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Finally a Fix for The Saitek Pro Flight Yoke Pitch Axis

Saitek yoke sticky pitch axis detent

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54 replies to this topic

#1 TOM767

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:09 PM

Many people complain about the bothersome detent in the pitch axis of this otherwise good product. There have been a number of "improvements" that others have done to counter this issue, such as removing one of the pitch springs, replacing them with other springs, or even one person who re-engineered the product to behave like the CH yoke with side springs which provide both pitch and roll resistance. Still others have cut the bushings and changed lubricants. After trying some of these suggestions, I still was not happy with the performance of this product. So today I decided to open it up for the 101 time. I thought that there must be some simple solution to this problem. I noticed that there are two plastic "horns" on the middle yoke shaft, and equidistant vertical tabs a few inches forward and back of it. This reminded me of a video of improving the CH yoke by attaching rubber bands to these horns. I decided to give rubber bands a try. Though I am not a fan of using rubber bands to fix issues, in this case the application is a good place to use them. I removed the two springs that control the pitch axis resistance and removed the arms to which they were attached to, saving them in case I wanted to go back to the original configuration. I found two identical rubber bands, rather thick and short, and attached one around the horns and front vertical tab, and the other around the horns and rear vertical tab. Finally I took a much smaller and thinner rubber band and simply strapped it across the two horns to secure the 2 main rubber bands upon strong deflection in the pitch axis. To my surprise, I did not need to do anything to secure the rubber bands about the vertical tabs, as the bottom cover of the yoke already has grooves into which these tabs slide into when you put the yoke back together. Its almost if Saitek designed the yoke with such a solution in mind. After putting it all together, its like a whole new yoke. Now I still have not had much time to test this out extensively, but the clunky mechanical detent is not there, and the yoke does return to center quite precisely, behaving more like the CH yoke. The resistance is uniform throughout the axis. Since I am only studying engineeringPosted Image , there may be improvements to this fix. Specifically, there may be a better way to secure the rubber bands from ever slipping off, though I don't think they will. Of course, more expensive rubber bands may help if these wear out. You may choose stronger/weaker rubber bands to suit your tastes. If you find the roll axis too stiff, you might want to remove the roll spring as well, though I find it to work well. The only drawback I have noticed thus far is that pitch resistance is very slightly higher when the yoke is turned, but this is barely noticeable and is just because the rubber bands must stretch more when you turn the yoke. It may also be possible to do this mod with springs instead of rubber bands, though that may be noisy. I may also make a cut on the plastic bushings, as there is still a tiny amount of stiffness when turning, but so far, I feel much more control in pitch. Please feel free to offer improvements. Tom G. Please note that this will void your warranty and I do not take any responsibility if you mess up your yoke. (Though its very unlikely). You may also have to recalibrate your yoke.[attachment=33605:IMG_0111.jpg][attachment=33606:IMG_0116.jpg][attachment=33607:IMG_0117.jpg]
Regards, Tom Gromko

My Saitek Pro Flight Yoke Mod

I5-2500K@4.5GHz, 4GB Corsair RAM, MSI GTX460 Hawk, Samsung 500GB, 22" Samsung SyncMaster 2333, Saitek X52, Saitek Pro Flight Yoke

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#2 TOM767

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 11:48 AM

After a few days, I can confirm this solution works well. I did not even have to recalibrate the yoke as it always returns to exactly 0 in FSUIPC, but without the annoying detent. It is now possible to fly precisely. Also, I actually do recommend replacing the roll spring with a rubber band going between the two vertical arms with hooks (how convenient). This reduces the tension on the yoke while turning, making it even smoother. The result is a smooth and quiet yoke that seems more like the real thing. I wish I had thought of this earlier.
Regards, Tom Gromko

My Saitek Pro Flight Yoke Mod

I5-2500K@4.5GHz, 4GB Corsair RAM, MSI GTX460 Hawk, Samsung 500GB, 22" Samsung SyncMaster 2333, Saitek X52, Saitek Pro Flight Yoke

#3 Rudderduck

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:28 AM

Thank you Tom for your great improvement! My pitch axis is now smooth and perfect.Now if anyone could find a good solution to get rid of the detents in the roll mechanism as well, I would be very happy. Rubber bands does help but the detents are still there.

Rune B.

 


#4 800xp

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:15 AM

Thank you! This mod worked great for me! I am curious how long do those rubber bands last. I just did the mod today and will see how long before one of them snaps. Even if it does it is a cheap and easy fix!

#5 TOM767

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:39 PM

Today I made version 2 of my mod. I bought a set of four small strings at home depot that looked like the right size and got lucky. This time, the rubber bands are replaced by springs, and the placement of the springs is different. Why do this version of the mod? Well, I personally wanted to make the mod more permanent. While the rubber bands were still perfect after a few months, I wanted to create a more longterm and professional solution. The resulting yoke feels good, smooth with no detents, similar to the version with rubber bands but a little firmer. There is a little occasional spring "tick" noise, but it is rare and subtle. Certainly does not sound like a banjo. Also, the yoke doesnt like to be deflected full forward and full left at the same time, this causes a louder spring tick that I will have to look into, but this is not a problem. It is not a typical yoke position when flying 99% of the time anyway.Again, this mod WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.As with the rubber band solution, first you need to remove the entire pitch resistance mechanism, and optionally the roll spring. Then, instead of rubber bands, you will need around 15 minutes and:- a drill- small drillbit-- 2 nylon miniature cable ties (3.5"x1/16" approximately)- 3 springs with closed hook ends from home depot: two springs for pitch axis 11/32"x 1 7/8"x .025" diameter x length x wire diameter, 2.40lbs working load (OR something similar) and optionally for the roll axis: one 1/4"x 1 1/2"x .035" about 8 lbs working load, although a slightly weaker one would be better.- screwdriver, small pliers, scissors- common sense :LMAO:1. Remove the pitch resistance mechanism and roll spring(optional- you may keep the current mechanism or replace it with a string or rubber band like i did), which is just a matter of removing a few phillips screws. To remove the roll spring you may need to unscrew the 6 screws holding down the yoke and lift the shaft a little bit. Just be careful to put all the parts back to their original positions. This is not difficult, but can be a little awkward.2. While you have the yoke shaft loose, drill two small holes in the plastic horns on the middle of the shaft. These holes should be just big enough for the cable tie to pass (maybe 1/16"), but they should be small enough to avoid drilling the thicker plastic around the hole area. Be careful not to damage any of the wires etc... You may have to move around the yoke and the unscrewed supports in order to get to the horns at the right angle.3. Take each spring and strectch it out as much as possible, most easily by hooking it onto any two of the screw pylons(I just made up this name :Idea: ) inside the yoke. Then slide the cable tie through the middle of the spring and have it come out about 2-5 spiral loops down. Pull out the other end of the tie, fold it back and feed it through the hole on the plastic horn. Tighten the tie and cut off the excess. This is easier than it sounds, just take a look.4. This is the tricky part. Attach each of the four ends of the spring around the four screw pylons in each corner. If you have the right springs and do this gently, they should stay in place on the pylons. You need them to stay like this until you put the cover back on. If they do not want to stay, you can use a little tape or scratch tiny grooves, or anything to get them to stay for a few seconds.5. Put on the optional smaller spring on the plastic horns near the front of the yoke for the roll resistance.6. Optional: Clean and lubricate the yoke. I will not say what to use for this, as I am not a chemical engineer and there are many different opinions on what is good.7. Tighten the springs holding down the yoke, make sure everything is in its right place, especially make sure that the sensor arm for the pitch axis and the geared wheels for the roll pot are engaged as they were before. If not gently place them back in position.8. Reassemble, re- calibrate if you wish, and enjoy.So far I have done a few short flights, and the yoke behaves well. You may still have to play with the sensitivity settings and lubrication but IMHO, it flies superior to the original.
Regards, Tom Gromko

My Saitek Pro Flight Yoke Mod

I5-2500K@4.5GHz, 4GB Corsair RAM, MSI GTX460 Hawk, Samsung 500GB, 22" Samsung SyncMaster 2333, Saitek X52, Saitek Pro Flight Yoke

#6 TOM767

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:50 PM

I have posted a short video on how this setup works. Also, for some reason the pictures of the original rubber band mod have dissappeared, but this is also in the video. I found that the spring setup, without any spring for the roll, to be the best and final mod. This yoke will not likely get any better than with this mod. I fixed most of the spring noise: the cause was not cutting the tails of the cable ties completely. There is some spring sound but it's very minor.
Regards, Tom Gromko

My Saitek Pro Flight Yoke Mod

I5-2500K@4.5GHz, 4GB Corsair RAM, MSI GTX460 Hawk, Samsung 500GB, 22" Samsung SyncMaster 2333, Saitek X52, Saitek Pro Flight Yoke

#7 Bill Womack

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:17 PM

This looks really intriguing. I've been dissatisfied with my Saitek yoke "feel" for a while now, so I think I'll give your mods a try. Thanks for posting!

#8 cgbart

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:33 PM

+1 and thanks for a little innovation!

Hoping For CAVU --- Chris


#9 Bill Womack

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:34 AM

I tried the mod tonight, and it went quickly and smoothly thanks to your instructions. I like the feel of the elevators now - it's much more precise without the massive detent to fall into. All in all a definite improvement!

thanks,
Bill

#10 TOM767

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:40 PM

I tried the mod tonight, and it went quickly and smoothly thanks to your instructions. I like the feel of the elevators now - it's much more precise without the massive detent to fall into. All in all a definite improvement!

thanks,
Bill


Glad to help. I must say that I would not be using this yoke without the mod, it was nearly impossible to fly . If you don't mind a little play in the roll axis, then you will probably like not using any roll resistance spring at all. For some reason it feels more precise that way. For anyone who has not tried it yet... it's definately worth the time.
Regards, Tom Gromko

My Saitek Pro Flight Yoke Mod

I5-2500K@4.5GHz, 4GB Corsair RAM, MSI GTX460 Hawk, Samsung 500GB, 22" Samsung SyncMaster 2333, Saitek X52, Saitek Pro Flight Yoke

#11 SolRayz

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:20 PM

Thanks Tom for this write up!!! Its all working pretty good on my end following your instructions. I definitely recommend notching some indentions on the screw pillons for the springs. I have it set so if I open it again, they wont detach. I'm not really happy with the dry graphite spray lube that I used to lube the shaft. It's not gliding like it really should, imo. Ok...I'm off to Ketchikan. Thanks again!

69eddc09-d001-4bec-ad03-cbd8eb1a9ba1_zps

Marc J. 


#12 Paul Deemer

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 06:36 PM

After my X52 Pro bit the dust I knew this time I wanted a yoke. The reviews on Newegg had quite a few people who were not happy with the feel. After I came across this thread I ordered my Saitek Pro Flight with Extra Quadrant. (Already had the Saitek Rudder Pedals). After fretting and worrying for 2 days I finally took the yoke apart and started the mod. To my surprise I got everything back together without wrecking anything and the yoke is very smooth and feels like a much more expensive product.

I also did the mod on the Saitek Rudder Pedals, where you take out the one spring so there is no center Ident.

One thing that took me a little longer than it should have was I did not pay attention to how everything was put together in the yoke. So be sure and take some pics with your Cell phone camera. This will save you time from having to figure out what goes where when your re-aligning the yoke and the pedals. The Mod is very easy to do if your good with your hands.

The only thing I have not been able to figure out is why my clock does not work. I got the drivers installed for the Yoke from the Saitek Website but only the Stop watch works.

Paul Deemer


#13 RickB1293

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:41 PM

Thanks for your yoke fix. The only problem that I had was holding the springs in place while reinstalling the case bottom. The quick fix was to heat the springs with a lighter for a second or two then install them over the screw post. This allowed the spring to melt a groove in the post which anchored them in place while the bottom cover was fitted. Don't go crazy with the heat -- only a second or two will get the job done.

Thanks again.
Rick Bertzaopa.png AOPA Member #04747460<p>

#14 Paul Deemer

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:52 PM

Yeah that was the same problem I had too. Getting the stupid springs to stay in place long enough to put the cover back on. I ended up just notching a groove with a knife. But it was definately worth the time. I love my Yoke Now!

I got my Springs from Home Depot in the same pack of 4 springs that Tom Bought. I used the 2 big springs for the mod as Tom did and used one of the original 2 springs that you have to take out as the roll spring. It was loose and had some play in the roll so I used a Vise to clamp down on the ends and make the loops smaller. When I put it back on there was no play in the Roll and was perfect.

Paul Deemer


#15 WILDHEART3003

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:51 AM

Hi all, I just had a replacement of Saitek yoke. I sent the previous one back complaining that the right roll mode a little too sensitive, jumping from 0-1500 in fsuipc. Are any of you guys find the saitek yoke little sensitive when rolling right?
Anthony JW of Posted Image