First real problem with VKB Gunfighter Mk.II - ED Forums
 


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Old 09-15-2019, 08:19 PM   #1
streakeagle
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Default First real problem with VKB Gunfighter Mk.II

I have been in the process of evaluating the VKB Gunfighter Mk.II / MCG Pro versus my extensive experience with the Saitek X-36/X-45/X-52 Pro and Thrustmaster Warthog A-10C sticks. So far, the VKB product has been the stick to beat: outstanding mechanically and electrically with equal or superior features in almost every way.

To date, my only complaint has been the work it takes to swap grips:
The Warthog grip can be swapped in moments with no tools and no other actions other than unscrewing the installed grip, inserting the desired grip, then screwing it in.
Removing/installing the VKB grip requires an allen wrench, carefully lining up the lock-collar before sliding on the new grip, and flashing the firmware.

I have had two 50 lb springs break. I also needed to open the grip to install/tighten a couple of screws that secured the grip to the adapter to eliminate some left/right wiggle play in the grip rotation. Once the screws were installed correctly, the grip was rock-solid stable.

I ordered the stick in October of 2017 and received a tracking number on 29 December of 2017. So I actually got the stick some time in January of 2018. So, the stick is nearly two years old.

But now I have a serious problem: a bearing on the roll axis has failed. I have disassembled the stick base, removed the springs, and tested the movement. One end still has a good bearing. The other has failed: you can feel "clunks" as you move, especially across the center. This was not only felt while moving the stick left/right, but could be seen as a jumpy input in software. The bearing is a common part number. I can get 10 of them from Amazon for almost nothing. But I haven't had any success in disassembling the axis such as pressing out the bearing or unlocking the cap that holds the axis together. If I could perform this task without breaking anything, I could repair this myself for less than $10 as soon as the pack of bearings arrives by same day Amazon Prime. But I used quite a bit of force last night and nothing budged. Not worth it to break it. I have submitted a ticket to VKB USA and I am waiting to find out what my options are.

Comparing this to the life of my first Warthog HOTAS: The trigger (first detent) on the stick stopped working, so I had to open the grip and replace the green PCB that sends the button information to the base. Other than that, the stick has been trouble-free since I ordered in in September of 2011. This particular stick suffered from minor stiction which was largely overcome by using an extension. So that is 8 years of service with only one part failure, and it is still going strong with the same level of precision/smoothness it always had. Though I should mention that the PCB for the throttle "bricked" and I had to replace it, too. After the PCB was replaced, the throttle was returned to full capability, again having only one physical problem after serving for over 8 years.
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:39 PM   #2
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I second your comments of the WH stick.
I only replaced one button in 8+ years of service and that was because I dropped the stick and broke the left thumb switch.

Also, one bricked throttle MB (early production) and replaced with no problems for many years now.

TM have a great product with IMHO, a poorly designed gimbal.

I've just mated my TM stick to the VKB base and find it absolutely the greatest stick sensitivity and feel in flying for many years.

I thought I felt the small bump in the VKB bearing on one of the axes when installing the 50 lb springs. Before I mounted the spring I tested movements. I played with loosening and then re-tightening the bearing and it went away.

My concern is the cost for shipping from China. The shipping and duty for the WH adapter was more than the cost of the adapter.

I feel your pain and want to hear how you have resolved the issue with VKB. If they had a supplier in both the EU and US, it would be better for all of us regarding costs.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:39 AM   #3
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If there is an easy way to remove the bearing and replace it myself with household tools, I am all for it. The bearings are cheap. But the attempts I made last night tell me that I will need to use enough force that I could seriously damage something, so I need a correct procedure and suggested tools to apply the right force to the right part(s).

The only alternative I see is to ship it somewhere to be repaired or exchange it. But I am not expecting either of those to be cheap since I have already used it nearly 2 years.

I would think about getting another base, but if they are going to fail this way every year or two (or based on their forums, arrive with this problem out of the box), then I would be foolish to buy another after encountering one lemon.

I already thought about getting a Virpil just to compare, but the VKB device was so awesome that I didn't see the point. Now I see a reason to try to competition.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:27 PM   #4
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For remove the pressed bearing need a bearing extractor kit.

Or "bearing puller"

Looks like that used bearings are not "fully compatible with 50 lbs springs + extension + Warthog 1KG grip".

Last edited by Sokol1_br; 09-16-2019 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:19 PM   #5
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@streakeagle - your ticket has been received and VKB HQ is on it.


Just as a side note, 2x50/axis is indeed too much force on the gimbal overall - esp. with a stick extension installed.

And - even though the Gunfighter Mk.II's gimbal is stronger in that aspect, I still only recommend 2x40/axis, max:

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Old 09-17-2019, 02:32 AM   #6
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I only recently went to 2 x 50 lb springs after seeing recent posts here, no small conincidence that the failure occurs after making that change. I wouldn't expect the extension or the weight of the the Warthog grip to have much to do with it other than the ability to rapidly and easily pull the 50 lb springs to full defleciton. I have roller-bladed for many years and the only thing that kills good bearings has been dirt/water. They do wear over time... but the miles I skated between bearing changes were a lot more than my stick does in the roll axis. I would have expected the pitch axis to fail before the roll axis.

I am ok with 1 x 50 lb springs. I was just curious what the 2 x 50 lb spring felt like. The heavier springs felt a lot more like my own homemade F-4 B-8 stick. But the single 50 lb springs were better for helo flight.

Hopefully, the other bearings aren't damaged and will last.
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Old 09-17-2019, 02:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sokol1_br View Post
For remove the pressed bearing need a bearing extractor kit.

Or "bearing puller"

Looks like that used bearings are not "fully compatible with 50 lbs springs + extension + Warthog 1KG grip".
I would have no problem purchasing a bearing press/pull kit, though I already have a tool that might work from roller blading. The problem is that something has to be removed before trying to press/pull the bearing and I am uncertain. I see a small lock screw that might be involved. But I would rather have an exact, correct procedure rather than guess wrong and break something else besides the already damaged bearing.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:56 PM   #8
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Which bearing exactly has failed? The main one of the "stick" on which the grip is mounted? (That's what I expect from your comment in the first place)
Or the one on which come is mounted or the one riding on a cam?

My (very humble) knowledge says that this type of the bearing dislike tilt and asymmetrical load but in roller blades they are exposed to much higher and abrupt abuse. But maybe I am just underestimating leverage and spring effects on the twist and crushing applied on them in gimbal.

I'll keep watching as this gimbal interests me and from pictures it is going to be some work to dismantle it, remove and mount bearing. Good luck!
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:10 PM   #9
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There are two bearings on the roll axis. One is at the end with the electronics. The other is at the end with the springs. Given that I went to 2 x 50 lb springs, it is no accident that the end with the springs is the end that failed.

I can assure you that I abused the heck out of my roller blades. I always used the hardest wheels available in very harsh outdoor environments. While it has been a few years since I last skated regularly, I never was the "glide and relax" kind of skater. I was always pushing, with the toe wheels always taking a beating. I had to rotate my wheels every time I skated because of the distances involved. In the rough environment and with my higher weight of recent years, my wheels were burning up fairly quickly. So, I was always getting new wheels which usually came with new bearings already installed. But from the mid 90s to the early 2000s, I was burning up ABEC 5 and higher quality bearings fairly regularly, especially when I came back to Florida with rougher surface, more dirt/water/mud than I ever encountered in San Diego.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:31 PM   #10
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One thing you might consider Streak is taking the gimble and bad bearing to a nearby machine shop. Machinists are typically experts at removing/replacing bad bearings including micro-adjustment, and machine shops have some very high end precision presses which can apply very finely tuned gradations of force up to in some cases thousands of Newtons. What might be a tricky difficult bearing pull for you with home tools will likely be a piece of cake for them and they probably wont charge you $15 for it.
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