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greeneg

Advice on PFC Throttle Purchase

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Hi folks,As of late, I've noticed there are a few "lucky" people on this forum who have purchased a throttle quadrant from PFC for use with Flight Sim. Fortunately, I will be joining this "lucky" group of people within days! Just got married, had some extra funds kicking around, and managed to convince my newly wed wife that it's just not fair that the woman gets to have an engagement ring, and the guy gets nothing (except the most beautiful woman in the world [wink, wink]) Unfortunately, I don't have enough to get the King Air quadrant, which is really the one I want, thanks to the darn foreign exchange rate! The foreign exchange rate is the only curse of being a Canadian! ;-) In any event, I was looking to get some advice from you current PFC throttle owners before I order. I mainly fly twin-prop aircraft. Actually, since the ATR 42-500 and Dash 8-300 have been released, they are the only ones I have been flying. Therefore, this is the reason I really wanted the Turbo Prop throttle quadrant, in order to get the calibrated detents for reverse, feather, and fuel cutoff. What I'm wondering is if it's worth it to go ahead and order the standard 6-lever multi engine throttle quadrant? Or should I just stow my money away and wait until I get enough to order the TP throttle? Please understand that I am very anxious to order these for two reasons: 1) I'm dying to get my hands on a more realistic throttle setup instead of the single lever throttle on my CH Yoke LE USB. and most importantly, 2) I just don't want to wait too long before ordering, cause God only knows whether or not my wife is going to change her mind anytime soon! ;-) Right now she is saying that there are a lot more important things she'd rather put $750 towards than a stupid throttle console....see, she just doesn't understand Flight Simming! And this is why I need to act now! ;-)So please, anyone who might be a current owner of these wonderful throttles, should I order the standard 6-lever throttle? Or wait and hope I can order the King Air throttle sometime down the road? Keep in mind that they will be used to fly the Dash 8 and ATR 42.Thanks in advance for your greatly appreciated advice! I look forward to hearing from you soon!Gord NoseworthyNewfoundland, Canada (CYYT)

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Danny:I was at the show in Reno and no, CH did not have the throttle manufactured at that time. The rep did tell me that they expected to release it in the near future though.Alex ChristoffN562ZMinneapolis, MNThermobulb@aol.com

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My recollection from what the CH guys at the Avsim conference told me is that it's Spring 2003. And, based on prior CH experience, I wouldn't hold my breath.Dave BlevinsKRHV

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Gord,I think you'll probably be happy either way. Just having the 6 levers available, plus the solid feel and large range of the lever motion, will be a huge improvement over whatever you're using now.That said, if you really enjoy flying the turboprops, then I'd recommend that you hold out for the turboprop throttle quadrant. I'm a twin turboprop (DHC-8) fan too and the physical detents on the levers are great. Also the levers are properly matched up in length and shape...if you were using say the 4-engine jet quadrant, your throttle levers would be mismatched, since engine 1 throttle would actually be the smaller spoiler lever. Same goes with the condition levers. Not a huge deal but something to think about.The quadrants are interchangeble on the base unit, so you can easily swap out other lever sets as you build your collection (with all those upcoming anniversaries! :-))Chris WallaceOttawa, Canada

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When I purchased my set, I got the 4 engine jet, and I also got the standard multi quadrant. Although its not the best way to do it, I can "trick" the multi quadrant into thinking its the turboprop quadrant by selecting it in the pfc dll dialog. This way I get my reverse thrust at least... and then my feathering works on the Baron etc. With the 4 engine jet, it also covers my need for 2,3, and 4 engine jets, the levers not in use just don't give thrust to anything.Realistically, I would like the 2 ,3 and turboprop levers myself... I will eventually get them, its just gonna take more time than I want :)Any route you take, you will not be disappointed with the PFC stuff... and their service is top notch. Kim there is VERY helpful, I've received 2 phonecalls and 2 emails from her since I got the stuff late last year just asking if everything was OK with the yoke/rudder and throttles... now thats service that you don't see from alot of places. 2 Thumbs up for PFC in my books!!Chris

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Of course you're right...I was stupid to forget about the twin prop quadrant which would be a much better choice than the 4-engine jet quadrant. The throttle/prop/mixture(condition) levers line up with those on the turboprop quadrant, and you can of course trick the driver into thinking that you're actually using the turboprop. The only things that would be missing are the physical detents on the levers.Chris WallaceOttawa, Canada

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Thanks for all your help and advice guys! I guess for now I will order the standard 6 lever throttle and "trick" it into thinking it's the Turbo Prop quadrant, as Chris stated. I'd love to go ahead and order the TP levers, but $695 U.S. converts to $1111.72 CDN, which I just don't have at the moment...unfortunately!Thanks again for all your help!Regards,Gord NoseworthyNewfoundland, Canada (CYYT)

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One more thing Gord,Tricking it into thinking its a turboprop means that your full idle on the prop is actually reverse, so you will have to get used to stopping the throttles a little before full back!! You may be able to manually set this in the program because you can calibrate throttle positions, but I haven't done it yet... maybe if someone has done this they could elaborate??Chris

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Gord,I don't know if you want to hear this but I bought a real throttle quadrant from a Beech Baron on e-bay for about $100USD, 6 long slider potentiometers from mouser.com, two USB/gameport adapters for about $25 each, and a bag of RC push rods and built my own, all for less than $200. End result? Well, I think it kicks PFCs butt! ;-) Don't get me wrong, there were quite a few headaches along the way but it was well worth it. If I had to do it again, I suspect I could do it in an afternoon (the first one took me a few months!).Hey, if your wife lets you buy this and you've already said "I do" - I'd say she's a keeper! Congratulations!David

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Thanks David! She's definitely a keeper alright! ;-)As for the home built throttle, I'd love to tackle such a task if it could save me a few hundred dollars. However, I have zero electronics skills, therefore, if it took you a few months, it would probably take me a year at least! I can fix computers, and setup networks, but circuitry just isn't my forte. That is of course if you need electronic skills to do this? Did you have any plans/instructions to follow? If so, how did you get them. I may just look into this if it isn't that difficult. I'm sure the time spent on it will be well worth the effort once they are working....if they work! ;-)Thanks again!Gord NoseworthyNewfoundland, Canada (CYYT)

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Hi Gord,Check out this article: http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/howto/throt.htmI didn't know anything about circuits either, but was able to get the controls up & working based on this article.Also check out http://www.mikesflightdeck.com/And, of course, the Home Cockpit Support Forum here at AvsimI'm currently building a 727 throttle quadrant. Not only didn't I know about electronics, but I've also learned about gear ratios, working with metal, etc. I've encountered lots of stumbling blocks, but have gotten around them by asking questions here, at the hardware & hobby stores. The result (hopefully ;) ) will be a throttle quadrant with the exact features I want. And, I'm having a blast doing it. Mike A.

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Hi Gord. If you will contact Ralph Tofflemire at [rtofflemire@shaw.ca] he says he has what you might be looking for at a deal.Ed Green, KCLTegreen1@carolina.rr.com

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Mike,As Mike mentioned, the skills required are minimal. There are several good references out there that start from square-one. It's almost impossible to hook a potentiometer up wrong. Most of the delay in my project was due to me not following directions. It's critical to have a simple little pushbutton switch in the circuit for calibration. I didn't do that at first and kept thinking the potentiometers were bad or the wrong type. $2 later (thanks to Radio Shack) I was in business. The nice thing about making it yourself is you can always fix it if need be. I used Suncomm throttles for a long time but the pots were always going bad and it was hard to fix them.Just so you know, Suncomm is out of business and it is possible to by their throttles for as low as $20. My first attempt at a quadrant involved three Suncomm throttles (six levers in all). I modified the handles heavily to make them feel more like real ones. The end result wasn't bad but I found the Baron quadrant at the same time. David

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