CH Products Multifunction Panel Page 2

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Packaging and Installation

According to CH, if you purchase an MFP, you will receive the following:

  • 1 multifunction panel
  • 1 box of 25 buttons, labeled “1 CH” through “25 CH”
  • 1 clear plastic key tray
  • 2 sheets of stickers (letters, symbols, arrows, white boxes, etc.) that can be placed on top of buttons
  • 1 CD containing 32- and 64-bit versions of CH Control Manager v4.2 as well as links to the CH Hangar and SimHQ. The CD also contains drivers for legacy controllers and PDFs detailing how to set up CH controller axes in a few popular sims; these do not apply to the MFP.
  • 1 instruction pamphlet

SimHQ’s review sample was shipped in a “white box” because retail packaging was not yet available. Included in this box was a beta version of Control Manager 5.0, although my understanding is that there is no difference in MFP functionality between beta v5.0 and final v4.2. SimHQ also received a set of keys 26-50 and an additional clear plastic tray. Customers that purchased an MFP directly from CH prior to Christmas received “white box” packaging as well, but any new orders should arrive in the retail packaging.

MFP white box
MFP white box

One thing that I found strange while unpacking and using my MFP for the first time was that important information seems to be scattered everywhere. For example, the instruction pamphlet provides important information about software and hardware installation (i.e., install Control Manager before connecting the MFP to your computer), but the information regarding the proper method of attaching keys to the plastic trays is detailed on the bottom of the box of keys. There’s even information regarding ergonomics on the bottom of the MFP itself, hardly an area one should be expected to examine for proper guidelines on the use of a product. I didn’t even see all of this information until four days after receiving the MFP, and even then it was only because I happened to see the back of the MFP. It would be nice if all of the relevant and important product information was in one place so that the user could sit down and read it all without examining every side of everything that comes in the box.

Instructions everywhere
Instructions everywhere

Once you conclude your hunt for information, you’ll be ready to install the MFP. The instruction pamphlet does a nice job of describing the process and explaining how virtual “CM devices” (CM is the abbreviation for Control Manager) are being installed as new hardware in order to allow the MFP to control joystick and mouse inputs. The installation is a breeze and went flawlessly on two test systems. The only concern I might have about the process is a physical one: the ferrite core at the end of the MFP’s USB cable is quite large and heavy. If you connect this cable such that the weight of the core is pulling on the cable, you may be placing more stress on a USB port than that which it’s designed to handle. According to CH this ferrite core is the same as the one on the DX1, and it’s that big because “it was the one that worked.”

Ferrite core
Ferrite core

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