cakequest

DIY Throttle Quadrant Help

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Hi everyone,

I am planning on making my own throttle quadrant for FSX. However, since I haven't done much DIY stuff before, I have no idea what I am supposed to do. I couldn't seem to find anything with a quick google search or on these forums... Just wondering if any of you guys know of anything...

I am looking for a comprehensive step-by-step guide (writen or video) that would have all the dimensions for the quadrant as well as how to mount all the electronics.

As far as the design goes, I am looking for a Boeing style. It doesn't really matter if its a 737/757/767/777/787. I don't really need a trim wheel or anything fancy either... Just 2 throttles (reverse would  be nice too) and flaps and seedbrakes. Don't care if it fuel cutoff switches... Just trying to keep it as cheep as possible while still having it look decent...

Thanks in advance!!!

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Cakequest,

I really cannot see the value in what you are trying to achieve and I say that with respect.

I do not think it is possible to make one any cheaper than you can buy ie Saitek ...now Logitech. Further more you are going to get more for your money than the specs you have laid down. 

You are still going to have to buy the PCB and sensors as well. 

The only real advantage (as I see it) is that you can custom design it to exactly what you want including measurements.

I would, and I am not you, look seriously at the Saitek and the new (not yet released but close) honeytech design which looks like a great set up for twin jets or four engine aircraft. Simillarly  you could get three Saitek quadrants for about the same price.  (about two hundred dollars)

However I wish you luck if you continue with your project and keep us up to date if you continue please.

Regards

Tony

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I made my own for a 172 out of some surplus 172 throttle and mixture knobs and cables.  I used some slide pots and a Desktop Aviator board.  I had a Saitek unit but wanted something more realistic.  Yeah it was more expensive than an off the shelf unit but it is just like the 172 I fly and I have the experience of creating something and that to me is worth it.  If you think you can do it, go for it.  Tis better to have tried and failed than never tried at all.....

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56 minutes ago, himmelhorse said:

I do not think it is possible to make one any cheaper than you can buy ie Saitek ...now Logitech.

Actually, it probably could be done cheaper than buying a Saitek one, you only really have to buy a couple of pots and buttons and a suitable USB board, everything else could be knocked up out of a bit of scrap sheet metal so long as you aren't too bad at DIY and soldering. You could even use a busted joystick or joypad as the basis for it to make it even cheaper if you were really trying to save cash.

Flaps and trim wheels can be a little bit tricky to figure out input-wise for such things as they have to be a momentary input for a latched switch which triggers a different input for opposite movement, but it's not rocket science with a bit of thought (i.e. a cam arrangement will usually do the trick if you wanna do that mechanically rather than use relays). If you have a look at some of the DIY sequential gearshifts people have made for racing games, that'll show you ways to achieve that kind of thing.

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Thanks for all the quick replies!!!

3 hours ago, himmelhorse said:

I would, and I am not you, look seriously at the Saitek and the new (not yet released but close) honeytech design which looks like a great set up for twin jets or four engine aircraft. Simillarly  you could get three Saitek quadrants for about the same price.  (about two hundred dollars)

I did have a look at the Saitek one and thought that building it myself might be cheaper. I was thinking of not spending more than 80-100 bucks overall... As I have mentioned above, I don't really know what I need and the prices of these items...

 

3 hours ago, awreaper said:

Tis better to have tried and failed than never tried at all.....

Agreed. That's why I thought I would try in the first place... For now my only throttle is the one attached to the Logitech Extreme 3d Pro Joystick...

2 hours ago, Chock said:

Actually, it probably could be done cheaper than buying a Saitek one, you only really have to buy a couple of pots and buttons and a suitable USB board...

3 hours ago, awreaper said:

 

That's what I'm not sure about... What pots and buttons?

I will definitely have to do some more research on prices... I'll keep you guys posted if I continue with the project (or let you know if I don't)...

Thanks,

Josh

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If anyone has a list of electronics I will definatley be needing, that would also be very helpful for me in comparing prices...

Thanks again,

Josh

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cakequest,

A lot of very good advice coming at you here.

From my point of view, the cost of materials may well be cheaper and I willingly concede that.

The cost of your labour, trials, tribulations, stress, fatigue (and the cost of whiskey and/or other flavoured anaesthetic to justify your endeavours and pain LOL) is for me, a moot point.  I simply do not have the tools, experience or knowledge to take something like this on. A very big advantage is being able (if you have the skills) to get the exact shaped device you want and to incorporate the items you need. The only thing I would stress to you is that you take account of future needs. ie building something specifically for a Cessna 172 now is not going to be much of an assett in 20 minutes time when you want to learn to fly multi engine jets etc.

I think, further, that if you can get hold of a Saitek PCB or a similar controller you would then only require the sensors/potentiometers and they would, I imagine be available at the same place. Bear in mind that Saitek is not the greatest controller in the world either. Chock actually pointed you to a better PCB (to my limited knowledge) with the link to leobodnar which has been used to update a lot of Saiteks (particularly the yoke) 

It could well be a great project but for me ... I think I would rather spend the extra 100 bucks plus another 50 bucks for a suitable calming and pain deadening substance called Alcohol. Incidently this is extremely hard to get in Indonesia (except Bali of course) 

Good luck again

Regards

Tony

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I suppose a lot of how easy or hard it is will depend on what kind of person you are in terms of hobbies, skills and what you enjoy doing.

Personally, I've always been into making stuff ever since I was a kid, which sort of melts into fixing your car yourself and building stuff when you get older. I built a massive brick building once, largely because I had never done that before and so learned how to do that,: I designed it and then built the thing and it will be there still when I am long gone, which is kind of cool to know lol. I could have paid some companies to build the thing for me I guess, but where is the fun and learning experience in that?

Being that way, you accumulate a load of tools and equipment and pick up the skills necessary to use them. Combine that with having studied design at college and it's not surprising that I would say it could be done, because it's the kind of thing I would do for fun rather than see as a chore. But I can understand why not everyone would see it that way, since not everyone is into that kind of thing.

Having said that, anyone with the determination to learn and the desire to create these days is in the fortunate position of being able to find out how to do pretty much anything via Google.

So I say go for it and make it something to enjoy as a learning experience and as something of which you can be proud of when finished: a thing which is practical, enjpyable and which nobody else has one of.

Then when someone says I wish I had one of those, you will know that they could have if they were willing to try, and when you know that, it makes anything possible, which is a good way to feel.

 

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If you have the time, the tools, and some expertise, you could build a quadrant of your dreams. It wont be easy, it wont be cheap, and it will take you a long time. I know. I build quadrants. It all starts with the controller board, which will require at least 4 or 5 analog axis. On the other hand, building your own quadrant is an act of love, and the satisfaction you get from it.

 

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If you are not serious with the quality, just search for "Project MMJOY" via google. You may get the throttle below 20$.

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4 hours ago, Uncensor said:

If you are not serious with the quality, just search for "Project MMJOY" via google. You may get the throttle below 20$.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't that just a software for programming a controller?

 

4 hours ago, flyforever said:

If you have the time, the tools, and some expertise, you could build a quadrant of your dreams. It wont be easy, it wont be cheap, and it will take you a long time. I know. I build quadrants. It all starts with the controller board, which will require at least 4 or 5 analog axis. On the other hand, building your own quadrant is an act of love, and the satisfaction you get from it.

 

Any chance you could go into more detail on HOW to build one?

I started this more to be a HELP I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I'M DOING!!! forum, but so far it's a been a YOU CAN DO IT!!! forum (which has REALLY encouraged me to continue with this project but isn't the reason I started the forum ;) please note that I say all this with respect and gratitude...

I am planning on doing a little online shopping today to really compare the prices of a new quadrant to a homemade one.

I'll keep you guys posted,

Josh

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Hello cakequest. Though I cannot supply drawings for Boeings I have made a throttle quadrant from scrap which works well enough to fly with (based in proportions very loosely on that in an L-19), and intend to make more.

The reason I am doing this is because I cannot afford commercial stuff, and feel that I might be able to do a better job for less.

What matters the most, I think, is what you have to hand to make things from, and what tools and skills you have with which to make them. I would suggest designing things to match these resources, then adding art only if necessary to make it look good enough.

For example, I am half-way through making some rudder pedals - 'generic', but quite invisible in service - mostly from 5mm sheet steel; the assembly so far (I'm not through yet) weighs 4kg and seems fairly pilot-proof. I happen to have a contact at a local engineering company who will sell me offcuts for a nominal sum. The yoke I am making is about 50/50 bicycle wreckage given me by a friend, and leftover bits of Dexion (a brand of slotted angle we have here in Blighty). The cockpit is so far mostly chipboard and timber which I had lying around. Everything is designed to be made solely by rough drilling because the only m/c tool I have is a 30 year old imported bench height pillar drill.

Doubtless the philosophy becomes clear. Having been involved with the theatre and TV all my life, I see this as a practical scenery and props thing and obviously the cost has to be minimal or there'll be no last-night party.

Drawings good enough for simulationists are very hard to come by; somebody appears to have bid the online price up to about $70US per page. I am doing Cessna 172 ergonomics on the basis of the POH illustrations, carefully selected photos, instrument manufacturers' brochures, lots of careful scaling, Stinton (ISBN 0632018771), and the distant memory of having flown a couple about twenty years ago, and hope later to do a modified King Air on a similar basis.

If you feel I can be of any help please let me know. Apologies in advance for possible delays in replying which may be caused by medical difficulties at this end.

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6 hours ago, Uncensor said:

If you are not serious with the quality, just search for "Project MMJOY" via google. You may get the throttle below 20$.

Hello Mr. Cakequest,

You can build your own joystick with MMJOY software by using some models of Arduino board. For me, I use "Arduino Leonardo Pro Micro ATmega32U4 5V/16MHz" which can add up to 36 buttons and 6 axis. Once you hack the Arduino board and upload their firmware (by following their instruction), PC will detect the Arduino board as a game controller. Then you can configure the buttons and axis as your desire by using their software. I built my own 3 axis throttle quadrant and I'm very happy with it (compare to the cost). The only one problem that I see is that the range of each axis in flightsim is 1%-99%. Even I calibrated them correctly in their software, they never go back to 0% when I pulled them all the way back and never go to 100% when applied full forward. I think FSUIPC (registered version which I don't have) can correct this problem. For me, it's not the problem. Just press F1 when I want it exactly 0% and press F4 wen I want it exactly 100%.

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Okay, here you go, knocked up this drawing for you which should get you started, including costing. Couple of bits of mild steel bent in a vice and cut out with a hacksaw then filed off/cleaned up with emery cloth and a hole drilled in the lever so it'll slide over the pot shaft and bob's yer uncle. Knock up a box to put it in, connect the board to the circuit USB connector and to your PC, calibrate it in FSx or P3D etc and you're in business. That board will support up to eight potentiometers and thirty two buttons, and they just connect to the pins, so just rinse and repeat for dual/quad throttles, flap levers, trim wheels, buttons, switches etc. Easy. You could bang that out in a weekend no problem.

 

qfQ44Kw.jpg

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