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  1. #1
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Help me decide which way to go...

    Hi,

    My name is Nick and I am 34 yo. I live in Athens, Greece, and I am in the process of deciding the way to go as far as expanding my flight sim capabilities. I fly online with two monitors almost a year now, I would like to upgrade into something better. I want to start from somewhere, but where will that be ?

    I think that the right way to begin is to let you know what I already have, and how much I am willing to go. So here it goes:
    1 x dual-core desktop @ 2.5 Ghz with 2GBs RAM and with 2 x Nvidia Sparkle 9600 GT SVGA (PCI- Express, 1 GB)
    2 x 17" TFT monitors
    1 x CH Eclipse YOKE
    The second video card was ordered last week and installed yesterday. I was planning to buy two extra TFT monitors (see scenario #4).
    This desktop is connected in a home LAN (has both wired and wifi), with high speed internet, so network is not a problem here. Also there are 3-4 VAIO laptops (wife, daugher, mine, etc...) so I do not need it for taking e-mails, surfing the web, etc..... just for the sim.

    Please see the setup I currently use: (This picture is without the yoke)

    I always fly on line (PDMG 737-600) and I use one monitor for external view and centre panel view, and the other monitor for radio, throttle, FS navigator and the rest of equipment. To be honest I was planning to buy 2 extra monitors to make my monitors total to 4, and expand my view for better satisfaction, but searching the web I realised there are so many options that I needed help to decide.

    My budget is between 800euros and 3000euros but that has to do also with the way of paying. Giving small amounts from time to time will make thinks easier and possibly expand the budget more.

    The scenarios I was thinking are:

    1) I must admit a full size cockpit is very appealing to me, and I have the space in my home to guest it, but it needs a lot of $$$ knowledge and time to build it. If the project will be kept in a step by step basis which means that the $$$ will be given in also a step by step basis, then I can handle the cost. The other two (time and knowledge to build it) are thinks I do not have. So my fear is to end up with a semi-finished cockpit and to fly with my desktop as now In this scenario I would think that one projector will be enough for me (1 VGA), 2 TFT monitors for the captain and the first officer (1 VGA) one TFT monitor for the center panel (1 VGA) and one TFT monitor for the forward overhead panel. This totals 4 TFT monitors. Can I do that with one desktop ?

    2) The second scenario is to build only the captains panel kit or maximum the captains and maybe the center panel too. But what's the difference with the first scenario ? I think its worth the extra $$$ for the FO panel. Don't you ?

    I believe the question remains the same as far as the desktop is concerned. Can I do this project with my current PC configuration ?

    3) The third scenario is to make a simpler, easier, and cheaper kind of home cockpit, which is a projector for the external view (1 VGA), 2 TFT monitors for the instruments (2 VGA), and one for the overhead instruments (1 VGA). All these in a custom made wooden construction.

    4) This scenario was in fact what I was thinking I wanted to do when I first started sim-ing. No cockpit just 4 TFT monitors... 3 monitors for the external view (number 8 view), the left forward view (number 7 view) and the right forward view (number 9 view), and finaly one TFT monitor with a custom aluminium construction above my head for the overhead instruments. That's it... no panels, no special hardware and costly constructions just that simple. Just see the pic above, and imagine one more monitor on the right and one above in an overhead pane style, and that's all.

    I would appreciate your opinion on the above.

    Thanks in advance

    Nick

  2. #2
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    I really struggled with this once I saw the Track IR working on a YouTube video and I asked myself if I really wanted to be held to one aircraft alone (in full scale). The quick answer was, yes, I was capable and very happy with a very nice 1:1 Learjet 45 sim. However, I still see the appeal in a more generic sim and also the desire to move up from simple desktop simming. The solution that I originally intented to go with before I committed to the full size sim was a concept that I started designing that I called an 'MCAS', or Multi Configuration Aircraft Simulator.

    The design was easy to build compared to anything based on a specific design. A simple box-like enclosure that was open at the back with either 1 or 2 seats and a relatively flat panel that had 1-2 large LCD monitors for running either networked gauges or an undocked set of gauges and then the main FS external view on a rear projection screen or very large LCD monitor up at eye level. Then the use of a TrackIR would provide your other views if you decided to have just 1 large view of the VC, or no TrackIR if you wanted to have just a few simple GoFlight units, etc. Then of course you'd need a CH yoke or joystick as well as something to control your throttle, etc.

    Like many others here, a full size cockpit is awesome, but its certainly a lot of work and time and especially money. You will easily spend over your 'budget' much faster than you anticipate with just buying screws, paint, wire, nuts & bolts, etc. just to put the thing together. In the end, if you look at pit building as a 'life hobby' instead of just something you want to do for a little while, then it's well worth it and very rewarding.

    Right now, Im about to remove about 95% of my current project and replace it with all brand new 100% scale parts that Ive just taken delivery of and even with my current sim folks come over and visit from time to time and seeing their reaction to the not-so-great Version 1 gives me all the encouragment and reminder of why I do this: For me and for those great times when folks can come over and get just a little taste of 'flying' and I love it.

    Thanks to My Cockpit for giving such a great place to share ideas.
    Eric Tomlin-
    Learjet 45 Builder
    www.flightlevel180.org

  3. Thanks Geremy Britton thanked for this post
  4. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    Thanks for the reply Tomlin

    Indeed that's my concern. Giving thousands of $$$ in project for life is something I can understand. But who knows what will I be like in let's say a year or two ?

    BTW I attached the pic. I cannot see it with image quote. My "cockpit" has a CH Eclipse yoke now instead of a simple joystick.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    • File Type: jpg 3.jpg (70.8 KB, 65 views)

  5. #4
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Jackpilot's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    There was a post recently of a 15 years old who built a very nice full size cockpit base for some 200 Euros. !

    You have a very good basis (computers screens, etc. ) Build someting similar to what this young fellow did, integrate your computers and have a **** of a fun!
    This will not get you broke.
    Building a exact repro of a Zillion million dollars machine costs an arm and a leg and thousands of hours.
    But building your own version of an airliner, based on let's say a 737, will cost you a fraction of "an arm and a leg", and let you express your own creativity and ingenuity.
    Ex: you can build a very professional modern twin jet throttle for a couple of hundred dollars in no time. But you will spend much much more and hundreds of hours if you want to faithfully reproduce that old klunker of a 737 throttle.
    Be creative...much more fun
    Jackpilot
    B737-700 Posky
    FS9/P.Magenta
    without PMSystem

  6. #5
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    I decided to keep the number 4 scenario... that is 4 screens, 3 for cockpit view and 1 for overhead panel together with my CH yoke and the rest stuff I have.

    Tommorow first thing in the morning I will purchase two new screens and will install them properly in my desk.

    The simpler way is the best for now.

    Thanks for the hints


  7. #6
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    Congrats on your decision, Nick!
    Chris Kilroy
    737NG Builder - Henderson, NV USA

  8. #7
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    Hi again

    After my decision to keep it simple, I finished the first step my little project with total 6 x 17" TFT screens, 6 x TFT arms, 2 x TH2GO, 1 x desktop pc and a CH Eclipse Yoke. The total cost was about 3000 euros. After the first settings I am satisfied.

    The second step is to build a simple but good looking "office", to host all above, and have a more cockpit looking result....

    Any hints ?

    Thanks

    Nick
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #8
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    And another two pictures...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #9
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide which way to go...

    Sorry for the quality of the pics, but were taken with my mobile.

    PS1. Matrox does not support twin TH2GO but I tried it and it worked
    PS2. As you see the two below screen are for the instruments, the 2 in the middle are for the external view and the one above for the overhead and the radio stack and I use it for FS navigator also.

    Hope you like it. I know it is not such a big project, but it is my little project