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  1. #1
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    Question 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Hi all,

    Background: Having been severely bitten by the 'pit building bug recently, I have decided to build myself a 737NG single-seat pit. I've pretty much decided what route I'm going to take in terms of hardware (mainly CPFlight/Engravity gear), but now I'm looking into software for the PFD, ND, EICAS etc. Because I never really used FS2004 when I got into GA simming, I started off with FSX and have built up quite a scenery library, so this is what I'll be using for my sim. I'd like to use the PMDG 737NG (I've heard it can fudged to work in FSX?) as this seems to be the plane of choice from what I've read. Also, there is hope for PMDG releasing the new NGX sometime in the future from what I've read. Fingers crossed that they release an SDK for it too...

    Now as far as I understand it Project Magenta (PM), FlightDeckSoftware (FDS) and Sim-Avionics (SA), to name a few, are capable of displaying PFD/MCP data etc across a network via WideFS/FSUIPIC. From what I've read they are also capable of providing a hardware interface for the MIP/MCP/Overhead etc. However, and this is my question, what I don't understand is how they interact with FSX and your chosen plane? (PMDG for example). From what I've read on the PM and FDS websites, both programs seem to have their own logic and they also seem to have their own autopilot system as well. I think some even have their own flight model?? So, how does this integrate with the addon plane in FSX? Do you have to modify it so that you don't use its logic and flight model?? Presumably if they provide all of this, why not just use the default 737 if all you need is outside views?

    I had a good search around and all I can find is in-depth threads about the technical details and no real basic explanation of what they do. It would be great if someone could explain this to me! Or point me in the direction of a useful thread. Obviously I'm clueless and hours of reading yesterday just got me even more confused!

    Cheers,
    Ed

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    150+ Forum Groupie pdpo's Avatar
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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Hi there,

    you are right in stating that you need to disable the internal logic of the PMDG plane as
    it conflicts with the logic present in the other software packages.
    The reason people use the PMDG is that it seems to have a good flight model of the
    737. There are other posts explaining how to remove the logic. However, im not realy a 737
    guy, so I have no link to these post. Maybe some 737 builder can step in and add a link to those.

    Greetz Peter
    FS9+PM+AST+opencockpits

  3. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job JBaymore's Avatar
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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Ed,

    There sort of are two different parts of the "external" systems for simpit building.

    One is external gauges that pretty much display information from the sim. This includes programs like parts of Project Magenta, Ellie Avionics, FXExpand, and so on. They replace the stuff like the in-sim PFD, ND, EICAS, and so on. They are controlled via hardware and act like the real gauges. They display flight information in much the same way that the in-sim gauges do. Some (most) add a few minor functions that are often missing in the core sim. Often they provide displays and functionality that is closer to the "real deal" than the usual sim products.

    Then there is external software that creates the aircraft SYSTEMS that mirror more the real thing than what is done in the sim itself. The core Microsoft systems are not all that realistic and a lot is left out. Add on developers have tried to remedy this lack of realism with separate stand-alone programming. The "granddaddy" for this is Project Magenta (with a commensurate "granddaddy" price, I might add).

    The big issue with complex addon planes like the PMDG is that those planes have gone to great lengths to create the aircraft's systems also. But the data for those systems is usually NOT held in the "standard" manner that an external program can easily access (like via SimConnect or FSUIPC). So for example, if the fancy autopilot on "Plane A" is done in a proprietary manner....and the software developers of that plane do not offer an SDK that allows you to "tie into" the functions of that autopilot..... your going to have a devil of a time USING that fancy autopilot.

    You are then relegated to using either the default autopilot....or adding an external autopilot "gauge" that you interface to the sim.

    The payware Level D is well known for providing great access to their systems. I beleive that PMDG is not.



    Hope this helps. There is a lot more to it.

    best,

    ................john
    http://www.elliesystems.com/wForums/uploads/48/EllieBetaTestTeamBanner.jpg

  4. Thanks CrashEd thanked for this post
  5. #4
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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Thanks for the replys guys, I can now see what you mean. The three I've been looking at recently have been PM, FlightDeckSoftware and Sim-Avionics. I think all three simulate the 737 systems/flight model to a certain degree, some more than others.

    I'm not dead set on using the PMDG aircraft, all I want to be able to do is to build a pit with as realistic flight systems/flight model as possible.

    Would it be fair to say that with software like PM or FlightDeckSoftware, which (as far as I can see) have their own sytems and flight model, it wouldn't matter what aircraft you used in FSX, as you'd only really be using it for the outside view?

    Which software do people mostly use on here? Maybe I'll do a poll...

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    500+ This must be a daytime job JBaymore's Avatar
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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Quote Originally Posted by CrashEd View Post
    Would it be fair to say that with software like PM or FlightDeckSoftware, which (as far as I can see) have their own sytems and flight model, it wouldn't matter what aircraft you used in FSX, as you'd only really be using it for the outside view?
    In some ways this is pretty much true. In fact.......you are not using any of the panels...... so the view out the windscreen could be out of a Cessna when you are flying a 747 and you would not know it . It is only OTHERS maybe online that would know.... or when you try to do some screen shots in other views.

    Remember, to get full PM functionality you are looking at a couple of Grand pricetag.

    I use a combination of software to get my pit working....... Ellie Avionics, FSXpand, FS2Phidget, Hagstrom, a few of my own VB code, and so on.


    The level of realism you can accomplish tends to be directly related to the budget.....or the ability to scratch build a lot of stuff.

    best,

    ....................john
    http://www.elliesystems.com/wForums/uploads/48/EllieBetaTestTeamBanner.jpg

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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Hi John, I thought as much. I think I'm finally beginning to understand it all!

    I had a look at Ellie Avionics. Their software looks very promising, and affordable to boot!

    I'm looking at getting something mid range. I'm not too keen on the idea of spending a whole load of money on PM, as that money would be better invested in hardware (at least you can sell/trade hardware). However, I do want one piece of software that covers most bases. FDS and SA seem to do that well, and they are continuously developing the software. I'd like to be able to just fire it up and set the sim going rather than having to mess around undocking displays etc.

    I think it may be time to download and try out a few demos

  8. #7
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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Quote Originally Posted by CrashEd View Post
    Hi John, I thought as much. I think I'm finally beginning to understand it all!

    I had a look at Ellie Avionics. Their software looks very promising, and affordable to boot!

    I'm looking at getting something mid range. I'm not too keen on the idea of spending a whole load of money on PM, as that money would be better invested in hardware (at least you can sell/trade hardware). However, I do want one piece of software that covers most bases. FDS and SA seem to do that well, and they are continuously developing the software. I'd like to be able to just fire it up and set the sim going rather than having to mess around undocking displays etc.

    I think it may be time to download and try out a few demos
    FWIW, I was in your same predicament a few weeks ago. I bit the bullet, purchased SimAvionics and I'm VERY happy with it. Mark is a great guy to deal with. Always helping around, the patience of a Saint!, and always listening to the input of his clients, in trying to improve the suite with each update.
    Regards,

    Efrain "E" Ruiz (HondaCop)
    LiveDISPATCH @ http://www.livedispatch.org

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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Hi HC,

    Good to see you on here! Thanks for sharing your experiences with SA. I have to say that it does look the more advanced of the two that I've been looking at ( SA and FDS). However, I'd like to know to what extent the CPFlight and FlyEngravity hardware is implemented. This is what I'm planning on using for my pit. The other worry is that FE don't seem to 'officially' recognise SA, where as FDS is recommended by them. Hopefully someone at SA will finally answer my emails...

    Tough decision to make!

  10. #9
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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Quote Originally Posted by CrashEd View Post
    The other worry is that FE don't seem to 'officially' recognise SA, where as FDS is recommended by them. !
    Small correction to that:

    we DO recognise sim avionics when it comes to the CDU. They received a unit from us to test their software on.

    However i do not know to what extent the CPflightgear is supported. I know the MCP is supported (so the MCP PRO we co-developed with cpflight should be too). But i do not know to what extent the radios, the MIP737 board, the rudder trim panel, etc are supported.

    Where as Flightdecksoftware does support them almost completely.

    Stef

    .
    www.boeing737ng.com
    ___________________________
    The Dutch 737 Simulator Project

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    Re: 737 Cockpit Software - Confused!

    Yes, thanks for the correction Stef - bad choice of words on my behalf You even have the Sim-Avionics logo on your site

    I got a reply from Mark at SA this morning regarding the MCP and CDU:

    Hi Ed,

    Yes, we support CPFlight MCP Pro + EFIS.
    All of the lights work on the CPFlight MIP and I'm adding support for the inputs.
    Engravity CDU is also currently supported.
    We can support any card that uses FSUIPC to interface ie Open Cockpits, Simboards. Also we've got native support for the FDS InterfaceIT SYS boards.
    I've also asked him about radios and trim panel - will report back when I hear from him.

    HondaCop> What hardware are you using? What is your experience in using it with SA?

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