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  1. #1
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    Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Dear All,

    Since the FS weekend here in the netherlands i have become interested in building my home cockpit.
    Now i don't have the money around to do it all at once so i will have to build it in steps.

    From reading for two weeks i now have concluded i need to make choices.

    First easy choice was: Which aircraft type: SInce the 737 has a lot of hardware builders i quickly decided it would be a 737.
    Next choice is WHICH 737. Since i already own the 737NGx and i love the amount of detail in its code the choice was made to develop a pit capable of working with PMDG's 737NGx.

    Next choice is what to buy first. Since i already have a very capable pc running fsx with 737Ngx with eyefinity setup (5760x1080) i believe the first things to buy now are a MCP and captains EFIS.

    Now here is where things become complicated.

    I want to buy them and use them without them being fitted into a cockpit frame yet. (that is something to be bought later)
    But i can't figure out:

    1. Which hardware MCP's and EFIS works with 737Ngx/Fsx combo?
    2. What additional software do i need? (registered version FSUIPC, SIOC, Linda, 737NGx SDK?).

    The idea here is to install the mcp and efis and instead of clicking on my buttons in the VC the hardware MCP and EFIS functions and will be used to operate my 737Ngx while flying.

    I have asked the same question btw in the PMDG's 737NGx forum. Any advice is highly appreciated

  2. #2
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Of course the first step is research, the next step is some more research and you can guess the 3rd step. Once you've done those steps you need to decide what sort of realism factore you want, and the degree to which you want to replicate the real thing. This of course carries a correlation to the cost you want to spend.

    Just take things slow, on my humble opinion i would focus on the build before the software, but that's just me. I know Prosim seems to be the leading software at the moment which allows you to display the relevant guages for the 737. I beleive this may work with the next 737 NGX but again you'll have to research this.

    I would certainly recommend FSUIPC as a good start point as you rightly pointed out.

    I look forward to seeing your progress!
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  3. #3
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Geremy,

    thanks for your considerations. As far as i can see i have been doing the research, the research and the research. But i also know that one has start to act also someday otherwise it all will remain research without an end.

    I thought i had explained some of the choices already made. I want a total immersion with a cockpit as if in real. this means operating the plane with applicable switches/buttons and no clicking on the screen anymore.
    Now i do understand that this is something that will take time. For now i estimate a 5 years project with a 25 K euro budget. (just estimating no real planning here).


    If you feel i am still going too fast please say so. I am very interested in learning from the experience people who have gone down this route before.

    Also i am looking for advice as too which type of hardware (and software) i need to start with. And off course this all needs to be future proof (whatever that future is)

    At the moment i envision a path where i build
    1 The MCP/EFIS combo (just as loose boxes on my ordinary desk)
    2. A MIP with the PFD/ND
    3. Extend the MIP with FMC/EICAS/landing gear and buttons and switches
    4. A throttle quandrant (motorized as i want the autopilot to move the throttles in flight)
    5. A pedestal
    6. Gradually install the different parts of the pedestal (com/nav's/fire/ident etc)
    7 A overhead

    Probably will start with a captain side only but would keep the option open to extend the cockpit to F/O side.



    As you also mention i like to take it slow and therefore my idea is to start with a MCP/EFIS as this will immediately enhance my flying experience and also introduce me into the wonderfull world of programming/interfacing knobs/switches into FSx.

    So to repeat the original question

    Would buying the opencockpit MCP/EFIS be a good start for my project?

  4. #4
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    I would certainly suggest an MCP would be a good first purchase. Perhaps a christmas present? I haven't taken a look at the B737NGX software yet so i'm not sure what manufacturers parts will be compatible. 5 years time frame is a really good realistic goal, and if you're waiting around for a couple of months sometimes for the right part to come at the right price, and if your doing some of the work yourself this is a good target.

    With regard to future proof i would always look for USB parts, some of the older things which are serial connection certainly won't be future proof. It seems the USB connection isn't going anywhere anytime soon and will work with whatever flight sim program appears next over the coming decade.

    Hope that helps.
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  5. #5
    300+ Forum Addict notgotaclue's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    One thing you have not mentioned is the control column.
    I have the ACE Yoke, which is amazing. I am not sure I would pay full price for it but for what I paid as part of a bundle on Ebay I am more than happy.
    As for buying the MCP & EFIS first, if thats what you want to do then why not.
    That's what I bought first along with an Opencockpits multi-radio. The problem I had was they got easily bashed about and wandered all over the desk when I pressed the buttons - especially the EFIS. They were also too low and I couldn't be bothered to build a frame for them whenI knew I was looking for a MIP in the near future.
    I now have the Fly Engravity whole set. Once again I got them as part of the bundle and would not have paid full price for them.
    Allan.

  6. #6
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Welcome Killerbee, I went to the same process in 2008/2009 after a visit to FSWeekend. Opencockpits have nice products but be prepared to do a lot of soldering and programming yourself. If you're no computer- or electronics expert, you might want to choose for plug & play brands. The same applies for your mechanical knowledge and tools that you have.

    Your planning and budget is realistic. I'm about 1/3 after 2,5 years but I do things slowly on a tight budget (lot of scratch building). A multi radio, an MCP and an EFIS is the best start.

    About the MIP, if you're planning to buy the panels, it's not much extra work to build a stand to put it on. If you put it on a normal table, it will be too high. And I would go for the full kit, captain and F/O. It's much more fun to have somebody beside you, who might be willing to help you with the build. This is what I do together with my best friend Kinsky.

    I partly agree with Geremy, 2x times researching should be enough and then: just do it. Surely you'll make mistakes but there will be problems you can't foresee anyway. Always keep in mind that if you spend an evening or weekend adding something to your sim, you must be able to fly when you're finished.

    Feel free to drop me a PM in Dutch if you want to see my sim. I live 45 minutes from R'dam and you're welcome to see my pit if you want.
    Arjen
    -----
    "There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch." (Nigel Powers in Goldmember)

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  8. #7
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Hello Allan,
    You are absolutly right. A proper control column (i called it yoke) is part of the program. Not high on the list however. First thing to get working is the MIP with glareshield than throttle,then pedestal, then overhead and last but certainly not least the control column.

    I have at least again some thoughts for birthday/christmas and some other days presents.

  9. #8
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Hello Arjen,

    Thanks for your offer. I think i will take you up on that one. Got some other good responses today (not all via this forum) and it seems that buying the opencockpit mcp/efis is a good idea but i do see the point allan is making.
    Having them lying around on the desk and pushing the switches will probably bash them around. So some fixing is to de developed.

    I think you are right about the fun of a dual sided config and i didn't say i would not build it, it just is something i can add when the captain side is working first.
    All in due time

    I will contact you for the visit

  10. #9
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Hi,

    I also starter building my pit in 2008. With a tight budget i have choosen to build most things myself. See my site (was down so i am rebuilding it) on www.737ng.nl

    For display an external program is a musthave. I started with sim-avionics and spent a lot of money for the license. When prosim737.com showed up i put sim-a away. Prosim is really great. You have many software options and they are about to bring their own Plane like pmdg.

    That brings my question: why pmdg? When you build your cockpit, the only important thing is flight dynsmics and s good external app like prosim. Mcp etc is talking to prosim and prosim talks to fsx.
    An advise is not to hang too tightto pmdg, just good compatible hardware. Oc is a good choise.

    You can also contact me in dutch for more info. I live in maassluis, near rdam.

    Grts
    Steef

  11. #10
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    Re: Starting to build a 737(NGx) cockpit

    Hi

    Just my few cents.

    Background search before investing is essential. There are a lot of different vendors, but some are very slow in making drivers for the SIM you want to use.

    I'm using OC products, and iFly. They fit perfect together, but it's like religion, I have also been a big fan of PMDG, but have decided to stay with FS2004, due to performance issue.

    You can spend very long time to get HW and SW to work together !

    I have spent a year (only left seat) and are now trying making the overhead lights to work

    Regards
    Claus
    www.737sim.dk

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