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  1. #1
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    Question Home cockpit on a budget?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm brand new here, and I'm wondering about where to start on building a home cockpit for cheap (meaning a student's budget cheap.) Here's a couple parameters of what I'm designing:

    1)Maximum pricetag of about $400 (I don't have that much on me)

    2)Portable/Able to be stowed away when not in use. (Not much space in my basement, I gotta share with other people)

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Nick

  2. #2
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    Re: Home cockpit on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by CadetK View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm brand new here, and I'm wondering about where to start on building a home cockpit for cheap (meaning a student's budget cheap.) Here's a couple parameters of what I'm designing:

    1)Maximum pricetag of about $400 (I don't have that much on me)

    2)Portable/Able to be stowed away when not in use. (Not much space in my basement, I gotta share with other people)

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Nick
    Hi Nick,

    Welcome to the world of cockpitbuilding!
    In order to better help with recommendatins it would be good to know what kind of an aircraft are you trying to model? Is it going to be a generic cockpit or an airplane specific one? How experienced are you with regards to doing your own handy work?
    What are some of the things you consider "must have's" in the pit?, etc.
    It is hard to do much of anything with $400 these days so it really comes down to what expectations you have and if you're willing/able to stretch beyond hat budget? What kind of equipment do you have so far, etc.

    Hope this helps
    Andre

  3. #3
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    Re: Home cockpit on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyboyandre View Post
    Hi Nick,

    Welcome to the world of cockpitbuilding!
    In order to better help with recommendatins it would be good to know what kind of an aircraft are you trying to model? Is it going to be a generic cockpit or an airplane specific one? How experienced are you with regards to doing your own handy work?
    What are some of the things you consider "must have's" in the pit?, etc.
    It is hard to do much of anything with $400 these days so it really comes down to what expectations you have and if you're willing/able to stretch beyond hat budget? What kind of equipment do you have so far, etc.

    Hope this helps
    Andre
    Andre,

    I'm thinking something along the lines of a generic airliner, I'm assuming it will be a lot more expensive to accurately model a specific cockpit. I am pretty experienced with hand tools, and with the small amount of power tools I have in my garage. In terms of "must haves," I need to have the basic flight yoke, throttle quadrant, and perhaps a couple other instruments like a radio stack and a primary flight display. I am willing to stretch to a maximum of $500, I have a very tight budget. As of now, the only pieces of equipment I have are a laptop, a USB mouse, and a headset haha. I've been flying on FSX for years now, but only recently have I decided to come into this hobby.

    Nick

  4. #4
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    Re: Home cockpit on a budget?

    I'm planning to build a low cost cockpit as well but I would like to put an emphasis on building a fully immersive visual system. I think a dome setup (such as jdone) would be the way to go but I don't know if it would be possible with a one projector system. Immersive display lite 2 would allow to to merge different windows seamlessly together with window maker.

    Right now my setup consists of a PFC beech yoke, I'll be adding a 737 throttle (being custom built by fsthrottles right now) and hopefully soon EFIS and MCP from open cockpits. All of this would run off the pmdg ngx 737 at first and perhaps slowly migrate to prosim737.

    Anyway I would like to hear your ideas on implementing a low cost immersive visual system with one projector.

    Best regards.

  5. #5
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    Re: Home cockpit on a budget?

    Hi Nick

    The first thing you do is tell everyone about your exciting simulator ideas.
    The next thing is to get ideas for where to obtain working computer scrap. It may be schools or firms.
    Ask and tell in a nice and enthusiastic manner, it may well give some good results.
    Many people actually want to help, both friends, family and also people you have not met before.
    I have my simulator built around 9 computers that I have gotten for free. It is obviously not super computers, but gives a good start on the project. Incidentally, I also got 10 pieces CRT monitors for free, which in the beginning was used, now they are replaced with LCD screens (LCD gives also a smaller electrical bill ).
    To build a simulator takes some time, so if you keep an eye on bargains that can be used later on, then you can get far even if you have a small economy.

    My Sim: http://sites.google.com/site/danskemd80cockpitprojekt/ Sorry it's on danish
    Sincerely,

    Claus


  6. #6
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    Re: Home cockpit on a budget?

    $500 is a tough budget for any sim, especially if you are needing all the primary flight controls. That said, there's nothing that says you have to buy everything at once. Plus, if you are patient, you may be able to snag some really good deals on various things. If you're going for an airliner, the "easy" option is to use a monitor or three as "glass" displays. In fact many folks have just stuck a secondary monitor in front of their sim to use for instruments. You can run the monitor on the same PC as your main sim, or you can get a cheap/free old used PC and have it run the instruments standalone.

    One thing I can point you to that is very very cheap and will open a whole bunch of possibilities is: microprocessor boards. Specifically, the Arduino, though there are a number of other cheap and versatile boards out there (such as the Teensy). There is a learning curve, but interfacing things like switches, buttons, even digital displays and rotary encoders, becomes a viable possibility. You can get an Arduino clone for under $20 on ebay (I just bought 3 for $45 shipped, and they're even on official Arduino PCBs). Electrical components such as resistors and switches are dirt cheap. Again, you will have something of a learning curve to go through, but the rewards are worth it. I have discovered that in this hobby, the more you know, the less you have to spend. And you will end up with more control and functionality than you would with off-the-shelf instrument panels or controls, for instance.

    Are you picky on the yoke? You can pick up a cheap used yoke on ebay for sometimes very reasonable prices, but still expect to spend $160+ on something like a Saitek yoke and throttle combo. I lucked out and scored a Jeppesen (PFC) yoke for about $90 shipped, but those kind of deals require lots of patience.

    On computers, by all means ask around. You might even want to post an ad on Craigslist or similar, offering to haul away old computer junk. People literally throw this stuff away, especially in the US. Computer shops are another good resource: I happen to work at one, and I've gotten a ton of stuff that was either unwanted or just plain broken, and managed to fix it and use it in the sim.

    Anyways, don't be afraid to start small. My first 'pit was a single PC, an ATX computer case with some aluminum pipe assembled into a joystick, rudder pedals made from the frame of an old folding chair, throttles made out of a RadioShack project box, slide potentiometers and music wire, and a 17" CRT monitor placed on a shelf that was suspended by two kitchen chairs atop everything. Now I'm building this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfamatt/7671886438/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfamatt/7671922120/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfamatt/7672004798/

    Remember, whatever you learn now, you will always have for later.

    Matt

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    Re: Home cockpit on a budget?

    Nick,

    I am in High School, so pretty much in the same boat as you. I (so far) have not been allowed to take up any basement space for my cockpit, so it all has to be portable. I have a yoke, rudder pedals, a homemade 757/767 throttle quadrant, and a basic radio stack, all built for about $350-$400 dollars. I also just purchased some opencockpit cards for my mcp and mip from here on the classifieds page for around $100. It's bargains like these that allow me to actually continue the hobby. I'd love to give you some more advice and some pics, so just PM me!

    Steve