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blave

Any recommendations on a GOOD HOTAS?

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Hey all!I have purchased 2 Saiteks. The first, an X36, which went out on me about a year into it. I then purchased an X45, which again, went out on me about a year, or so into it.I tried all the tech support options, & even ripped a chip out of the board inside the stick. All to no luck. So, I am looking for a QUALITY stick, that will last beyond a year with casual use, but that has a setup similiar to the Saitek. Money is not really a big option, but, nothing int he 4 figure range (is there such a stick?) please!Thanks in advance for any suggestion!

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Have you heard of the Thrustmaster Cougar? I don't have the official homepage right now, but take a look at http://cougar.frugalsworld.com/ - a very good site with everything you need to know about the Cougar. The hardware is really heavy duty, lot's of metal, and costs about 350 EUR, which should translate into roughly the same amount of dollars.Although I did not like it too much when I had the ability to put my hands on it in a shop, everybody who owns one has posted ecstatic oppinions about it.I hope that my X45 lasts longer than yours, because I really like it!Bye,VOlker :]

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Hey!Thanks for the quick response. And, yes, I had heard of it LONG ago when it was a dream. Back in my OLD Falcon4 days. I started thinking about it right after I posted, and I think I just might order, or if I can find one locally, buy one tomorrow.I have been reading reviews & forums up until now to see what people say about reliability so far, though I don't think it has been out long.I think it will be my next purchase.Thanks again!

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Hi Larry,I recommend you check out the Cougar Forums at Frugalsworld... specifically the Hardware Forum.The Cougar is a terrific product, but not without it's weaknesses. The gimbals are diecast (as is most of the HOTAS), but they're far too light for the 18 lb spring loads of the stick. The stock pots are not the best.There are numerous mods to make the Cougar live up to its brilliant software. Gimbals rework and strengthening, and Hall Effects Sensors to replace the CTS pots (both in the stick as well as throttle).Good luck in finding a Cougar in the States right now. Amazon might have a few. I ordered my second Cougar from FSC last week... they were supposed to have received their order of Cougars on 2/11, but they still haven't arrived. And no one knows when they'll show up.If you're truly interested, I'd buy quickly. No one knows if there'll be a second production run.Good luck,

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I am actually going to be writing a review of the Cougar for AVSIM. I agree with the assesment that the springs are too strong for the gimbals - the stick moves very easilly in the X and Y axis - but it takes a bit of effort to get it to smoothly move between them (i.e. doing a climbing turn to the right).I don't think the pots are an issue, however. The Cougar Software samples the data thousands of times before sending it to the computer. Thus, spikes are averaged out. It's the best stick out there though. Colin

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I had heard excellent reports of the Cougar (should be good at that price!) so was surprised at the problems reported in the forum at frugalsworld.Thank goodness my Saitek X36 is still working OK after 2 years :-)I note some guy is doing Hall effect transducers for the Cougar pots, any idea what's involved in using optical sensors, similar to those used in mice, in place of pots Colin?Rgds

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I've been using the Saitek X-36 over 2 years now and it's pretty OK. The rudder showed jitters a coupple of times but I've taken it apart and cleaned the podmeter with RD40 spray, it's been working ok again.

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I invested in a set of CHPro pedals last year so no longer use the rudder control, although there was nothing wrong with it when I changed to pedals.

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So the combination of X36/45 and CHPro pedals works? I've been thinking about getting these pedals. I've read about some problems on the board, especially with VIA chipsets. Of cours, I have a VIA chipset.We'll see. When I have some money to spare, I might get one per mail order, so I can send it back if I don't like it. I have never seen any rudder pedals in shops around here (southwest Germany) anyway.Bye,VOlker :]

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Volker,I have been using the X36 & CHPro (USB) pedals for over a year without problems, running Win98SE.From other threads it looks as if the CH XP drivers can cause problems and it seems it is best not to use the CH Manager.HTH

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I was afraid of this sort of perception.There have been a little over 10,000 Cougars sold throughout the world. The number of folks posting to the Cougar forums with problems are a small percentage of the total products sold... as is often the case with new products and forum sites.Fact of the matter is that most owners are quite happy with their Cougar just as it comes. Very few people mod them (there have been fewer than 250 people who have paid to have their Cougar modded).For less than $300.00US the Cougar represents the finest in fully programable flightsim controllers. The software alone makes the purchase price seem like a bargain. And I know just how "easy" it is to program the Saitek HOTAS (easy if all you want is DirectX assignments). The Cougar is stunningly more programable than any other controller on the market. Simply put, it is briliance... and easy to program, too.The fact that some of us have the means and background to mod the Cougar doesn't neccessarily mean it is bad. It simply means we want to rework it to our tastes. It was designed to be an exact replica of the F-16 Block 50 stick, yet many of us are using it in sims that have nothing to do with modern jet fighters (IL-2 is a good example... many Cougar owners call it their favorite sim).Flying GA aircraft in FS2K2 is my favorite form of flying. So I designed and built a set of gimbals to suit my tastes. I added a set of Halls Effects Sensors, and now I have an incredibly smooth and precise flight control system coupled with the best programability offered today (and for some years to come, I believe).As an extra benefit, I get to share my Cougar experiences with an outstanding community of fellow owners. They are indeed a very sprcial breed.Regards,

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I have a CH gameport setup that I am very happy with... I also have a Cougar HOTAS that is very impressive in heft and feel, but is not my cup of tea for flying (particularly helicopters, which require a very smooth feel and a light touch to fly well). Thus, my Coug is sitting unused in the original box, under my computer desk... Make me an offer.Dave BlevinsKRHV

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