• Review: Cockpit PHD Panels, Monitor & Levers

    The electronics behind the panels are three DIY USB-interface cards and these cards are already connected to a USB cable ready for plug 'n play. The cards are connected to the USB cable using the internal cable wires and not a standard USB/PCB connecter however, the cards also features the USB/PCB card connecter so this can be applied if needed. I could see that there are empty slots on the cards meaning that you are able to add even more switches of your own to these cards and hereby gain more functions without any additional purchase. No additional power supply is needed to power the panel even though the pushbutton panels also feature lights within the pushbuttons. All power is supplied directly through the USB cable.

    The pushbuttons on the two Caution/Warning panels features internal lights which I mentioned previously - the pushbutton with the hold function are OFF as standard until the pushbutton is activated and then the pushbutton illuminates. In regards to the pushbuttons without the hold function, then these pushbuttons are always illuminated as standard.

    I tested all panels on both the Microsoft FSX, Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D v4+ and X-Plane 11 platforms and they all worked perfectly in all simulators. I also tested on both OS Win7 and Win10 and I encountered no issues at all.

    Cockpit PHD

    In regards to programming the panels / to assign functions to the various toggle switches and pushbuttons, then the assignment tools on each flightsim platform were able to recognize and to connect to the panels and thereby assign whichever function I would like to assign. I also tested if I could use Pete Dawson's FSUIPC for assigning / programming the panels, and this worked perfectly both in FSX and in P3D v4+ - I would assume you could also use programs as LINDA or SIOC to connect and assign the panels or even other programming languages for that matter.

    I tested the connectivity on both USB2 and USB3 connections and did not find any issues - I sometime found issues using USB3 on some types of hardware but it does not seem to be an issue for these panels.

    The Monitor

    The monitor from Cockpit PhD is a 7 inch HD TFT color monitor that connects to the computer or other devices as VCD, DVD, GPS or even cameras using connectors as AV, HDMI and VGA. The screen format is 16:9 and the resolution is 800x480 / 1024x600 (optional) - the system for use is both PAL and NTSC so this screen will work perfectly weather you are located in the US, Europe or Asia etc.

    There are two way video inputs (one HDMI and one VGA) and one way audio input through the standard audio connectors. Also included are one small remote control and a stand for the monitor so that you can either use the monitor within a headrest setup or it can be a stand-alone setup. The stand is easily applied to the monitor and works perfectly without the monitor tipping over. The input of VGA and HDMI are found on the back of the monitor together with standard AV input connector.

    Cockpit PHD     Cockpit PHD

    The power is supplied by the included power converter which can convert power from 100v and up to 240v - 50/60Hz and down to the usable power for the monitor which is 12v DC. The power converter included is a standard US wall socket version so please take notice that if you are using a different power system in your country, then you will need an additional converter. E.g. I live in Denmark and I cannot use this monitor without a US/DK wall socket converter, which I of course just purchased separately at the local electronics store. The power consumption for the monitor is 6.5W.

    Power connection is on the back for other external power supplies other than the one included and for the included power supply, you connect the power converter to the 'Red' wire (in the same wire-bundle as the audio connectors).

    The monitor was carefully packed within its own box and with all sorts of wrapping around it so that it could be transported without being damaged. Unfortunately I could not find any manual or guide or similar to help setting up the monitor correctly which I would have expected to be included. That said the monitor is very simple to mount and to connect, so I quickly got it up and running.

    Actually the monitor is not a specific monitor for the home cockpit, but instead a standard TFT monitor that can also play videos or be used as a secondary monitor in games such as flight simulation or simply just as a traveling monitor for the family.

    There are not that many buttons on the monitor, but just to explain them quickly then the first button from the left is the 'PC/AV' button and by pressing this button you can cycle through the various possible inputs as the AV, the VGA and the HDMI.

    Cockpit PHD     Cockpit PHD

    Second button from the left is a button with the legend of two cycling arrows and this button will rotate the image on the screen upside down or left/right standing so that no matter how you mount the monitor you will always be able to correct the image accordingly.

    The third button is the 'Menu' and by pressing this button you gain access to the monitor's complete and user friendly menu of settings. In here you can set the settings for color, OSD, function and sound.

    In the color setting you can tune the brightness, the contrast and the saturation. In the OSD you can select the language, the H and V-position as well as the OSD timeout and transparency. The functions available are to reset the monitor, to change the display ratio or simply just to tune the sharpness of the images up to 720p and the last setting are the volume standard control.

    The fourth and fifth buttons are - and + for standard volume control or for going through the sub areas in the menu. The last button is the ON/OFF button which turns on and off the monitor.

    Tags: cockpit phd

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