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Ray Proudfoot

Viable alternative to expensive throttle quadrants?

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43 minutes ago, MarkW said:

Why the hate for plastics.  As someone who has worked in the plastics industry for 30+ years I have to say its getting a bad rap.  The issue is not necessarily plastics but perhaps the selection of the plastic.  All car door handles are plastic (glass filled nylon) and are as strong or stronger than steel.  They also have a "heavy" feel.  Just saying that plastics can make a very solid, strong and reliable product as a good price point!

 

I don't recall using the word hate. I am using the VirtualFly TQ6 as my comparison unit. It is mainly made out of metal and exudes quality. For anything costing upwards of 600UKP I have no way of knowing the quality of plastic used. I accept it can be stronger than metal but nothing is mentioned in the website blurb. Getting to handle one at Cosford in October will help.

42 minutes ago, zmak said:

Ray I did a double take when I came across the cost as well but there is a little decimal point in front of that 50 which makes them very cheap . Somebody mentioned if Tony offered hall sensors as an addon along with the paint :))  that it would be a good option

I missed that so youre right. 50 cents versus $15. Even if it added $50 to the overall price it would make it so much easier for me to seriously consider it. As you say, an option would be good. VirtualFly are now using HE sensors. They appear to be listening to their customers.


Ray (Cheshire, England).
System: P3D v5.2 & v3.4, Intel i7-8086K o/c to 5.2Ghz, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti 11Gb, Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD, 1Tb Samsung 860 EVO SSD, Asus Prime Z370-A mobo, 32Gb G.Skill DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, Win 10 Pro 64-bit, BenQ PD3200U 32” monitor, Fulcrum One yoke.
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I am having difficulty replying to a specific post. It seems that I always have to go to the last post in order to reply. So here's my reply based on various comments:

 

1. Standard pots start at a cost of  $.50, that's 50 cents, not 50 dollars.
2. Hall sensor pots start at a cost of $15.00 and up.
3. Hall sensor pots  are the preferred product to use if you can afford them..
4. We are developing quadrants fitted with Hall Pot sensors.
5. the reasons why I entered this conversation is to point out the various compromises and challenges facing a small hardware developer-- not excuses for not wanting to do something that customers want. I fully respect the wants and needs of customers, and their right to choose what they want in a quadrant.
6 . we must not forget that quadrants and joysticks that ran and run on standard pots have provided simmers with years and years of enjoyment when otherwise it would have been either too expensive or back to the keyboard.
7. As a builder and a flight simmers, I could have gone to Hall sensors a long time ago, but I didn't bother, since I am perfectly happy with my  current quadrant running on standard pots. I've had mine for over 5 years, and still no issues.This does not necessarily mean that pots are better than hall sensors. It's based on personal experience and laziness.

8. When I first started making quadrants, painting was the biggest cost factor. It required special jigs, techniques, tools, etc to get things right and many hours of "waiting" until paint dries. My thinking was, if painting is not important to a customer, I can save them money and it will make me happy, too. If it's important, I can paint it. Either way, the customer comes out ahead.

9. Based on some comments, I find that sometimes  a customer would rather not have so many choices. I get it, and so all quadrants will come out painted from now on.

10.Why not make my own hall sensors? Making a one off is relatively simple. Making hundreds that are exactly the same is a real challenge. It's possible, but at $15, a commercial pot will provide the customer the guarantee that it can be replaced easily should I decide to milk cows instead of making quadrants. I am always aware that what works for me in the shop, may not necessarily be ok 6 months from now in the hands of a customer.

11.Quick availability for certain hall sensors is not good. For example, the ideal hall sensor pot should turn 60 degrees. This means that with little gearing, or no gearing at all, it can output the full 0-5 volts. Remember that almost all regular pots have to rotate 270 degrees for the full 0-5 volts. If you look at what is stocked, 60 degree hall sensors are not as easily stocked as 180 degrees ones. We chose to go with the 180 degree ones, and for this we needed new gearing and more depth of the quadrant case, since hall sensor pots are bigger than standard pots. It may not seem much, but that's the curse of manufacturing. You have to decide how a small change   will impact your manufacturing costs and current customers, because now the hall sensors are not simply a plug and play replacement for standard pots. 

12. Someone mentioned the "generic" contact form on my website.... Well, I am a private person and don't want the whole world to know where I live and what my phone number is. However, anyone who has used the "generic' form, will immediately receive a personal note in which they find out who I am, where I am , and how I can service them. My reply time is minutes--never hours or days when it comes to questions. This hobby is like a small club, and reputation goes a long way. I know that trying one's best gets recognized and respected, even when something doesn't go right. Besides, as everyone here knows, fraudulent operators get discovered quickly in our hobby.

13. Plastic is a great product. The problem is that levers are mostly flat and much thicker than 1/4". So as I pointed out, if one wants almost zero lateral flexing, metal is the best bet, unless the plastic lever is designed like a wing.  I am sure that people are referring to current plastic quadrants that are on the market. I worked in carbon, so if carbon were not so darned difficult to work with, one gets light weight and ultimate rigidity. Both the Saitek and the Ch quadrant levers had to be intentionally short in order to reduce the lateral flexing.

14. As 3d printing becomes faster, it will solve many cost vs performance issues. My experience with 3d printing is that it's ok to make a part for prototyping, but not for production. It's just too slow.

All of these observations, by the way, are not meant to argue the points and comments that various folks here have correctly made. I aimed to provide perspective on the business of making quadrants.

This is my last post on this subject. I thank those of you who have provided me with helpful observations. Now I need to go in the shop and make quadrants.

tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

I don't recall using the word hate. I am using the VirtualFly TQ6 as my comparison unit. It is mainly made out of metal and exudes quality. For anything costing upwards of 600UKP I have no way of knowing the quality of plastic used. I accept it can be stronger than metal but nothing is mentioned in the website blurb. Getting to handle one at Cosford in October will help.

 

You didn't Ray and the comment was not pointed at you specifically, just that most people comment and perceive plastics as somehow inferior. In terms of fitness for use, a home flight sim, plastics are a very good option.  Most of the products out there are using ABS which is perfectly suitable for the application (used in most car interiors, small appliances, etc.).

  • Upvote 1

Mark W   CYYZ      

My Simhttps://goo.gl/photos/oic45LSoaHKEgU8E9

My Concorde Tutorial Videos available here:  https://www.youtube.com/user/UPS1000
 

 

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I can tell you whats good plastic. The Microsoft force feed back stick sitting next to me. Bought it second hand, 20 years old and rock solid built like a tank ! and still plenty for sale on ebay.


ZORAN

 

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Hi Ray,

I have two solutions for your very understandable problem. The throttle box is probably the most straightforward solution, but I recommend buying these throttle handles: https://www.cockpitsimparts.co.uk/saitek-levers-pro-edition-/65-saitek-throttle-lever-eng-1-white.html

They have working TO/GA, A/T Disengage, and reversers. All you need to do is hook them up to an interface card. I recommend one from Leo Bodnar.

Both of these manufacturers are extremely good - I use CSP to buy panels for my home cockpit and Leo Bodnar for my interface cards. The other option is DIY. Potentiometer + Wood + Interface card = Homemade throttle quadrant.If this is well designed and well made, then you can be left with a very realistic throttle quadrant like this https://ibb.co/vHkj9bL. However it is complicated and fustrating (I tried and gave up, have now resorted to buying a £600 one.)

Hope this helps,

Will.


William Sandford

Check out SwitchNowUnicom on Twitch!

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Hi Will,

Thanks for the suggestion. The Saitek box was a short-term solution only - probably until October's show at Cosford - so I don't feel inclined to spend too much on the throttles until then.

Although from a different supplier I was put off buying these Saitek-style levers due to a poor review of one make here. https://www.mutleyshangar.com/reviews/bc/lever/lever.htm

You had to make irreversible changes to the levers which put me off completely. I'm sure the ones you suggest won' t have the same problem but I will be flying Concorde when a 64-bit one is out and the 777 throttle can be configured to handle 4 engines.

I'm useless at DIY so your second option is out I'm afraid. I'm hoping the FlightSimPM 777 will be suitable for me. https://www.flightsimpm.com/web-store/Boeing-777-Throttle-p76915817

Being able to handle one and judge its quality is extremely important when spending so much. But for nearly 1000GBP I really do feel Hall-effect sensors should be standard. I don't care how fancy the potentiometers they use are. They will always wear out.


Ray (Cheshire, England).
System: P3D v5.2 & v3.4, Intel i7-8086K o/c to 5.2Ghz, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti 11Gb, Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD, 1Tb Samsung 860 EVO SSD, Asus Prime Z370-A mobo, 32Gb G.Skill DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, Win 10 Pro 64-bit, BenQ PD3200U 32” monitor, Fulcrum One yoke.
Cheadle Hulme Weather

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Yes. That review does look a bit worrying! FlightSimPM is actually the company I plan to buy my TQ from. I have seen YouTube videos about his product, and they are definitely hand made. That could go 2 ways - it could be very badly made, or he could have put so much time into it that it is actually much better. However, in the pictures they look immaculate. In my opinion: I would buy it. Your Hall-effect sensor idea is a very good one! You don't mind if I borrow it? :laugh:

Also, enjoy Cosford later this year. I'd love to go, but probably won't be able to! Some time...

Will.


William Sandford

Check out SwitchNowUnicom on Twitch!

X-Plane 11i5-7300HQ @ 2.5GHz Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 2560x1440

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Hi Will,

Apparently their quadrants sell very well at Cosford so that bodes well. I can also try the 737 as well as the others. That is so much better than the best YT videos. Plastic seems unavoidable these days although VirtualFly's TQ6 is mainly metal and top quality. But having asked them if you would consider bringing out a 7x7 style quadrant they declined citing production costs.

But even the TQ6 is not perfect. The angle of the levers at idle needs to be around 45 degrees to emulate real world quadrants. That's what appeals about the FlightSimPM one. And the £25 box to hold mine will also position them correctly.

Feel free to use my HE sensor line. 👍


Ray (Cheshire, England).
System: P3D v5.2 & v3.4, Intel i7-8086K o/c to 5.2Ghz, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti 11Gb, Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD, 1Tb Samsung 860 EVO SSD, Asus Prime Z370-A mobo, 32Gb G.Skill DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, Win 10 Pro 64-bit, BenQ PD3200U 32” monitor, Fulcrum One yoke.
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Ok. Good luck finding a solution!

Will

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William Sandford

Check out SwitchNowUnicom on Twitch!

X-Plane 11i5-7300HQ @ 2.5GHz Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 2560x1440

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Hi Ray.

Just to add my 2.2 cents worth (GST inc)

I have recently purchased the Throttletek B737 TQ and the A320m TB. Both products work very well.

The 737 TQ is basic but has the needed components - non motorised and no trim wheels but that didnt bother me. The A320 TB works a treat.

And the maker (Roberto) has excellent customer contact and is quick with help and responses.


Rob Grant
Compass Airlines - Stretch Your Wings Australia
 

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Thanks for starting this thread Ray.  Without it I would have never been led to FSXThrottle's site.  I just sent a contact form to Tony and looking forward to a reply from him.  I am planning on a road-trip in the PNW; Destination Oregon later this summer, who knows, if timing and customization works out I may be driving one of Tony's creations home.  Hopefully one with hall sensors.


\Robert Hamlich/

 

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14 hours ago, Porthos said:

Hi Ray.

Just to add my 2.2 cents worth (GST inc)

I have recently purchased the Throttletek B737 TQ and the A320m TB. Both products work very well.

The 737 TQ is basic but has the needed components - non motorised and no trim wheels but that didnt bother me. The A320 TB works a treat.

And the maker (Roberto) has excellent customer contact and is quick with help and responses.

Rob, I keep thinking if these quadrants are worth the money. Paying close to 800GBP is a hell of a lot of money when you don't have a proper home cockpit. I can understand spending it if you do but mine is just two desktop PCs with a 32" UHD monitor and a 27" monitor on the other PC running LittleNavmap, Electronic Flight Bag and Radar Contact.

I know the Saitek quadrants and cheap, cheeful and not particularly long-lasting or accurate but a pair costs only 120GBP. If they last 5 years that would mean they would only become more expensive than a Throttletek after 35 years and I ain't going to be around then.

What also grates with these expensive quadrants is they're still using pots, not Hall-effect sensors and for the price asked that really grates with me. Hard to form an opinion until I get to handle one in October so for now I'm sticking with my Saiteks.

2 hours ago, HUSSAR said:

Thanks for starting this thread Ray.  Without it I would have never been led to FSXThrottle's site.  I just sent a contact form to Tony and looking forward to a reply from him.  I am planning on a road-trip in the PNW; Destination Oregon later this summer, who knows, if timing and customization works out I may be driving one of Tony's creations home.  Hopefully one with hall sensors.

Robert, good luck with your trip. Having the opportunity to get a feel for the quadrant is paramount given the cost. Hall-effect sensors should be mandatory for this standard of kit.


Ray (Cheshire, England).
System: P3D v5.2 & v3.4, Intel i7-8086K o/c to 5.2Ghz, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti 11Gb, Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD, 1Tb Samsung 860 EVO SSD, Asus Prime Z370-A mobo, 32Gb G.Skill DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, Win 10 Pro 64-bit, BenQ PD3200U 32” monitor, Fulcrum One yoke.
Cheadle Hulme Weather

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I just now stumbled across this thread, but I can throw in my 2 cents (USD)

I was searching for a 737-esque setup and found myself in the same price predicament. I like my sim time, but I cannot justify spending more than a few hundred dollars for any single purchase. 

I bought the Cockpit phD levers and "box" for my saitek quadrants. They saw about 15 minutes of use and were then discarded due to lack of quality. 

After much searching, I finally settled on the FSXThrottles ProTek. I was initially put off by all of the additional charges (painting, etc) thinking it was just a way of marking up the price for things that should have been included anyways. But I went ahead and purchased it. Tony even accommodated my additional painting requests at no additional charge. Any time I reached out to him, there was a prompt response. 

When the unit arrived, I had some small issues getting it to work, but again Tony was helpful and I blame it on other drivers interfering with the controller. I use Spad.next and FSUIPC, so setup was tedious but well worth it when finished. Although I was somewhat apprehensive at first about whether or not it would be a sturdy product, it didn't take long to fall in love with it.

Ray, I understand the hesitation of buying something without being able to put hands on it, and I hope you are able to find something that suits our needs. For anyone who is hesitant to consider Tony's products, I just wanted to add that I am a happy customer who was equally hesitant to begin with, but am glad I took the chance.

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It's been a while since I last posted and in the meantime I have been trying a FlightSimPM Logitech throttle box given to me by a friend who no longer uses it. It's basic but because it holds the throttle quadrants at a better angle all four throttle levers can be advanced and retarded much easier than the Logitech when mounted on a desk.

But the box is not suitable for desk mounting. The throttles are too high and even though I'm tall I can't see the position of the throttles when they are well advanced. I've placed it on a cardboard box on the floor and this is a much better position with the unit 43cm off the floor. Very close to the position of throttles in a real aircraft.

But the Saitek / Logitech units are cheap and cheerful and I want something better. The only 737 throttle quadrant that comes with a stand is the FlightSimPM 737 quadrant now updated to v2.4. This is very appealing for several reasons:-

  • Looks a quality unit
  • Plenty of reviews from happy customers
  • The original design has been revised showing the designer listens to his customers and also shows a real enthusiasm to refine the product.
  • They produce lots of other hardware so appear to be a successful and well run company.

They will be attending RAF Cosford flight sim show in October and I should be able to handle the hardware which is important to me. My search may be coming to an end. :smile:👍


Ray (Cheshire, England).
System: P3D v5.2 & v3.4, Intel i7-8086K o/c to 5.2Ghz, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti 11Gb, Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD, 1Tb Samsung 860 EVO SSD, Asus Prime Z370-A mobo, 32Gb G.Skill DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, Win 10 Pro 64-bit, BenQ PD3200U 32” monitor, Fulcrum One yoke.
Cheadle Hulme Weather

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