• Review: Boeing MCP737 EL-series

    Boeing MCP737 EL-series

    Manufacturer: CPFlight

    Review Author:
    Raymond Andersen

    Suggested Price:
    €600-1200

    Buy Here

    Hardware - the new generation of ways to expand the virtual experience. Flight simulation has been around for now many years, but lately I have noticed that many flightsim enthusiasts are taking the virtual experience to a more sophisticated level and have started the creation of their own home cockpits.

    Looking back the past 5 - 10 years the most common hardware to be found was joysticks and basic throttles. Today this has completely changed and there are now several hardware manufacturers that produce and deliver high quality modules, MiPs and controls that are more and more true to real life hardware.

    This is a new and very exciting era within flight simulation and I have had the pleasure of testing a very interesting piece of hardware, the Boeing MCP737EL-series from CPFlight. This unit is a light replica of the real MCP found in the Boeing B737NG series and supports several flightsim platforms such as FS2004 and FSX together with various Boeing B737 add-ons.

    Introduction

    I purchased this unit directly at CPFlight, Italy and the purchase and delivery went smoothly and without any issues. A short delivery time using the transport company UPS, and with the possibility to Track & Trace the unit throughout the complete transport. Super!

    The MCP was packed in a hard cardboard box that had some internal support specially made for the MCP. Furthermore the MCP was placed in an airtight plastic bag and the cardboard box was then filled up with small pieces of polystyrene to complete the protection during transport.

    When purchasing the MCP unit it includes the MCP, a USB connection cable and a set of small clips/jumpers that are used when the firmware has to be updated.

    Installation And Programming

    The MCP is a plug and play unit that connects to the computer by USB either directly or through a USB-hub preferable with an independent power supply. If the MCP is used as a stand-alone unit it can be powered directly by the USB connection, but if the MCP is used together with the various radios and the EFIS, an additional power supply is needed. This can be purchased directly at CPFlight.

    A setup could look like that below where you have the MCP as primary unit and to this one you connect a string of other units such as the EFIS and the various radios. The image below also includes the MIP-board which is a PCB that controls all the annunciators, etc. for the complete setup. If you don't need the annunciators but just the MCP, EFIS and radios, they are just connected directly as a string without the MIP-board. This connection is done by a DIN 5-pole connection.

    Even though the MCP is a plug and play unit it cannot function without the proper drivers installed. Standard drivers can be downloaded from CPFlight web site that will cover Boeing B737 variants, e.g. the default FS2004/FSX and the PMDG 737NGX for FSX etc.

    Other variants of the B737 such as the PMDG for FS2004 will require payware drivers that can be purchased and downloaded from FlightSimLabs web site.

    One note though is that to be able to use the MCP together with the PMDG 737NGX the simmer will have to manually add two lines into the 737NGX_Options.ini file but this is very well described in the downloadable manuals that you can find on CPFlight web site.


    3 Comments
    1. snafu's Avatar
      snafu -
      With all due respect, I'd not be very pleased to spend $600 - $1200 on a unit and then have to spend more money to obtain the drivers to use it with other aircraft... There really seems to be a disconnect here between the add on equipment and getting the proper drivers to get the gear to function as it should.
    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      It is correct that you for some aircrafts do need to purchase an external driver from flightsimlab, however you don't need any external drivers if you are to use the MCP together with the PMDG737NGX or e.g. The default 737 etc.

      I also tested on various other aircrafts where all the basic functions worked perfectly, but of course very specific 737 functions will not work if the add-on does not support these systems. I mean that you cannot fully use the MCP for e.g. a GA aircraft.

      An idea would be to check if the aircraft you use is also supported by CPFlights drivers - e.g. If you use the FS9 version of the PMDG737 you will need the external driver from flightsimlab or if you would use it together with the PMDG747 you would also need an external driver since the MCP on the 747 is very different to the 737.

      It is an expensive unit yes, but still also the best MCP that I have tried. It provided me with a great realism for sure and in my opinion this unit is worth every cent even though it is rather expensive.

      Ray
    1. garel75's Avatar
      garel75 -
      I own it and I am extremely happy with it. Keep in mind that is a copy of the true thing. Is intended mainly if you want to build an home cockpit. I made a 737 home cockpit and fly it with Ifly 737 for FSX. Is compatible with a lot of different planes anyway if you want to switch.
      If you want something more flexible go for other units,they are cheaper but you can also see the difference. But if you want to create a real 737 cockpit CPflight has outstanding products that perfectly match with Fly engravity.
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