Overview

General information:

My 737 cockpit build project started in April 2011. Before that I was collecting info and thinking for a couple of years. 

Here is the short overview of the project. More details and pictures can be found on this website (this is work in progress).



Location:  Simulator is located in a room 456 x 370 cm in size. Room height 235 cm.

Looks like: 
My cockpit is not 100% Boeing 737-800 replica. I don't have a goal to reproduce 737-800 cockpit to the last screw. TQ still looks like 737-200 unit (that it is). NAV, COMM, ADF, Transponder and  Audio panels are the real units from 737 Classic series.

Simulator base
- Modular wooden construction on wheels. 
- Sim floor height 20 cm. 
- Plywood floor in multiple parts to provide easy access to parts under the floor.

Cockpit shell:  B737NG Modular Nose Section from FDS, painted black (non-powder coated).

Cockpit interior:  
 - B737NG Interior Liner Package  from FDS. 
 - Glareshield is DIY
 - Circuit Breaker panels are supposed to be DIY.

Seats:  Real IPECO seats with original J-rails. Came from United Airlines N304UA

Screen: 
- Wooden DIY frame construction with screen sheets from standard 5 mm thick 4' x 8'  particle boards from Home Depot. They were already white painted, and I left them as is.
 ~ 200 cm radius, 
 ~ 205 degrees  view, 
- 124 cm viewable area height. 
- Can be completely disassembled in a couple of hours.

Visual system:

-  3 x Optoma GT720 projectors. (one projector failed and  was replaced with GT750 model.)

- Three external fans around projectors and compact  floor air conditioner provide the simulator room cooling.

Previous version before October 2016: 
-  GTX 570 card  +  Matrox TH2GO 
-  Immersive Display Lite 2 for warping.
~205 degrees  view (currently 3 x 1280x800 resolution). 
- 3 views (not 4!). 
- Views settings based on well known Windowmaker tool. This setup currently gives me ~ 21-23 FPS on the ground with ORBX sceneries. This was built in 2011, and for that time I only wanted to provide the initial basic wraparound image that is suitable for tests during a few years build period, while the hardware progresses and prices go down. I never intended to do any further refining of the visual system until cockpit building is more or less complete.

New visual system version since October 2016:
~ 190 degrees view with overlapping and blending.
- GTX 980 Ti card with 6 Gb memory, ViewGroups in P3D,  configured with Immersive Calibration Pro, warped with Immersive Display Pro.


New visual system version since August 2017:
~ 3 x Optoma 1080 Darbee projectors
~ 220 degrees view with overlapping and blending. 
- ViewGroups in P3D,  configured with Immersive Calibration Pro, warped with Immersive Display Pro.


Computer system: 

One main  computer runs 3 projector visuals 
and additional 19" monitor, ProSim 737 server, ProSim MCP and ProSim Audio for APU sounds, AS2016 for weather. This PC is  currentlyoverclocked to 4.6 Ghz and runs just fine with air cooling. Main computer is located behind the cockpit on separate stand along with two UPS units, Sony audio center, back speakers, SA100 amplifier for vibration system.

The rest of avionics software runs on 3 Dell notebooks that are located inside MIP stand. There is also 4th standalone notebook for ProSim instructor Station.

Captain side Windows 10 tablet 12.1" Running FS-FlightControl. 
 FO side Windows 10 tablet 10.1". 
Previous system.
Main FSX  computer had:
    - MSI P67-GD65 motherboard,
    - Sandy Bridge 2600K processor, overclocked to 4.6 GHz
    - 8 GB G.Skill RAM,
    - CoolerMaster 1000W PSU.
    - NVidia GTX 570 video card (not overclocked).
    - Matrox TripleHead2Go videocard.

- Two Corsair SSD drives F60 and F120: 
      -   60GB  drive is for Windows 7 64-bit.
      -  120 GB for FSX and related programs. 
      -   500 GB HDD for all other needs.


Note, that main FSX computer was assembled in May 2011. NVidia GTX570 video card will be upgraded later after building phase is more or less finished. Possibly I will move to visuals with multiple computer and WideView. Full HD 1920x1080 projectors also will be considered.



New main computer since October 2016
Main P3D computer has:
- I7 4790 overclocked to 4.4 Ghz
- 16 GB RAM
- CoolerMaster 750W PSU
NVidia GTH 980 Ti video card (not overclocked).
Zotac GTX 1080 Ti AMP!


- Two Samsung 840 SSD drives.
      -   128 GB  SSD drive is for Windows 7 64-bit.
      -  500 GB SSD for P3D and related programs. 
One Samsung 850 EVO SSD drive  1 TB (for P3D v4.1) since October 2017
      -   2TB USB HDD for all other needs.


MIP is FDS Signature series (built from MDF panels, previously owned by Jackpilot

- Glarewings and Six Packs are from FDS. 
- Six Packs are converted to run with Pokeys cards (common anode).
- Glareshield is custom built by myself.
- Most of MIP and TQ power equipment located inside CDU bay.
- Flaps indicator is working driven by Phidgets servo card and my own software.
- Brake pressure indicator is from Boeing 727 (?) and currently non-functional.


MIP monitors: 
    - 2 x 18.5" Acer monitors  for PFD/ND,    
    - 1 x Dell 15" 4:3 monitor  for Upper EICAS (former cash register monitor bought on eBay for $35)  
    - 1 x 10.4" monitor for Lower EICAS.

Main computer avionics 
- Prosim server.
- Prosim Audio (for APU running sounds).
- Prosim MCP.
- TQ control program.

MIP avionics (Prosim 737) currently run on three Dell notebook computers:
    - Notebook 1 runs  Captain PFD/ND and Upper EICAS and ProSim Audio.
    - Notebook 2 runs  F/O PFD/ND and Lower EICAS and ProSim Audio.
    - Notebook 3 runs  Captain FMC, FO FMC and ProSim Audio.

FMC/CDU:     
- 2 x FDS Pro-MX  CDU. 

Throttle Quadrant:

Real Boeing 737-200 TQ unit, converted for simulator use. The mechanical conversion was done by Rob Archer aka 727737Nut.

- TQ implements all real TQ functions including autothrottle. 
- TQ uses DC motors for throttle levers and trim wheels.
- Speedbrake and Trim indicators are controlled by servos.
- Motor and Servo control cards are from Phidgets.  
- TQ analog inputs and switches are controlled by Pokeys 57U card.
- TQ control software (.Net C# application)  is written by myself.
- TQ does not use any ProSim TQ handling features or calibration because ProSim does not allow simultaneous use of Phidgets cards by Prosim and another application.


Flight Controls:

- Control columns:
Two linked control columns built by myself. Yokes are produced by www.aviasimulation.com and have full set of buttons including double trim buttons and backlighted trip counters. Real B737 stick shakers installed. 

- Rudder pedals: currently CH Pro pedals only on Captain side. My intention is to build  the copy of Boeing pedals (linked) myself. 

- Tiller:  Aerosim Solutions unit.

FWD Overhead:
is FDS unit ( previously owned by Jackpilot), backlighted and wired by myself. 
- Electrical panel and FLT/LAND Altitude indicators  built using Pokeys cards and Display driver boards along with other 7-segment indicator parts from www.flightsimparts.eu
- FWD Overhead gauges, EVAC panel and Cockpit Voice Recorder  are real units from various Boeing planes (except for dummy cabin temperature indicator). Gauges are currently non-functional (except for pressurization panel half inch indicator that shows preset position on startup).
- standby compass is a real Boeing 737 unit. Always points to south :)


AFT Overhead 

assembled from cockpitsimparts.co.uk panels set.
IRS Display is  Phidgets 2-line indicator  (Phidgets USB Text LCD 20X2 with 8/8/8: White), will be controlled by my own software. 
Oxygen indicator currently is a dummy one.


I/O control cards:  

- Overall sim architecture based on Pokeys cards. It's a mix of  56/57U, 57E, mostly because they were bought at different times. 
- Phidgets cards used for TQ. The main reason of using Phidget cards was that they have .Net programming interface (as well as Pokeys cards). That allowed me to program all TQ functions myself and gives me far more control on sim functions than SIOC scripts.

- All annunciators are powered  from Pokeys cards using LED Extension boards that I built myself. 
12V used  for double LEDs annunciators and 5V for some single LEDs (like in AFDS ans six-pack Master Caution and Fire buttons) 
Annunciators' double LEDs are connected in series with common positive. 
- Blue annunciators have 3rd LED for dual state indication.
LEDs are from Christmas lights (~ 3.0 - 3.2 v)


Two main control modules in the sim:

- MIP control module  (3 Pokeys 56/57U cards) is  located inside the MIP. Controls all MIP functions, all TQ functions and yokes input.

- Overhead control module installed on top of the sim roof, overhanging sim entry area. Contains 8 Pokeys 57E cards, 7 LED extension cards for annunciators, 5 power supply units (12V and 5V), 16-port network switch and  4-relays block to operate overhead power. Connected to overheads by DB-25 cables. Length of DB-25 cables is 6 feet, however it was also tested with 10-feet cables and worked fine.

- 3 USB 7-port industrial grade hubs.

Network: Two 8-port Gigabit DLink Ethernet switches, one 16-ports TrendNet Ethernet switch 100 Mbps.

Audio system:  
- Sony 5.1  audio center with active subwoofer. 
- 2 speakers for Central audio channel ( in front and behind the cockpit shell). Switcheable for different purposes. (Example - when recording video - the front central speaker works, since it gives a better sound for video recording purposes.)
- Front side speakers are located on the cockpit floor by the sides of MIP stand. 
- Rear speakers and subwoofer are located  behind the cockpit.
- Prosim Audio on notebooks run separate speaker for Aural warning system (on the floor right from TQ);
    two speakers in the sim roof for ATC and other warning systems;  two speakers inside MIP for other needs.
- Headphones are not connected yet.

Vibration system: Two Aura Bass shakers installed on IPECO seats. AuraBass shakers currently run through additional SA100 amplifier.


Power system: 
- MIP and TQ powered by 300 W computer-type PSU.
- Another 380 W computer-type PSU  is installed in the sim base, supposed  to be used for powering  the pedestal later.
- FWD/AFT overheads and overhead control module powered from separate PSUs (not computer PSU-types) 
1 x 12V, 180 W 
3 x 5V-30W each 

Total simulator power consumption (including projectors) around 1200 Watts.

- All sim 12V and 5V power buses protected with fuses. Sim power input 120V also protected with CFCI-type  power outlets.
- Power comes from 3 separate 120V  lines with 15 Amp breakers. One line feeds the sim and computers, second line - projectors, third line - air conditioner.
- There is a wireless remote device with 3 switches that control power feed into sim. So, in case of short or power malfunction it can be cut off in seconds right from pilot seat.
- Aluminum shell, yokes metal frame and TQ are grounded by separate ground wire.

Pedestal:
- currently is not functional yet (except CPFlight Rudder panel). It has Fire panels from Opencockpits and Rudder panel from CPFlight, the rest are various real Boeing 737 units.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------


Cockpit build expenses estimate:

This is very rough estimate of invested money so far:  close to $35,000 CDN over 7 years.

Rough price breakdown for big items (not considering taxes and shipping charges):

- Main FSX computer ~$1200CDN (built myself).
- Main P3D computer ~ $2000 CDN
- 4 notebook computers ~$1500 CDN
- MIP monitors ~$350 CDN

- MIP with glare wings and gear lever ~$1200CDN  (second hand)
- MCP and  EFIS ~$1300 US
- FMC/CDU ~ $1700US

- Control cards ~ $1000 CDN

- TQ  ~$1000 US on eBay + ~$2500 US for mechanical conversion.

- FWD Overhead ~$2500 CDN (not wired)
- AFT overhead ~$400 CDN (panels and hardware kit, not assembled).

- IPECO Seats with J-Rails  ~ $4000 US
- Cockpit Shell  $2000 CDN
- Interior liners   $3200 CDN

- Yokes  ~$800 US (with all switches, wired).
- Control columns ~$300 CDN (hardware parts only, built myself)

- Screen $200 CDN
- Projectors/mounts ~$2100 CDN
- Projectors upgrade to Optoma 1080  - $3000 CDN

Graphic card upgrade to 1080Ti - $1300 CDN

Not included: workshop equipment and tools (quite a lot).



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Build historical information:

This is a repost from my original building thread at www.cockpitbuilders.com

June 10, 2011


Hi All,

Finally starting to build my 737NG cockpit.

First item to build will be the screen. I plan to build the screen from three 4’ x 8’ hardboards and paint them with Behr SilverScreen paint.

I have three Optoma GT720 projectors  (bought them for 670 CAD each in March). Will try the projectors setup with Immersive Display Lite 2. Got also three projector mounts like this: http://www.amazon.com/NPL-Series-Projector-Mount-White/dp/B001R2OAVA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1307673096&sr=8-4


Then I plan to build the wooden shell myself. Still working on the drawings, however overall layout you can see here. (Note: this is a layout only, not the actual design.)






I plan to run FSX on the main computer for visuals and use at least one other PC (for the beginning) for the instruments. One thing at a time.

The main PC is assembled now and has:

MSI P67-GD65 motherboard,
Sandy Bridge 2600K processor,
8 GB G.Skill RAM,
NVidia GTX 570 video card.






Initially bought Antec 750 PSU, however after 5 min of work its fan just fell off   and it was returned and replaced by CoolerMaster 1000W PSU.

Two Corsair SSD drives F60 and F120. 60GB drive is for Windows 7 64-bit and 120 GB for FSX stuff. Matrox TripleHead2Go purchase can wait until the screen is built.

On March 25 I ordered  CPFlight MCP737EL and two EFIS737EL, from AviationMegastore.com. Pretty fast delivery by UPS  - I received it on April 5th.










The complete MIP is the previous FDS generation, courtesy of Jackpilot (Thanks again, Jack!).




It is unpacked now, but still not assembled yet, since I need to build the base first. Jack did really good job on wrapping!





I have two Acer 18.5" P185H monitors for instruments and one used Dell 153EP 1024x768 monitor for EICAS screen that I picked up from eBay for $29 +$41 shipping and handling   .

One interesting “byproduct” from Optoma GT720 is its ability to work at 120 Hz and produce 3D HDTV video at 1280x720. I use it with NVidia 3D glasses kit. Works perfectly, just like in RealD cinema or IMAX. However, the setup for 3D took 2 evenings of dancing with the buben around the computer and drivers, until I've got the sequence right.

****

 January 04, 2012

Time for a new building report.

While I already have ~60-70% of simulator parts, the actual simulator building is going slow so far. During the fall I’ve bought more stuff:

* Real 737 TQ from 737-200.
* FDS overhead (assembled but not wired yet.)




* 10.4” monitor for lower EICAS.

* One FlyEngravity CDU.
* one interfaced Boeing clock.
*  Flaps indicator converted from some aviation instrument. Servo is installed.

* Bunch of  real 737 pedestal instruments for pedestal.

What’s missing from the big items so far are:

* Yokes ( I have Saitek one, that can be used initially for tests)
* Seats
* Pedestal box
* Set of radios (probably from Open Cockpits).
* Shell (I thought of building wooden shell myself, but now I am more inclined to buy FDS aluminum shell).


I started with building the projection system in September 2011.

For the projection I have 3 Optoma GT720 projectors and built 200 degrees curved screen of my own design.

Now the screen is built and is under testing.

The main features of screen design are:

* 180 degrees free-standing wooden construction.
* Actual screen surface made of 3 particle board 5 mm sheets 4 x 8‘ (~$22 each)
* The screen shape is easily adjustable.
* The screen sheets are not screwed in, so the screen surface stays untouched.
* The whole screen structure can be assembled/disassembled within an hour (with no damage to the screen sheets).
* It will have tiny gap lines between the sheets but I can live with them.

Here is the picture of the first screen test with just roughly warped/aligned image (ImmersiveDisplay Lite 2)




Screen radius is 195-220 cm ( it’s not exactly cylindrical due to side projectors positions)
Screen height 124 cm (4 ft)
Screen bottom height from the floor 72 cm
Screen arc length is 700 cm -  (245 cm x 3) minus 35 cm cutoff. The image does not take all 700 cm due to blending areas overlap - will tell the final size when I finish the adjustments.
Room height is only 233 cm (which poses some problems).

At the moment the panel with projector mounts stands on the floor stand, so when the image alignments are finished it will be attached to the ceiling. There was a month delay in screen testing since one of the projectors failed after just 10 hours of work (bad DMD chip) and was sent for warranty repairs. I got it back just before Christmas.



15 comments:

  1. Would you mind giving me a way to communicate with you, perhaps email? I am building a 737-NG full scale cockpit also and could benefit form your advice on many subjects, especially the TQ software.. Jim Williams, Orlando, FL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jim,

      email now is in my profile:
      flyingfox737@gmail.com

      Delete
  2. I am thinking of purchasing some used flight deck solutions hardware. An MCP....glare shield and fms....they are about 7 years old. Will they be compactible with project magenta,,,,,I bought a copy of it several years ago. Nice job on your sim!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as I know they are compatible. However, I would go with Prosim737 anyway.

      Delete
  3. Hello, do you have the plans for the yoke system. I am building one soon for my sim Lance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I build yokes them without plans. It mostly depends on type of linking mechanism you choose and on your platform design. The main measure is 1020 mm between yokes centers, and I had only 20 cm for all mechanisms under the sim floor.

      Delete
  4. Hello,
    I am currently beginning to start the over head panels. I took some ideas from your build and am going the Pokeys 57E direction. I am also planing to make my own LED Extension boards. Can I ask you for help on how to do the extension board? is there a diagram of the circuits that you can share if you don't mind. also how did you do the dual Annunciation process. any help is appreciated.
    regards
    mouli

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no really any schematics. It's just too simple.

      White wires go from Pokeys card straight to ULN803A inputs on one side of the chip and output from the other side goes through resistor to a connector pin and then through my DB25 cable to destination contact (minus ) of LED. All LEDs used with Pokeys have common plus, while on/off is controlled through minus wire.

      For one LED extension board:

      3 x ULN2803A chips (I bought them online for ~ 90 cents each)
      24 resistors (I calculated mine as 560 Ohm for 12 v input - calculation would depend on type of LEDs - mine are 3.2 volts) they are very cheap,
      1 x PCB board. Mine was $6.99 each and was very convenient for this design. For my regret they don't sell them now. But almost any general purpose PCB would work, you just may need to solder additional connections between holes) .
      1 row of standard pin connectors - they are like $1 for 10.

      I use 12 v, since my LEDs are from Christmas lights and they are for 3.1-3.6 v, so using 5v is not enough for 2 LEDs in series like in Opencockpits LED PCBs.

      So I chose 12v and calculated 560 Ohm resistor for 12-15 mA on each of 2 LEDs connected in series in one annunciator,
      One extension board works with single LEDs of different type and I feed 5v to it (120 Ohm resistor).

      See the following pictures:

      https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=cfbeb81dfd&view=fimg&th=14ee076473b41baf&attid=0.1&disp=emb&realattid=ii_14ee07073a80f8c2&attbid=ANGjdJ-blP-VvxuG-j28G26YYyXZLQQN5FKP0Q8Nlhsc4xsTjqGviB42NKff8OAmZEq6cj-NvY0ybvGEPjJpCeevpepJXkv2tWY7rGzY79HK50nwkV8OZGeBoH_fXKM&sz=s0-l75-ft&ats=1464833077323&rm=14ee076473b41baf&zw&atsh=1


      https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=cfbeb81dfd&view=fimg&th=14ee076473b41baf&attid=0.3&disp=emb&realattid=ii_14ee071c14124e42&attbid=ANGjdJ89I-0z-AkWvjma8zNMSqDgk5wb3jtdrsrUHnIJINd_ZLIquLuZAmXf_RPpjOsZmivHUqvw0JRx6bopvhPJKn0DW9M3zPB-AsqZBYAzo1hZcp1W675rmO8GypE&sz=s0-l75-ft&ats=1464833077323&rm=14ee076473b41baf&zw&atsh=1


      https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=cfbeb81dfd&view=fimg&th=14ee076473b41baf&attid=0.2&disp=emb&realattid=ii_14ee074de23ea638&attbid=ANGjdJ-9pg-Xun7csa1nxApEqihL75XkncSaIDMjXLxPHY2NivWo2O2maLI7r4vIJCE15k4mcpYQMj2CQCT1Agoqke8pEBvBvuSNcRVCtNz6b4JoEagsbhWYwC2JcNg&sz=s0-l75-ft&ats=1464833077323&rm=14ee076473b41baf&zw&atsh=1

      Delete
  5. How do you start FSX with Immersive Display Lite 2 manually or can you autostart when the computer starts up?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm trying to avoid having to start warpmenu and then selecting the fsx shortcut. I would rather have fsx start up on boot.

      Delete
    2. I have the batch file to start the simulator. I do not do autostart myself, but you can just include same commands into your autoexec.bat.

      start /d "F:\Use\ProSim737" Prosim737.exe
      timeout 10
      start /d "F:\Microsoft Flight Simulator X" warploader2.exe

      Along with warploader2.exe there is warploader2.ini file in my F:\\Microsoft Flight Simulator X folder.

      warploader2.ini content:

      [%General]
      exeFileName=F:\\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\\fsx.exe
      exeFilePath=F:\\Microsoft Flight Simulator X
      exeArguments=



      So, the SimStart.bat file starts warploader2.exe and warploader2.exe using its warploader2.ini file starts FSX.

      Delete
  6. Hi gentleman ,

    I am doing a cockpit similar to yours and my question is on the eyepoint you put in the middle of the MIP. Considering the point of view of the pilot, would you put it with translated in relation to the center of MIP ? if so , how much?

    thanks and regards

    Alberto Kunzel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did not do anything special for the eyepoint - I used the views generated by Immersive Calibration Pro. It is possible to adjust the eyepoint, but so far I am satisfied with the generated one.

      Delete
  7. Hi,

    I have dropped you an email to flyingfox737@gmail.com - basically looking for the measurements (width height and depth of the screen you built).

    Many thanks

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Nick ,

    I have noted in your youtube videos that ,even thought the screen is not closed to the shell , you have the scenario close to the shell. How did you get that ? using some mirror placed close to the shell ?

    thanks and regards

    Alberto Künzel

    ReplyDelete