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How to connect a Flight Deck Solutions CDU to a PC by cable – Instructions

Started by Will, Sat, 18 Sep 2021 19:13

Will

Flight Deck Solutions (FDS) makes a high-quality Ethernet-ready CDU that can connect to PSX via a network. The user manual is geared mostly towards users who have a switch and router for their flight-simming gear, with each networkable component connecting to the switch, but it is also possible to connect the CDU directly to your PC via an Ethernet cable. That option isn't covered as extensively in the manual. Therefore, the following step-by-step guide may be helpful if you want to connect the CDU directly to your PC.

Disclaimer: This is how I did it on my Windows 10 PC. It's possible that you have a configuration that won't work with the instructions below.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to PSX users Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers and asboyd who helped me get off the ground with this.

1. Connect three cables to the CDU: 12V power, HDMI to your PC's monitor's output, and Ethernet to your PC's Ethernet jack.
2. In Windows 10, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Ethernet > Change adapter options.
3. Right-click on Ethernet, select Properties.
4. Click on "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" and then click on Properties.
5. In the window that opens, select "Use the following IP address" and enter 192.168.1.253.
6. Subnet mask will auto-populate with 255.255.255.0, leave this as-is.
7. Leave "Default gateway" and the DNS server addresses blank.
8. Hit OK and close out of these windows.
9. Perform a hard reset of the CDU hardware according to the instructions in the manual.
10. Open a browser and input the address 192.168.1.200. You will see the FDS Configuration Portal.
11. In the Configuration Portal, click on Settings. Rename the device if desired (but don't use any spaces).
12. Click "Save configuration." The device will reboot.
13. Download, install, and run the TekWorx Limited interfaceIT Module Manager (the download URL is in the FDS user's manual).
14. Click "Add" and add your CDU (you'll see the name from step 11 above).
15. On "Assignment," specify Left, Right, or Center.
16. On "Available Modules," select AEROWINX Precision Simulator.
17. Click Save. You are finished installing the CDU.

To set it up within PSX, you will need two instances of PSX that are networked together.

18. Start one PSX instance and make it the main server. You'll see the CDU connect right away as a client.
19. Start another PSX instance, and make it a client.
20. On your operating system, under "Display Settings" or the equivalent, set the display resolution of the FDS "monitor" to 800 x 600.
21. Resize Layout 1 on the client to just about the size of the CDU screen, and focus it on the CDU display. Drag this layout to the screen of the hardware CDU, and finish resizing it. In PSX, on Instructor > Preferences > Screen, you will probably want to select "EFIS/EICAS/CDU bezels removed" and de-select "Show title, border, and buttons on flight deck frame" and "Show info tags." Also de-select "Allow paper sheet simulation."
22. If the window is black, you can go to Instructor > Preferences > Basics and select "Allow frame stretching across multiple monitors."
23. When the size and alignment are good on the CDU, go within PSX to Instructor > Layout > Settings and copy all properties of Layout 1 to the other Layouts. Save this as a 9-pack, called "CDU" or something like that.
24. To finish setting up the client, de-select Audio and USB and save a new .pref file in PSX that will start as a client with your new 9-pack; name it something like CDUClient.pref. More details on networking instances of PSX can be found here: https://aerowinx.com/board/index.php?topic=2999
25. If you haven't done so already, get rid of the Windows taskbar in the CDU. This is done in Windows Settings > Personalization > Taskbar. Turn "Show taskbar on all displays" to Off.

You should now be good to go! PSX will send commands for lights like EXEC and DSPY to the CDU, while the CDU will send appropriate keypresses to PSX. And the FMC output will be on the CDU's monitor. It works well!
Will /Chicago /USA

andrej

Will,
thanks for this write up. It helped me a great deal to run my new CDU.

Cheers,
Andrej

Ton van Bochove

Thanks Will for the setup, it made the install much easier. The activation of the software gave some problems but after reading the FDS manual I found the solution. I have two older CDU and there the backlighting is managed by PSX but I have the impression that with the new model the BL is always on. Is that correct?
Ton

Will

Funny you should ask, because I was just thinking about that the other day. I'm not sure at the moment how to control the backlighting. When I first set mine up, the backlighting was always on brightly. Now, it's still always on, but very dim. The controls on PSX don't make a difference, so I was thinking about external controls or something in the FDS software, but I haven't gotten around to experimenting or emailing for support. So at this point I'm embarrassed to say I don't know how to change the backlighting. If I ever find out, I'll update this tutorial--and if you find out, please let me know!
Will /Chicago /USA

Ton van Bochove

Quote from: Will on Sat, 11 Nov 2023 15:29Funny you should ask, because I was just thinking about that the other day. I'm not sure at the moment how to control the backlighting. When I first set mine up, the backlighting was always on. Now, it's always off. The controls on PSX don't make a difference, so I was thinking about external controls or something in the FDS software, but I haven't gotten around to experimenting or emailing for support. So at this point I'm embarrassed to say I don't know how to change the backlighting. If I ever find out, I'll update this tutorial--and if you find out, please let me know!

For the MCP I have a separate BL unit but that is simply on/off and not PSX controlled, I will contact them.
Ton

Will

I edited my post above: the backlighting is always ON, but it's very dim. I verified that by looking at the MCDU in a darkened room.
Will /Chicago /USA

Ton van Bochove

Quote from: Will on Sun, 12 Nov 2023 01:54I edited my post above: the backlighting is always ON, but it's very dim. I verified that by looking at the MCDU in a darkened room.

On the back there is switch that give you 3 options: bright, off and dim. When I read page 17 of the manual I am afraid the latest version of the CDU software is a downgrade.It says that using it as a stand alone desktop trainer for PSX and PDMG "allows the CDU key backlighting to be on all the time (no dimming)" I got an answer from FDS but not the right one :-)
Ton

Will

I moved that switch from position to position, and the only position that illuminates the lights is the left-most position, which is labelled FULL, but actually gives a very dim result. The other two positions are just dark.

Interestingly, I took a photo of my MCDU when it was freshly installed and the key lights were much brighter. I have no idea what happened that they are now dim, but I have photographic evidence that they weren't always that way. :-)

In any event, I concur that the illumination is not variable now.

Will /Chicago /USA

Ton van Bochove

I got an answer from FDS. They will ask the software developer Tekworx if it will possible.....but no promises!

Ton