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What is THE best HOTAS joystick/throttle combo ou

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Wasnt there a stick modeled after the F-16 controls that cost a small fortune but was built to last? Suggestions needed, thanks.

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Well, there's the Thrustmaster Cougar, which is the one you're talking about. however, I think a lot of people are having troubles with it, ie parts breaking, bad drivers, something like that.

 

The Saitek X-45 is probably one of the best buys you can get nowadays. its a nice HOTAS for only bout 80 bucks. Of course, you could also wait for the new X-52 :D http://forum.biohazcentral.com/index.php?showtopic=5285

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The best would be probably a fully modded Cougar but that could seriously disrupt the economy of small country.

 

The Saitek stick are good but not the best. The X36 (discontinued) was better than the 45 and the i dont hae high hopes for the 52. The move to a twist-grip rudder seems like a move backwards.

 

The HOTAS to have (IMO) is a CH Products Fighterstick/Pro Throttle and pedals.

 

As much as i love my X36 i cant wait for it to die so i can justify spending money on the CH setup

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Thanks for the replies guys. Still doing research though. Not sure what I want to do. I may still just go with a high quality joystick and call it bueno. The cougar is the one I was thinking of, but I aint gonna buy into a top dollar heartache. I need to check out their forums when I get the chance. The CH is nice but man, they sure want a LOT for the plastic peddals. That noise Ive been hearing is my wallet whining from the strain... :huh:

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Hey PC Pilot

 

I know all about the strain from spending too much (especially when you don't have it). But if you can somehow swing it, the CH products are worth it.

 

I have the CH Combatstick, Pedals, and Throttle. Very well built, and easy to set up too.

 

Navy Chief

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PC, I know everyone is talking about the Cougar and CH Products, but if you want a good HOTAS that wont break you get the Saitek X45. I got one for less than $80 and it's the best stick I've used. Works good in Strike Fighters and FS2k4.

It's got enough buttons and switches to program that you hardly need the keyboard.

Well thats my 2cents worth.

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The X45 combo is the main one for the average budget but if you're wiling to go high-end I would recommend CH.

 

I just got a CH Fighterstick USB

http://www.chproducts.com/retail/usb_fighter.html

 

and a Pro Throttle USB

http://www.chproducts.com/retail/usb_pro_throttle.html

 

Go to the CH hangar site and check out the suport and feedback, I can't say enough good things about them.

 

http://www.ch-hangar.com/news.php

 

 

Tri

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pcpilot,

 

To add my 2c. Although a tad on the high side, the CH HOTAS setup, which I have, has been great so far. I could have bought Cougar + pedals, but the reliability and support of/for the CH products is second to none.

 

Whichever you get, enjoy!

Edited by Kunsan90

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Hey PcPilot,

 

I used to have the X-36 untill it died, (no kidding, the rudder twister broke, but I used it for 1 more year untill it wouldn't respond anymore). I got the X-45 and Thank God that I also bought the 2 year replacement warranty from Best Buy- (no questions asked) B/c I went through 2 of them so far. I am currently on my 3rd X-45 with a good year and a half for replacements. It's not that sturdy in IMO, but it has quite a bang for the buck. I'm not sure about the X-52 since the Army doesn't like it's soldies looking a vid games sites, yet, for a good bargain, get the X-45. Just be sure to get a distributor's warrany for replacement. I have to admit, I was very hard on my X-36 aqnd it lasted, but the X-45 seems much more flimsier than the last model. If you can swing it, go with Master Chief's suggestion and get the CH stuff. I know it's expesive, but my first stick was a CH and it still works! (from 1992- no kidding!). Take care guys.

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Well I've been using CH Products since 1994 and have had ZERO problems with them. The company is great to work with which is located in San Diego, CA. and they even searched their personal inventory at one time for a old Pro Throttle Gameport version when I couldn't find one anywhere. Needless to say I ended up buying all new USB equipment in 2000 when I finally got tired of doing a dual boot so I could use the software for the gameport version equipment. LOL I currently own 1 CH Gameport Throttle, 1 Gameport Pro Throttle, 1 USB Pro Throttle, 1 Gameport F-16 Combatstick, 1 USB Gameport F-16 Combatstick, 1 Gameport CH Peddles, 1 Gameport Pro Peddles, and last but not least 1 USB Pro Peddles. All this equipment works just like it came out of the box and feels very strong when using compared to the Cougar stuff. I knew a guy that bought the Cougar equipment and of course saved some money going that route but ended up returning the throttle and flightstick because of slop issues. CH Products will let you buy the potentiometers or what ever might have broke in your equipment just so you dont have to either send it off or maybe buy new equipment. I have spent way too many sim hours on my equipment and it has never ever felt like it is failing or left me wishing I purchased something else. The stuff is strong and durable and doesn't feel cheesey which is why they are so proud of their prices because they stand behind what they build. One can shop around the Internet and find killer deals on this equipment and save a bundle.....DO NOT TRY AND BUY IT FROM THEIR WEBSITE, those prices are crazy.

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Hey PC, I've been using a Thrustmaster Cougar for a couple of years now. Yes, I've had to replace all the pots in the stick and the throttle, however, they were provided to me from thrustmaster free of charge. Yeah, kind of a hassle but I really love this setup. There's just nothing like the feeling of cold metal in your hand. The heft, the metal buttons, the fact they dont slide around on my desk when I'm bankin and yankin, all make this stick worth the occasional soldering I've had to do. I also got a set of hall sensors to replace the pots in the units, and as soon as these pots start to wear out I'm going to replace them, making them the last I'll have to replace. Here is the website for those kits:

 

http://cubpilotshangar.net/

 

Depending on how deep you wanna get in to this, the Cougar programming possibilities can be down right dizzying. You can, of course use it as a simple direct X unit as well. Hope that helps! Happy trails! - Sledge

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Here is the honest truth concerning CH Hotas vs Cougar Hotas from someone who once owned both.

 

CH:

 

Out of the box is the most durable/reliable/sturdy/robust of the two, hands down! I bought a set when I first started simming (early 90's), and the thing still works when I left the U.S. Although the pots probably need to be replaced.

 

My complains are:

 

1. Wasn't very programmable, but I heard the newer units are much more flexible programming wise.

 

2. The joystick springs tension is a little weak, but that's because the unit is fairly light, and stiffer springs would cause it to move all over the table.

 

3. Wish there is a way to chang those pots to hall sensors for more precise flying.

 

COUGAR:

 

You will often hear this from Cougar owners, "There's just nothing like the feeling of cold metal in your hand. " w00t? Hooah? Nah...becaue TM uses cheap a$$ die cast metal. How cheap? probably the stuff the use to make spoons. When you do take it apart, you'll sit there and wonder to yourself, did I really pay 300 dollars for this? (Well, foos, why did you take apart a $300 HOTAS?)

 

Most (if not all) of the buttons are plastic, not metal. Or they looked like plastic to me-no wait, I used a hobby knife to slice the air brake button to proper size so it can slide properly in its track. you can't do that with metal can ya? There is your answer to why I took apart a $300 HOTAS on the first day it arrived. Although the process went well, but during the 'operation' I was sweating profusely.

 

Ummm...wanna grab a bag of Cheetos cuz there is more...

 

Ok. Needless to say, after about two weeks I had to do another operation. What the? Yes, I was thinking the same thing. This potention meters TM put in the Cougars are possibly some of the cheapest pos, and they needed to be cleaned. OFTEN!

 

Then there is that annoying freeplay in the joystick center that gets worst and worst. Again, cheap a$$ die cast metal + bad engineering of the gimbles. Sooooo...I finally gave in and bought the two mods from Ian J and Cub pilot. How much? If i tell you how much they cause you'll smack me! Really!

 

However, the mods did make the stick much, much better, though. Better than the CH even! It was simply amazing how the hall sensors make flying soo precise! But I ended up selling the Cougar cuz I moved back to Thailand and needed cash. A decission I truly regret. Because now i am home and Hotasless.

 

Anywizzle, if you do go for the Cougar and you read all the raving about Ian J gimble mod, be warned that it doesn't feel that great. The best I can explain is that it doesn't feel springy. Hard to explain but i was expecting more for something that costed more than the hotas! Cub hall sensors are a must, though.

 

What I'm trying to say is that, out of the box, Cougar = a piece of dung once the novelty wore off. And that cold metal feeling gets old after a while.

 

Cheers

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