• Review: OpenCockpits 737 FMC

    FMC B-737 V3 (2M27)

    Publisher: OpenCockpits

    Review Author:
    Ray Andersen

    Suggested Price:
    €437

    Buy Here

    The FMC is the Flight Management Computer also known as the FMS (Flight Management System) which is a fundamental component of the modern age avionics in commercial airliners, corporate aircraft and military aircraft. The main purpose of the computer is to automate a wide variety of tasks during the flight to reduce the workload on the flight crew.

    To control the FMC a CDU is normally used (CDU = Control Display Unit) which features the keyboard or touchscreen together with the display screen. The FMC from OpenCockpits is actually the CDU which the pilot or first officer uses to implement the data to the FMC.

    This was my first time testing an FMC module and it was indeed very interesting - this is not a small and simple module but really a quite advanced module consisting of a full keyboard plus the additional FMC specific buttons, a color VGA screen, PCB solution to support the keys and a dimmable backlight function.

    I purchased this unit directly from OpenCockpits web site and the ordering and purchase etc. went with ease. My Spanish is limited but fortunately the web site was created in both Spanish and English so no problem.

    The transport was done with an international forwarder and only took about three days which is okay - normally when I purchase new products I am always very excited to receive it so three days was fair and doable. The FMC was carefully packed in a hard cardboard box and surrounded with polystyrene foam pieces so the unit was kept perfectly safe during transport.

    When I opened the box I could see that it contained both the FMC unit together with all the necessary cables to connect to the computer. The FMC needs to be connected via USB to the computer to get the PCB that supports the keys to function, then also a VGA cable to connect the color VGA screen and last also a power supply which is a direct plug to the wall socket 220V that converts the power supply to approximately 5 or 6V (on the picture here below is not shown the USB, but this was of course also included).

    My first impression of the FMC was excellent - it is a nice unit that definitely is created with an extreme precision and is perfectly aligned with the various images that I could find on the internet of a B737 FMC.

    The front is not a metal front plate but instead methacrylate that is painted in Boeing style grey and laser engraved. That said, it still feels superb and gives a very realistic look. The buttons have a really nice firm tack sound and an immediate response when clicked.

    The screen and PCB are placed on the back of the FMC and OpenCockpits has made sure that the electronics are kept safe by building a semi open/closed box around the electronics. The electronics are perfectly aligned with the front panel dimensions (actually same width but a shorter length) so that it can easily be mounted into a bay or similar. If you do not have your own bay or setup for mounting the FMC, OpenCockpits can also supply an optional stand (part no. MEC-SOPFMC73), but this is not a part of this review. The front panel dimensions are 150 x 225 x 65mm.

    The connections of the cables are also located on the back of the FMC where the sockets are all placed together. The bottom third of the back of the panel is free space where the plug-ins can be connected to the sockets and this gives the person who connects the unit, sufficient of working space to do so without danger of actually damaging any electronics.

       

    Mounting the FMC is quite easy where you can either mount it using the small mounting holes on the front panel - this however specifies that the panel where the FMC is to be mounted in must only be a few millimeters thick otherwise this cannot be done properly. Another way to mount the FMC is to use the edge holes on the back casing where you then have the ability to fasten the FMC to any type of bracket or stand or similar.

    Tags: 737, fmc, opencockpits

    7 Comments
    1. r00t4rd3d's Avatar
      r00t4rd3d -
      Using a Android device and Virtual CDU is much cheaper.
    1. otaolive's Avatar
      otaolive -
      Quote Originally Posted by r00t4rd3d View Post
      Using a Android device and Virtual CDU is much cheaper.
      Cheaper and unrealistic. If you are interesting in real simulation this is amazing.
    1. drake4896's Avatar
      drake4896 -
      Thank you for offering an alternative. I wish that more simmers offered their ideas here in the comment section.
    1. western's Avatar
      western -
      I've wanted to buy an FMC for a long time. But I've bot a touch screen which allows it to function as other devices as needed depending on the aircraft being flown. But if I had a cockpit simulator, I'd get a unit similar to this review.
    1. Atwoo155's Avatar
      Atwoo155 -
      Does this work with the ifly737?
    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Quote Originally Posted by Atwoo155 View Post
      Does this work with the ifly737?

      Yes it should work with the ifly737 - you just have to use a different script and possibly also do the installation a bit differently since the ifly is a script and the pmdg is a driver installation.

      The script can be downloaded at Opencockpits website where I could see that there actually were 2 Ifly scripts. One is a beta script and the other a script using Ifly with FSUPIC.

      Ray
    1. tayas42's Avatar
      tayas42 -
      Tks Ray, for a nice and informative review.

      With all due respect to O/C components, I rather prefer VRI units. I own the MCP Combo II and the CDU II, which - to my humble opinion - are on the "professional" side of Flightsimming.

      As always in life, its a matter of personal preferences and choice, but both pieces of technology are for the benefit of us, simmers....
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