• Review: Boeing MCP737 EL-series

    The second difference I noticed was the color of the MCP. The CPFlight MCP is blue and perfectly colored but the images that I found of the real MCP had different color shading. This I am positive is just because the images that I found were all of used MCPs which could explain the difference, but this is of course just a minor detail.

    The last difference is the vertical speed rotator. In the real MCP this rotator seems to be smaller than the CPFlight's one, but again this is just a very small detail which has no effect on my overall experience of the product.


    Real


    CPFlights

    In regards of how reliable the MCP is, well that is quite difficult for me to verify since I have not yet had the MCP for that long time. I have tried to find an answer for this in various forums and what I found was that the MCP is very reliable even after several years of daily use.

    Functionality

    The functionality of the MCP is 99% according to the real life MCP and CPFlight has succeeded in creating a very unique and exceptional MCP that supports all the functions that the real MCP also supports.

    There are some limitations in regards to the usage of the MCP with the default B737, but this is simply because the default B737 does not support certain features, as e.g. the LNAV and VNAV together with functions such as autoland usage with both CMD A and B and the additional operating functions as CWS A and B. These functions are however supported in add-ons such as the PMDG 737 NGX and Project Magenta.

    By using the MCP with one of these add-ons enables the simmer to gain the best experience of how complex and well made this unit actually is.

    Another example of what I experienced was in regards to the FD switches. Previously I had tested other MCPs where these switches was just working as one, meaning that switching on the left FD would switch on the FD bar in both PFDs. This I now saw was not the outcome when using the MCP together with the PMDG 737 NGX - now I could select the FD left / right and only the corresponding FD bar would activate. Also the CRS rotators I now found to be independent instead of one combined unit.

    Compatibility

    The MCP can interface with flightsim platforms including FS2000, FS2002, FS2004 and FSX together with Project Magenta and X-Plane. I have not been able to verify if the MCP can interface with Prepar3D, however this I do believe that is possible but cannot verify it.

    In regards to compatibility with various add-ons, then the MCP supports e.g. default B737 for both FSX and FS2004 together with PMDG 737 NGX with CPFlight freeware driver. To support other add-ons will require additional drivers depending on which add-on. E.g. PMDG 737 for FS2004 will require the payware driver from FlightSimLabs. Please view the MCP737EL matrix to get a full list of add-ons that the MCP currently supports.

    The MCP EL is also compatible with below mentioned CPFlight hardware:

    EFI737PRO EFIS PRO-series
    EFI737EL EFIS EL-series
    COM COM radio
    NAV NAV radio
    ADF ADF radio
    ATC ATC radio / Transponder
    ASP Audio Selection Panel
    WXR Cargo WXR Panel
    FIRE737 Fire 737 panel
    FCDP Flood & Cabin Door Panel (both versions)
    MIP737 MIP737 Expansion Connection PCB
    MIP737ICS MIP737 Connection PCB

    EL Versus PRO

    The main differences between the EL version and the PRO version from CPFlight are:

    MCP EL-seriesMCP PRO-series
    Scale 1/1 1/1
    Replica of Honeywell MCP (old) Collins MCP (new)
    Front Panel Lighting Simple backlighted by LEDs placed on the main PCB Complex with light diffusion and an additional PCB with SMD LEDs
    Pushbuttons Small rectangular with dual dot green LEDs and legends printed on the MCPs front plate Large square with single dot green LEDs and legends printed on the pushbuttons
    Disengage A/T Arm Switch Manual switch Electromagnetic meaning that it will disengage automatically on touchdown during autoland etc.
    Knobs Standard knobs for rotaries Custom made knobs for rotaries with a more real look
    Bank Selection Press and hold the HDG SEL button for 2 seconds and the HDG display now functions as bank selection Uses a dual concentric knob to directly select the bank angle limit
    Display Amber White
    Price App. EUR 600.- incl VAT App. EUR 1,200.- incl VAT

    Conclusion

    The conclusion I have from testing this piece of hardware produced by CPFlight is, that the MCP is a very high quality product that features all modes and characteristics that the real world Honeywell MCP features.

    The MCP is produced with a high level of precision and with the usage of high quality components to ensure long durability. Professional electronics and driver programming ensures the MCP high interface quality and the realism in regards to look & feel is awesome. Metal casing, laser cut front plate with engraved legends, backlighted and a true to real life scale of 1/1 creates perfection on a very high level.

    The MCP is consistent down to even the very smallest details and absolutely gave me an exceptional added feeling of realism - this especially when I combined the experience with the PMDG 737 NGX.

    Included are documentation and an easy to read manual that will answer most FAQs. Firmware upgrades can be downloaded directly at CPFlight's web site together with all necessary CPFlight drivers which are all freeware.

    Excellent and professional support through mail and the online support forum made it easy to get help if needed. In short I can describe the MCP the following way:

    Excellent, Awesome, Superb, Great Realism, Professional, a MUST HAVE for sure.

    Usage is realistic and the fact that the response time from input on MCP to execution within FSX is so short, really adds to the realism and the overall experience of the MCP.

    I rate this MCP EL-series from CPFlight with a full 5/5 star rating together with the Rays Aviation Gold Award and I thank CPFlight for contributing to the flightsim community with such an excellent piece of hardware.

    I will most certainly recommend fellow simmers to purchase this MCP - it is worth every cent in my opinion.

    Raymond Andersen
    Ray's Aviation
    [email protected]

    Learn More Here


    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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