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TM F/A-18C Hornet, Warthog and Cougar grips disassembly and OTTO switch upgrade


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Quick links to the various mods

---------------------------------------------

F/A-18C (Hornet) grip upgrades

OTTO P1 push buttons | OTTO T4 trim switch | NEW--> OTTO T5 sensor control switch

 

F-16C (Cougar) grip upgrades

OTTO P1 push buttons

 

A-10C (Warthog) grip

OTTO P1 push buttons | OTTO T4 trim switch | OTTO T4/T5 hat switches for TMS/DMS/CMS

---------------------------------------------

 

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:

yHhqBo4.jpg?1

 

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.

0etJ4Yn.jpg?1

 

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.

miNsB1v.jpg?1

 

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.

zriEKJD.jpg?1

 

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

ooghC3p.jpg?1

 

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.

8SnNOYG.jpg?1

 

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!

D6hNBiu.jpg?1

 

Here's a short video showing how to get the paddle lever spring back on:

 

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.

o7QbvUR.jpg?2

 

Well, good luck if you decide to mess with your grips!


Edited by DeadMeat
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Great job! Even though I’m not planning to do mine, it is good to know that it is doable.

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Joystick grips: TM (Warthog, F/A-18C), Realsimulator (F-16SGRH, F-18CGRH), VKB (Kosmosima LH, MCG, MCG Pro), VPC MongoosT50-CM2

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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

 

a09e19e116d4389772a2397e7eb52d2a.jpg

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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 ;)

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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!

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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 :)

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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:smilewink:

CAF2AE2E-3E02-4BCD-AC76-D7CC8AF52E7F.thumb.jpeg.6c6fb8f65a749883abdc09dd96a180c6.jpeg

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Edited by Sierra99

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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.

o7QbvUR.jpg?2

 

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.

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

 

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:smilewink:

 

Looks great :thumbup:

 

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?p=3240303&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.

fouNVUu.jpg?1

 

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.

00EAGur.jpg?1

 

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.

z47HKZB.jpg

 

Close her up and enjoy the clicking :joystick:

MYJWVJJ.jpg?1

aoHc36G.jpg?1

o0jNiAp.jpg?1


Edited by DeadMeat
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  • 1 month later...
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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

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

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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!

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I looked at my grip wanting to do the AV8B trim hat mod but looks like the base trim on the crown and trim hat are two different sizes and not interchangeable. Either that or they are really flush to the grip. That and the wire lengths may be different.

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  • 5 months later...

F/A-18C grip: mil-spec trim switch upgrade

 

Cheers guys, I made another little OTTO upgrade to the Hornet stick. It was a bit trickier this time.

I wasn't happy with the feel of the stock trim switch, so I swapped it for a mil-spec OTTO T4-0016 I found on eBay.

 

This particlar P/N is used in the F-15 which has a pretty similar grip to the Hornet.. So close enough:

56JwxcG.jpg

The T4 has great tactile feedback and is gated 4-way ensuring that you only trim in the desired direction. You can't change direction without returning to center.

 

A general word of caution if you decide to try this yourself - you'll definitely void the warranty and you can pretty easily ruin your stick if you're not careful.

 

So, how to do it?

 

Disassemble the stick (see earlier in this thread) and remove the TM trim switch.

 

It is fastened with hot glue and taps on the back of the top piece, just like the pickle button. Use a screwdriver to push them in and take it out through the front. Unplug it carefully from the main board to remove the whole thing.

RjWeKgQ.jpg

 

As you can see in this comparison, the OTTO switch is much wider and goes deeper on the backside: C0oFXMy.jpg

 

This is the main challenge with this upgrade; accommodating a much larger switch.

 

The hole in the front plate is quite narrow:

vIEARWC.jpg

 

Enlarge the hole until the OTTO switch fits. Leave just a sliver of the lip in place.

iS9MmTS.jpg

If you get cold feet at this point I suppose you could reinstall the TM trim switch with a lot of hot glue :)

 

Note that the OTTO switch has a "locating pin" on the side that you can just grind off to make it fit through the hole.

 

Unscrew the 3 screws that hold the back of the head in place, being careful to not lose the trigger springs. Once clear, you need to remove quite a bit of material from the stem piece, including the screw hole and part of the structure for the trigger. Just be careful not to go all the way into the trigger mount itself:

KaZiLov.jpg

 

You'll need to remove the screw tower feature from the back piece as well. Be careful not to Dremel right through the side. Reattach the back piece when done.

FxTW5C7.jpg

 

On to the soldering!

Here's the wiring for my switches:

NTbeNr8.jpg

 

The full length of the OTTO wires will not fit so cut them down to around 6-7 cm and strip the ends. You can cut the steel wire completely down along with two of the redundant common wires, for example the red and the light green.

 

We'll reuse the full length of the wires and plug harness from the TM switch so remove the hot glue sealing and unsolder them carefully.

Match the wires according to the diagram and solder the harness together with the OTTO switch. Use very short pieces of shrink wrap to seal the joints without making them too rigid:

Dhlqo8K.jpg

 

Insert the OTTO switch through the front piece. It will extend so far back that you'll have to thread the wires behind the stem piece up over the trigger and back down the neck of the stick. This takes a bit of finaggeling to get right:

aq6jJyO.jpg

 

Plug the wires back into the main board and close the stick back up. Be careful not to pinch any wire in the process as you do this.

6ZMTtER.jpg

 

That's it. Enjoy the trimming!

 

Here's a short and crude comparison between the stock and OTTO switch:


Edited by DeadMeat
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Great project thanks for sharing

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I realize I didn't share the ebay link for the trim switch: https://www.ebay.com/itm/381677953240

 

I've put the mod through heavy testing over the past week and it absolutely rocks. Trimming is very crisp and there's no more wrong presses down+left in the pattern. Definitely recommended!

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Hi all,

 

I pulled my TM F-18 stick apart but I can't for the life of me get the spring in place behind the paddle switch.

 

Is there some trick to it ?

 

Any help appreciated.

Asus Z370-A | 8700K @ 5.0 Ghz | 32GB DDR 4 | GTX 1080TI | Philips BDM4065UC 4K Monitor | Samsung 970 EVO | Track IR 5 | Windows 10 Pro x64 | Virpil Mongoose Stick | TM Warthog Throttle | MFG X-Wind Rudder Pedals

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  • DeadMeat changed the title to TM F/A-18C Hornet, Warthog and Cougar grips disassembly and OTTO switch upgrade
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