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CH Products Fighterstick and Pro Throttle...


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#1 odourboy

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 06:56 PM

I wish my choice was clear, but there seem to be pros and cons to each. I'm having a real hard time deciding what to buy. I've had each of these solutions in my shopping cart and was unable to pull the trigger.

 

I'm a relative newbie to FSX.. coming up on a year since I began. I'm partial to fighters, though I do fly a variety of aircraft (see the profile for details) so I really want a general purpose solution. I started with a low end Thrustmaster T-flight HOTAS mated with Saitek pedals. The HOTAS has served me well enough, but I want to move up to something more serious. I've poured over the reviews and forum remarks and it appears that the short list is:

 

Saitek x52 Pro - $145

CH Products Fighterstick & Pro Throttle - $285

Thrustmaster Warthog - $530

(prices are best I could find currently and delivered into my Canadian hands)

 

Notably, each step represents a approximate doubling in cost. And although cost is not a huge issue, I like to realize value when I can.

 

If the Saitek x52 pro could satisfy my needs, I'd happily save a bundle in the process. It looks quite slick, feature rich and has a lot of fans. However, there are many conflicting reports regarding quality and longevity of this product. Apparently it lacks precision and 'needs' a warranty violating magnet mod to be a contender. The software (drivers and configuration tools)  and support from Madcatz also get's badly knocked by some (and are these concerns applicable to FSX?).

 

The Warthog is clearly the 'no compromise' solution. Quality and feel, support etc. are there. Probably my main concern with this product is that is so darn specific to the A10 with the aircraft specific switches and  labels that I wonder how well it will serve as a general purpose controller in FSX. My only other concern is the stiffness of the springs.. not everybody digs that.

 

So, I'm currently leaning to the CH Products solution, but CH gets knocked to the 'plain-jane' appearance and dated features. I think that's a fair trade for reputation the reputation of quality they've secured. However, I have a few concerns and would appreciate any comments in this regard (or arguments for other choices). The throw on the throttle is linear and looks pretty short - how does it work in practice and can it be configured to provide a satisfactory reverse-thrust? I can live with no detentes, but is there enough throw for satisfactory idle and afterburner zones for fighters? OTOH, the fighterstick has a very long throw on the X and Y axis, and by all reports is very lightly sprung. Some have suggested that this is not well suited for modern aircraft (in general and jet fighters in particular).

 

So... please help me decide!


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#2 JasonHarris

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:26 PM

Hi, I can give you some perspective on all of them.  

 

   The saitek is fairly programmable and there will be lots of profiles around the net for it.   It will likely not outlast any of the other two.  It has a lot of buttons and is not a replica of anything.   It should do what you want in FSX but durability is not the same as the others - neither is the cost so the tradeoff is obvious.

 

    The CH gear does seem to last forever..  It is very programmable but it's probably the hardest to do the programming for.   Remember that unless you want to do something specific with any of these controllers you may never need to do any programming.  Just set it all up in FSX as standard controllers.

 

    The fighterstick is very light to the feel and has definite points you can feel when moving the gimbal through the center.   It's a great sidestick, it's got a large base which makes it hard to mount in the center if you ever try to incorporate it as a center stick in a cockpit.

 

    The throttle works..   I dont really like the way it moves, it's not got a long throw.  It's what let things down for me when I used the CH products.   

 

    There are a lot of buttons between the throttle and stick.   The stick is a replica from an F16, the throttle is partially.

 

 

     Then there is the warthog.  It's a replica of the throttle and stick from an a10.  The Stick is the same as an F16 therefore it is basically the same as the CH fighterstick, all the same buttons but the a10 version has one additional paddle and a two stage trigger that the CH doesnt have.   Otherwise the stick is identical as far as buttons and function + size.   The hog has a small base which makes it good for center mounting if you ever want to do that.  It's feel is way above any of the other two, its metal and just feels better.   The throttle has a lot of buttons on it and importantly it has a split throttle which is nice in FSX if you ever fly twins.   They can be locked together if you fly single engine and want to keep them together.

 

      I have the warthog and would not go back to the CH gear.  It costs more, feels much nicer and has more functionality.

 

      If you said you had the money to throw at it and didnt really case about the cost I would say go the whole hog!  Otherwise things are harder, the CH is nice, I am not a fan of the throttle though and the other points I mentioned may not matter to you.

 

     One thing which should not sway your thoughts are sticks which are replica's of real aircraft.  This does not matter at all.   At the end of the day they are sticks that have buttons.  Some have more, some have less, any buttons can be mapped to any function.   If anything the replicas could be viewed as more ergonomical and made to be as good as they can be for what they do rather than the fantasy sticks.  That's a bit of BS as well but at the end of the day there is no disadvantage to having a replica.

 

    Map the trim button to trim if you like, if not map it to something else, you are not constrained.


Also, if the additional buttons on the base of the throttle put you off you can do as some others have done and make printouts to go on top.  Then you can name them for anything you want.

 

   Even though the switches on the base match the a10 some are generic for other things, i.e. autopilot, apu and the others just map to whatever  you want.



#3 Henry Street

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:27 PM


One thing which should not sway your thoughts are sticks which are replica's of real aircraft. This does not matter at all. At the end of the day they are sticks that have buttons. Some have more, some have less, any buttons can be mapped to any function. If anything the replicas could be viewed as more ergonomical and made to be as good as they can be for what they do rather than the fantasy sticks. That's a bit of BS as well but at the end of the day there is no disadvantage to having a replica.

 

Very much agree here. I have the Thrustmaster and fly a wide variety of aircraft with it. Most of the functions I have assigned apply to every aircraft, "gear" for example.

 

If you use FSUIPC or LINDA, the software automatically detects which aircraft is loaded in FSX so you can have as many or as few programming profiles as you wish.


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#4 odourboy

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:45 PM

Wow - thanks for the quick replies guys! Very useful comments (not the emotional cheer-leader style remarks I was concerned that this thread would attract).

 

 

 


The throttle works.. I dont really like the way it moves, it's not got a long throw. It's what let things down for me when I used the CH products.

 

It's really the CH throttle that has me hung up.... and you haven't done anything to convince me otherwise. LOL!

 

Regarding the resistance on the Warthog versus the Fighterstick... they would appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. While you've indicated an overall preference for the Warthog, do you feel either offers a precision advantage? I'm a big guy and not intimidated about muscling around a heavily sprung stick, but do you find it fatiguing?

 

 

 


If you use FSUIPC or LINDA, the software automatically detects which aircraft is loaded in FSX so you can have as many or as few programming profiles as you wish.

 

I'm not using either at the moment (except the FSUIPC freeware version). Is this a Warthog specific solution or can you use these tools to map any controllers? (From what I've read, if you can wrap your mind around it, the CH configuration software is the most flexible and comprehensive available.)


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#5 Henry Street

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:50 PM


I'm not using either at the moment (except the FSUIPC freeware version). Is this a Warthog specific solution or can you use these tools to map any controllers? (From what I've read, if you can wrap your mind around it, the CH configuration software is the most flexible and comprehensive available.)

 

Yes, the Thrustmaster family of products has some fairly comprehensive programming software that, based on my reading, allows macros and has a programming language. I went with FSUIPC/LINDA so I would not have to depend on more 3rd party drivers. Hard to imagine any manufacturer's software as flexible as FSUIPC/LINDA with it's direct access to FSX offsets.


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#6 Sponge

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 08:16 PM

Same here on the warthog.. Loving it.


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#7 JasonHarris

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 08:25 PM

 

Regarding the resistance on the Warthog versus the Fighterstick... they would appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. While you've indicated an overall preference for the Warthog, do you feel either offers a precision advantage? I'm a big guy and not intimidated about muscling around a heavily sprung stick, but do you find it fatiguing?

 

 

 

 

I dont use the stick as default, I use it with an extension  like in the picture.   This increases the length by about 3" or 75mm.   Some people like them longer but the main thing is that it really free's up the feel o  the stick, it takes away the resistance so it moves very freely and you get a lot more precision.  You are now moving it with your arm, not with your wrist so you can do much more precise things, like in air refueling etc.

 

post-118410-0-57451800-1383458601.jpg



#8 Henry Street

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 08:37 PM


you get a lot more precision

 

Looking really hard at this for my pit....


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#9 JasonHarris

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 08:46 PM

I dont know anyone who uses an extension that doesnt love it!

 

    But!   it really is suited for center mount, probably harder to use on the side and especially if you have it on a desk it will raise the height beyond what may be comfortable.  I dont know for sure as I have never tried it on a desk but I can only imagine sitting at a desk and having your hand up at chest height while flying for a long time can't be comfortable.



#10 cryptomaniac

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 08:51 PM

I originally used the CH Fighterstick for a few years & was satisfied with it. Not long ago the switches were becoming intermittent so it was time for a replacement. I thought about getting another like it since it worked well for years, but instead went with the TM Warthog.

 

This thing is in a class all by itself. Now that I've used it for a little while I will never go back to a regular joystick ever again.

 

I also have the CH pro throttle & pedals but never really liked them. Never felt intuitive to me.

Also have the CH throttle quadrant & it lasted about a year before the axis potentiometers started acting up.



#11 odourboy

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:40 PM

I dont know anyone who uses an extension that doesnt love it!

 

    But!   it really is suited for center mount, probably harder to use on the side and especially if you have it on a desk it will raise the height beyond what may be comfortable.  I dont know for sure as I have never tried it on a desk but I can only imagine sitting at a desk and having your hand up at chest height while flying for a long time can't be comfortable.

My intention (at least right now) is to use the joystick at the side. So the extension is not something I'd likely use. I agree with the desktop remark though - both the hog and the figtherstick are way too tall to use on a desk. I have a customized chair with 'shelves' on each side for the throttle and joystick. I was planning on continuing with that setup.

 


I also have the CH pro throttle & pedals but never really liked them. Never felt intuitive to me.

Also have the CH throttle quadrant & it lasted about a year before the axis potentiometers started acting up.

It's only the Pro Throttle I'm considering.

 

I think if TM made a more general purpose rig of the quality of the Warthog, it would be a total no-brainer! If Saitek offered the x-65f throttle unbundled, I'd probably go for that and the hog stick.  :rolleyes:


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#12 zoran

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 11:35 PM

Hi, I can give you some perspective on all of them.  

 

   The saitek is fairly programmable and there will be lots of profiles around the net for it.   It will likely not outlast any of the other two.  It has a lot of buttons and is not a replica of anything.   It should do what you want in FSX but durability is not the same as the others - neither is the cost so the tradeoff is obvious.

 

    The CH gear does seem to last forever..  It is very programmable but it's probably the hardest to do the programming for.   Remember that unless you want to do something specific with any of these controllers you may never need to do any programming.  Just set it all up in FSX as standard controllers.

 

    The fighterstick is very light to the feel and has definite points you can feel when moving the gimbal through the center.   It's a great sidestick, it's got a large base which makes it hard to mount in the center if you ever try to incorporate it as a center stick in a cockpit.

 

    The throttle works..   I dont really like the way it moves, it's not got a long throw.  It's what let things down for me when I used the CH products.   

 

    There are a lot of buttons between the throttle and stick.   The stick is a replica from an F16, the throttle is partially.

 

 

     Then there is the warthog.  It's a replica of the throttle and stick from an a10.  The Stick is the same as an F16 therefore it is basically the same as the CH fighterstick, all the same buttons but the a10 version has one additional paddle and a two stage trigger that the CH doesnt have.   Otherwise the stick is identical as far as buttons and function + size.   The hog has a small base which makes it good for center mounting if you ever want to do that.  It's feel is way above any of the other two, its metal and just feels better.   The throttle has a lot of buttons on it and importantly it has a split throttle which is nice in FSX if you ever fly twins.   They can be locked together if you fly single engine and want to keep them together.

 

      I have the warthog and would not go back to the CH gear.  It costs more, feels much nicer and has more functionality.

 

      If you said you had the money to throw at it and didnt really case about the cost I would say go the whole hog!  Otherwise things are harder, the CH is nice, I am not a fan of the throttle though and the other points I mentioned may not matter to you.

 

     One thing which should not sway your thoughts are sticks which are replica's of real aircraft.  This does not matter at all.   At the end of the day they are sticks that have buttons.  Some have more, some have less, any buttons can be mapped to any function.   If anything the replicas could be viewed as more ergonomical and made to be as good as they can be for what they do rather than the fantasy sticks.  That's a bit of BS as well but at the end of the day there is no disadvantage to having a replica.

 

    Map the trim button to trim if you like, if not map it to something else, you are not constrained.


Also, if the additional buttons on the base of the throttle put you off you can do as some others have done and make printouts to go on top.  Then you can name them for anything you want.

 

   Even though the switches on the base match the a10 some are generic for other things, i.e. autopilot, apu and the others just map to whatever  you want.

5 star review!  excellent comparisons 


zoran maksic


#13 odourboy

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 11:18 PM

As a follow-up, I'd like to thank you all for providing input. The deed is done.This was a very tough decision for me. I've just ordered a CH Pro Throttle and Combatstick. What swayed me was a combination of cost (well less than half the cost of the Warthog here in Canada), availability (needed to order the Warthog from the USA whereas the CH was available locally) and the comfort of having a 'generic' solution for FSX with the most flexible configuration software of the lot.

 

Quite frankly, I admit I feel that this is a compromise decision as none of the current vendors offer what I would consider an optimum solution for general purpose simming. So my choice, in part, has been driven by the idea that if/when a better flight controller solution becomes available, I won't feel as bad moving to it then if I'd sunk big $$$ into the Warthog. And if it never comes along, at least I have a flexible, reliable and well regarded HOTAS in my arsenal.


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#14 JasonHarris

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 11:26 PM

The CH stuff is good gear so at least you know you wont be unhappy!   One Q though, why the combatstick over the fighterstick?



#15 odourboy

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:04 AM

The CH stuff is good gear so at least you know you wont be unhappy!   One Q though, why the combatstick over the fighterstick?

Both the Fighterstick and the Pro Throttle have mode selector buttons and LEDs. Either device can be set as a mode master. Unfortunately, even with CH's Control Manager software, LEDs displaying the modes do not integrate across multiple controllers. They simply follow the state of the mode button on their own controller.

 

The Combatstick can also be slaved to the Pro Throttle for multi-mode operation. So in an effort to keep things simpler (one mode for both devices rather then independent modes for each device OR a set of LEDs that could be out of sync with the current mode) I decided to go with the Combatstick, which does not have mode LEDs but is otherwise almost identical to the Fighterstick (I give up a 4 position button for a push button). Does that make sense to you?


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