Building a DIY Boeing 737NG Home Cockpit

Hey fellow aviation enthusiasts!

I’m thrilled to share my latest endeavor: building a DIY Boeing 737NG home cockpit right in my living space! The core of this project lies in creating as many components as I can from scratch, aiming for both authenticity and functionality. The dream is to step into a fully immersive flight experience without leaving my home, and I’m determined to make it happen.

Project Overview: My main focus is on constructing a fully enclosed cockpit setup that faithfully replicates the real Boeing 737NG experience. I’m passionately crafting various components, ensuring they’re not only accurate but also functional. There’s something incredibly satisfying about building every switch and panel with your own hands.

Simulators and Software: To power this dream setup, I’ve opted for X-Plane 11 or 12 as the flight model, combined with the fantastic Zibo 737 addon for an authentic Boeing 737NG experience. For breathtaking visuals, I’m integrating Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MSFS2020). I’ve dedicated a separate PC solely to run these simulations, guaranteeing a seamless and realistic flight experience.

Seeking Your Expertise: Here’s where you come in! I’m eager to tap into the collective wisdom of this community. I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on the best way to communicate between the hardware I currently have and X-Plane. My setup includes an overhead panel, center console, Mode Control Panel (MCP), Yoke, Rudder Pedals, and various switches. What methods or interfaces have you found most effective for ensuring smooth communication between hardware components and X-Plane?

Additionally, I welcome any ideas, suggestions, or experiences you might have regarding cockpit layout, DIY components, or software integration. Whether you’ve built a similar setup or have expertise with the software I’m using, your insights could be invaluable.

Let’s make this DIY Boeing 737NG home cockpit a collaborative effort, fueled by our shared passion for aviation and innovation. Your input can truly make a difference, and I’m incredibly excited to learn from each other.

Thanks a million for being part of this journey with me! Looking forward to your fantastic ideas and suggestions.

Happy flying and building!

Marijn de Mul

Sounds like a very fun project!

I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on the best way to communicate between the hardware I currently have and X-Plane

What kind of interface do you have so far? Are the switches already accessible by USB HID, MIDI, serial port etc.? I’d always try to use USB HID if possible, but you could have a microcontroller to group the inputs together before then to save on parts.

I’m integrating Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

How does this work? Are you writing a plugin perhaps to inject your aircraft’s position into Microsoft Flight Simulator from X-Plane’s data?

Interested to hear what you have in mind here.


I appreciate your interest in the project and your thoughtful inquiries!

Currently, most of my hardware components, including the Yoke, Rudder Pedals, and Throttles, are connected via USB and recognized as inputs by X-Plane. With the help of a plugin, I’ve successfully enabled X-Plane to recognize the radio panel, and for buttons and switches, I’ve utilized Spad.Next. While Spad.Next has been functional, I’m exploring other solutions to optimize the setup.

Furthermore, I’ve developed a program that reads MCP inputs in real-time as you adjust the knobs. The next step is integrating this program seamlessly into X-Plane, a task I’m actively working on to ensure a smooth and accurate simulation experience.

However, I’m still in the process of configuring the overhead panel and nav radio panel. The overhead panel employs Phidgets interface cards and is connected via USB. Although I have plans to integrate these components, I’m currently in the early stages of setting up the project’s foundation. I want to ensure a solid base before diving into the detailed implementation.

For the MCP and EFIS, which use RS232 connections, I’ve employed USB to RS232 converters to establish the necessary communication channels.

For integrating MSFS and X-Plane, I’m planning to follow the method demonstrated in this video: MSFS and X-Plane Integration.

Once again, thank you for your interest and support in this project. Your curiosity and encouragement are greatly valued!

Best regards,


PS: I have added some pictures of the current setup down below:

Wow! That’s a really nice setup. The overhead panel looks exactly like the real thing! Even the screws are the right type. The only thing that is slightly unusual to my eyes is the electrical power metering panel, which looks like the original 737 NG / late 737 Classic one; I believe most aircraft of that era have now been retrofitted with a newer panel that has an extra “IFE/PASS SEAT” switch to enable electrical power in the cabin. Your passengers will have to make their own entertainment when flying with Captain Marijn de Mul :wink:

Thank you for the technical details, and good luck with the project!

Thanks for the response!

Haha, yeah, I might add this panel down the line, but for now, I will leave it as it is. Thanks for showing interest! I will post updates here as I progress.

I don’t know what level of g33k hardware you’re willing to get into. (Switch boxes? touch screens? use of Arduino?) But this: there really are entire flocks of sensible YT video on the topic. A great way to get into computerized controls!


Thanks for expressing your interest!

I would love to use this kind of hardware as I think it is much more fun to build most components in the sim myself. I also have some experience with Arduino, so that should help, and I’m studying Software Development.


Fabulous! Whether it’s installing Windows or getting into your games’ BIOS (I know DCS more than any) coding Arduino is a great way to … get feet wet? jump into the deep end! (p.s. not just code. nuts&bolts … installing hardware, building panels, down to the solder level of things.)

If you survey YT on cockpits you’ll see there’s a whole range, from very sophisticated single modules to entire suites. The ultimate in customization, really.