Ray Proudfoot

Saitek Throttle Quadrants - how easy to clean potentiometers?

Recommended Posts

I bought my Saitek Pro Throttle plus extra Throttle Quadrant in October 2008. It's behaved well over the years but I now have two axes displaying signs of dirty potentiometers with spiking during part of the travel.

I have watched a couple of videos on YouTube and whilst it's fiddly it does appear to be fairly straightforward to clean them with alcohol.

Given its popularity I'm guessing many of you may gave cleaned yours. How did you find it and does it solve the problem long term?

Apparently Saitek deliberately use low grade potentiometers made exclusively for them so finding a higher quality alternative is impossible. They want you to buy a new throttle all because something costing a few pence is dirty. :m_marah:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

I should think zapping them with a bit of WD-40 through the little straw you get with a can of it would do the trick, it usually makes any dirt on the contact points run off. Any excess can be easily wiped away and if things still feel greasy, a bit of lighter fuel on a rag will sort that out. It usually works on most things with dirty pots.

I've lost count of how many 'broken' electric guitars I've bought cheap and 'fixed' with that method, then sold them for a profit. :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I clean potentiometers with alcohol on my saitek yoke a quadrant once per 2-3 years on average. I own them since 2008 and it still serves very well. Looks like this year is year of cleaning again :-).

 

Rado

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Chock said:

I should think zapping them with a bit of WD-40 through the little straw you get with a can of it would do the trick, it usually makes any dirt on the contact points run off. Any excess can be easily wiped away and if things still feel greasy, a bit of lighter fuel on a rag will sort that out. It usually works on most things with dirty pots.

I've lost count of how many 'broken' electric guitars I've bought cheap and 'fixed' with that method, then sold them for a profit. :cool:

Have you seen the size of these potentiometers? They're tiny. A cotton bud appears to be the best thing but you need tiny fingers and I don't have them.

Is this something you've done Chock? I don't want to bugger my throttles. I'm not a natural DIYer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, radorabatin said:

I clean potentiometers with alcohol on my saitek yoke a quadrant once per 2-3 years on average. I own them since 2008 and it still serves very well. Looks like this year is year of cleaning again :-).

 

Rado

Do you consider it easy to do? Any tips that might help a first timer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah, WD-40 won't bugger it up, it's exactly what it was created for, just think about when you spray it all over your dizzy cap on a car, or over the plugs to get it sorted, it never does any harm, and if you'd do it on a 10 grand car without fretting, then doing it on a 50 quid PC throttle is not gonna be a worry.

Not personally done it on a Saitek throttle, but I have done it on a lot of other controllers, including my Saitek rudder pedals more than once, since they are on the floor and consequently pick up a lot of dirt and the lubrication helps with wear and tear too. You can get that little WD-40 straw into a lot of tight places, which means you don't have to risk pulling soldered wires off and then having to get your bloody soldering iron out to fix things. For more gentle precision, you can spray WD-40 onto a cotton bud (q-tip for you Yanks) and then use that to get it onto small parts.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ray,

 

I also suffer the same problem with my Saitek Throttle Quads. This is the method I use:

Quote

If you're having trouble with the signal coming out of the pots in the Saitek Throttle Quadrant, do the following:

 

1. Unplug the USB cable.

2. Place the unit on its right side on top of a table (so the LED is at the top and T5/T6 are at the bottom).

3. Use a spray can of electrical contact cleaner with a straw on the nozzle and shoot plenty of cleaner at the base of the throttle arm. Move the arm back and forth its full length a few times.

4. Wait a few minutes for the spray to evaporate, then test.

I found this in another thread and it does work nicely. I have to do mine every few months but it literally takes minutes to do.

Hope this helps.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, JRS182 said:

Hi Ray,

 

I also suffer the same problem with my Saitek Throttle Quads. This is the method I use:

I found this in another thread and it does work nicely. I have to do mine every few months but it literally takes minutes to do.

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks Joe but is that actually getting to the potentiometers? They are quite well protected in a frame. I've seen that video. Bit shaky isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Chock said:

Nah, WD-40 won't bugger it up, it's exactly what it was created for, just think about when you spray it all over your dizzy cap on a car, or over the plugs to get it sorted, it never does any harm, and if you'd do it on a 10 grand car without fretting, then doing it on a 50 quid PC throttle is not gonna be a worry.

Not personally done it on a Saitek throttle, but I have done it on a lot of other controllers, including my Saitek rudder pedals more than once, since they are on the floor and consequently pick up a lot of dirt and the lubrication helps with wear and tear too. You can get that little WD-40 straw into a lot of tight places, which means you don't have to risk pulling soldered wires off and then having to get your bloody soldering iron out to fix things. For more gentle precision, you can spray WD-40 onto a cotton bud (q-tip for you Yanks) and then use that to get it onto small parts.

Yes, the cotton bud was recommended in a YouTube video I watched. Okay, I'll give it a go. Probably next week now.

I've had my CH pedals for donkeys years and never cleaned them. But then again I can't remember the last time I checked for spiking. Leave well alone eh? :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

Thanks Joe but is that actually getting to the potentiometers? They are quite well protected in a frame. I've seen that video. Bit shaky isn't it?

It definitely has some effect. It really bugs me when I try to fly the A2A birds, especially the Texan. With the T6 spikey throttles result in backfires and when doing touch & goes its a nightmare trying to put the power back in with the spikey inputs choking the engine.

As soon as I've sprayed some contact cleaner in there, its as good as gold. Obviously this is not as good as dismantling and cleaning but its good enough for me and only take a few minutes to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can even just exercise the axis vigorously for a few minutes and that seems to scrape off the gunk and will make the response smoother. I know it's not the ideal method- it doesn't work well at the extreme ends of the range obviously but it will keep about 90% of the travel pretty clear and it doesn't cause them any harm.  I've got one axis that's a bit noisy at the top end but the other five have remained reasonably smooth after years of use and I've never taken them apart or used cleaner.  That being said, I've been contemplating using some electronics cleaner on them just because they aren't perfect any more.

At any rate, it might be worth a shot to see if it clears it up to a usable state for you in the mean time.  I'd just recommend waiting until those you live with aren't around because the noise of sliding them back and forth rapidly gets annoying quick!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Download from their website the calibration software and you can see the bar graph spiking in real time.

squirt electronic contact cleaner with straw attached where the throttles pivot.

Go back and check the calibration and **presto** no more spiking..works every time

 

Ignore the scary video out there that opens up the unit and exposes the very delicate wiring inside. I wish i had , it turned my first throttle into an expensive door stop before I heard about the contact cleaner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Joe. On reflection it might be with trying first especially after reading zmak's reply.

Grant, yes I've already tried that as it's a well known workaround but sadly no joy.

My flying is with Concorde so the end stops are very important as max thrust is engaged for the majority of the flight and when throttles are retarded at 15ft I need to be sure thrust is zero before idle reverse is engaged before reverse thrust is engaged.

The problem is only around the min and max areas on one lever and midway on another. The rest are fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the best video I've seen on how to clean the pots. Yes, it's all in Russian but the pictures are clear enough on how to do it.

I've seen two now that show the pots have to be exposed before cleaning rather than just spraying cleaner into the general area of the axis. Maybe that sorts out other issues but for dirty pots this seems to be the best method.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now