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What is the best stick for DCS?


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Hi, all.

 

(Hope this is posted in the right place.)

 

I am brand new to this activity, and am having trouble choosing

a joystick. I had done a lot of reading prior to purchasing and the Saitek X52 Pro seemd to be a good choice (not a clear winner, of which there didn't seem to be one - correct me if I'm wrong there). I have had it for two weeks and so far have spent more time restoring a corrupted (twice) PC than learning to fly. I also find the stick to be very soft to use, and can't seem to find any way to stiffen it up. So I think it will be going back.

 

Can I ask what others are using? If you use the X52 Pro, do you use the programming software, and if so how has that been? What do you think of the quality of the components? Are the profiles working for you? Is the MFD working?

 

If you use something else, please tell me what it is!! I get a reasonable result form my old Logitech Attack 3 at a fraction of the price.

 

CH Products seems to be another strong contender, but I've seen just enough negative opinions there to make me think twice.

 

Any input is very much appreciated. My thanks in advance.

 

Happy flying!

 

PN

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I love the Thrustmaster Warthog, but for those without rudder pedals AND not made of money, it is a poor choice. The Saitek X-52 Pro is really good in this regard with features comparable to other HOTAS at a fair price and a "twisty-stick" that can be used as a rudder (though I preferred the rudder paddle on the front of the X-36/X-45 throttles). CH Products are the mid-range solution: better quality than the Saitek but not nearly as expensive as the Warthog, though you will probably still want rudder pedals.

 

As for the light feel of the X-52, I actually like it for precision. Other stiffer HOTAS require a bit of force to start movement, especially near the center detent of the force-spring system on the Warthog. So if you are holding the stick at a fixed position and want to just barely move, you have to push really hard and inadvertently move more than intended.

 

While I have both the Saitek X-52 Pro and the Warthog (never liked the CH throttle!), I have gone an even more expensive route. I bought a real F-4 Phantom stick assembly, put some steel coil springs on it for self-centering/force feedback, and interfaced it with a BU0836X USB controller card. The end result cost as much as my PC in money AND a lot of construction/development time. With the real life lever arm of a full size stick and suitable springs, this baby rocks! Precision is only limited by the digital accuracy of the BU0836X and the fact that I went with pots instead of making a way to interface with hall effect sensors. I can move "bit by bit"... but have fairly strong progressive resistance when pulling back without any friction. I have never used a consumer grade stick that works and feels this good... if only I could make it interface 100% correctly with the Warthog stick instead of the BU0836X with the same level of digital precision. I am sure I could do it, but I am not going to destroy a Warthog when this already works better than I ever dreamed.


Edited by streakeagle

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In my view, ThrustMaster Warthog hands down.

 

Re the X-52 Pro, I had mine for about 2 weeks before returning it for the TMWH which was absolutely night and day difference. I found the X-52 Pro to be too flimsy and toy'ish though my biggest issue was buying a dud which had electrical faults... Otherwise I probably would have kept it, but it being a dud gave me a 'reason' to upgrade!

 

The TMWH is a fantastic investment if its within your price range.

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@sgml0; I think it's important that which module (aircraft) you fly with. If you fly A-10C, I think you'll like Warthog.

 

But, I fly Ka-50. So I purchased X52Pro. I can't determine the "best" though, because I have only the X52Pro. With X52, I can assign it almost all functions that can be used in the air (not talking about engine, electrical or other switches). I use its programming software. And everything is easier and useful.

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My X-52 Pro has never given me any trouble, nor any major trouble with the X-45 or X-36 USB before it. They lasted a long time. The X-45 still worked, but I cut it up for my F-4 stick phase 2 (the above version is phase 3, so the gutted X-45 is now a pile of junk on my floor waiting to be thrown away). I very much prefer using the Saitek Profile software to get the full bang out of the sticks in every game, so the X-36 was made obsolete by lack of software support for Windows 7.

 

As long as you don't get a "dud" and don't mind the light springs and cheap construction, I can't see why anyone wouldn't like X-52 Pro. I got my X-52 Pro on sale for $100 back when they first came out and it still looks/feels/works as good as the day I took it out of the box. The twisty stick makes it perfect for playing Mech Warrior 4 Mercs, which is what my son uses it for since I cut up the X-45 that used to be his.

 

My Warthog has worked flawlessly, too. But as far as getting duds go, the Warthog has had quite a few complaints which usually ended up with Thrustmaster resolving the problem. Some cases had trouble/delays with tech support, others were impressed by how quick and easy it was to get Thrustmaster to send them a whole new stick if it was still under warranty.

 

I have to agree, if you have the money, the Warthog is the stick for DCS:A-10C. It will work very well for any DCS twin engine aircraftn

 

But the X-52 Pro Throttle spoiled me with all of its analog axis options (two thumb knobs and a slider) which are great for things like radar scan elevation, gunsight reticle size/range, trim controls, rpm, fuel mixture, prop pitch, vector nozzle rotation angle, or mapped as multiple buttons by rotation angle. That is only 1 more axis than the Warthog, but their arrangement is far more ergonomic and even very close to the real controls in many cases. I prefered the X-52 Pro Throttle to the Warthog throttle for DCS: P-51D, as it I liked the thumbwheel for gunsight reticle range adjustments almost identical to the real one. The slider was adequate for adjusting prop rpm. I used the remaining thumbwheel for the gunsight target wingspan.

 

However, the Warthog is now mounted in the F-4 left console wooden mockup, so I have to use hat switches for those functions now. They are less smooth/precise in that role.

 

At some point, I intend to make my own F-4 throttle (given that the real ones are both expensive and hard to find). So it will interface with the BU0836X USB board and elminate the need for the Warthog throttle. But the Warthog throttle is fairly close to the F-4 throttle (and almost identical to the F-15 throttle), which combined with its high quality and awesome configuration software mean that I am in no hurry to replace it.


Edited by streakeagle

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My original goal was to simply get a F-4 version of the B-8 stick grip (there are several versions!) and mate it to an existing USB stick (like my X-36 or X-45, or maybe even a CH Stick). I could not find a grip of adequate quality locally nor on eBay, so I got a part number from a closeup eBay photo and ordered a refurbished version from a commercial military parts supplier. That cost over $500 for a flight certified B-8 replacement. Despite using the number from a pic of an F-4 grip, I got one with the hand rest on the right at the base of the grip (very common, the F-4 style without the rest is somewhat rare). The buttons were very stiff, but everything worked and looked like new. Then one day on eBay, someone was parting out there authentic F-4 cockpit. I couldn't afford the control panel(s), but for the stick assembly from the twist nut down to the extension tube for the rear cockpit was up for grabs. I got that for about $500. I could kick myself in the nuts for not buying the metal box that covers the stick, which he was selling separately. Little did I know I would end up making a wooden semi-scale replica. When the stick arrived, it became painfully apparent that my grip was not the right kind. I needed a grip with a very particular multi-pin threaded heavy duty amphenol fitting that would attach to the stick. Instead, what I had was a helicopter grip, which is designed to bolt on to the top of a hollow cyclic tube with long wires dangling down to thread through the tube and land on the appropriate terminals (or splice into existing wires?). I tried to locate an amphenol fitting that would work, but it was clear that would have been built into the correct grip and it would be a mess if I tried to make it work with the helo grip I had. So, back to eBay. After losing out multiple times on bidding wars, I finally won an auction for a 100% correct F-4 grip... again for over $500.

 

So the short story is that the authentic F-4 hardware (stick + grip) cost me over $1,000 plus $500 for a helo grip I still haven't used. Add in about $100 for a BU0836X USB game controller board along with $40 - $50 in industrial grade linear pots exactly the right length and resistance for the game controller interface and you have quite a chunk of cash.

 

Of course, these purchases were spread out over years, so it isn't as bad as it sounds. I can also still use the helo B-8... It is a perfect for the version used in the UH-1 :) My wife would kill me if I made a 2nd "pit" for a helo (though my son might not mind). So, I might use the spare B-8 to do what I originally intended: to pop it on top of an existing stick. If I could make it screw onto and talk to the Warthog, I would have a real winner. So, who has a drawing and parts list of what I need to make a grip communicate to the Warthog stick base? I am not going to take apart my Warthog grip... too nice a stick to ruin with my fat fingers! While I can do basic wood work, I have no tools or experience with machining and don't think I know anyone that could make a nice fitting for me. So I am open to ideas.

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Well, this took an interesting turn!

My thanks again to those members who took the time to reply. Seems I have more reading to do....

 

P

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Kingston SSDNow 2.5" 120GB SATA III | LG SATA DVD±RW 22x DUAL | Corsair Vengeance K90 Keyboard / M65 Laser Mouse | 40” Samsung LED.

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Fixed-Wing: Warthog

 

Rotary-Wing: FFB stick

 

Trust me, attempting Helo's with a WH or Saitek is an exercise in frustration, only realised once you have actually compared the two. The upside is accordingly that ignorance is indeed bliss if one is unfortunate enough to not have access to both.


Edited by 159th_Viper

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I have saitek x65 f and I love it. Used it with a10c p51 and su25 and some arcade like hawx and ace combat

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