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View Full Version : CH Fighterstick or Thrustmaster (Cougar?)HOTAS???



ytareh
04-29-2007, 04:28 AM
OK I guess you guys can say I told you so now,but after a very creditable 2 years my Logitech Extreme 3d Pro has started showing permanent rudder 'sideways displacement' when centered so I guess it has to go.
For reasons of space and lack of desire to try out something new (I eventually took the plunge with Track IR!)I would not consider rudder pedals so its got to be a twist stick.
So which of the two bad boys in the topic title will be most reliable ?I know they both have rock solid reputations but doesnt one of them have a faulty potentiometers (granted after a few years?) issue
Despite its horrendous reputation I loved my Logitech for its stiff spring and ultimate anatomic grip (and to hell with lefthanders Saitek!!!-only joking....).So which should I go for ?Probably wouldnt consider 'modding' the one with dodgy pots unless its v easy....

Capt.LoneRanger
04-29-2007, 04:42 AM
CH Products.

Thrustmaster more or less has cancelled their support for the Cougar HOTAS. There are no new drivers being released and for years they delayed drivers for 64bit systems and didn't even answer when asked for Vista-Drivers.

The Poties of the Cougar are also said to be become more unreliable within a few month, but that's only partially true. They do become more sluggish, but only compared to their original quality.

For the money, the CH HOTAS is the better choice, but if you have enough money and can afford the Uber2 and HALL-Sensor-Mods for the Cougar (incl. Stick, this will bring you close to 600-700$), you have the best stick at hand there is in the world, for 32bit systems.

ytareh
04-29-2007, 04:44 AM
I read the CH sticks are described as having a "light and long" throw on SimHQ.Thats a seriously negative angle for me...

gdfo
04-29-2007, 04:58 AM
What does 'light and long' mean?

For that matter perhap players who have had several 'stick's would like to describe their favorite and why.

I have only used 2 brands. The MS Sidewinder series, the first of which connected to the game port and now the X-52. I much prefer the feel and tension of the MS but like all the buttons and sliders on the X-52.

ytareh
04-29-2007, 05:43 AM
"light and long" means theres a limp,weak spring and you have to move the stick for miles to get anything to happen(ok so thats how it was in reality but if we used realistic stick input curves the gamne would be unplayable).I hated Saitek EVO Platinum and MS Sidewinder 2 non FFB...both as limp as a 20minute spaghetti...
Now it may appear that Thrustmaster HOTAS needs to be seriously modded to be reliable and CH may be too soft for my liking.
I dont like to feel my hand is floating around in mid air i like to feel the spring resistance....

bolox00
04-29-2007, 05:51 AM
first off, neither ch or cougar have twist rudder.

have you tried the clear calibration utility logitech provide on their website?- certainly extended the useful life of a logitech i once owned.

as to pot reliability, my cougar is over 4 years old and still on original pots.

ch and cougar both have (moderately) partisan owners and active, helpful forums.

if you think a logitech has stiff springs, well the cougar's are stronger.

ergonomically cougar throttle is better than ch (imho), the sticks being similar.

XyZspineZyX
04-29-2007, 07:02 AM
Originally posted by ytareh:
move the stick for miles to get anything to happen

I have a CH Fighterstick and in reading this statement I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. People who may have said such things most likely forgot to adjust their joystick sensitivities in the game.

As for the limp part, there is some resistance in the stick, but its not as strong as say a Saitek stick, where for some reason after a few months of playing people think you've become single again because of the bigger muscles in your right arm.

Right now I'm using a Saitek X45 for the throttle, I have the stick under my desk for now(want to modify it to rudder pedals and a console), and use the CH Fighterstick for control. Never would I go back to anything else than CH for a stick.

OD_79
04-29-2007, 07:08 AM
If you need a twist stick then neither of them as they don't have it.

I've got both the Fighter Stick and the Combat stick and the Combat stick is better for IL2, the Fighter stick has switches in place of buttons where buttons are mor appropriate for IL2 - it's cheaper as well!

I use the Fighter Stick for Lock On where the switches are great for RADAR mode changes and selecting weapons etc. All the stuff you do in an F-15 but not a Spitfire!

As for light and long, I've got no idea what you are talking about as I have found this to be the best stick I have ever used. It's solid, will last you for years and does everything is says on the tin. It's very precise and accurate, I wouldn't buy anything other than a CH stick now.

Get a CH stick though and you will need rudder pedals.

OD.

WWSpinDry
04-29-2007, 07:23 AM
CH Products.

R_Target
04-29-2007, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by ytareh:
"light and long" means theres a limp,weak spring and you have to move the stick for miles to get anything to happen(ok so thats how it was in reality but if we used realistic stick input curves the gamne would be unplayable).I hated Saitek EVO Platinum and MS Sidewinder 2 non FFB...both as limp as a 20minute spaghetti...
Now it may appear that Thrustmaster HOTAS needs to be seriously modded to be reliable and CH may be too soft for my liking.
I dont like to feel my hand is floating around in mid air i like to feel the spring resistance....

I hear ya. I hated the light feel of my CH stick at first, but perservered because the tracking was so accurate compared to what I was used to. I don't really notice it now. It's too bad the pots are so crappy in the Logitech 3D, I really liked the feel of that stick for the same reasons you stated.

Anyway, if it's a twisty stick you need, how about Thrustmaster Top Gun Fox2 Pro?

Capt.LoneRanger
04-29-2007, 08:17 AM
Well, going from the optics and feel, the Cougar feels more real and is more comfortable and it has really, REALLY strong srpings!

The CH-Fighterstick on first glance is a light cheap-plastic thing.

But that is simply not true. I have to agree, that you can move the stick very far, but if you set input-values to 100, you'll be happy to have such a good feeling of how much you push the stick. And you can very percisely control how much input you give with the Fighterstick. Something, that requires quite a strong arm in the Cougar.

On the other hand, while you need a gorilla arm for the springs of the Cougar, you need a gorilla-hand for the long stick of the fighterstick, if you have it placed on the table. It is difficult to reach the pinkie, pickle and trigger at the same time.

Warrington_Wolf
04-29-2007, 08:40 AM
I have a CH combat stick which I bought after my X-45 gave up the ghost. The resistance is very light compared to the X-45, but that is a good thing because it means that you can make small corrections in course more easily.
The throttle wheel on the combat stick isn't very good, I use it for adjusting the prop pitch.
This stick is pricey but it really is worth every penny.
I would also get the CH throttle to go with the stick, that way you can set up 3 modes for the stick (for example Air-Air, Air-ground and Nav + cruise). The throttle isn't as good as the X-45 throttle but the CH throttle is nice and reliable, and the ministick on it is a good idea.
CH pro pedals, I cannot fly without them now, I don't think any further comments are required.

In a nutshell, go CH all the way, they are pricey but you won't regret the purchase.

Crash_Moses
04-29-2007, 09:13 AM
Since you specified twist-stick rudder I recommend an old Microsoft Sidewinder 2. They don't make 'em anymore but you can probably find one on e-Bay. Lotta folks swear by 'em.

For myself I use an old TM F-22 with Bob Church's digital chips. Very hard to come by but very durable. The 19# springs take a little getting used to though.

I've had mine for four years and no problems at all (except for a broken button on the TQS...fixed with strong epoxy...hehe).

S!

Huxley_S
04-29-2007, 10:44 AM
Since you specified twist-stick rudder I recommend an old Microsoft Sidewinder 2. They don't make 'em anymore but you can probably find one on e-Bay. Lotta folks swear by 'em.

I just bought one for US$16 on ebay... just hoping that it a) arrives and b) is in good nick http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Chivas
04-29-2007, 11:41 AM
CH are well made but arn't twist rudders and the gimbals transition is too clunky for my taste. This can throw your aim off if travelling threw the gimbal transition while shooting.

The Cougar is also a non-twist stick with super clunky gimbals. You can buy a very expensive mod with smooth gimbals and precise pots. The Cougar throttle is by far the best made.

The X52 is "light and long" Lite springs and Long throw. Can be very un-precise if it has the deadzone issue. I have not tried the X52 Pro.

The Microsoft Sidewinder FFB has the smoothest gimbals with the most adjustable spring tension. A very precise stick only available on e-bay. I paid alot of money but it was worth every penny.

I would recommend the Saitek Aviator. It has smooth gimbals and reasonable spring tension that can be strengthened with a spacer. It is almost as precise as the MSFF2 stick, and its only around $40.

~Salute~
Chivas

ytareh
04-29-2007, 11:55 AM
CHIVAS is the spacer to tighten the spring supplied in the Saitek box ?I did a DIY spacer job on my briefly owned Saitek Evo Platinum (hated it)and it certainly hastened its demise.(returned to shop within a week!)I actually like the look of the aviator (AV8R?)but assumed it had a Saitek limp,long throw spring...

Chivas
04-29-2007, 12:36 PM
The Aviator spring tension is good but I prefer it to be a little firmer. I put a peice of Neoprene rubber between the base of the stick and the spring cup. This did two things, it obviously made the spring stiffer but also smoothed out the compression when the spring cup hit the neoprene instead of the harder base of the stick. This made the stick even smoother without effecting the twist mechanism or joystick life. I think it would extend the life of the stick.

If you look at the base of the stick under the spring there is an (aprox) three inch diameter depression. I cut out a 3" diameter piece of 5/16 thick neoprene and cut a 5/8 hole in the middle. The narrow shape of the stick made it possible to pull the neoprene washer over top of the stick and under the spring cup and it fit nicely into the base depression.

You can pickup a scrap piece of neoprene used in making wet suits, at your local dive shop.

DmdSeeker
04-29-2007, 04:15 PM
I had a cougar and threw it away in disgust. It "feels" like quality when you first unpack it, but in stock condition the internal quality is no better than logitech and the build quality horrible. It does have the market's best and most flexible software, but to get the best out of it you need to run in "advanced" mode, which means you have to learn it's scripting language. If you run in "basic" mode then the software functionality is about the same as Saitek's.

I've never had any CH stuff, but know lot's of people who are running ten year old CH rigs and still swear by them.

It's a paradox, the cougar feels like quality when new, but isn't, the CH stuff feels like cheap plastic but is the best you can buy.

But you'll pay through the nose for either. All the guys who swear by thier cougar have had to double thier investment in after market mods.

The best value for money is most definately Saitek.

All the function of a cougar (in basic mode, at least) at a fraction of the price.

And Saitek's have twisty rudders.

Taylortony
04-29-2007, 04:19 PM
ytareh what country are u in?

Padser
04-29-2007, 05:31 PM
~S~

I'm not a small chap, but I found the Cougar very heavy to fly with - the spring's just too strong for a whole evening's flying.

Oh, and one of the buttons on the throttle is very problem prone - there's a guy that does machined aluminium replacements, but as with all of those (doubtless excellent) mods, it'll cost you...

CH all the way for me - and their after sales service is outstanding!

Pads

Matz0r
04-29-2007, 05:48 PM
I've had a Cougar since 2002 and I'm very happy with it.... with some modifications. The thing is very sturdy - think the throttle and stick weigh 8kg together. The original pots are a problem, you will have to replace them once every two years or so because they wear out. I've invested in a hall sensor mod for my cougar which makes input insanely smooth and accurate and they don't wear. Springs are very stiff, I've gotten used to it, I'd say the stiffness helps you fly because it makes it difficult to throw around the stick too much and cause your plane to depart. There are spring mods for the stick also but they are very expensive. Software is excellent, you can make it do whatever you want it to do, you'll have to learn the scripting language though. Bottom line - if you get a cougar you'd probably be you would have to commit, be ready to do some tinkering/maintainance and spend some cash on it for upgrades to be satisfied with it.

WTE_Ibis
04-30-2007, 06:13 AM
If the CH stick springs are too light you can change them or add rubber bands. I tried it but went back to the standard springs.
Can't break it with a hammer.

.

TgD Thunderbolt56
04-30-2007, 07:22 AM
Opinions about Joystickas are as diverse and biased as those for Video Card manufacturers...but here's mine http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif:

The Cougar has the best feel (ergonomically speaking) of the ones you've listed, but without some pricey mods, that's where their appeal ends.

CH has soft springs, but the precision and sensitivity are superior to anything else currently available...not to mention their reputation for durability.

I've used both as well as a few efforts from Saitek and can say without any doubt, that CH is the best for me.

1. Out-of-the-box functionality
2. Durability adequate for a flight-sim addict
3. Incredible customer support

The only way to know is to trod down the road of testing for yourself.


TB

JuHa-
04-30-2007, 11:30 AM
If

a) out-of-the-box -> CH
b) willing-to-mod -> Cougar

ytareh
04-30-2007, 01:54 PM
Taylor Tony Im in Ireland

This is very depressing reading for me .Im not really into the idea of pedals and dont want to have to invest mega money -not to mention the time -in a Cougar .If the CH is limper than what I thought was a terribly limp Saitek then thats not an option either...

Its funny how we all have our own preferences for this sort of stuff.(I dont even particularly like power steering in cars so I guess I like a 'seat of the pants' feedback/feel

Huxley_S
04-30-2007, 02:02 PM
Get a MS FFB2 from eBay, or if you don't like FFB try a Sidewinder Precision Pro.

These are widely recognized as some of the best joysticks ever made and have a twist action z axis for the rudder.

There are several on offer at the moment on the UK site...

http://search.ebay.co.uk/search/search.dll?sofocus=bs&s...1&coentrypage=search (http://search.ebay.co.uk/search/search.dll?sofocus=bs&sbrftog=1&catref=C6&from=R10&satitle=microsoft+joystick+sidewinder&sacat=-1%26catref%3DC6&sargn=-1%26saslc%3D3&sadis=200&fpos=Postcode&ga10244=10425&ftrt=1&ftrv=1&saprclo=&saprchi=&fsop=1%26fsoo%3D1&coaction=compare&copagenum=1&coentrypage=search)

Fireball_
04-30-2007, 02:14 PM
Well, if you really liked the feel of the Logitech and you got 2 good years out of it, buy another one. That's heresey to some, to recommend a Logitech, but I used the 3d Pro for several months and really liked it. I switched to a CH setup because I got it for Christmas, but I had no problems with the Logitech. I don't think you're going to find as stiff a stick as the Logitech. I believe someone mentioned the Saitek Aviator. That may not be quite as stiff as a Logitech, but you may like it. It is a twist stick, and it's about the same price as the 3d Pro.

Taylortony
04-30-2007, 02:57 PM
Originally posted by ytareh:
Taylor Tony Im in Ireland


Ok I have just bought a job lot of 3 untested stick, Oh I do like a gamble http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

One of them is a Cougar and 2 are X52's........

If they work ok, would you be interested in one of them? they ain't gonna be expensive...

It's the postage that may be the bigger bit as in England

ytareh
04-30-2007, 04:26 PM
I read somewhere that the X52 has "ajustable tension"...does this give the main joystick spring decent tension?

Taylortony
04-30-2007, 04:35 PM
MIGHT BE FOR THE THROTTLE, BUT WILL LET YOU KNOW TOMORROW IF THEY ARRIVE...........

Oops cap locks were on but to lazy to rewrite it........

my X45 has an adjuster to adjust the throttle stifness......

Chivas
04-30-2007, 04:49 PM
The X52 doesn't have an adjustable stick tension. They did double up on the springs in the X52 Pro but neither are adjustable.

Capt.LoneRanger
04-30-2007, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by Chivas:
The X52 doesn't have an adjustable stick tension. They did double up on the springs in the X52 Pro but neither are adjustable.

Actually, it is very easy to adjust the X52s springs. Just clamp the spring together with cable-binders and adjust tension to your preference.

Chivas
04-30-2007, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by Capt.LoneRanger:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Chivas:
The X52 doesn't have an adjustable stick tension. They did double up on the springs in the X52 Pro but neither are adjustable.

Actually, it is very easy to adjust the X52s springs. Just clamp the spring together with cable-binders and adjust tension to your preference. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes the cable-binders do work but I prefer the neoprene rubber mod I discribed in an earlier post in this thread. It not only improves resistance, it also smoothes out strike between the spring cup and base of the stick. I can't remember if the X52's spring cup is the same as the Aviator. I threw the X52 in the garbage.

Huxley_S
04-30-2007, 08:36 PM
I threw the X52 in the garbage.

Haven't you heard of eBay? Pinche cabron http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

Chivas
04-30-2007, 11:34 PM
Originally posted by Huxley_S:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I threw the X52 in the garbage.

Haven't you heard of eBay? Pinche cabron http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, e-bay is excellent but I wouldn't sell that thing. Its being stored in the best place for it. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

TgD Thunderbolt56
05-01-2007, 06:34 AM
Originally posted by Chivas:
Yes, e-bay is excellent but I wouldn't sell that thing. Its being stored in the best place for it. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

While I try to say good things about good products and not be too 'hard' on what I feel to be inferior products, All of the Saitek's I've ever tried (Cyborg, X-45) have felt like plastic toys in comparison to the better gear available (i.e. Cougar and CH).

I haven't tried the X-52, but from all i've heard from real users, they didn't improve much on the X-45.

Opportunity missed by Saitek IMO. Another $15-$20 for better quality and precision would have still put them well below the enthusiast-market based gear and would have served them much better in the reputation area. As it is, they've presented a product that likely won't stand up to much use and, amortized over the life of the sim, will only add to the cost per use since the user will end up getting another stick (and likely one of the better ones at that point).

It sounds easy to say "Go ahead and drop $300 bucks on a joystick", but the truth is, these peripherals are like monitors and keyboards in that they should far outlast the life of any particular sim/game.

TB

Taylortony
05-01-2007, 04:19 PM
The New x52 pro is partially made of metal...........


Incidentally I just bought 3 sticks which were untested returns, the Thrustmaster Cougar HOTAS is perfect, brand new and nothing wrong with it bar a tatty box, tested it all to see if ok tonight..

One x52 had a flickering light and was new also, it was a loose plug that just needed reseating, and the other x52 which is as new needs the sensor for the x axis, which I have contacted Saitek to see if i can get one from them........ but I suspect its an internal break in the wire so if I can't get a replacement, I will pop it into the avionics dept down from me for them to rewire the sensor.....

And how much for 2 new sticks and one which needs a part you may ask? well not a lot http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

Alaskan_Viking
05-01-2007, 04:57 PM
I've got both the Fighter Stick and the Combat stick and the Combat stick is better for IL2, the Fighter stick has switches in place of buttons where buttons are mor appropriate for IL2 - it's cheaper as well!

Don't say that! I just ordered a Fighter stick along with IL-2 1946, and IL-2 is the only sim I play...

Taylortony
05-01-2007, 06:11 PM
Originally posted by Alaskan_Viking:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I've got both the Fighter Stick and the Combat stick and the Combat stick is better for IL2, the Fighter stick has switches in place of buttons where buttons are mor appropriate for IL2 - it's cheaper as well!

Don't say that! I just ordered a Fighter stick along with IL-2 1946, and IL-2 is the only sim I play... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

There a bit like women, not everyone sees the same in each woman, some see a curvacious beauty, others will see a bloated old hag, I would wait and try your stick, u may find you love it http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif