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TM F/A-18C Hornet grip disassembly and OTTO upgrade

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    TM F/A-18C Hornet grip disassembly and OTTO upgrade

    Quick links to the various mods
    ---------------------------------------------
    F/A-18C grip: mil-spec button upgrade
    OTTO P1 buttons replacing the stock push buttons

    F-16C (Cougar) grip: mil-spec button upgrade
    OTTO P1 buttons replacing the stock push buttons

    Updated-->A-10C (Warthog) grip: mil-spec button upgrade
    OTTO P1 buttons replacing stock push buttons

    F/A-18C grip: mil-spec trim switch upgrade
    OTTO T4 trim switch replacing the stock trim switch

    New--> A-10C (Warthog) grip: mil-spec trim switch upgrade
    OTTO T4 trim switch replacing the stock trim switch
    ---------------------------------------------

    Just a heads up, guys - the friendly engineers at Thrustmaster made it easy to swap their stock TM buttons with OTTO buttons to massively improve the clickity on the new Hornet grip same as what you can do on the Warthog grip. I opted for the 2.5 lbs actuation force for the pinkie and full 4 lbs for the pickle button. OTTO product numbers are P1-11111 and P1-11121 respectively:


    Here we go mashing buttons on the grip like a fool. No trouble reaching anything.


    Disassembly of the grip is pretty straightforward but you will run the risk of bricking it and you will probably void your warranty. First remove the paddle lever by unclipping the c clip and pushing the shaft pin out. There’s a spring in there and a small washer on the shaft. Unscrew the three hex bolts in the handle and pop the cover off. One of my bolts wanted to stay in the grip.


    Unscrew the PCB and push it out of the way. Unscrew the neck part that’s held in by a single bolt that also holds the ground wire and a small lock ring.
    Disconnect the pinkie button connector from the PCB and pop the button out through the front by pushing in the tabs on either side. You may need to rotate the button in place with pliers to be able to access both tabs.


    Cut the wires, strip the ends and solder them onto the OTTO button. You’ll want as much wire as possible for the new button as it can get a little tight in there.
    The OTTO button has a smaller diameter than the TM button so wrap some electrician’s tape around it; press it into the grip and connect it to the PCB.
    Fasten the neck part and PCB back into the grip and move on to the top part.


    Unscrew the two outer screws in the top part and pop the plastic top back and rotate it out of the way.


    The pickle button should be easy to pop out by pressing the two tabs in. Note that you have to cut the wires before removing this button, unless you want to try to disconnect it at the main PCB and re-threading the wire back down the neck of the grip.
    Replace it with the OTTO button same way as the pinkie button: leave as much wire in place in the grip as possible and use electrician’s tape to make a tight fit. You could file down the contacts or remove some plastic backing in the grip at this point if you want to set the OTTO button as deep as the stock button. I didn’t do it so mine sits at a very slight angle.


    Be careful not to pinch the flimsy wires and screw the top part and cover back on the grip. The paddle lever goes on last and it can be a bit tricky to get the spring seated correctly. Upgrade complete!


    In terms of difficulty I’d say this is easier than modding the Warthog since there’s fewer buttons to mess with. I suppose you could change the spring or the tact switch on the Hornet paddle lever but it’s not going to be as much of an upgrade as what’s possible on the warthog with a P1-11122.

    Compared to the Cougar though this is a walk in the park. Seriously. Don’t mess with the Cougar like I did. It takes a lot of Dremel grinding to fit the OTTOs in there and the result is not going to be as neat as what’s easily possible on the Warthog. Also, the new pinkie switch gets in the way of the paddle switch since they’re much closer together.


    Well, good luck if you decide to mess with your grips!
    Last edited 09-15-2020, 05:08 PM.
    My mods --> Mil-spec upgrades for Thrustmaster grips | Real Tornado gear switch modded into gear and hook lever switches

    #2
    Great job! Even though I’m not planning to do mine, it is good to know that it is doable.
    PC: 9900K/3090, 32GB RAM.
    Joystick bases: TMWx2, VPC WarBRD, MT50CM2, VKB GFII, FSSB R3L
    Joystick grips: TM (Warthog, F/A-18C), Realsimulator (F-16SGRH, F-18CGRH), VKB (Kosmosima LH, MCG, MCG Pro), VPC MongoosT50-CM2
    Throttles: TMWx2, Winwing Super Taurus, Logitech Throttle Quadrant
    VR: HTC Vive/Pro/Oculus Rift/Valve Index.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you, I just bought mine and the thumb button when I press it down feel awkward, I can’t feel the click and sometimes I need to press two or three times.

      How do you feel your thumb button?, I can hear the click of that button from here in your video.

      Thank you





      Dream Commodore 64C, 1530 datasette, 1541 floppy disk drive, DCS cartridge, competition pro joystick, 14” Tv with VCR.
      Arturo "Chaco" Gonzalez Thomas

      Comment


        #4
        Hey...when you had it apart did ya happen to investigate and if it’s possible to swap the position of the Hat and Trim switches. If you can...you have an instant AV-8B stick.
        sigpic
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        -={TAC}=-DCS Server
        Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3, i7-3770K CPU @ 3.90GHz, 32GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 @ 1600Mhz, ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 970.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by arturojgt View Post
          Thank you, I just bought mine and the thumb button when I press it down feel awkward, I can’t feel the click and sometimes I need to press two or three times.

          How do you feel your thumb button?, I can hear the click of that button from here in your video.

          Thank you
          Yes that's how mine felt as well out of the box. The stock buttons are pretty mushy and have a very muted click at the end of the stroke. With the OTTO buttons there is no doubt when you make contact. The click is very distinct and somewhat loud as you can tell in the video.

          Originally posted by Sierra99 View Post
          Hey...when you had it apart did ya happen to investigate and if it’s possible to swap the position of the Hat and Trim switches. If you can...you have an instant AV-8B stick.
          That's a great idea! I didn't think it about when I had the grip open though.

          The hats should be easy to remove since they're only held in by tabs and hot glue. They pop out through the front though so you need to unplug the connector at the base PCB first.

          One issue may be the trim hat "crown" (with up down left right text) that may interfere with both the center screw and the up/down jog. The former is only decorative so you could just remove it but I don't know about what to do about the jog.

          Would be great if someone gave it a go
          My mods --> Mil-spec upgrades for Thrustmaster grips | Real Tornado gear switch modded into gear and hook lever switches

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you, I just bought mine and the thumb button when I press it down feel awkward, I can’t feel the click and sometimes I need to press two or three times.
            I gotta say, that’s pretty disappointing to hear when the thing costs as much as it does!

            Comment


              #7
              I should probably clarify - the stock push buttons on the Hornet are the exact same as on the Warthog so if you were satisfied with those you should be golden.

              I mean I used to be pretty happy with the Warthog buttons I thought they were a massive improvement over the Cougar. Too bad I took Debolestis' advice and upgraded with OTTO buttons
              My mods --> Mil-spec upgrades for Thrustmaster grips | Real Tornado gear switch modded into gear and hook lever switches

              Comment


                #8
                Here’s another take on this project. If ya make a quick modification...the Pickle Switch will sit flush what’s it should.

                Instead of electrical tape I used a piece of shrink tubing wrap around the switch. I didn’t go all the way to the top.

                To get the switch to sit flush...I trimmed out plastic part behind the switch.
                AMMV
                Attached Files
                Last edited 08-25-2019, 09:05 PM.
                sigpic
                Primary Computer
                ASUS Z390-P, i7-9700K CPU @ 5.0Ghz, 32GB Patriot Viper Steel DDR4 @ 3200Mhz, ZOTAC GeForce 1070 Ti AMP Extreme, Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe drives (1Tb & 500 Gb), Windows 10 Professional, Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS, Thrustmaster Warthog Stick, Thrustmaster Cougar Throttle, Cougar MFDs x3, Saitek Combat Rudder Pedals and TrackIR 5.

                -={TAC}=-DCS Server
                Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3, i7-3770K CPU @ 3.90GHz, 32GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 @ 1600Mhz, ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 970.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by DeadMeat View Post
                  In terms of difficulty I’d say this is easier than modding the Warthog since there’s fewer buttons to mess with. I suppose you could change the spring or the tact switch on the Hornet paddle lever but it’s not going to be as much of an upgrade as what’s possible on the warthog with a P1-11122.

                  Compared to the Cougar though this is a walk in the park. Seriously. Don’t mess with the Cougar like I did. It takes a lot of Dremel grinding to fit the OTTOs in there and the result is not going to be as neat as what’s easily possible on the Warthog. Also, the new pinkie switch gets in the way of the paddle switch since they’re much closer together.


                  Well, good luck if you decide to mess with your grips!
                  Hey, can ya add a link to the previous Warthog and Cougar mod threads. Been looking for them with no luck.
                  sigpic
                  Primary Computer
                  ASUS Z390-P, i7-9700K CPU @ 5.0Ghz, 32GB Patriot Viper Steel DDR4 @ 3200Mhz, ZOTAC GeForce 1070 Ti AMP Extreme, Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe drives (1Tb & 500 Gb), Windows 10 Professional, Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS, Thrustmaster Warthog Stick, Thrustmaster Cougar Throttle, Cougar MFDs x3, Saitek Combat Rudder Pedals and TrackIR 5.

                  -={TAC}=-DCS Server
                  Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3, i7-3770K CPU @ 3.90GHz, 32GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 @ 1600Mhz, ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 970.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    F-16C (Cougar) grip: mil-spec button upgrade

                    Originally posted by Sierra99 View Post
                    Here’s another take on this project. If ya make a quick modification...the Pickle Switch will sit flush what’s it should.

                    Instead of electrical tape I used a piece of shrink tubing wrap around the switch. I didn’t go all the way to the top.

                    To get the switch to sit flush...I trimmed out plastic part behind the switch.
                    AMMV
                    Looks great

                    Originally posted by Sierra99 View Post
                    Hey, can ya add a link to the previous Warthog and Cougar mod threads. Been looking for them with no luck.
                    The warthog discussion is in Debolestis' thread https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php...&postcount=495
                    Note that he uses P8 switches I think so they have shorter depth. P1s do fit well enough though.

                    I haven't seen any threads on putting OTTOs in a Cougar. I was just referring to my own experience:

                    The Cougar wiring is a mess. Easy to take apart, tricky to put back together without pinching anything..
                    You can see how the push buttons have a thin neck plunger going through small holes in the surface of the grip. The tact switches inside sit in moulded structures.


                    I had to expand the holes to fit the P1 through and remove the moulded structures inside to make them fit deep enough.
                    A carbide tipped Dremel makes short work of fingers and soft metal so be careful.


                    It is relatively simple to swap and solder the OTTOs in place. I used electrician's tape to make them fit.
                    I kept the raised lip around the holes so my buttons stick out quite a bit. If you expand the holes at least the index finger button should go in further. The paddle switch I left alone.


                    Close her up and enjoy the clicking


                    Last edited 09-15-2020, 05:11 PM.
                    My mods --> Mil-spec upgrades for Thrustmaster grips | Real Tornado gear switch modded into gear and hook lever switches

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Since the pickle button on my TMW stick died I'm looking at replacing it with the Otto P1-11121. Where is a good place to find these switches?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by NeMoGas View Post
                        Since the pickle button on my TMW stick died I'm looking at replacing it with the Otto P1-11121. Where is a good place to find these switches?
                        Try https://www.peerlesselectronics.com if you're in the US, otherwise https://www.mouser.com is a good source or Ebay if you're lucky.
                        My mods --> Mil-spec upgrades for Thrustmaster grips | Real Tornado gear switch modded into gear and hook lever switches

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks for the info!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Heh DeadMeat

                            Is that a gear handle in the video where you demonstrate the stick buttons?

                            It looks pretty slick any details and a low down on how you made it or where you got it from?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Weegie View Post
                              Heh DeadMeat

                              Is that a gear handle in the video where you demonstrate the stick buttons?

                              It looks pretty slick any details and a low down on how you made it or where you got it from?
                              Yup, I made a thread on it here https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=220201

                              Basically it's just a used gear switch out of a Tornado I found on EBay. It's wired up to an Arduino nano running DCS-BIOS.
                              My mods --> Mil-spec upgrades for Thrustmaster grips | Real Tornado gear switch modded into gear and hook lever switches

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Very slick thanks for the info

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Joe Lighty View Post
                                  I gotta say, that’s pretty disappointing to hear when the thing costs as much as it does!
                                  Lol! Wait till you find out how much the missile selector switch costs! These switches are the real thing with silver and gold contacts and they're milspec dustproof and water proof. I'm seriously thinking of buying the Dogfight and Speed Brake switches for my TQS build.
                                  sigpic


                                  Intel i9 9900K @ 5.1Ghz HT Disabled, Asus RoG Strix z390E Gaming, 64GB G.Skill Trident Z 3200, Asus RoG Strix RTX2080Ti OC @ 1.9Ghz, 1TB Samsung Evo 970Pro M.2 TM Warthog, CH Pro Pedals, Saitek Pro Rudder Pedals, Samsung 49" Curved Gaming Monitor, Samsung 50" 4KUHD TV, Acer 27" Touch Panel, CV1, Pimax 5K+, Valve Index, FSSB3 Lighting, F-16SGRH, 3 TM Cougar's and a Saitek X36 that I can't bring myself to part with.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Trim hat borked

                                    Just received my F/A-18 grip and connected it.

                                    The trim hat is defective. It frequently presents a 'left' input when not touching it.

                                    Waiting to hear back from Thrustmaster and/or the seller before submitting a return via Amazon.
                                    Attached Files
                                    sigpic

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I just did the OTTO P1-11121 upgrade to the pickle button on my Warthog grip and it feel about a million times better then the stock button, so much so I might do the rest! lol
                                      Ignore me I’m probably wrong - Now with 42% extra sarcasm - May contain nuts.

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                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Deano87 View Post
                                        I just did the OTTO P1-11121 upgrade to the pickle button on my Warthog grip and it feel about a million times better then the stock button, so much so I might do the rest! lol
                                        Yes it's night and day right? For the other buttons you should consider P1-11118 which has a slightly lower force but easier on your pinky and index finger.. For the paddle you should still go for the full force (P1-11122).. Be aware that you need to do some filing on the paddle lever if you do that one - worth it though!
                                        My mods --> Mil-spec upgrades for Thrustmaster grips | Real Tornado gear switch modded into gear and hook lever switches

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