10 years after its release, the X-52 doesn't require an introduction. We've all heard of them, most of us used it at some point and some of us still use it. Those of us who do use it still love it but, as all computer products, we curse them from time to time. Here is a list of, in my experience, most common problems and sollutions. I got this experience fixing several joysticks, both mine, and my friends', I am by no means a licenced repair technician. All of the procedures described below are performed at your own risk, some of them (I will clearly mark them) will void your waranty. So, we begin:
X-52 must be connected to USB 2.0 port. Connecting it to USB 3.0 will give you symptoms simillar to driver trouble. Always make shure your stick is connected to a 2.0 port before trying other troubleshooting.
They can be, as with all computer products, a pain in your neck. Classic symptoms of driver problems include:
1) Not being able to control your LED or MFD backlight intensity.
2) Multiple key presses being sent to game although you pressed the button only once.
3) Misspelled, illegable or in any other way, weird text on your MFD.
The latest drivers (which your windows update so kindly gets for you) will not work well in 80% of cases. The last stable drivers I was able to find are 184.108.40.206 and programing software version 220.127.116.11. You can get the drivers here ftp://ftp.saitek.com/pub/software/full/Saitek_X52_Flight_Controller_SD6_64.exe and SST software here ftp://ftp.saitek.com/pub/software/full/SST_Software_64_6_6_6_9.exe. Not so bad, you might say, I'll just get these drivers and everything will be smooth sailing. Well, think again.
Before doing anything, make shure you are logged in as administrator on your computer.
If this is a clean windows install, or your first time installing the X-52, it is a bit easier, here are your steps:
Clean install tutorial
1) Disconnect your internet and keep it disconnected untill the end of the tutorial. This is important, as you dont want windows update messing with your drivers.
2) Disconnect your X-52! This is crutial, you must not connect your X-52 untill the driver installation asks you to do so.
3) (this part is windows 7 specific as I imagine most of you have win7, it is probably similar for vista or win 8) Type change device installation settings in search bar of your start menu and click the first link. Select no, let me choose what to do and then never install driver software from windows update. This will prevent windows update from messing up your drivers in the future.
4) Start driver installation, follow instructions on screen, reboot after installation is complete.
5) After you make shure everything works, connect your internet and enjoy your flight.
If you already have a previous driver version installed, things get complicated. The following instructions include some steps that average computer users might find difficult. If you are feeling insecure, call your tech savy friend over to help you.
Install deleting the old drivers
1) Do steps 1-3 of the "clean install" procedure above.
2) Now open start menu and paste "gpedit.msc" in it. This will open group poliy editor. (click yes if you get UAC prompt, but you should have dissabled User Account Control long time ago, about the same time you installed your windows, google for instructions for disabling it as it is not a part of this tutorial)
3) Expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand System, expand Device Installation, and then click Device Installation Restrictions. In the right window, double-click Prevent installation of devices not described by other policy settings.
4) You will get a window looking like this
Click enabled (1) and then ok (2)
5) Now it is time to uninstall your old saitek drivers, right click my computer then select manage and then klick device manager. Expand Human interface devices right click all saitek x-52 entries and select uninstall. Then navigate to saitek magic bus under device manager and uninstall everything.
6) Now you removed the driver, and prevented installation of future drivers, so after the reboot you will boot into window without those pesky x-52 drivers reapearing (if you tried to remove them yourself, you know what I am talking about). But this is only half of work required. Now you need to delete the copy of drivers windows update has on your computer.
7) Now open your comand prompt by opening run (win plus r) and typing cmd.
8) In cmd type pnputil.exe -e You get a list of all the stored drivers. Now take a pen and a piece of paper. Scroll through the list and write down the published names of all the drivers that have saitek or mad catz (if you recently bought your saitek) listed as driver package provider. The names should look like oemXX.inf where XX is a number. Go through the list again and make shure you got them all. Do not close the cmd window.
9) In same cmd type pnputil.exe -d oemXX.inf for substituting xx for the number you wrote down in previous step. Repeat with all the numbers. If you get an error for a file saying Deleting the driver package failed: one or more devices are presently installed using the specified inf type pnputil.exe -f -d oemXX.inf for the file number that gave you the error.
11) Now that you are booted in, redo step 3 and in step 4 select not configured. Select ok and close all of the windows previously opened.
12) Go to "clean install" tutorial and do steps 4 and 5.
Computer hanging while using x-52 and teamspeak.
It happens to some people, it doesnt happen to others. But if you experience that your computer freezes over while using your x-52 with teamspeak running (especially if you connect or disconnect it while teamspeak is running), here are the sollutions:
Go to teamspeak settings, hotkeys and select direct input from the drop down menu. This works for the teamspeak 3 version 3.0.12 or lower!!! Teamspeak has removed this setting in newer versions and as of today (26.1.2014.) and version 18.104.22.168 have not fixed the issue or added the setting back.
If you are running a version later than 3.0.12, you can downgrade (my recomendation) or avoid plugging/unplugging your joystick with teamspeak running.
Cable between throttle and stick loosing connection
This one is straight forward really, if you experience loss of connection for certain buttons/axes or have jiggly controls that only apear when the cable is in one position or pulled to one side, just replace the cable. It is an ordinary male-to-male 6pin ps2 cable, you can get them at your computer store or online fairly cheaply ($4 on eBay).
Cracking sound and "skipping" feeling when using the stick
If you ever heard a weird cracking noise when moving your stick, or felt a little more resistance moving it, chances are you have dirt accumulated on the part of your stick between the base of the joystick and the pressure ring (on the bottom of your main spring) (parts marked red). Just tilt the stick to give you access and clean this area. As sticks grow older, this will happen more and more and you will have to clean it more and more often.
I will conclude part 1 of this tutorial with this video on how to increase the spring tension for the x-52, as many users complained about the spring being too soft. WARNING! The following procedure will void your waranty.
In part 2, we will deal with problems with the internal components of the joystick, cleaning the pots, adjusting the Hall effect sensors etc.. Stay tuned.
Vladimir Levkov AVSIM Reporter