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dbrucem

Diy Force Feedback Yoke

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I have been simming with both FS2004 and FSX using the venerable MS Sidewinder2 Force Feedback joystick along with MS Force, IMHO one of the best addons for MS Flight Sim ever developed. This combo results in more realistic control forces and elevator trim implementation. While the joystick seemed appropriate to aircraft such as the Marchetti SF260 it seemed out place in the Cessna's. As I had a CH Flight yoke gathering dust I decided to add FFB capability to it. As there was NO WAY I was going to gut my trusty Sidewinder for it's components I looked around for a good but inexpensive alternative. The AVB Pegasus FFB Flightstick seemed to fit the bill and can be purchased new for as little as $5 USD. While the Pegasus is designed for Windows 95/98 you can download a WinXP driver at www.avbusa.com. After installing the flightstick with the updated driver I evaluated the perormance VS the Sidewinder and found it to be acceptable. Like the Saikek FFB stick the Pegasus is not quite in the same league but it seemed adequate especially with the vast difference in price. If you decide to try this, before taking apart your CH yoke, I would recommend flying with the Pegasus Flightstick for a while to make sure it meets your needs. One word of caution about the CH Yoke, it does tend to stick a bit especially in the pitch axis. Lubricating the yoke tube does seem to help but this yoke is in need of improvement. I have been looking at adding linear bearings and possibly a metal tube in the future but I am guite happy with my interim results at present. I have flown about 15 hours with a variety of aircraft primarily the Eaglesoft Citation and the Real Air SF 260. If you decide to attempt this project you will need to invest in a Dremmel tool with cutoff wheel, soldering iron, hand coping saw and other basic tools and a lot of spare time. I will briefly describe the process here but need to find a way to provide detailed instructions and pictures. If anyone has an appropriate web site and would like to host this project please respond to this thread. I have taken a number of pictures and am in the process of writing detailed constuction procedures.I do not have a clue how to nor the inclination to put together a web site.Briefly you take apart the Pegasus flightstick and remove the four circuit boards and gimbal assembly. The two motor gear assemblies are removed from and gimbal and the follow pots are emoved from each motor leaving just the motor and gears along with the motor electrical cable and plug. I cut the cable going to the handle keeping just the wiring and plug. Some minor modifications will need to be done to a couple of the boards but basically they will be installed into a adioshack project box which is mounted to the left front side of the CH Yoke. The CH Yoke will require a number of mods which will be pretty much irreversable so be sure you want to proceed before trying this at home. The top cover is removed and set aside for now. The centering springs are removed and discarded. Leave the pitch and roll follow pots in place as they will be interfaced to the the Pegasus PCB. Unplug all wiring from the CH PCB and remove it and discard. Now the fun begins. Using your trusty Dremmel with cut-off wheel remove the PCB mounts. The area where the PCB was is where the roll motor assemby will be mounted so this area must be cleared to provide a flat surface. Once the assembly is mounted a pushrod will connect it to the CH roll pivot arm. A rectangular slot is cut into the CH housing on the opposite side to allow another pushrod to connect the existing CH pitch follow pot lever to the pitch motor assembly which will be located in front of the CH housing inside the project box. One corner of the project box is notched out allowing it to nest up to the front left corner of the CH housing. A piece of 1/2 in. plywood is cut to conform to the footprint of the CH yoke and the project box. A suitable openning must be cut in the plywood to allow the pitch motor assemby to be mounted to the bottom of the project box with the drive gears recessed into the plywood openning. Once all the hardware is mounted the CH yoke wiring is interfaced to the Pegasus PCBs. Only two of the CH lever pots can be used but all the yoke and panel switches including the hat switch can be utilized. The final step is to cut an opening in the top cover and construct an enclosure for the roll motor which extends several inches above the CH yoke top cover. This enclosure is glued into the CH top cover and after some Bondo, sanding and spray paint the finished product looks pretty good.

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Correction, the FFB software is FS-Force by Russ Dirks at www.fs-force.com and there are versions for both FS2004 and FSX. The Pegasus ffb joystick is only compatable up thru WinXP. I briefly flew using the default FSX FFB and found the results very under whelming but that is also the case using the MS Sidewinder FFB2 joystick. I've attached a couple pictures of the finished product although I do intend to redo the expansion box cover. Any comments would be appreciated.

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I admire your efforts. It's a shame that CH or for that matter Saitek have not come out with a moderately priced yoke that is somewhat motorized to reflect the hydraulic movements incurred in flight etc. I would be willing to cough out a few hundred for it since I'm already coughing up a few hundred every time a new graphic's card hits the street. Things haven't changed much for CH in a number of years except the facelift that they did to the same old, same old plastic yoke-box that they still market....Regards,jack

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Very nice mods and I too applaud your efforts. Your documentation and pictures will come in handy in the future for someone else, thanks for posting. While I'm not really into FF (yet, anyway) I've been planning a home cocpit build for the future and it's nice to see other ideas. If you haven't done so already, you should post your story over @ mycockpits.org - those cats are into much the same thing and would love to see this - thanks again for sharing and I hope it works well for you. Happy holidays.

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Thanks for the feedback. I will post over at mycockpits.org as soon as I can free up some time. You have to give FS-Force a try, I can't imagine simming without it. Russ Dirks is a real world pilot and developed this software primarily to produce realistic elevator trim action. Although I now only can fly my desk, as a former active private pilot, I have been very impressed with the combination of a good FFB control stick and his SW. Hopefully a commercial FFB yoke will be available someday. Good luck building your cockpit.

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