software as we move forward.

    Last but not least, Project Magenta will cost you over a G-Note for the entire suite, PMDG will cost you 65 bucks. "You get what you pay for"

    Good luck, and sorry if this just confuses you more, but ask some other people using Project Magenta for their opinions, Please don't just rely on mine.

    Trev
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