• Review: Cockpit PHD Panels, Monitor & Levers

    Review: Cockpit PHD Panels, Monitor & Throttle Levers

    By Raymond Andersen

    Intro

    I have been on a quest of testing a variety of software and hardware for flight simulation and this time my focus zoomed in on a rather new and very exiting hardware supplier from Hong Kong - Cockpit PhD.

    Cockpit PhD creates various generic plug 'n play panels featuring toggle switches or pushbuttons together with several throttle handles, templates and supports that can be applied on e.g. the Saitek throttle quadrant. Furthermore you can also purchase various USB-interface cards and the switches, pushbuttons, diodes, etc. that you need for your home cockpit. Additionally they are also supplying small 7 inch HD TFT color monitors which I have also included in this test and review.

    Cockpit PHD

    Packing and Delivery

    After ordering the products, some products were available right away and some had a small lead-time due to production. All panels, levers and the TFT were combined into one shipment and were hereby sent to me using Hong Kong Postal Service. Cockpit PhD sent me a mail with the track and trace number so that I was able to keep track of how far the shipments was which is really nice because when I have ordered something I normally want it to arrive super urgently.

    The delivery time from departure Hong Kong to arrival in Denmark (where I live) was about a week or so, but the shipment then had to go through the customs and that unfortunately took quite some time - this however has nothing to do with Cockpit PhD but rather the national Danish postal service's customs department.

    One thing you do need to be aware of when purchasing products at the Cockpit PhD webshop is that the listed prices are all ex VAT charges. This means that when the products arrive you will have to pay (depending on where you live) these import VAT charges before the shipment can be released to you. The amount that you have to pay in the import VAT charge can vary according to the country that you live in.

    Cockpit PHD     Cockpit PHD

    All products - here I mean both the panels, the electronics, the TFT monitor and the throttle handles were all packed in one box which was a strengthened cardboard box and inside this box, the monitor was packed in a smaller monitor specific box, the panels were all packed individually in several layers of bobble wrapping and the same with the throttle handles and the base.

    Everything was nicely placed in the outer cardboard box and the remaining space in the outer box was then filled with yet additional bubble wrapping plastics to make sure that nothing was able to move inside the outer box and also to protect the products against damage. Overall the packing was perfect and all products were delivered to me without any damage.

    The Panels

    The panels that I received and which are used in this test and review are the 'Engine Starter with Flaps and Gear PRO-Panel' together with the 'Multi-Purpose Toggle PRO-Panel' and two versions of the Boeing-Style Master Caution Warning PRO-panel'.

    The 'Engine Starter with Flaps and Gear PRO-panel' features only three mini toggle switches which are one Momentary-OFF-Momentary toggle switch used for the flaps up/down incrementally, then one ON-OFF toggle switch used for the landing gear up/down and finally one ON-OFF-ON toggle switch mounted 90 degrees off center used for the engine starter selection left/right.

    The 'Multi-Purpose Toggle PRO-Panel' features a total of eight ON-OFF mini toggle switches with white caps and does not feature any specific legends or similar - just simply On-Off functions.

    Cockpit PHD     Cockpit PHD

    The first version of the 'Boeing-Style Master Caution Warning PRO-Panel' features a total of six push buttons with hold function meaning that when you push these buttons the button will keep the applied function active until you push the button once again to release the action.

    The second version of the 'Boeing-Style Master Caution Warning PRO-Panel' also features a total of six push buttons but these buttons are without the hold function meaning that these buttons are regular click-buttons that release the action immediately.

    If you purchase these panels individually I will assume that each panel will come with a USB-interface card but as for me ordering four panels at the same time I can see that two of the panels are sharing the same USB-interface card. This is OK for me because then these two panels are only using one USB connector instead of two, however this will limit the possibility to mount the panels into your home cockpit at various places since they need to be placed next to each other - of course you can always extend the wiring behind the panels, but then I suppose that the warranty will not be valid any more.

    Cockpit PHD     Cockpit PHD

    The panels are laser cut and laser engraved aluminum panels with the approximate measurements of 18.50cm x 5.00cm which is very similar to GoFlight panel sizes. The panels are painted in a black tone and it does not seem to be powder coated, just normally painted. The paint job is really nice and good quality but please do be aware that scratches can easily come and they are very visible on the black surface.

    The toggle switches are mini toggle switches and some even feature white plastic caps which certainly adds to the experience of using the switches. The toggle switches and the push buttons are of a fair quality but I have not been able to use them long enough to verify their possible endurange or quality further.

    Tags: cockpit phd

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