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Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Joysticks, pedals, monitors.

Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby Prince Dark » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:16 pm

Tell us about your controller, write a little review. Post a picture of your controller (doesn't have to be your exact one, but an image of the same model) Tell us the pro's and con's of your controller, and tell us how well it works with your game, how much does it cost? And give it a score out of 10.

I'll write one about mine to give you an idea:

Laptop touchpad

Useless if you plan on getting precision for anything

1/10 (AKA terrible)

Logitech Attack 3

Image

I've had this stick for a few months now. FG has had no trouble reading or running it. Throttle is very easy to control and it is quite a comfortable stick. It has 11 programmable buttons and a slider on the back which you can roll and control throttle. But after a few months now the x-axis keeps going out of line and it's really annoying.

7/10

Logitech Extreme 3D Pro

Image

Just got it in the mail today. So far it's working perfectly. It gives me features that the Attack 3 never had, such as the view hat and twist grip. But one annoying thing is that it's built for people who fly right handed, and I'm always flying with my left hand. The hand grip is very comfortable. It even has an extra button for your thumb on the left side of the handle. The view hat works for looking around, and the twist grip turns the rudder left or right. Works great for me in YSFlight.

I'd give it a 9/10
Last edited by Prince Dark on Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby Johan G » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:22 am

This is a Great idea! :D

Warning: Long post! :wink:

My setup*
My setup when at "home",* all from CH Products:
  • 586 Combatstick
  • Pro Throttle
  • Pro Pedals
I also have my own configuration file, mainly because I want trim controls to be placed as on the aircraft I fly most (i.e. pjedvaj's Pilatus PC-9M). In the default configuration the hat rocker usually used for elevator and aileron trim instead is used for view control.

Why I bought them specifically
I usually plan to stick with my stuff for 5 to 10 years, and want to by high quality gear. In order to do so I did some research on the net comparing mainly CH Products, Logitech, Saitec and Thrustmaster. What I was aiming for was a joystick, throttle and pedal setup with enough buttons for a HOTAS** setup, possibly later getting a throttle quadrant and a yoke.

Keep in mind that I had below experiences while doing my research about 1 1/2 year ago; my memory might not be all correct.

Thrustmaster, which I looked at first, seem to have joysticks with a good build quality, but scratching under the surface I found that their top of the line joysticks had some problems. There was some mechanical problem which the enthusiast knew about and fixed upon delivery, but there was also some firmware and/or driver bugs with the initial releases that should not have made it out. Even so, their top of the line looked promising and their support seemed great.

Saitec yokes have appeared here far to many times with the exact same problem, a hat rocker very often is wired in a way that makes the view spin around either leftwards (or rightward, I may not remember correctly). The real downer is that they seem to have no interest in fixing the problem, which is either in hardware or software. That's pretty disappointing as their stuff otherwise seem great.

Logitechs lower and mid end joysticks are well renowned, but their try at a high end HOTAS setup (G940?) seems to be plagued. Reading their own support forum was really disappointing. What would be known as the "reversal bug", because moving the joystick forward, then back slightly would cause the output to jump and nearly make formation flying and aiming impossible, was discovered within weeks of release, but the forum posts got unanswered for months. The problem seemed to be in the firmware and was related to the force feedback. Doing anything getting even close to a fix took many months further, and when I was looking at it (November 2010?) a bug fix beta was on the way only to a select few, and only after one compassionate employee seem to have needed to pull some strings to even get permission to do something, as research and development was focusing on another product.

Finally, after seeing that CH Products line, apart from getting USB instead of game port connectors, seemed to not have changed since my early FS 5.1 days and most of all having seen this excellent and thorough six-page review I settled for them. Also keeping in mind that the joysticks are just a side business to they're real business, industrial joysticks, is helping a bit, as well as that they are a family owned company. They are a bit on the expensive side though, and here in Sweden surprisingly hard to find.

As a side note CH products seem to be the only one of them selling spare parts, like cords and potentiometers, to their stuff. :wink:

My experiences
My biggest error was doing all the configuration work before installing the drivers or simply that I installed the drivers. The stick, throttle and pedals worked well right out of the box, so I configured them up to my liking. But when installing the drivers all button assignments shifted. *sigh* I had to do all the configuration again, but now had the experience of doing that the first time, and the help of their setup and calibration software. js-demo is not for mere mortals that think in decimal.

Flying with this setup is a dream compared to mouse and keyboard. You have so much greater control. Formation flying, and even just cruising gets a lot easier when you can fine tune the throttle. And crosswind landings get a lot more challenging and fun with pedals.

Also having realistic trim controls is rewarding. Trimming a plane up makes for almost hands-fre flying for short periods, like when looking at the map (or answering the phone). Remember PAT REA (When changing horizontal or vertical speed, first adjust Power, Attitude and Trim, then trim Rudder, Elevator and Aileron).***

A few words on flying with pedals
Crosswind landings and even taxing never get the same again. Consider training taxing in crosswind first. Remember to keep the wing on the wind side low, so the wind does not get under it lifting the wing and making steering a lot harder. I tended to weather-wane, pointing the nose towards the wind a lot the first days, running off the taxi-/runway.

Other posts
A few other post I've made about my setup, though I pretty much summed them up above:

*I'm working to far away from "home", and have not got around to get them to where I'm living while working. I may or may not get around to bring them with me.
**Hands On Throttle And Stick, i.e. you will (almost) never have to hunt the keyboard.
***As found in P-764, T-6B Primary Contact Flight Training Instruction (PDF) on the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) website.


EDIT: Added to the wiki as a sub page to my user page (link).
Last edited by Johan G on Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby stuart » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:58 pm

Hi Guys,

I think it would be worthwhile having these reviews on the wiki & newsletter.

I'm about to receive a set of Saitek Cessna controls, which Saitek are sending me so I can write a config file for FG and a review. It would be good to get other reviews on the newsletter/wiki as well.

-Stuart
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby Johan G » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:21 am

stuart wrote in Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:58 pm:I think it would be worthwhile having these reviews on the wiki & newsletter.

Most probably a great idea.

Added my description above together with a section describing my controls a bit better to the wiki and a mentioned it on the as of yet rather slumbering Village pump.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby dany93 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:03 am

I have a Thrustmaster T. Flight Stick X.

Image
Usually, it's perfect, 12 buttons with no bad contacts from the potentiometers (2.5 years intensive use).
But it suffers from a misconception at the throttle control potentiometer: instead of a having a rotating axis behind the slider and a fixed (steady on the base) potentiometer, some genius has imagined a rotating potentiometer and a fixed axis. The result is that the wires attached to this throttle potentiometer break as a result of the repeated twistings (twice since my acquisition). Repairable by soldering but :evil: ...
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby F-VEBR » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:36 pm

Logitech AttAck 3

// Prince Dark : ...... But after a few months now the x-axis keeps going out of line and it's really annoying..... //


have it since 4 year's.... A great joystick... And i don't have any problem... And if it will happen someday, quite sure i'll take exactly the same :mrgreen:
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby Philosopher » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:45 am

Great idea!

My review of the Saitek Cyborg-X:
Note: I can't seem to find it online anymore, and Best Buy (where I got it from) says it isn't sold anymore.

Image

I choose this joystick because it was cheap and seemed to have a lot of functions. I was right on both accounts, at a mere 45 bucks (I think, not quite sure) and having no less than 5 axes and 12 buttons, with a scroll wheel and hat switch as well. I quickly got it working with flightgear, despite being rather new to it and only knowing a bit of python and even less HTML. The functions seemed to line up pretty well with another cyborg joystick (I don't remember which). I've now had it for probably over a year, maybe more, maybe even two, and after using it consistently, problems are starting to show.

The biggest one is that the scroll wheel quit working, and seems to just slide without any detents and never sends a signal to the computer. I am now using the keyboard for flaps and gear.

Another one is my bad habit (not in my eyes!) of fidgeting, in this case with the throttle lock. It now requires just the right touch to ease it into it's place. I quickly got rid of that habit :D.

There is of course "the usual" problems with jitter, and sometimes the rudder kicks to right without me moving a thing. This is particularly annoying in the C-130, which is rather sensitive with it's giant rudder.

Also, button 4 can flex/rotate up and down, like something's broken, but works just fine "in the heat of the battle" [simulation].


I would say that for the money, it has a lot of features and will last until you get the funds for another one, or even longer, and so I give it a 7/10. As for flightgear integration, due to my custom bindings, I only have to reach over to the keyboard because of the disfinctional scroll wheel and to chat in multiplayer (while I fly with my left hand, lol). I am thinking of modding it, with say hall effect sensors and an arduino, maybe making a switch panel and rudder pedals to go with it (on the same arduino).
Last edited by Philosopher on Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby LesterBoffo » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:15 pm

I'm going to make a reserved recommendation for the Saitek ST290 pro, because it appears that the biggest online supplier of them, ( Amazon) has run out of new units, so-oo there appears to be nothing but used ones at Amazon for the moment. Not surprising that these inexpensive twisty sticks were a bargain when available a year and half back when I got mine. They are a 2004 product, so I've discovered that they have been out of production for a little while.

Image

For $20 shipped they were a great buy, and a few Amazon sellers presently have used units at comparable prices. I've also seen a few show up at Goodwill locally. The main features for FG use with these sticks is that the set-up .xml for them integrates them seamlessly into the sim and they work flawlessly. I've had mine for 1.5 years and there's only been one of two problems, the #5 button stopped working last month due to a cold solder joint. Since I'm handy with repairs I was able to remove the top half of the stick and resolder the connection. Not recommended for anyone not adept with the rather delicate disassembly routine these sticks demand to work on them. There are not too many comparable joysticks in this price range presently, which is a shame, for someone who wants to graduate to something a little more precise than a mouse for control. The other nice feature is that the palm rest can be adjusted 6 ways for small and large hands, and left and right hands. the button detents are crisp and ergonomically placed.

If there is one immediate fault to this stick, it's that the throttle damping "goo" was a bit too thick when I first got it, and opening the bottom up and wiping it out with a rag fixed this. None of the Amazon reviews mentioned this problem, so I suspect it might have been just my stick with too much of this grease.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby Figaro » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:19 am

The Saitek Cyborg V1

Image


I teemed with excitement as my parents let in to my constant begging for a joystick. Obviously, as they bought it for me as a Christmas present I didn't have a say on which joystick I was getting until I opened the wrapping. When I did so, I was pleasantly surprised, the stick looked really cool, but perhaps that's because it's my first. I took it out of the box, assembled it, and took it over to the computer to test it out. So far so good, right?

That's where the problems begin. As I must be one of the first FG users to use one of these kinds of stick, there was no config file, however good old redneck was able to whip one up for me in no more than 45 minutes, inclusive of my testing, twice.

Time passed, and I was loving using my joystick, however, two months down the line, the spring had already deteriorated. The twist rudder now makes unwanted small movements (sometimes...) and is offset (I've now "fixed" this in the config file) furthermore, if I press, I believe it's button 2, FG crashes and more...

This stick, is RUBBISH. I'm currently in the market for a new one, simply because I can't live with this horrible piece of junk much longer.


Cheers
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby GustavoH » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:14 am

Hi all, this is my first post in FlightGear.

I'm a newbie in Flight Simulators, and was aboout to start gearing up, so I decide to do a bit of research before purchasing something useless. I use Ubuntu and not Windows so I've to be extra careful with hardware compatibility. Thanks for the reviews! Have been helpful.

I've seen that many of you can't find your loved joysticks in Amazon any more, so I though of sharing with you where I buy all sort of gadgets, including the joysticks you can't find.
http://www.aliexpress.com/premium/fligh ... t+joystick

This is not publicity, I don't care where you buy. I have nothing to do with the page, but is where I'll buy the gear.

Probably I'll spend a little bit more than expected and go with this: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/mad-catz ... 52602.html
Image
What would you recommend?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby Johan G » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:55 am

I have a CH Products Combat Stick USB which I am happy with (I also have throttles and pedals). It will fit larger hands than mine for sure. ;) The only negative points are that it have a bit to distinct centering for both axis and that it would be more stable if it weighed more.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby someguy » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:59 am

My first stick was a Saitek Cyborg Evo. It was a wonderful controller for about US$40, with plenty of buttons and a main spring that was easily hacked for a lighter centering feel. I removed the twist spring entirely, perfect for flying helicopters. For its price, this was a 10/10 stick...until it wore to the point of unacceptable sloppiness after four years of heavy use, including a throttle lever that would not hold its setting against gravity. I had to let it go when the trigger broke beyond repair.

I wanted an exact replacement, but of course the Cyborg Evo had been discontinued. Its "replacement" in the Saitek lineup was the Cyborg V1, which is correctly, if charitably, assessed above as a piece of junk. Not knowing any better at the time, I bought one. It was too vague to fly with, just horrible. I returned that lump of caca the next day for a refund. 1/10, only because I'm feeling generous tonight.

Finally, I bought a Thrustmaster T.16000M, again about US$40. Not as many buttons as the Evo, but enough to be usable. Its
Hall effect sensors are wonderfully precise. The only downside is the springs, especially the twist axis, which are entirely too stiff, and if there's a way to soften them I haven't found it. So far, after a year it still feels and performs like new. It's the cheapest stick I'd recommend buying fog FG, as the Logitechs simply do not hold up. 9/10, because the stiffness prevents a full 10.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby stuart » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:59 am

Hi GustavoH,

USB joysticks should work fine under Ubuntu. Flightgear has a built in joystick configurator so you can set up what each button does, and an XML configuration file if you what to get really fancy.

I use both a CH Products Joystick and a Saitek Cessna yoke on Ubuntu and they are great (if expensive). I've also got both CH and Saitek pedals.

-Stuart
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby radi » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:17 am

GustavoH,

I bought the AV8R-01 (branded Saitek) some four years ago. I'm quite happy with it, although it's the only joystick I have ever used with flight simulators, so I can't really compare. Anyway, it's been working out-of-the-box and flawlessly with FG on Linux.
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Re: Your joystick(s) and how well they work with FlightGear

Postby hvengel » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:25 pm

I am currently using a Thrust Master Warthog stick, Saitek throttle quadrant and the CH Pro Pedals.

I have been using the Warthog for about 4 months. It is the best stick I have ever used bar none. Prior to getting this stick I had been using a CH 586 Combatstick which is a nice stick. But I had been using this stick for about 8 years and it was showing signs of wear and was getting sloppy. Even though the CH stick was a nice product the Warthog was a huge upgrade. The Warthog is expensive (around $300) but the build quality is as good as it gets. Almost everything on the stick is made of metal and it weights in at over 6 pounds. It does have some minor issues with sticksion that can be fixed by upgrading the grease used in the ball joint.

There is a joystick XML file for this stick in fgdata but I had to make some mods to it to get things working. There has apparently been a change to the name used by the joystick so it did not match the name in the stock XML. After changing that things started working but there were a few things where the axis number did not match and where the direction of the axis had to be changed. I also did some changes to the XML to customize things to my own preferences.

I have had the Saitek throttle quadrant since shortly after these were introduced. So about 4 years. It works nicely and is a very good general purpose throttle.

I have had the CH Pro Pedals for about 8 years and they continue to function nicely. The only issues are that the centering is on the notchy side (a common complaint about the CH products in general) and the brakes do not feel like real brakes which is something that all of the available reasonably priced (<$500) pedals have in common.
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