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Author Topic: Greetings from Amsterdam  (Read 1560 times)

Offline DutchCourage

  • CockpitBuilder
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  • Posts: 10
  • Aviation Enthusiast
  • First Name: Jaap
  • Home Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Greetings from Amsterdam
« on: January 19, 2015, 04:17:28 PM »
Hi all,

I figured that the time has come to introduce myself, seeing that since starting my little project I've taken invaluable information from this and other forums - the time has come to (hopefully) give something back to the community. So here goes.

The background
I've been interested in airplanes ever since I can remember and started computer-flying back in the day using SoloFlight on the good ol' Commodore-64. I rekindled this love when FS2000 came out, have bought and used every new version of FS since then. Up until recently, I'd gotten as far as setting up a couple of monitors, a projector and using VRInsight's MCP Combo on my PMDG 737-800. While this all worked pretty nicely and flying on Vatsim has been an absolute blast, there could be only one (logical) next step...build the home cockpit! The main reason (I think) I did not start before, is that I was freightened somewhat by the electronics part (soldering switches, getting I/O cards to work etc.) - but seeing as the home-cockpit community is so large these days, I figured I do not need to be a genius (sorry guys) to make it work!

My home cockpit project
My - ultimate - goal is to have a fully functioning captain's side to 737NG. I restricted myself to the captain's side for reasons of space, the fact that I'll be flying alone anyway and also - to a lesser extent - cost. Also, I intend to build things up in a way that permits me to be able to operate the sim while constructing, adding/replacing parts (throttle, yoke etc.) along the way.

Current state
So here's where I am right now (will post some pics once I figure out how to):
Software
  • Environment: FSX+UTX+GEX+REX
  • Simulator: ProSim737 suite (including Jet Stream model); although expensive, from what I've seen browsing sofar this appears to be the most viable option, not only to have realistic flight dynamics, but also to make the hardware work with the software. Also a paid version of FSUIPC, which is required(?) to make Prosim work with FSX anyway - and I'd also like to pay tribute to Peter Dawson at this point, since nobody would be building home cockpits without the development of FSUIPC...
Computer hardware
  • Main computer: Dell XP Area51 - I don't have the exact specs at hand, but I do know it has been developed with gaming in mind, with a powerful i7 processor and a top-notch (well, at the time anyway...) graphics card.
  • Second computer: an 'old' pentium running Windows7 which I use for displays and FMC, networked with the main computer.
  • Monitors: I have 2 20-inch Dell screens and a smaller (15-inch?) Samsung for the displays. For the external view I will use my previously mentioned Acer Ultra-Short-throw projector. I literally set it up against the wall and it gives me a large - I'd say about 50 inch wide - view of decent quality, all for the bargain price of about EUR 600.
Hardware (as in MIP etc.)
The structural work (stand, pedestal etc.) I am doing myself, using a combination of MDF, wood and metal and using a lot of RAL 7011 paint...I've ordered the captain's side MIP fronts from Cockpitsimparts in the UK, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival as I'm told it has been shipped!

Systems/electronics
  • MCP, EFIS & FMC: after doing some comparing of what's out there, I bought the pre-built versions from OpenCockpits. They appeared realistic (enough) and much cheaper than some of the other options. I have not been disappointed; while it took some effort to set up an get SIOC (the software for all OC stuff) running, it was not more difficult than I had expected.
  • I/O cards: seeing as my OC stuff was running smoothly, I figured trying out their master card and I/O card. Big mistake. I wasn't able to get even a simple on/off switch to work, and seeing some of the comments about their support made me regret this decision. On doing some further research, I ordered a Pokeys56U: best decision sofar. It is a tiny, multifunctional (in/output, analog) card, well documented and support (i.e. Wendy) appears to be magnificent. Even with my way of soldering (absolute beginner) I was able to get a switch and a potentiometer running in no-time! Also, Pokeys is naturally supported by Prosim, which saves a lot of trouble setting the whole thing up.

This is it for now, I'll try to edit this post and add some pictures later on. Happy flying!

Edit: I'd also like to pay tribute to the Norwegian 737 project (Kjetil if I'm not mistaken) for inspiration - I'm sure most you know what I'm talking about, if not, be sure to check out his journey on YouTube in building his cockpit.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 05:36:40 PM by DutchCourage »

Offline Trevor Hale

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  • Home Location: New Liskeard, Ontario
Re: Greetings from Amsterdam
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2015, 09:45:58 AM »
Hi Jaap,

Looks to me like you are already learning as you go.  Research and more research still may lead you to a bad decision, Like it did with the OC Card. But the best part is you learn in this hobby.  Nobody can tell you what is absolutely good for your project, but we can help with our experiences.  For instance, some guys may have had good luck with OC Cards, And some like you may not.  Just take everything you read here with a grain of salt, but ultimately you need to be 100% happy with your decisions.

Great to have you here. 

Trev
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 09:46:11 AM by Trevor Hale »
Trevor Hale

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Offline DutchCourage

  • CockpitBuilder
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  • Posts: 10
  • Aviation Enthusiast
  • First Name: Jaap
  • Home Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Re: Greetings from Amsterdam
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 06:21:44 AM »
Thanks Trev!

Here's a pic of the current state of things, I'll be doing some more work today as my Cockpitsimparts MIP front has arrived!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 06:23:23 AM by DutchCourage »

Offline Trevor Hale

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  • First Name: Trevor
  • Home Location: New Liskeard, Ontario
Re: Greetings from Amsterdam
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 08:58:55 AM »
Excellent stuff   Looks pretty good!
Trevor Hale

Owner
http://www.cockpitbuilders.com

Director of Operations
Worldflight Team USA
http://www.worldflightusa.com

VATSIM:

 

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