Setting up a home sim, questions....

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Brad W, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What do you use....XPlane, MS Flight Sim, something else?

    I'm facing needing to buy a computer to set up so that i can work from home

    and IF I end up doing it, I have been considering how cool it might be to get a home sim set up....
    my mission wouldn't justify a "certified" Red Bird or similar...but that would be cool.
    I'm just knocking off my rust...VFR stuff currently, and haven't even thought about getting my instrument rating current again... but perhaps some day so I'd want something to shoot approaches for reasonably good enough procedural practice.

    My work mission requires driving two big monitors running Bluebeam to review large drawing files...currently looking at two 43 inch 4K TV's in my office

    I'm thinking a gaming laptop might be the most versatile if I can find something that works...but not sure any will drive two external monitors or have enough ports for rudder pedals, yoke, throttles, and mouse....

    Anyway, my question.... what are you using for home sim set-up?
    and keeping it "realistic", what would you do different if doing it over?

    This is one of the things I wanted to spend some time looking at at sun n fun...... blasted Wuhan Fever!
     
  2. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've used FlightGear (the Open Source option; less slick, but good flight dynamics) and X-Plane. Both are great. The old MSFS X isn't up to the job without a lot of add-ons, because it doesn't model non-normal flight dynamics well, or instrument lag, etc. I've heard that the new MSFS will be much better, though.

    Years ago, I had a yoke and rudder pedals, but I don't bother any more. First, they don't feel right anyway (no control feedback), and second, flying the plane isn't really about how the controls move. I just use a little game controller now, and it's fine—you just need something to use as a rudder axis (second stick, twist, etc).
     
  3. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Unless you have a specific need for it to be portable, I'd stay away from a laptop. The major hang-up in sim performance is graphics computing power, which all but OMG top-o-the-line (aka uber-expensive) laptops will be deficient in. Also, much harder to update hardware.

    That said....here's an old thread to get you started. Be aware that computer specs are an ever-changing target.
    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/recommended-pc-for-xplane.119106/

    Oh...., I'm using x-plane on two networked computers I built up. Each has a 50" tv, and the more powerful also has a 17" touchscreen to run GTN650/750 clones on. I bit the bullet and bought Redbird controls, and honed my soldering skills putting some of the essential switches in a home-made panel. It all plays nicely with Foreflight on my ipad.

    You should NOT try to start out that way. Start slow and it will build kinda like a virus (we NEED a virus reference in every thread, right? :) There's actually a company that builds computers specifically for x-plane, which should meet your graphics needs for work (assumption on my part). Googlefu will find it for you....
     
  4. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I'm on Microsoft FSX and running it on a year-old Dell XPS desktop (roughly equivalent to the 8930) which seems to run just fine with settings on high using the NVidia RTX video card. It does have an SSD for the operating system and all of the personal file storage on regular HDDs. Running dual 22" monitors. I have a Honeycomb Alpha flight yoke, which is about the best option under $250 out there. I don't have rudder pedals/throttles yet, but Honeycomb is due to release their Bravo throttle quadrant here soon, which is also going to be the best thing available in the market at a sub $300 price range especially since it can adapt single/multi/commercial-style throttle quadrants with trim wheel/etc. Eventually they will release the "Charlie" rudder pedals, but that'll be a while, and there are some decent rudder pedal options if you feel you need it. I currently just let FSX auto-coordinate the rudder since I'm not going for ultimate realism, just practicing scenarios, inadvertent flight into IMC, and checklist stuff.

    I have a laptop dock for my work laptop which is tied into the other inputs on the dual monitors, so when I do work on the laptop, the only thing I have to do is hit the input button on each monitor and move the keyboard/mouse USB dongle to the docking station and I'm ready to go. Keeps me from having to have multiple setups.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  5. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Pattern Altitude

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    I took X-Plane 11 with me to Indoc for the beech 99 in Ft Worth (the XPlane King Air is pretty danged close), and it ran okay on an XPS15. It actually runs better on my $1,000 G5, which is pretty terrible in every other way (build quality, screen brightness and look, weight, battery life), but does great staying cool while gaming.

    [​IMG]

    That's the hotel TV I stole off of the dresser and placed on the desk :D

    There's a USB Hub behind the laptop. TV was driven off of HDMI. All worked fine, no nonsense.
     
  6. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Line Up and Wait

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    I use XP11 and mostly use it to practice IFR. It works great on practicing holds, departures and instrument approaches.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Plus sometimes it is fun to try and land A380 and other large jets at small airports
     
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  7. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    I forgot....thread is nothing without pictures... :) For the sim geeks among us....as pictured, I'm running 60fps on both 50" 4k TV's. Rumor has it we can pull the data off our real GTN card into XP, giving up-to-date approaches, etc, but of course I would never do that, as it might violate the terms of service :) We use mostly the T210, which we can, by limiting MP, approximate performance on our R182, and the Citation II, which, other than the engine change, approximates my wife's work Bravo. 0325201216b.jpg .
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
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  8. bluesideup

    bluesideup Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you can get the MSFSX Gold, a computer with I5-I7, with around 16G BRAM, Radeon HD 6950 to Nvidia 1070 or equivalent, Rudder pedals, like CH pro pedals, a 40 in 4K TV / Monitor and a decent controller with around 12-14 buttons like Logitech 3D would be the most practical. XP11 needs a lot of throughput to run smoothly, and the flight dynamics when it comes to certain phases of flight like cross wind are still horrible. You can also get an app called xConnect and have FSX send data to your tablet that can run an Android EFB, like Avare, and have your current Plates charts etc. available like you would in real flight. You can also do the same thing using XP if you want.
    The statements about how much better the flight dynamics are in XP are false, just because it is more difficult to control does not make it better if anything it frustrates many users that are Real World pilots just because it's not very realistic, much too sensitive the performance numbers are inorrect in may cases.... I find MSFSX much closer to Real world dynamics behavior, sensitivity and response, and while some of the data like some runway directions may be a little off t some airports, that is a minor issue when you look at the overall package, by the same token XP also lags when it comes to the latest information.
    To use for IFR you should have some external device attached with the updated data.

     
  9. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Pattern Altitude

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    Was trying to address this specifically -- any gaming laptop since, I dunno, Haswell?, should be able to drive a pair of 4K screens with no issue. I'd expect any Nvidia 1000/1600 class GPU to do so better, with anything 2000 class doing it "well"

    The Dell G5 Laptop I mentioned has an option for an Nvidia 2060, that combo is about $1400 (probably a few hundo less on Dell Outlet), and likely is worth the stretch. The 1650/1660s probably do just fine too and save a few hundred bucks. I don't think performance is the problem in laptops, it's effective heat dissipation. For that you need something that looks like darth vader's vacuum cleaner unfortunately. Which the G5 does. :D

    Get one at Costco, enjoy the 90 day return privilege, and see if it suits your needs.
     
  10. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Line Up and Wait

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    I think you might be talking about Michael Brown. He is friends with Austin Meyer - the Programmer / Engineer that developed X-Plane.
    His youtube channel is here.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/col2mab/videos
    There are a lot of good hardware reviews on there. The link to the hardware that he sells for X-Plane is https://xforcepc.com/
    My consumer ASUS machine barely gets by with X-Plane even after putting in a dedicated graphics card and an SSD. I am sure the new sim from Microsoft will push me over the edge and I will have to get a new computer. I was looking at the XForce stuff as a baseline.
     
  11. smv

    smv Line Up and Wait

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    If you plan on using the system for anything other than as a Sim, as you stated, then you do NOT want a certified system. Installing any unrelated software on a certified Sim will void the warranty and nullify the LOA.
     
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  12. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Correct, Jim. I talked to Michael before I built my last computer. I only saved a couple hundred bucks by doing it myself...but hey, it's what I do . I would use theirs if I didn't build. Very knowledgeable.

    I've also had some discussions with Austin and the FAA about certifying my sim, and come to the conclusion it would be PITA...more trouble than it would be worth to me. Not to say it's not doable but I'm fortunate to have an airplane and my very own CFII.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
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  13. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Just FYI, Honeycomb is now validation-testing their Bravo throttle quadrant. Should be available mid/late-summer due to delays with the Chinese manufacturers of the components. Unit comes with both GA throttles and the big iron variant (shown below), so you can configure it as single engine, dual engine GA, or 747-style! Functional reversers, A/P, annunciator panel, gear lever, flaps, and manual trim wheel. Not bad for $250.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    Having gone the VR goggle route, I would never go back to flat monitors.

    IMG_20200331_102523106.jpg
     
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  15. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Do you use those for instrument flight? None of the current generation have the resolution to really read the glass panel displays on any that I've seen.
     
  16. smv

    smv Line Up and Wait

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    Had the opportunity to try out a UND VR simulator at UMAS a couple months ago. Although they have a long way to go to be able to meet the "knobology" aspect (the wand method just does not cut it for the "realism" factor), the view and flight model was fantastic! It was so real that it actually felt like a full motion sim and when I leveled off a little high and mushed it onto the runway I instinctively tensed up in anticipation of the SMASH!!
     
  17. smv

    smv Line Up and Wait

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    While not crystal clear, I was able to read the numbers on the glass panel model on the UND sim I mentioned above.