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Guest TimK

ETC ProTrainer

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Folks,For those of you who may be interested, ETC has updated the web pages pertaining to thier ProTrainer product with additional screen shots and information. It seems as if there could be a commercial offering for the product as it looks like one could order just the software online from the website in the near future.http://www.flyprotrainer.com/Tim

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Is it me or, does it still read "ketchup" mode?Visions of PP99 advertisements dance in my head.......??????Pork

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>Is it me or, does it still read "ketchup" mode?>>Visions of PP99 advertisements dance in my head.......??????>>PorkI have the same thought in my head too.I have no problem puchasing it if I knew that this was just a "first attempt" into the flight sim market and knew that they would continue to bring it up to a level that either exceeded or at least put it on par with the "latest" in simulator visuals and functionality.My fear is they will not. How long have they had to play with the original from S****A (I still cannot bring myself to mention their name)? Also, this is what they are using with their Motion Platform. I would have expected to see much better at this point.However, the bottom line for me would be to purchase it, for the sake of nostalgia. I miss the days of new realeases and the excitement that led up to them. Sigh.

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For those that may have missed it, a demo is available fordownload at the pro trainer web site. It's 180mb in sizeand decompresses to about 500mb. Some features are disabled and the demo times out in 15day's unless it's authorized.It will run on a well spec'd system without the need forspecial hardware however, so if you've got a fast connectionit may be worth the download to see what ETC have been up to.Tim C

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I love it. This is better than a roll call! Finally, something about our favorite flight simulator. About the only thing that needed to be added to PP2K Alpha was photo realistic roads for VFR pilots. Remember that PP99 and then 2K were the first flight sims with 3D elevation rendering. MSFS had to play catch up on that feature. The flight dynamics and handling of the simulated aircraft on our favorite sim were still the best on the market and appear to STILL be so today as well.I am leaving town on business tomorrow and will be away from my cable modem connection for at least a week. I will keep watch on this forum while I am away and will probably download the ETC demo when I return home.Thanks Tim for pulling this old message out of moth balls and updating the information.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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This is great news, Tim. Thanks very much.Can't wait to try the demo, and shall get it even if it takes a month of downloads.Best regards.Luis

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I guess it helps to have a 605 kbps connection. Here's a "quick" review before my football game starts. Go Huskers ! They aren't even on TV today. I'm listening to their home radio on the Internet.There was our old familiar C172, on a runway at Salt Lake City, with "weather". While I was "looking around", raindrops started hitting the windshiled. The graphics were ok, but the outside didn't look "significantly better". The interior screens look nicer than what I remember, and have a nice little plane outline in the upper corner that shows your field of view in green. Reminds of F16 Falcon views from 10 years ago.I don't have as much graphics card as called for in the specs (Nvidia GeForce2 MX 400 32mb), but the graphics "played". ETC says:"MONITOR/ CARD SUPPORT:SVGA, 1024 x 768 @True color, nVidia GeForce graphics card or equivalentFor best performance any graphics board used should have the following statistics and functions:64MB VRAM, W-Buffer support, Microsoft DirectX

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There is no incentive for eye candy since they are interested in selling the PCATC hardware, which is where the real money is to be spent. Notice that they will also sell you a computer from their web site. They can make a few bucks there too.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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Well, this is a disappointment! No point in getting it if I cannot use it with my joystick (that has just died anyway! Lesson learned: do not buy Logitech!)Thanks for the review, Dan. We shall just have to stick with Flight Simulator, if it ever works right.Best regards.Luis

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Luis,The flight models in PP99 with all the patches in place are still the best I have seen and it runs on a 200 MHz MMX CPU computer. I run mine on a 450 MHz AMD CPU with a Voodoo 5 and get frame rates in the 25-30 range.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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Just to clarify a few points in Dan's post, theplanes in the demo are started by calling up a seperate screen from the cockpit view and utilizingthe mouse. Very similar to PP99.Like Dan, I was unable to get my yoke/pedals workingbut a joystick works just fine. I tried a microsoftsidewinder and all switches, axis, etc. were fullyfunctional. I've only spent about 15 minutes so far with the demoso I'm going to reserve further comments until later.Happy downloading.Tim C

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Good news, Tim. Thanks!As far as I can tell, Jerry, the ProPilot flight models are still better than the competition. Of course, I have never flown a Citation Jet, nor even been inside of one.Best regards.Luis

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"Lesson learned: do not buy Logitech!"I've had a series of Logitech keyboards, trackballs, and mice, and have always been happy with them.My joystick, however, is a Saitek CYBORG 3D Gold, and I love it! :-)I also have a Saitek wireless gamepad (never used), and I'm quite impressed by Saitek's quality overall.[table][tr][td valign=top]http://www.avsim.com/other/usaribbon.gif[/td][td valign=center]Bob "FlyBert" StilesAVSIM Moderator[/b][/td][/tr][/table]"Don't stall on me, I have to soar!"~Richard Harvey, 1/21/2003

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My cheap Logitech WingMan works fine with ProTrainer.I am getting around 26 fps with a "low-midrange" system, with fluid flight and fluid instumentation. Nice weather and cloud effects, and in all the ground textures are very good. But frankly I am not impressed with thier "marketing" and lack of communication. I have emailed them a few times about pricing and content with no response.Also, there is no mechanism to authorize and purchase the software online as they advertise that there is on the web site . The demo is only good for 15 days but the website states 30.My 2 cents

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I feel like some kind of yoyo, the kid's toy, not the other kind. Up and down, up and down. First, I want the Pro Trainer, then Dan says it won't work with his setup, so I don't want it anymore. Then, Tim says it works great with his joystick and I want it again. Now other Tim says his Logitech joystick works fine, but the demo is only good for 15 days. All right, I give up. No major download for me. No point in spending a month getting the demo if it only lasts for 2 weeks. I shall remember ProPilot with great fondness, and best of luck to Pro Trainer.On to Logitech. I have the Wingman Force 3D and only got it because it is the only joystick out there that does not look like some teenager's sci-fi fantasy. It looks like a real (military) joystick. But, the little spring inside that controls the rudder movement got bent and fell off, so I had to take the whole thing apart to fix it, and not very well at that. (By the way, I am a very sedate pilot. No aerobatics for me. So, how did this spring get ruined? What does this say about quality?) And now the axis movement will not work when moving towards the left, so all aircraft do continuous right-hand turns. Not very amusing when taxiing or taking off on the runway.Bob, and anybody else, I would be very interested in opinions concerning joysticks. I have had a bad experience with this Logitech, and have only read bad things about them. Saitek, on the other hand, seems to impress people with its quality.I seem to remember that Joe has a Saitek, and now you, Bob, say it is very good. I was thinking of getting the Force Feedback model (Rumble 3D), but am open to any suggestions and comments. Many thanks.Best regards.Luis

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Luis,After years of wanting to try force feedback, some time back I bought a Saitek force-feedback joystick. It looks a lot like the Cyborg Rumble at the Saitek website, but not quite. I think it is called the Cyborg Force, something like that, and the one difference I notice between the old version and the new is the centering spring on the Rumble. Mine doesn't have that, and it's one of my complaints about it. The other complaint? Would you like to hear how much I dislike force feedback? :-)I never tried the thing in a flightsim, but in a racing sim the last thing I need is a joystick that's trying to destroy my control... fairly rip itself out of my hands. Maybe I needed to mess about more with force settings, but I decided right away that I like joysticks that don't fight you in any way. Tom Wunder, my co-moderator in Racing Fools, warned me before I bought it that I probably wouldn't like it, based on his own similar experience. And speaking of Tom, he bought Saitek's X-45 Flight Stick (with separate throttle), but doesn't like it. Neither one of us has noticed any quality problems with Saitek, just a couple of products that dissatisfied us for personal reasons.One of my personal favorite features of the Cyborg Gold is the base...

I do not plant the thing on a desk or table, I hold the base in my left hand, pressing it against my belly, and that rounded inboard edge really helps! :-) The thing is quite adjustable... you can set it for right or left hand, that head tilts right or left and fore or aft, and the throttle can be set at either side. It also has Z-axis control, wonderful for rudder for those of use who don't use pedals.The first (and only other) joystick I bought for a PC is CH Products F-16 Combatstick. It looks quite like a true military stick...

...but I don't care much for that hard-to-access throttle, it has no Z-axis control, and that square base hurts my tummy. ;-) But it is a quality stick.Oh my... in visiting CH's website, lookee what I found! :-hah

For twin engines, no less! And they make one for four engines, too.Bottom line, I highly recommend the Cyborg Gold 3D.[table][tr][td valign=top]http://www.avsim.com/other/usaribbon.gif[/td][td valign=center]Bob "FlyBert" StilesAVSIM Moderator[/b][/td][/tr][/table]"Don't stall on me, I have to soar!"~Richard Harvey, 1/21/2003

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Well I guess it is time for me to add my TWO CENTS to this thread again. I picked the Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Pro without the force feedback. Why? It has rudder built into it by twisting the handle left or right. Other than that, it works great and has one 8-way coolie hat switch at the top for view selection. There are two buttons up there for elevator trim. The throttle is a wheel in the base. Four buttons for flaps up/down and landing gear up/down are on the base also. When I bought it a few years ago, it was around $75. They are still available on the web. And the nice part, they will work on the traditional game port or a USB port. I use mine on the traditional 15-pin game port.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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Sorry I'm a little late getting to this thread.My first joystick, which I still use, is something like Jerry's, but a MS Sidewinder 3D Pro, game port only. Although I can use my CH gameport yoke and pedals with DOS-only games, such as Terminal Velocity and Jetfighter III, I prefer to use the 3D Pro. For FS 5.1 (DOS), I still like the CH items.My second joystick is a Logitech Wingman Extreme Digital 3D, and works on a game port or USB. I've only used it with USB. My initial reason for buying this was when I installed PP99 on my wife's 600 mHz laptop, there's no game port on the laptop, so I needed something USB. It of course has no Voodoo card so no nice video, but it is faster than my 200mHz PC (but I do agree with Jerry - PP99 works just fine on a 200 mHz PC with a Voodoo 2 - that's when I use my CH items). The main reason I use PP99 on the laptop is less bootup time and less hardware hassle when doing a quick test flight, or some IFR practice. I also have PP99 on an 800 mHz PC, also with a Voodoo 2, but the CH items won't work correctly with the on-motherboard game port - it's "too slow", according to the CH software utility. Therefore, here again I use the Logitech stick. The PC's can connect to a projector, so I do get a nice big display. I also can connect the sound to a 200-watt amp that connects to 2 15" woofers and with tweet-tweeters. Maybe a little overkill, but a nice enveloping experience.One bad thing / good thing about the Logitech - it took about 3 years to start acting squirrelly - about 2 months ago, the rudder became completely uncontrollable. I successfully took the entire stick apart (took about 30 minutes), and managed to get it back together. I then discovered all I really needed to do was take the stick halves apart, but I thought the rudder sensor was in the base. Well, the potentiometer was held together by 4 little plastic posts slightly melted at their tips, so I just abandoned it for awhile. Logitech said the parts were unavailable, which I don't really believe. Of course, the pot came with 3 wires attached in a rather un-removeable fashion, with a connector on the other end, so just rewiring the pot would be a fun task. Well, I did a search on this rudder problem, and it turns out it is quite a widespread problem. The good news is, if you either give the pot a good spray of contact cleaner, or, as I did, cut off the tips of those 4 posts and just open it up and wipe the contacts clean with alcohol (rubbing, though Wild Turkey would proably work just as well), and superglue it back together, it works good as new -- at least it has for 3 weeks now. The circular contact area in the pot is not bare metal - some kind of carbon material that gets worn into a fine powder, and I suppose acts like a conductor across the whole item, thereby giving the erratic input. BTW, the rudder never has centered exactly in the calibration routine - it's always a little to the right.Below is a rather humorous description of disassembly and reassembly of the stick by a Capt Pepe LePeu - I found this, after much wandering around at http://www.wingmanteam.com/discus/ :http://www.wings-of-valor.net/files/docume...17_stickfix.pdfBTW Luis, the rudder spring in mine is quite stiff, and probably won't ever break - apparently not the same kind as your Force 3D. You could try eBay for a Force 3D stick and if it doesn't electronically work as good as yours, you could try and transplant the spring. Or just skip all that and get a Saitek.Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave. I have been trying to figure out how to open the stick and was having much difficulty. Or rather, taking the stick apart is easy, but the base was beyond my comprehension.Those instructions by the Captain make it all seem easy, but I have not found out how to remove the plastic ring covering the throttle. The darn thing just will not lift up. And if I remove the screws from the bottom of the base, the two halves of the base will not come apart, as if something is holding them together.I hate to throw anything away without at least attempting to fix it, but this is maddening.Anyway, my new Saitek joystick arrived last week and seems to be more rugged than the Logitech. That centering spring that Bob mentions gives a very solid feel, but unfortunately, it deadens much of the Force Feedback. Now, if only I could take apart the Saitek joystick and remove the spring...Best regards.Luis

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You're quite welcome - Hmmm... well, even though the instructions are not for the Force 3D, since the two models are very similar I figured the instructions should be also, including the paper clips, the M&M's, and the grease on the pants. Apparently there is something a little different. But the rudder spring in mine is not in the base - do you really need to get into the base ? On my base there are 5 rubber pads, but only 4 of them have a recessed hole where the screws are. The 5th screw is in a separate recessed hole. That circular plate does not easily remove - you just have to carefully pry it off, if I recall. On mine, those little allen screws heads sure look real, but they're just decorative.Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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Many, many thanks again, Dave. I exerted some lethal force using a pair of scissors and was able to remove the ring covering the throttle. Almost magically, the base then came apart quite easily.Undoubtedly, I have not been very clear in my description.My first problem with the joystick was the little spring in the handle (it is 1/4 inch in length and 1/8th of an inch in diameter) that fixes the rudder potentiometer to the inside of the handle. For some reason, this spring bent and fell off inside the handle, thereby eliminating rudder movement. I opened the handle, straightened the spring, and placed it back where it belonged.(But, for the life of me, I have not been able to figure out how to properly place that bigger spring - or rather, piece of springy wire - that encircles the white shaft and ensures that the rudder centers. No matter how I place it, it is not right. If you have any suggestions, I would be very grateful.)My second problem with the joystick is that the pot controlling horizontal (aileron) movement will not go towards the left! The joystick only goes right, leading to some very spectacular crashes into hangars, trees, and other ground objects.By taking apart the base, I hope to clean and/or lubrify the pot and fix this.Leaving me with two joysticks. Perhaps I shall give the Logitech to the adolescent son of a good friend - except that his dad has punished him for bad grades. No computer or television! We had more stringent punishments in my day, none of this "no GameBoy for you" wimp business.Thanks again.Best regards.Luis

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Thanks for catching that one, Jerry. I am up at dawn, and the first thing that I do is check to see if any of the peafowl are out wandering on the farm instead of being here inside the house fence. http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/98943.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/98944.jpgThen, I feed all the animals, change their water, and check my mail and the forum. All before my first cup of coffee. So, it is not surprising that I was not completely awake.This is the price to pay for speaking other languages. In the Romance languages, this would be a more common form, whilst in your Germanic tongue, the Latin root would have a different ending. This happens to me all the time. Once, I was taking a French test (a long time ago in my youth) and, being nervous, answered an oral question in German! Quite surprising.Best regards.Luis

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