Airliner sim on a very low budget, help
Hi I am new here . I am trying to build some kind of a home cockpit (could have joystick/yoke, rudder pedals, throttle quadrant, flaps etc). Only space where I can build something is my desk. Right now I only have Saitek Pro flight yoke system, it has a yoke and throttless (but it broke so I am waiting for new one, thank god it had a warranty ). I currently use a laptop, which runs FSX just fine (specs: intel core i3 350M 2.27 Ghz, 8 Gigs of Ram and an AMD mobility radeon HD6370 graphics card). Now I would like to specialize in one aircraft type. But I dont know what aircraft I could make! I was thinking of a 737, MD-8X series, A320 etc. airliners. Any ideas which one? I will buy a payware aircraft. Also I have a very tight budget(I am just 14 years old) and I want some ideas. I could customize some throttes and other stuff. Sometime I could also have two screens+the laptop.
If you can help me any way thank you!
75+ Posting Member
Re: Airliner sim on a very low budget, help
Hi and welcome.
If you would like to have some sort of cockpit feel on a budget you need to make a choice:
A full replica of an airliner is not going to come cheap.
A more low-tech cockpit can be made rather cheap at the expense of "As real as it gets".
I will try and explain a bit more below.
I am just beginning a B737 cockpit and the price tag just keeps going up. €2000 will not get you far if you dream of a full airliner cockpit.
It all comes down to ambition.
If you are on a tight budget I would suggest the following:
Your laptop might not be able to run things smoothly if you connect a second monitor. So keep the outside-view and cockpit on the same screen (And if you can connect two screens then get a broader outside view).
But build some panels that includes the most used buttons like a gear-lever, a AP-button, a seatbelt button. All the different inputs that you would like.
There are cheap solutions that will get you a long way for small cash.
Take a look at Leo Bodnars BU0836X card (or something similar). It is around €60 and will handle many inputs for FS. It basically acts like an extra joystick-board with 30-40 buttons. Easy to use. Get some switches from eBay (and perhaps some encoders from Leos shop). Connect them to his board and you have your first panel.
Then print some panel-parts on paper, put plexiglas in front and install the buttons. Build a panel-stand from MDF.
You will get a lot of milage for €100 using that method.
Depending your your craftsman skills you can make it look very nice.
Biggest downside is that you not will be able to get any outputs (LEDs or numbers) out of FS with a BU0836X.
Should you at some point win the lottery you can still use the BU0836X is your more complex cockpit. Many builders (even them with full cockpits) rely on that card so it will never be money out of the window. You also should get the registred version of FSUIPC as it gives your so many possibilities to adjust your inputs.
I know this might not sound as ambitious as your dream. But just one or two BU0836X cards will take your simulation to new heights. And when the music plays just being able to flick that landing light switch makes all the difference.
Trust me - I have been there a few years ago. I made a small overhead, a autopilot-unit (only with input) and a mini-pedestal for my sim for around €150 using a BU0836X and switches+encoders. That gave me many hours of fun.
Happy building and landings.
Best wishes, Peter
Building a B737NG - Blog: BuildABoing