Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bought the FMC

It is a long time that I want to have a FMC for flying the 767 because the device is essential and one of the most used device during the simulation.

There are several items on sold from a pletora of producers. I started surveying the products long time ago and ended with 2 devices. One is the B747 FMC from FlyEngravity. It is quite expansive, at the present it costs aroubnd 1200€. It is fully compatible with the 767LD and easy to connect as it uses only one USB cable and a power connector.
The second interesting product is the OpenCockpits FMC  that costs around 350€ plus taxes.  It requires a USB connectr, a video out and the power. The problem is that I already have 2 monitors connected to me PC.

After a long time I decided for OpenCockpits FMC especially because I am afraid that the FlyEngravity one is too tight to the 767LD and FSX.
The market is in a transition phase right now. Flight seems not to be good enough for simmers. XPlane 10 seems quite interesting but sttill not supported by the software houses. Prepare3D is very interesting and expansive but I am afraid that LevelD will never port there the 767 or will do but only in a very far future. Sad to say but LevelD is very slow releasing products. They promised the 757 years ago and still nothing is moving. I asked the official forum about P3D and they replied that they are aware of this simulator. Difficult to say what it means exactly.

So, for the first time since long time, I am not anymore 100% sure to stay with the 767LD and FSX. This is the main reason I preferred the Opencockpits FMC. To be free of using it with other planes simply changing the SIOC script.
If I will switch to another plane, it will be a 737 because it is much more easier to find cockpit's stuff for that model. PMDG 737 seems very promising so it is worth to wait for its SDK. It will be compatible with my CPFlight modules that are designed for the 737 and I will customize my hardware for that plane.
In this moment, I believe that it is better to stay quiet and see what the software houses will do.

Having bought the OpenCockpits FMC, I need a video out connector. I am thinking to add a new graphic card to my PC. It could as well be USB. But I prefer to have the device at home and think better about the connector. I bought also the VGA to video converter sold by OpenCockpit. I believe that I can found a cheapest one on the market but I do not want to have problem for a connector if possible.

Given that the FMC was cheaper then the other (that I was very close to buy to be honest), I bought some other interesting stuff. Especially the flaps indicator. This is again for the 737 but I will customize for the 767. The number of flaps positions differs between the two planes.

I received the MCP from CPflight. They changed the knobs and returned the item in a very short time. I will never get tired to repeat that CPFlight support is quite good.
The MCP works well and I connected also the TOGA button but it seems useless unfortunately.
I upgraded the firmware to the last 3.05 version but I have a problem now. I have an out of memory when launching the connection to FSX. I have to restart the connection and seems ok apart that it does not iconize. Ok not a big deal! I warned the support just in case it is the symptom of an underlying problem that could arise while flying.

Unfortunately the power supply I built for the electronics stopped working yesterday. I discover that I can avoid a power supply if I take the power out of the USB expansion card. I will use that as a temporary solution but I believe that a separate power supply is better. And I will probably need it for the backlit of the FMC and maybe for the bar of leds of the landing gear.
On the other hand, if it works well then it is not the case to add the complexity of another power supply to the system...

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