• Review: Boeing MCP737 EL-series

    Here below is a matrix of which B737 variant the MCP currently supports and to what detail the MCP supports the specific add-on.

    The way that the MCP communicates with your flightsim platform (e.g. FSX) is through the firmware. CPFlight has chosen the idea that the MCP has its own memory hereby enabling the possibility to upgrade the firmware. The newest edition can be downloaded at CPFlight web site and by using the set of jumpers included with the MCP and following the manual, the simmer can easily upgrade the firmware by him or herself.

    After I had installed the drivers to my configuration (FSX, default B737 and PMDG 737NGX) I plugged in the MCP and started up FSX. I setup a flight from EKBI and when FSX had finished loading the flight I went to the topbar menu Add-Ons and selected the CPFlight entry. Now the computer asked me which communication port the MCP were plugged into and I selected the corresponding port and clicked apply. Now my screen went back to the FSX flight and the MCP lit up and was now ready to use.

    Basically it is really easy to set up, but I would most certainly recommend reading the instructions in the included manual prior to the installation. The manual is well written and provides quite a few good tricks that answer the most FAQs for sure. No programming of the MCP is needed - just download and install the drivers and you are ready for take-off.

    Look And Feel

    The MCP is a real size scale 1/1 of the real Honeywell MCP used in some of the Boeing B737 aircraft. It is made as one large PCB with all buttons etc. mounted directly on to it and then packed in a metal casing with a front plate made from laser cut metal with engraved legends.

    The pushbuttons are soft press buttons with dual LEDs that works perfectly and has a very nice realism to them. The rotators are single encoders with standard caps and the few switches are also standard switches.

    The reaction/response time when making changes on the MCP until the change is implemented and shown on the FSX MCP is only 1/2 - 1 second. This is quite fast and I was very impressed by it since this is actual data that has to be transferred from the MCP and into FSX.

    Another really superb feature that this MCP unit has is the backlight. The MCP is fully backlighted and this can be controlled in various ways. One way is to connect an external switch to control the backlight - this switch can be connected on the back of the MCP where there is a socket for this feature.

    Another way is the default way where the backlights are connected to the NAV light On/Off switch meaning that if the NAV switch is ON, the MCP is fully backlit.

    Mounting the MCP can be done in various ways but here CPFlight has already helped out. There is a corner hole in each corner so that mounting can be done into a frame just by applying a screw into each corner.

    For the flight simmer that does not have a home cockpit with frames etc., CPFlight has created a desktop metal frame that can support both the MCP and the captains EFIS. This desktop frame can be purchased directly from CPFlight also.

    The MCP is fully operational and is pure eye candy. The resemblance with the real world pictures that I could find of this MCP version is stunning and the quality is certainly high. The fact that the resemblance with the real world Honeywell MCP is spot on and that the MCP is made from metal really adds a huge amount of realism to the unit and my experience of the product.

      

    There were only a few things that I noticed were not 100% accurate, as for example the HDG selector rotator which should have been a dual rotator to support the bank level selection. This is however not created in that way on the MCP-EL but that does not mean that the feature is not available.

    CPFlight has included this feature but this is activated by pressing and holding the HDG SEL button for two seconds. Hereafter the HDG display converts to be used as the bank level display and the HDG selector rotator can now be used to change the input of bank level in the specified degree settings. To exit the change simply just press the HDG SEL button once and the display and the rotator is now again functioning as the HDG selector.


    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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