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    TM Cougar sealed magnetoresistive/ hall sensor kits

    Hey guys,

    After some time the analog pots of my very nice Thrustmaster Cougar started putting out erratic values and were spiking all over the place. These pots seem really cheap and even if there were still replacement parts from TM available, in my eyes it would not make much sense to replace them with the same low quality parts.

    I have been tinkering with my idea of contactless sensors for the Cougar now for around a year and I think I am finally satisfied with what I got. These sensors are plug and play, fully sealed, make use of a ball bearing on the axle and use a N52 neodymium magnet for contactless angular measurement. The PCBs are only 14 x 20 mm (0.55 x 0.78 in) and were quite the hassle to make all the necessary ICs and SMD parts fit in. The housing is a two part SLS 3D print from Shapeways, which is a very tough material. I use it for all sorts of mechanical parts.

    (Here you can find development pictures: http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.ph...er#Post4419858)

    These sensors in reality are not hall sensors, but instead use next gen magnetoresistive sensors which are heavily used in the automotive industry and have basically replaced hall sensors there. The main advantages are higher sensitivity and actual angular measurement instead of only measuring the magnetic flux (as hall sensors do).

    The same type of sensor is used eg in Baur BRD devices in form of MagRez or RAMS. These devices are known for their amazing precision and I wanted to make use of the same sensor in the Cougar.

    Installation is as easy as stick it in, screw it tight, plug it in and done. You can calibrate them as you normally would via the Hotas Cougar Control Panel and the whole thing stays fully TARGET compatible as well.

    Now enough talk, here are some pictures.





    Because the question comes up a lot, you can invert every axis of the Cougar in the first tab of the Cougar Control Panel (CCP) software.
    Spoiler:

    If you are interested or want to ask questions please contact mtwsims@tutamail.com. No PMs please!
    Payment via PayPal or SEPA, but for PayPal I would have to add the fees on top.

    All sensors are designed, assembled & hand soldered by me. Every single sensor is then checked manually and calibrated by hand. I can proudly say it is 100% Made in Germany.

    Price: 42€ (set of two sensors) + 7€ tracked & insured international shipping (from experience shipping within Europe is around 1-4 days and to the US 10 days)


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    TM Cougar Throttle standalone USB adapter + digital contacless 14 Bit GMR sensor

    I also have made a USB standalone adapter for the Cougar with a high res 14 Bit GMR TLE5011 digital sensor on the Throttle axis. This one is similar to the TUSBA, but half the price and with an added extension bay that supports extra shift registers, encoders, buttons, analog and digital axis. You can buy the USB standalone adapter without the new digital sensor and simply keep using the original pot. However you can not use the digital sensor without the USB adapter, as it communicates via a digital 6 pin serial protocol. I have been selling these on the german Craigslist/ ebay since April 2018 and people were really enthusiastic about their performance. Click here for a more extensive description. (link translated with google)

    Price is 30€ for the adapter and 20€ for the sensor + 7€ tracked & insured international shipping (obviously not necessary if combined with the sensor kit above)





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    TM Cougar Throttle hall sensor kit

    I can now also offer a simpler Hall effect sensor kit for the Throttle. It consists of an Allegro 1324 hall sensor + cable and a 3D printed casing + N52 magnet. It is plug and play for the Throttle unit without my USB standalone adapter and similiar to older hall sensor kits for the Cougar. The difference is it requires no fancy mounts and is fixed in the correct position in two out of three axis for more precision. The third axis is dependent on magnet strength and can be hardware and or software calibrated. By hardware calibration I mean depth of insertion into the 3D printed case, nothing to it really.

    The mod is only compatible with the 5V mainboard version as is! The solution to this problem is a little voltage conversion board that is 3€ extra. The 5V and 3.8V versions differ in a resistor on the VCC line. Here you can check which version of the Throttle mainboard you have: https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php...&postcount=130

    Price is 22€ + 7€ tracked & insured international shipping





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    CH Pro Throttle, CH Fighterstick, CH Combatstick, CH Pro Pedals etc. magnetoresistive sensors

    The cool thing about these MR sensors is that they are a drop in replacement for the standard CH pots, but contrary to these they work contactlessly. That means you can simply connect these sensors to your CH mainboard and done. You will never have to worry about deteriorating or dirty pots again. The CH Control Manager recognizes this sensor normally and you can calibrate it within the software.


    Important installation instruction:
    Spoiler:
    The pins of the sensor are labled with VCC, OUT and GND. You need to make sure to connect the voltage supply only to VCC, otherwise you may grill the very sensitive opamp in the circuit.

    wire axis code overview:
    green = GND
    blue = VCC
    brown = X out
    black = Y out
    yellow = Z out

    Price is 22€ + 7€ tracked & insured international shipping





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    24 Bit shift registers for Cougar USB standalone, Thrustmaster gear, MMJoy2

    These are compatible to the Thrustmaster hardware, to MMJoy2 and to my Cougar USB standalone adapter. The dimensions are 20 mm x 50 mm (0.79 in x 1.97 in), so they are very small and fit basically in everywhere. The pins are spaced in standard 2,54 mm (0.1 in) to fit normal header pins (see picture 2). I offer them either with or without header pins.

    The shift register is 24 Bit, so it has 24 inputs that you can connect buttons to. It can also be daisy chained, so you can put several shift register boards in series. Eg MMJoy2 supports 12 shift registers in series. So if you daisy chain 4 of my 24 Bit shift register boards, you have a total of 96 button inputs with just 2 pins used. If this isnt pretty damn cool I dont know what is.

    Price is 10€ + 7€ tracked & insured international shipping





    If you are interested or want to ask questions please contact mtwsims@tutamail.com. No PMs please!
    Payment via PayPal or SEPA, but for PayPal I would have to add the fees on top.

    All sensors are designed, assembled & hand soldered by me. Every single sensor is then checked manually and calibrated by hand. I can proudly say it is 100% Made in Germany.
    Last edited by rel4y; 10-02-2020, 08:39 PM.
    Cougar, CH and Saitek PnP hall sensor kits + shift registers: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220916

    Shapeways store for DIY flight simming equipment and repair: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/rel4...flight-simming

    #2
    Great development. Unfortunately I sold mine. But I have great respect for people like you helping others with cool things like this. Great.
    Intel Core i7 4790K, Asus Z-97 Pro Gamer, 32 GB G.Skill Trident X DDR3-2400, Asus GTX 1080Ti ROG Strix OC, Windows 10 64bit Home Premium, TrackIR 5 with TrackClip: Pro!, Hotas Warthog with 7cm extension and Analog Slew Mod, Cougar MFDs with 8" displays, Saitek Rudder Pedals

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by xoxen View Post
      Great development. Unfortunately I sold mine. But I have great respect for people like you helping others with cool things like this. Great.

      Thank you for the kind words xoxen!
      Cougar, CH and Saitek PnP hall sensor kits + shift registers: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220916

      Shapeways store for DIY flight simming equipment and repair: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/rel4...flight-simming

      Comment


        #4
        Rel4y

        Great work!

        An "PnP" potentiometer replacement.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Sokol1_br View Post
          Rel4y

          Great work!

          An "PnP" potentiometer replacement.

          Thank you Sokol. And also thanks for all the great help I got from you in the past! Your posts basically inspired me to make these things in the first place!
          Cougar, CH and Saitek PnP hall sensor kits + shift registers: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220916

          Shapeways store for DIY flight simming equipment and repair: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/rel4...flight-simming

          Comment


            #6
            Will these sensors give me Full Deflection on the stick ingame?? meaning will it go all the way to the left/right and up/down fully on the Stick ingame?
            Last edited by The_Nephilim; 09-27-2018, 12:06 AM.
            MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus / Intel i7 9700K @ 4.8Ghz / Coolermaster 212x / Samsung 860 Evo SSD 1TB / Asus 1080GTX OC / G. Skill RipJaws 32GB RAM 3200MHZ XMP PRofile / Samsung Odyssey Plus VR / HOTAS Cougar & MFD's / Buttkicker game simulation

            Comment


              #7
              Yes they will. The maximum deflection angle is hard coded in the PCB via a set of resistors. That is why there was some considerable effort involved in getting the values correct and for CH pots I have to use different resistor values eg. The trim pot on the back fine tunes the center point which is for every sensor a bit different because of slight variations in the magnetic plane or minimal variations in resistance. I do however use 1% rated resistors across the board.

              With hall sensors you have the problem of getting the magnetic flux strong enough to reach gimbal limits, therefore you have to put the magnet very close to the sensor and generally have to use the most sensitive models anyway. Now a slight off axis setting will cause non linear readout and putting the magnet at the incorrect distance will not give full detection range. Not so with the magnetoresistive sensors.
              Last edited by rel4y; 09-27-2018, 10:43 AM.
              Cougar, CH and Saitek PnP hall sensor kits + shift registers: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220916

              Shapeways store for DIY flight simming equipment and repair: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/rel4...flight-simming

              Comment


                #8
                OK If possible can I reserve a set for myself.. I will be able to pay in about 13 days..


                I will definitely buy them just need to know if you will hold a set for me until then..


                Thank You
                Nephilim'
                MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus / Intel i7 9700K @ 4.8Ghz / Coolermaster 212x / Samsung 860 Evo SSD 1TB / Asus 1080GTX OC / G. Skill RipJaws 32GB RAM 3200MHZ XMP PRofile / Samsung Odyssey Plus VR / HOTAS Cougar & MFD's / Buttkicker game simulation

                Comment


                  #9
                  Does the sensor fit the throttle and is compatible with stock electronics?
                  i386DX40@42 MHz w/i387 CP, 4 MB RAM (8*512 kB), Trident 8900C 1 MB w/16-bit RAMDAC ISA, Quantum 340 MB UDMA33, SB 16, DOS 6.22 w/QEMM + Win3.11CE, Quickshot 1btn 2axis, Numpad as hat. 2 FPH on a good day, 1 FPH avg.

                  DISCLAIMER: My posts are still absolutely useless. Just finding excuses not to learn the F-14 (HB's Swansong?).

                  Annoyed by my posts? Please consider donating. Once the target sum is reached, I'll be off to somewhere nice I promise not to post from. I'd buy that for a dollar!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by The_Nephilim View Post
                    OK If possible can I reserve a set for myself.. I will be able to pay in about 13 days..

                    I will definitely buy them just need to know if you will hold a set for me until then..

                    Thank You
                    Nephilim'
                    You are the same Nephilim from SimHQ, right? I will make another batch once the first is gone, so dont worry.

                    Originally posted by Dudikoff View Post
                    Does the sensor fit the throttle and is compatible with stock electronics?
                    As shown in the pictures above the Throttle sensor directly replaces the potentiometer without any fancy mounts. But as it communicates via digital SPI protocol (6 wires), it only works with my USB standalone adapter. I thought about making a plug and play sensor for the Throttle as well, but since there is 3.3v and 5V version of the Throttle trouble is bound to happen sooner or later.
                    Cougar, CH and Saitek PnP hall sensor kits + shift registers: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220916

                    Shapeways store for DIY flight simming equipment and repair: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/rel4...flight-simming

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by rel4y View Post
                      You are the same Nephilim from SimHQ, right? I will make another batch once the first is gone, so dont worry.

                      Yes that is me too from SimHQ OK as long as you will make a new batch. I will purchase these as soon as I can..
                      MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus / Intel i7 9700K @ 4.8Ghz / Coolermaster 212x / Samsung 860 Evo SSD 1TB / Asus 1080GTX OC / G. Skill RipJaws 32GB RAM 3200MHZ XMP PRofile / Samsung Odyssey Plus VR / HOTAS Cougar & MFD's / Buttkicker game simulation

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by rel4y View Post
                        As shown in the pictures above the Throttle sensor directly replaces the potentiometer without any fancy mounts. But as it communicates via digital SPI protocol (6 wires), it only works with my USB standalone adapter.
                        Yeah, I got this impression, hence why I asked to be sure. Thanks for the prompt reply.

                        For me that would be a no then, since the main reason I switched to my previously unused TM Cougar is the programming options that TM Target software provides (which started after getting the TM MFD's alongside my Saitek X65 and quickly realizing how it would actually be great to be able to combine them with the HOTAS).

                        Not sure how big is the market for such a variant, but MilesD sold a number apparently and I didn't get one in time.
                        Last edited by Dudikoff; 10-01-2018, 09:23 AM.
                        i386DX40@42 MHz w/i387 CP, 4 MB RAM (8*512 kB), Trident 8900C 1 MB w/16-bit RAMDAC ISA, Quantum 340 MB UDMA33, SB 16, DOS 6.22 w/QEMM + Win3.11CE, Quickshot 1btn 2axis, Numpad as hat. 2 FPH on a good day, 1 FPH avg.

                        DISCLAIMER: My posts are still absolutely useless. Just finding excuses not to learn the F-14 (HB's Swansong?).

                        Annoyed by my posts? Please consider donating. Once the target sum is reached, I'll be off to somewhere nice I promise not to post from. I'd buy that for a dollar!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Dudikoff View Post
                          Yeah, I got this impression, hence why I asked to be sure. Thanks for the prompt reply.

                          For me that would be a no then, since the main reason I switched to my previously unused TM Cougar is the programming options that TM Target software provides (which started after getting the TM MFD's alongside my Saitek X65 and quickly realizing how it would actually be great to be able to combine them with the HOTAS).

                          Not sure how big is the market for such a variant, but MilesD sold a number apparently and I didn't get one in time.

                          Ok I understand. Like I said, the main problem is not making it, but the two 3,3 and 5V versions of the Throttle. People need to figure out which one they need and that will cause trouble. If you are interested I can probably make one the next weekend. Would you want a simple hall sensor one or a magnetoresistive one? I think I still have a bunch of Allegro 1324s laying around.


                          But for that you need to tell me which PCB version you have, check here: https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php...&postcount=130
                          Last edited by rel4y; 10-01-2018, 11:25 AM.
                          Cougar, CH and Saitek PnP hall sensor kits + shift registers: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220916

                          Shapeways store for DIY flight simming equipment and repair: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/rel4...flight-simming

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by rel4y View Post
                            Ok I understand. Like I said, the main problem is not making it, but the two 3,3 and 5V versions of the Throttle. People need to figure out which one they need and that will cause trouble. If you are interested I can probably make one the next weekend. Would you want a simple hall sensor one or a magnetoresistive one? I think I still have a bunch of Allegro 1324s laying around.
                            Is there a noticeable difference in the throttle precision and response between the two sensors?

                            I'm sure I have the later PCB as I bought a new Cougar quite late (last stocks) fearing it might be the last of its kind given how the flight sim market seemed that back then. The serial number is like 31 thousand something.
                            Last edited by Dudikoff; 10-02-2018, 06:47 AM.
                            i386DX40@42 MHz w/i387 CP, 4 MB RAM (8*512 kB), Trident 8900C 1 MB w/16-bit RAMDAC ISA, Quantum 340 MB UDMA33, SB 16, DOS 6.22 w/QEMM + Win3.11CE, Quickshot 1btn 2axis, Numpad as hat. 2 FPH on a good day, 1 FPH avg.

                            DISCLAIMER: My posts are still absolutely useless. Just finding excuses not to learn the F-14 (HB's Swansong?).

                            Annoyed by my posts? Please consider donating. Once the target sum is reached, I'll be off to somewhere nice I promise not to post from. I'd buy that for a dollar!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well, in theory if both types of sensors are set up perfectly there should be no discernible difference. In the real world however you have to mount the sensors somehow and neodymium magnet strength varies by a huge amount. I tested a batch of N52 magnets and found that they varied up to 30% in magnetic field strength.

                              As I have mentioned before, hall sensor output is a product of their sensitivity for (eg the very sensitive Allegro 1324 5mV/G), the magnetic flux density they experience and the angle they are set to the magnetic field. So if your flux density varies from magnet to magnet by 30% you will experience huge problems making a fixed mount work. You have to set up every hall sensor at the perfect distance for each individual magnet to get correct readings. Not to mention they should also be perfectly on axis of the magnetic field, to make the output as linear as possible.

                              Now magnetoresistive sensors alleviate that problem since their relative independence on magnetic flux density and robustness to axis offset. They usually are also of higher sensitivity. It makes my job of setting up the sensor much easier and makes for a more consistent product. A few drawbacks however are, you need to make a PCB with a high quality op amp in your circuit (= higher price) and the temperature stability is much worse. But since we use these sensors indoor in our living rooms and problems start upwards of 70°C, its a non issue.

                              I need to check if I can get the circuit of the magnetoresistive sensor fit within the Throttle mount, since the trim pot I need for setting the center position is fairly large. Fitting a hall sensor in there is no problem, but has the disadvantages I mentioned above.
                              Cougar, CH and Saitek PnP hall sensor kits + shift registers: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220916

                              Shapeways store for DIY flight simming equipment and repair: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/rel4...flight-simming

                              Comment

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