Ray Proudfoot

Saitek Pro Yoke / Throttle instead of Honeycomb kit

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I tested the six axes of my two Saitek throttles this afternoon. Three that came with the yoke and three on the additional quadrant. Five of the six have serious issues with spiking and a few of the reverse detents are unreliable too.

They were bought in Nov 2008 for £144. Up to 18 months or so ago they behaved fine. Whilst the yoke itself is still usable it's not possible to buy a throttle quadrant with a PS/2 connector so that means two new quadrants and that can only be achieved by buying a new yoke.

I did investigate if 2 USB throttle quadrants could be used but whilst one will be recognised the other won't. The system relies on 1 x PS/2 connection as a minimum. That explains why the supplied quadrant has a PS/2 connection, not USB.

I was hoping they would last until the Honeycomb Aeronautical yoke / throttle became available but we're now looking at Q4 2018 for that which means four months minimum but more likely six. Also, no way am I going to buy £400 of kit just as it's released. I would want to read some reviews first and then come to a informed decision.

Trying to control engines is all but impossible given how bad these throttles are behaving. But I've had them 9 years and they're worked okay for around 7. That works out at £20 / year.

So tomorrow I'm going to order another Logitech Pro Yoke and additional throttle quadrant. That's £200 and will give me a minimum of 6 years service. Once they do eventually fail the Honeycomb kit will be out and I'll be able to read reviews and decide if they're for me.

The Saitek / Logitech kit is relatively cheap and cheerful but it does a reasonable job for the price and will work fine for a few years. Probably why they sell in such numbers. I've given this a fair amount of thought and I'm happy with my decision.

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I too have been trying to hold out for Honeycomb but had to replace one throttle quad that just up and died. I was wondering where you got the Q4 2018 release date. I had not heard that news. Based on how things have gone so far I would not be surprised at all to see it pushed back to end of year. I did get them to make a post yesterday on the Facebook page which gives a little bit of info incase you had not seen that.

Sam

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2 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

I did investigate if 2 USB throttle quadrants could be used but whilst one will be recognised the other won't.

I don't know how you have reached this conclusion. My YT channel has many videos of my Twin Otter cockpit using two Saitek USB quadrants. Of course that was with FSX, but I can't imagine P3D behaves any differently.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Ray I was in your same situation about six mouths ago and didn't know which way to go. I decided to go with the Virtual Fly stuff. I know it was expensive and I don't have allot of money but I will never go back to plastic. After going thru 3 saitek yokes and 2 quadrants i had enough you cant even fly with that stuff when it starts going bad so I know what you are going thru. The Honeycomb is just coming to late for me. My Flight sim experience has gone to new levels since I moved up to the new controllers .   Josh

Edited by FreeBird(Josh)

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1 hour ago, shivers9 said:

 I was wondering where you got the Q4 2018 release date. I had not heard that news. Based on how things have gone so far I would not be surprised at all to see it pushed back to end of year. I did get them to make a post yesterday on the Facebook page which gives a little bit of info incase you had not seen that.

Sam, it was on the latest Facebook statement posted 2 days ago. With the continued changes in components to keep the price to $200 and the problems with the desk clamping system I fear it will not be ready this year.

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1 hour ago, MarkDH said:

I don't know how you have reached this conclusion. My YT channel has many videos of my Twin Otter cockpit using two Saitek USB quadrants. Of course that was with FSX, but I can't imagine P3D behaves any differently.

Mark, I searched for Saitek and PS/2 connector and found one post where the poster had connected one USB throttle quadrant which worked but when he connected a second it wasn’t recognised. You have to ask yourself why would Saitek make one connector PS/2 if a USB one would do the job.

If you can make a video showing each throttle quadrant plugged into the Saitek yoke hub and both recognised by Windows I’ll happily reconsider my decision.

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43 minutes ago, FreeBird(Josh) said:

Hi Ray I was in your same situation about six mouths ago and didn't know which way to go. I decided to go with the Virtual Fly stuff. I know it was expensive and I don't have allot of money but I will never go back to plastic. After going thru 3 saitek yokes and 2 quadrants i had enough you cant even fly with that stuff when it starts going bad so I know what you are going thru. The Honeycomb is just coming to late for me. My Flight sim experience has gone to new levels since I moved up to the new controllers .   Josh

Josh, that would be the Yoko yoke and the TQ6 I guess. The problem with the Yoko is lack of buttons and it had problems with the clamp. Has that issue been resolved?

The TQ6 is for a twin-engine aircraft. I fly twin but also Concorde, a 4 engine so that isn’t ideal.

The Honeycomb looks the closest to my needs but it’s still some way off. I have made my Saitek kit last quite a while. In 2 years Honeycomb will either be a success or it won’t. I’m not getting any younger so want a solution now, not in 6 months or more. Whilst not perfect the Saitek ticks most of my boxes.

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@MarkDH, it’s not that I don’t believe you but I have searched extensively for using two USB quadrants on the Saitek / Logitech and the only references I can find are where someone is trying to plug in two both with PS/2 connectors. That won’t work, only the first is recognised and of course there’s nowhere else to plug in the second. You can’t use the keyboard/mouse input as the quadrant requires the yoke’s controller to function.

But if I buy two throttle quadrants that will cost £102. Buying a yoke (a throttle quadrant is supplied) plus another quadrant costs £164.

If I go for the former I still have a 9 year old yoke and if that plays up then I have to buy another yoke which includes a quadrant I don’t need.

Spending another £62 gets me a new yoke. It seems a sensible way to go. In 2 years if the Honeycomb is suitable I can sell the Saitek kit.

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54 minutes ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

Josh, that would be the Yoko yoke and the TQ6 I guess. The problem with the Yoko is lack of buttons and it had problems with the clamp. Has that issue been resolved?

 

Hi Ray   I have mine mounted with a special mount that I made it has 4 holes on the bottom for that purpose. I found that there are just enough buttons for my needs as I have switch panels and got use to using the keyboard for other things. I fly GA so that's why the tq6. I also have the Saitek TPM that I use for single engine planes. Someday I might try the big planes but not yet.  Hopefully Honeycomb will be a good product but I don't know how at that price with a five year warranty they will be able to stay in Business especially with a few other new players showing there faces but hopefully they have done there homework. I saved my old stuff for my grandson so he will have something to use instead of ruining my stuff which he already has.  Josh  

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Hi Josh. You have skills I can only dream about. I did watch several YT videos on the Yoko and the clamping was identified as a problem.

And it seems the Honeycomb has the same issue albeit slightly different. The plastic sheet which is stuck to a level surface is proving too sticky and it is very difficult to remove it without causing damage. That’s going to take a while to resolve. One more reason why I have decided on my new path.

I wish they would use Hall Effect sensors especially on the throttles. Pots are a weak link. Some decisions mystify me.

Your setup suits your needs very well. One day I hope to be in the same boat.

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Mr Proudfoot - FSUIPC has provision for 4 throttle assignment and calibration. The assignments are usb capable

I currently use the facility on 1 Yoke and 1 USB saitek quadrants with no problems. I have other usb circuit boards for my (crude) cockpit setup and FSUIPC picks up the joystick facilities on those boards and offers an assignment, So I see no reason why two USB Saitek quadrants can't be used with FSUIPC. Perhaps try the free version of FSUIPC first.

My understanding of the need for a PS2 plug for the Saitek Yoke / Quadrant is simply cost. The quadrant uses the USB circuit board in the Yoke for processing. The quadrant supplied with the Yoke contains potentiometers only, no electronics at all.

Gordon

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I have had problems with Saitek throttles.  The throttles on the screen have been known to jump around with no input from the levers.  A shot of tuner/contact cleaner, available at most electronics stores, does the trick.  Not perfect, but cheap.

Jim Elder

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7 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

I did watch several YT videos on the Yoko and the clamping was identified as a problem.

There is an alternative clamp that will keep your yoke where it needs to be. The downside is it costs an extra £75 ()and if you are retro-fitting, you also have to pay FedEx shipping, which brings it to about £100). You can see more about the clamp in this video.

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9 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

found one post where the poster had connected one USB throttle quadrant which worked but when he connected a second it wasn’t recognised. You have to ask yourself why would Saitek make one connector PS/2 if a USB one would do the job.

If you can make a video showing each throttle quadrant plugged into the Saitek yoke hub and both recognised by Windows I’ll happily reconsider my decision.

Well as I've said before, the logic seems straightforward in that shipping the yoke with a USB quadrant requires an extra USB controller. When you sell thousands of units this is a significant saving.

Regarding connection, here is what I have understood through experiments. The USB quadrant is a standard HID. As such it has unique Product and Vendor ids. When you plug it into a USB controller, Windows (or the controller, I'm not sure) assigns it a further unique Instance id (or 'unit id'). This means that identical HIDs can be distinguished. This can cause problems, depending on the application software. In my experience, there are two kinds of problem.

The first problem is, some applications don't check the unit id and use the product name string to address a device. The Windows Control Panel Game Controller Settings dialog is a sort-of-example of this, as you cannot distinguish two identical devices (such as Saitek Quads) in the list of devices in any way other than their position. This is also a problem if you use Leo Bodnar BBI-32 boards. Same for FSX - you can't tell which is which because it just lists the names. BUT - in each case you can select the device uniquely and manipulate it. So, in Control Panel you can independently calibrate each quadrant. And in FSX you can independently program each quadrant (or BBI-32 controller. You just have to remember which is which by the position it appears in the list.

The second problem is that the unit id is not necessarily conserved when you unplug the device from the USB controller. This means that unplugging devices can cause your programming to be lost. FSX is notorious for being 'helpful' in assigning default mappings when it thinks you have plugged in a new device, which makes things even worse.

In my experience, this is only a problem for FSX (and I presume P3D) in the sense of the unplug/replug loss of identity. So if you don't unplug a device, it isn't a problem. My initial experiments with X-Plane 11 were less satisfactory. With BBI-32 boards, I think I found that you could program switches on multiple boards with apparent success, but when you came to operate the switches, only switches on the first board were detected. I am sure this is a shortcoming of X-Plane, because if you use SPAD.neXt you can successfully and reliably program multiple BBI-32 boards independently. (SPAD.neXt also works with FSX and P3D, of course.)

ANYWAY.

No promises, but I have two Saitek quads lying idle near to hand and so perhaps I will do a short experiment as you requested.

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4 hours ago, hovercrafter said:

Mr Proudfoot - FSUIPC has provision for 4 throttle assignment and calibration. The assignments are usb capable

I currently use the facility on 1 Yoke and 1 USB saitek quadrants with no problems. I have other usb circuit boards for my (crude) cockpit setup and FSUIPC picks up the joystick facilities on those boards and offers an assignment, So I see no reason why two USB Saitek quadrants can't be used with FSUIPC. Perhaps try the free version of FSUIPC first.

My understanding of the need for a PS2 plug for the Saitek Yoke / Quadrant is simply cost. The quadrant uses the USB circuit board in the Yoke for processing. The quadrant supplied with the Yoke contains potentiometers only, no electronics at all.

Gordon

Gordon, firstly I already assign all actions through FSUIPC, the paid version which is required for this.

Your scenario is different to mine and seemingly doesn't involve the Saitek yoke. I believe the reason Saitek use PS/2 is to tie the throttle quadrant to the yoke. If it fails you cannot buy another PS/2 throttle quadrant so are forced to buy another yoke. Not so much for cost but making the customer buy again.

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