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View Full Version : How do you mod a USB joystick?



Choctaw111
07-01-2006, 06:00 AM
I have trolled around these forums and gathered a lot of useful information but was wondering if I have to do anything special to take apart a USB joystick to use the switches. Can I use a 4-way hat switch for 4 separate switches in my new pit? I would be grateful for anyone with this knowledge to post a comment here.
I would also like to know (since I am already using using a CH Fighterstick, ProThrottle and ProPedals) if I can take apart a 4th joystick and use those switches also. Will Il2 support 4 peripherals plus a TrackIR? I have a CH Combatstick lying around and thought about using that one or would you experts out there recoment I use something else? I also have a Gravis Xterminator Gameport version and Microsoft FF(gameport version) and FF2(USB) which I may give to an Army Air Corps WW2 buddy (he is 79) who I just may be able to convert over to the Il2 series when he comes over here next week. Which is the best controller to use? Is it just the one with the most buttons or is there one that is easier to work with than the others? Your input is appreciated.
Just please let me know what I have to do to convert to controller into switches that I can use to my own liking. Thanks...

Choctaw111
07-01-2006, 06:00 AM
I have trolled around these forums and gathered a lot of useful information but was wondering if I have to do anything special to take apart a USB joystick to use the switches. Can I use a 4-way hat switch for 4 separate switches in my new pit? I would be grateful for anyone with this knowledge to post a comment here.
I would also like to know (since I am already using using a CH Fighterstick, ProThrottle and ProPedals) if I can take apart a 4th joystick and use those switches also. Will Il2 support 4 peripherals plus a TrackIR? I have a CH Combatstick lying around and thought about using that one or would you experts out there recoment I use something else? I also have a Gravis Xterminator Gameport version and Microsoft FF(gameport version) and FF2(USB) which I may give to an Army Air Corps WW2 buddy (he is 79) who I just may be able to convert over to the Il2 series when he comes over here next week. Which is the best controller to use? Is it just the one with the most buttons or is there one that is easier to work with than the others? Your input is appreciated.
Just please let me know what I have to do to convert to controller into switches that I can use to my own liking. Thanks...

Choctaw111
07-01-2006, 06:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Choctaw111:
I have trolled around these forums and gathered a lot of useful information but was wondering if I have to do anything special to take apart a USB joystick to use the switches. Can I use a 4-way hat switch for 4 separate switches in my new pit? I would be grateful for anyone with this knowledge to post a comment here.
I would also like to know (since I am already using using a CH Fighterstick, ProThrottle and ProPedals) if I can take apart a 4th joystick and use those switches also. Will Il2 support 4 peripherals plus a TrackIR? I have a CH Combatstick lying around and thought about using that one or would you experts out there recoment I use something else? I also have a Gravis Xterminator Gameport version and Microsoft FF(gameport version) and FF2(USB) which I may give to an Army Air Corps WW2 buddy (he is 79) who I just may be able to convert over to the Il2 series when he comes over here next week. Which is the best controller to use? Is it just the one with the most buttons or is there one that is easier to work with than the others? Your input is appreciated.
Just please let me know what I have to do to convert the controller into switches that I can use to my own liking. Thanks... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Bearcat99
07-01-2006, 06:47 AM
http://x10.putfile.com/4/9600003180.jpg

I did this to my X-45.... I still have to cover the hole.. just never got around to it. Sure it is doable.. I use my hats as 4 way switches anyway. If you want to use them as individual switches you might have to buy switches and just solder them to te wiring. I suggest you look here (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/49310655/m/3821084134) and here (http://www.simhq.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum;f=137).

Just try to keep the electrionics in tact and you will be in business.

x6BL_Brando
07-01-2006, 07:06 AM
If you already have three CH items then I suggest you use the CH Control Manager to merge the three devices into a single 'virtual device'. This takes you right past any need to mess about in FB conf.ini, and will enable you to add your fourth device as well.

It's an idea I'm about to use also. I have the innards of a Fighterstick which I'm going to use as a control panel. Installed in the CHCM as a second fighterstick, I can use everything I can link to. Rotaries are easy, as are the single buttons and the separate hat-switch - but the top PCB is a lot trickier. I wouldn't relish trying anything but mounting the whole structure - PCB with two tophats, 8-way hat & button - straight into a panel. Any dismantling, and the wiring of such to separate buttons - is just way beyond my comprehension.

But yes, you can use it - and here's the place to start (http://www.ch-hangar.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=3327) looking for help.

The whole, friendly forum I mean - but that's a useful starting topic http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

CHCM is your friend.

B.

triggerhappyfin
07-01-2006, 07:53 AM
About those hat switches...they usually have five leads to connect four switches. This means, one is common and the remaining four is for one switch each.

I've done it with this mod:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v257/Triggerhappyfin/HPIM0557.jpg

If you'r not familiar with the connections inside your stick, take care of doucumentation for your owne convenience. A digital camera is handy to have.

So...go for it!

Bearcat99
07-01-2006, 09:35 AM
Arent most hat switches 8 way hats though?

bolox00
07-01-2006, 09:57 AM
looking at the wiring diags x6BL_Brando linked, it looks like ch use a matrix input which could be a tad confusing if you plan on using 'real' switches.
http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/index.html
gives a reasonable schematic of a matrix.(also another alternative)
i'd highly recomend using diodes if this is the case, particularly if you plan on any 'fancy' programming.

you'll have to 'map' the matrix by observing which dx button is activated(control panel/game controllers/properties?) when you short across each combination of input wires(not the usb out http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

just makes things a bit fiddlier

T_O_A_D
07-01-2006, 09:57 AM
Cool what stick did you use to make this?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by triggerhappyfin:
About those hat switches...they usually have five leads to connect four switches. This means, one is common and the remaining four is for one switch each.

I've done it with this mod:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v257/Triggerhappyfin/HPIM0557.jpg

If you'r not familiar with the connections inside your stick, take care of doucumentation for your owne convenience. A digital camera is handy to have.

So...go for it! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Choctaw111
07-01-2006, 11:20 AM
Oops. I dug it out of the closet and it is not a Combatstick but a Flightstick. BIG difference. Now I only have 4 buttons and an 8 way hat switch. I would love to get the 8 way hat switch to be 8 seperate buttons if possible then I would have 12 buttons to mess with plus 2 axes and a slider wheel. That should be enough to get me going.
If I wanted to get something off Ebay for more buttons what what you all suggest though? I want to make sure that when I start my new pit project that I will have enough buttons and functions to go around. When I do a project I go all out and this pit will be extraordinary! This will be one that you will climb into and sit inside for that real pit feel. I will be sure to post pics of this baby! All I need is a little knowledge of how all these USB switches work so thank you all for the links. Anyone with more info please keep posting. Thanks.

Choctaw111
07-01-2006, 11:39 AM
I just hooked up the FlightStick while still keeping the FighterStick, ProThrottle and ProPedals connected and Il2 will not recognize the FlightStick (ie. I cannot use the FlightStick for additional commands for button mapping in addition to the other 3 controllers). Someone had mentioned something about there being a way around this using the CH control manager. How do you do this?

x6BL_Brando
07-01-2006, 12:20 PM
When you install & configure the CHCM you get the option to convert all CH devices into a "single 'virtual' device". This is seen by Windows (& FB) as a single device with many buttons and axes, rather than 2,3 or 4 separate ones.

B.

bolox00
07-01-2006, 12:53 PM
2 axes and 8 buttons would be a start, assuming your flightstick is functional (do you see responses in game controllers /properties when its plugged in alone?).

as you are looking to 'go mad' at some point it might be worth thinking about which controls you want and count up- the number can be scary- more than most sticks.if you are thinking about mixture control then you are gonna need something programmable(ch,cougar or x45/52 spring to mind)

if you want loads of switches, then the link in previous post is a start.

http://www.mindaugas.com/projects/MJoy16/
is also worth a look- particularly with a matrix board to cut out wiring diodes

if you really want to go mad then
http://www.betainnovations.com/
the plasma lite would probably be enough(one v.happy owner here http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ) they are very good at accepting other inputs such as rotary encoders.
(and no diodes req'd!)
a gammaray with 256 inputs is probably overkill http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif

triggerhappyfin
07-01-2006, 01:18 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by T_O_A_D:
Cool what stick did you use to make this?

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I used an old x-36, I've been patching up for malfunctions a number of times. I got a new x-45
and modded the old x-36(usb). The top thing is the availability to use SST to program the switches. I've got a pushbutton starter, when pushed it gives I for toggling the selected engine and when released it toggles "all engines selected". This way to program swithes to give one command when toggled on and an other when toggled off is unique for the programmable sticks. I've also added three trimwheels on the pulpit and a connection for my TM Elite pedals. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Still got seven switches to use together with two axis that I've not decided the use off yet.

x6BL_Brando
07-01-2006, 02:43 PM
Well, actually, using the CHCM will allow you to use the mode-switching capability of the FS and PT - thereby giving you three times the number of keypresses available than when using Dx commands as you are at the moment. Using the shift button something like 102 commands are available from the Fighterstick alone. Even if you don't care for modes - you will be able to use the pinkie-shift button and double your commands.

Those commands can be multiple too...one button push (hatswitch) raises the gear on an I-16 - and the same push, shifted, lowers it. And that is only skimming the surface of the CM's capabilities.

B.

SPLASH_1
07-01-2006, 02:55 PM
http://www.aqza37.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/BU0836pcb.png

joystick controller (http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/)

this is a handy little device

T_O_A_D
07-01-2006, 03:46 PM
Thanks for the reply, Been thinking of doing that to my X-45, but I still want to keep using the MMFB and the x-45 and the Ch pedals, but add the worked over X-45 in the mix. But have ran across programing stuff in IL2 with four controllers. Maybey I'll box it up soort of like BC rig so I can continue to use the throttle, but make the stick a row of switches.

Better buy a spare stick first though LOL

That looks interesting SPLASH_1

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by triggerhappyfin:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by T_O_A_D:
Cool what stick did you use to make this?

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I used an old x-36, I've been patching up for malfunctions a number of times. I got a new x-45
and modded the old x-36(usb). The top thing is the availability to use SST to program the switches. I've got a pushbutton starter, when pushed it gives I for toggling the selected engine and when released it toggles "all engines selected". This way to program swithes to give one command when toggled on and an other when toggled off is unique for the programmable sticks. I've also added three trimwheels on the pulpit and a connection for my TM Elite pedals. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Still got seven switches to use together with two axis that I've not decided the use off yet. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

WB_Outlaw
07-01-2006, 03:54 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Bearcat99:
Arent most hat switches 8 way hats though? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hats only have 4 switches and get 8 positions by combining two presses (ie, up (North) and right (East) pressed at the same time is a single NE click.

--Outlaw.

WB_Outlaw
07-01-2006, 03:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SPLASH_1:
http://www.aqza37.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/BU0836pcb.png

joystick controller (http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/joystick/)

this is a handy little device </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Splash ain't kidding. Bodnar's controller is freakin' sweet to say the least.

--Outlaw.

triggerhappyfin
07-01-2006, 05:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by x6BL_Brando:
Well, actually, using the CHCM will allow you to use the mode-switching capability of the FS and PT - thereby giving you three times the number of keypresses available than when using Dx commands as you are at the moment. Using the shift button something like 102 commands are available from the Fighterstick alone. Even if you don't care for modes - you will be able to use the pinkie-shift button and double your commands.

Those commands can be multiple too...one button push (hatswitch) raises the gear on an I-16 - and the same push, shifted, lowers it. And that is only skimming the surface of the CM's capabilities.

B. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I meant all programmable sticks. Actually the I-16 gear is possible to control by a single on/on switch programmed to give the proper command toggled on and off. No need of using shift or mode commands.

x6BL_Brando
07-01-2006, 05:42 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">No need of using shift or mode commands. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sure. There are some great fixes out there. I was however addressing the topic-starter who is specifically using CH products.

Sorry for any confusion.

B.

Bearcat99
07-03-2006, 05:35 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by triggerhappyfin:
I meant all programmable sticks. Actually the I-16 gear is possible to control by a single on/on switch programmed to give the proper command toggled on and off. No need of using shift or mode commands. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes and the nice thing I like about the X-45 is that with it's SST software you can program a key to repeat as long as it is pressed.. so basically you just hold the key till your gear is down.

Padser
07-04-2006, 07:53 AM
~S~

I'm in the process of modding a gameport Fighterstick so that I can create a USBlong-shaft version.

Pause for shaft related jokes.

I am sure the switches etc in the stick are the same as in the USB version or very close. If you look at each of the switches, you will see two clear terminals (where the wire comes out) or, in the case of the high-hats, on the underside of the little boards they are mounted on, clear blobs of solder that indicate where they are wired in on the other side. You can solder new connections to these - each switch will require two, it's easy to see which goes with which. You can then attach new switches to these and should be good to go - this will allow you to make use of the stick's chips, etc., and will mean that your new modded controller will simply be treated as a CH Fighterstick by your machine.

I'll dig some pictures out and post them later.

Pads

PS - the Leo Bodnar joystick controller approach is also highly to be recommended if you want to create a whole array of buttons and what-not.

This is what I did with it - you are limited only by your imagination and materials (and facility with a soldering iron...)!

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&f=26310365&m=9831081034