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Trusted Companion - VRInsight CDU-II FMC
If you fly big jets, this gear will bring precision flight.
|VRInsight CDU-II Flight Management Computer Display Unit
By Robert McDonald
A stunning bit of kit- that will greatly enhance your flight experience [VRInsight]
If you're like me, you like to fly jets. Jets like the PMDG 737NGX. If you fly jets, you are already good buddies with the FMC/CDU. You use it to initialize the IRS guidance system, program your waypoints for your flightplan, SIDS, STARS, Runways (for Departure and Arrival), and Performance data including V1 reference speeds, Cruise Altitude and a whole lot more. During a typical flight, you are heavily involved with this device from the pre-flight to the localizer. Since that's the case, I began to think about the benefits of having a physical CDU on my flight deck, instead of constantly having to flip the VC view to the CDU, or having to drag the CDU window to my 2nd monitor, then mouse-click on it till I about wore out the rodent! You probably find the mouse click / typing on your PC keyboard for interaction with your CDU to be, politely, a PITA (and I'm not talking about the sandwich wrap).
Before buttons are installed. Buttons are sitting to the left [R McDonald]
Enter the VRInsight CDU-II (312 Euros $400 USD) a COLOR-display mini-monitor with the actual keyboard layout matched to your airplane's CDU/FMC that takes the whole flight experience to the highest level without ruining your kids' inheritance in the process. VRInsight is a Korean company that is making real noise in our hobby/obsession with their simulation hardware products. What I have found in the three bits of kit that I have bought from them so far is compelling value and degrees of realism greatly above your expectations. VRI doesn't make clear on their site that this is a COLOR display (it is). Color adds the critical dimension because it shows speed or altitude restrictions in purple, not just green screen or white screen. Because it is a VIDEO device, the CDU-II requires a VIDEO CONNECTION to your main FSX computer. This may pose a problem if you already have all your VIDEO CONNECTIONS spoken for in your current setup. I recently had upgraded to the EVGA GTX690 card, which actually has 4 video output ports on it. That said, I elected to forgo the 3-monitor surround setup I was using, and go with a pair of 27" monitors for FSX plus the CDU-II on a third video connector on the GTX690. My desktop was just too crowded using the triple surround monitor display, and while I loved seeing the 737NGX spanning across over six feet of monitors, the views shown on screen were awkward, because the aspect ratio was so wide in comparison to the height (6280 x 1024). The CDU ships with a VGA/DVI step-down adapter to allow it to connect to today's modern video cards which typically offer DVI or mini Display Port connections.
CDU-II is critical to proper flight operations [R McDonald]
As always, VRInsight's shipping and packing are exemplary. They include a nice VGA cable, a driver disk, a wonderful number of buttons that you pop on to the device to mirror your favorite FMC (I modeled mine exactly like the PMDG 737NGX CDU). BE CAREFUL when you're adding the buttons, there are four that have bold circles around the letter and four regular matching letters you can use instead (so all your letters match). I used the wrong ones and had to use my dental pick tool to pop the letters off and put the right ones on. So look at the entire package of letters because the correct 4 that I missed the first time are NOT in alphabetic sequence, the special ones (that I didn't want) were in alphabetical order. If I had but looked to the end of all the letters, I would have seen the normal ones at the very end of the package! It helped me to put the 737NGX up on my computer and open the CDU so I could match the layout precisely.
This device like other VRInsight products, is both USB and electrically powered. VRI packs a USA step-down adapter plug with their power converters which work fine. What you notice at once about the CDU-II is that it is heavy duty. Setup and configuration are a little bit tricky but not beyond the skillset of most sim pilots. The keys to setting this up are knowing it's a monitor (Windows 7 sees it as such), and that you must rotate it using your display settings to PORTRAIT mode not landscape.
I will say that this device requires you to fly in windowed mode, though there are articles on the web about how you can make it work if full-screen (non-windowed) mode, I haven't done that myself. My only minor knock to this hardware is the EXECUTE button does NOT light up when new data has been input. You can see the EXECUTE button lit on the Virtual CDU, or you can always just press EXECUTE after making any changes it wont hurt anything! Tip: After you have completed the pre-flight entries, including your departure and arrival gates and sids/stars, and finished up your INIT procedures for your takeoff and approach speeds, removed any continuity breaks in the legs of your flight, you need to press the INIT button one last time, then press EXECUTE and your airplanes power settings will transfer to the main computer. If you don't do this, you will see no V1 speed message displayed on the NDU.
After Windows 7 (64-bit) discovers this monitor, you must rotate it to portrait; mode using Nvidia or ATI video driver software setup built into windows 7. This is NOT difficult. You then start FSX in windowed mode, and click on the CDU of your airplane and then choose UNDOCK window. After doing this, you start the VRiSim software, it will detect the CDU and begin the panel setup process. You select your airplane (PMDG 737NGX is supported along with several other aftermarket planes) and then a pair of adjustment windows open up that allow you to resize the Virtual CDU display from your PC to fill the color monitor window on your CDU-II.
If you have 1920x1080 FSX main monitor, these settings should work well [R McDonald]
This is NOT hard to do, once you figure out the methodology of the panel configuration tool. I include a picture of the settings I use which are probably going to be close for 99% of the readers who are running 1920x1080 on their FSX monitor. The left hand X/Y settings refer to your main FSX monitor, mine is 1920x1080. The SIZE on the right is the size of the Window that will appear on the CDU-II itself. If you go into the documentation that is included on the installation CD, all of this is explained. You just play with the numbers till the window looks right to you. It's a lot easier than it sounds.
Initializing your Aircraft's IRS position is a breeze [R McDonald]
Once you are done setting this up, you click SAVE then DONE in the above box, and the VRiSim software will remember your settings next time you fly the same airplane. All YOU have to remember is to start FSX up, open the VIRTUAL CDU in FSX, undock it, and THEN start the VRiSim software. Your stored settings will come to life and the CDU will awaken the moment you move the Battery switch on your overhead to the ON position. This provides power to the CDU. You then follow procedures to either start the APU or connect to ground power depending on your preflight protocol that is specific to your airplane.
The CDU-II is an incredible value for the money. I know I lived without it for a long time. I just can't picture how I did! I love it! Keying in the airport ICAO codes, putting in the departure and arrivals, the IRS POSIT setup, all of it, are exactly as you would hope. Because the CDU-II offers a COLOR display, the waypoints that have speed and/or altitude restrictions show up in PURPLE as they do on the virtual CDU in the PMDG 737NGX. If Santa asks you what you want for Christmas, I'd write this down on his list TWICE! Fly Safe!
|Time Of Edit||Edited By||Edit Reason|
|17 July 2012 - 01:12 AM||Robert McDonald||The review was submitted and automatically approved.|
|17 July 2012 - 01:36 AM||Robert McDonald||convert from MS Word|
|17 July 2012 - 01:49 AM||Robert McDonald||add photos|
|17 July 2012 - 01:53 AM||Robert McDonald||photos|
|17 July 2012 - 02:07 AM||Robert McDonald||report card|
|17 July 2012 - 02:14 AM||Robert McDonald||report format|
|17 July 2012 - 02:18 AM||Robert McDonald||report format|
|17 July 2012 - 02:43 PM||Robert McDonald||report card|
|17 July 2012 - 02:48 PM||Robert McDonald||layout|
|24 July 2012 - 05:32 PM||Robert McDonald||link to YouTube 45 min demo reel|
|24 July 2012 - 05:37 PM||Robert McDonald||You tube link added|
|24 July 2012 - 05:42 PM||Robert McDonald||title|
|26 July 2012 - 03:29 PM||Robert McDonald||replace missing photo|
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