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Problem configuring Saitek throttle quadrant


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#1 broncomaniac

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 05:49 PM

FSUIPC version: 3.991 (registered)
FS version: 9.1
OS: Windows 7 64 bit
FS hardware: CH Products yoke and rudder pedals, Saitek Pro Flight throttle quadrant

Hi Pete and others. Hope you can help me with a really baffling problem. I have just bought the above throttle quadrant (TQ) from Saitek to go with my existing CH Products yoke and rudder pedals, because I wanted the extra range of movement in the 3 axes that it gives over the limited axes on the yoke, and therefore the extra sensitivity you get when flying. But I'm having a real problem configuring the axes so that they do what I want them to do. I mainly fly twin-engine turboprops/pistons like the Seneca and the King Air B200. I didn't have the money for 2 TQs, but I have found that it is perfectly possible to operate both throttle levers in the aircraft with one TQ lever and the same with the prop and mixture/condition levers, so that is not the issue.

I should add that I have chosen not to install the Saitek drivers (in the same way that I never installed the CH drivers for the yoke and pedals), as I've read that they are not that great and that it is perfectly possible to configure all of the axes through FSUIPC.

My problem is the values that I'm getting on the TQ axes in FSUIPC. My understanding is that all axes should run from approx -16383 to +16383. The reality is that not all of them do and for those that do there are anomalies in how the levers behave. Let me take them one at a time.

Throttle
This runs from 0 to +16383. However much I try to recalibrate it it will not go below 0, let alone anywhere close to -16383. If I look at the throttle pedestal in the VC and use the mouse tips I can see that when my TQ throttle lever is at 0% the corresponding levers in the VC are also at 0%. Likewise if I throttle up to the 50% and 100% marks on the TQ I get the corresponding levels in the VC. Reverse thrust seems to work as well. But I have to say that the engine pitch at 0% throttle does sound quite high, so I'm actually wondering whether I'm actually getting something closer to 50% at 0%, since 0 is halfway between -16383 and +16383. I don't know...perhaps it's my ears. I have tried to edit the INI file to have a range from -16383, but that seems to make no difference.

Props
This axis does run from -16383 to +16383. And the levels on the TQ match those on the VC prop levers. I have also got prop feathering to work. However, what confuses me is that, if I watch the behaviour of the axis configuration in FSUIPC, I see that at 0% props the axis reading is -16383. Yet if I move the lever just a smidgin up from 0 the FSUIPC axis reading is immediately in the positive range. In other words there is nowhere on the axis that corresponds to -16383 to 0. It jumps from -16383 to +1 in a flash. Is this correct behaviour?

Mixture/condition
This is where I'm having the biggest problems. Like with the props this axis runs from -16383 to +16383. However unlike the props this axis goes all the way from -16383 to 0 before going into positive values. Where it gets crazy is that if I slide my TQ condition lever down to the 0% mark the levers in the VC only go down to 50%. At 50% on the TQ the VC levers are at 75% and at 100% on the TQ the VC is at 100%. This means that in my King Air the condition levers never go below 50% and therefore nowhere near "low idle", which is the setting (around 25%) for most of the phases of flight. If I bring the TQ lever down into cut off the corresponding VC levers drop suddenly into the cut off point and the engines do indeed cut off. However much I try to recalibrate this axis it always behaves in the same way. And because a low idle setting is so important in the King Air B200 I am at a point where I cannot fly it.

So you can see that in fact all 3 axes behave in different ways, yet my understanding is that they should all behave alike. Or have I got it wrong?

For the sake of clarity, unlike on the CH Products TQ the Saitek TQ works such that idle is precisely that...idle. Reverse thrust, prop feathering and fuel cut off are not part of the axis range and work as button assignments. So all I'm interested in is the range from 0-100% on my TQ.

Is there anyone out there that can please throw some light on what is going on here? I'd be very grateful for some tips.

Adrian
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#2 Pete Dowson

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 06:52 PM

My problem is the values that I'm getting on the TQ axes in FSUIPC. My understanding is that all axes should run from approx -16383 to +16383.

After calibration, yes. It is FSUIPC which maps whatever range it receives, during your calibration and setting of the end points. to the range required by FS. That's the "OUT" value. In IN values, those from the device, could be any old ything.

This runs from 0 to +16383. However much I try to recalibrate it it will not go below 0, let alone anywhere close to -16383.

Where in FSUIPC are you calibrating? The default single Throttle will map any range of inputs to -16k to +16k. On the 4 throttles page it depends how you have set the options. If you don't want reverse and so have set the "No Reverse Zone" (NRZ) options, then the output will run from 0 to 16k.

It sounds like you are muddling up INPUT values and OUTPUT values. FSUIPC's calibration will map ANY input range to the correct output range. That is precisely what it is for!

If I look at the throttle pedestal in the VC and use the mouse tips I can see that when my TQ throttle lever is at 0% the corresponding levers in the VC are also at 0%. Likewise if I throttle up to the 50% and 100% marks on the TQ I get the corresponding levels in the VC. Reverse thrust seems to work as well. But I have to say that the engine pitch at 0% throttle does sound quite high, so I'm actually wondering whether I'm actually getting something closer to 50% at 0%

If the VC throttle shows at idle, it is at idle -- or maybe you've brought it slightly back and are engaging reverse. Can't you tell? Use the FS 2D throttle quadrant (Shift+4 usually). It's easier to see.

This axis does run from -16383 to +16383. And the levels on the TQ match those on the VC prop levers. I have also got prop feathering to work. However, what confuses me is that, if I watch the behaviour of the axis configuration in FSUIPC, I see that at 0% props the axis reading is -16383. Yet if I move the lever just a smidgin up from 0 the FSUIPC axis reading is immediately in the positive range. In other words there is nowhere on the axis that corresponds to -16383 to 0. It jumps from -16383 to +1 in a flash. Is this correct behaviour?

No, if you are talking about either IN or OUT values. I think you are a bit confused?

Mixture/condition
This is where I'm having the biggest problems. Like with the props this axis runs from -16383 to +16383. However unlike the props this axis goes all the way from -16383 to 0 before going into positive values. Where it gets crazy is that if I slide my TQ condition lever down to the 0% mark the levers in the VC only go down to 50%

Sounds about right if you don't set the NRZ option. I think the 8k position (50%) is a special idle position on some aircraft. Below that it's called something different.

At 50% on the TQ the VC levers are at 75% and at 100% on the TQ the VC is at 100%. This means that in my King Air the condition levers never go below 50%

Sorry, but it really does sound like you ARE confused. if 0 sets 50%, -16383 must set less!

Please please please just follow the numbered steps in the FSUIPC User guide. As far as FSUIPC is concerned ALL axis inputs are the same -- just a run of numbers from x (any x) to y (any y). The process of calibration is really simply to tell FSUIPC how to convert these into values that FS likes. That's all. There's no magic, it is extremely straightforward. IN = the joystick input, OUT = what goes to FS.

On the pages with 4 controls each you can have 0 - 16k sent to FS for all forward or positive values, with 0 down to -16k (or more usually something different, like -4k for throttle), or you can use the whole input range for forward (the NRZ option). with those FS treats 0 as 0. This doesn't apply to the single axis-per-control settings (the earlier page), which are only forward: with those FS treats -16383 as 0, 0 would be 50%. But you don't need to worry about it because FSUIPC is dealing with it. All you need to do is set the end points (and centre if you want a central idle, for reverse).

For the sake of clarity, unlike on the CH Products TQ the Saitek TQ works such that idle is precisely that...idle. Reverse thrust, prop feathering and fuel cut off are not part of the axis range and work as button assignments. So all I'm interested in is the range from 0-100% on my TQ.

Either use the single controls, which are identical to the FS ones, or, if you use the 4 separate controls, set the No Reverse Zone option.

Is there anyone out there that can please throw some light on what is going on here?

Have you tried just assigning in FS first and checking them there, first?

If you want to use FSUIPC, please please read the calibration instructions and follow them.

Regards
Pete
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#3 broncomaniac

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 08:23 PM

Hi Pete.

Many thanks for your quick and detailed reply. The NRZ tip was the solution. I was doing everything right except for the NRZ check box. I have checked that for the throttle, props and mixture levers and everything seems to behaving as it should now.

I'm glad you pointed this out to me, because to be honest NRZ doesn't get a huge mention in your User Guide. As I said before, the Saitek TQ differs from other models in that the levers operate solely in the positive range, i.e. they only go from 0%-100%. There is no negative range on these levers at all because reverse thrust, prop feathering and fuel cut off (albeit triggered by the same levers by pulling them down from the 0% detent) operate as button assignments and not as part of the lever range. Might I politely suggest that you could consider adding a note for Saitek users (like you have for PFC throttle quadrants and Wilco Airbus pilots) in your next version of the User Guide?

Thanks again for the help.

Adrian
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#4 Pete Dowson

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 10:30 PM

Many thanks for your quick and detailed reply. The NRZ tip was the solution. I was doing everything right except for the NRZ check box. I have checked that for the throttle, props and mixture levers and everything seems to behaving as it should now.

Good. But I must admit I am now puzzled. You must be using the calibrations for the 4 separate controls, after assigning to Engine 1 only. Why? In your first message you said this:

I didn't have the money for 2 TQs, but I have found that it is perfectly possible to operate both throttle levers in the aircraft with one TQ lever and the same with the prop and mixture/condition levers

so if you only have the one lever for each, and don't want the reverse area assigned, why not just assign to the generic controls, the ones which cover all engines in any case?

I'm glad you pointed this out to me, because to be honest NRZ doesn't get a huge mention in your User Guide.

Well it's rather a technical point, and quite new, but 99% of users never use the pages you are using. As I said, with one lever for each axis it makes no sense UNLESS you want the reverse functions, and even then single axis users assign to the Generic control then map to the others.

As I said before, the Saitek TQ differs from other models in that the levers operate solely in the positive range, i.e. they only go from 0%-100%. There is no negative range on these levers at all because reverse thrust, prop feathering and fuel cut off (albeit triggered by the same levers by pulling them down from the 0% detent) operate as button assignments and not as part of the lever range.

Well, that may be so (though I think GoFlight did something similar in any case), but there are many users who still prefer to have the range on those levers and not program the buttons. They are just levers after all, and the real aircraft have levers for those reverse type functions with some degree of adjustability.

Might I politely suggest that you could consider adding a note for Saitek users (like you have for PFC throttle quadrants and Wilco Airbus pilots) in your next version of the User Guide?

Not really. I do not really wish to support any Saitek products at all and if I was not thinking of my users I'd have put stops in the program to actively prevent FSUIPC being used for Saitek goods altogether, as Saitek have refused to honour their agreement for FSUIPC licensing, knowing i can't afford legal processes.

By all means, if you wish to write things up and post in the User Contributions subforum, feel free. But I truly think you would have been fine if you had used the simple route in the first place. I don't understand how you ended up in the 4-controls sections at all.

Regards
Pete
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#5 broncomaniac

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:49 PM

Good. But I must admit I am now puzzled. You must be using the calibrations for the 4 separate controls, after assigning to Engine 1 only. Why? In your first message you said this:


Regards
Pete


Hi Pete. Thanks again for the reply. Sorry to have puzzled you. Let me explain how I came to be where I am now.

Most of the time I fly a King Air B200 or a Seneca II, both of which are twin engine. So when I bought my TQ I did some research and was told that it was perfectly possible through FSUIPC to use the 3 levers of a single TQ to operate what in effect are 6 levers in FS. I was also told that it was a very good idea to set decent null zones, so that you are sure of getting 0% on each axis before pulling back into the negative or reverse range. This is important to avoid so called hot starts on the B200. When I first read through the documentation on FSUIPC and looked at it from within FS9 my immediate perception was that the null zone settings were only possible from within the 4 engine set up, i.e. pages 3-5 on the calibration tool. So having researched further I was told that in the axis assignment tool I needed to set e.g. my throttle axis to both Throttle1 and Throttle2, and likewise with prop pitch and mixture. So that is what I did and it did seem to work OK, with the exception of the anomalies that I first reported.

Having made the adjustment with the NRZ as suggested by you, the TQ was operating perfectly. However...the B200 that I have requires that you carry out separate operations on the throttle, prop and condition levers for each engine in the engine start up procedure...and with the way I had the TQ set up it was now not possible to select engine 1 or 2 using the E+1 or E+2 keystrokes. This was therefore a significant problem, just when I thought I had everything set up fine.

So I have now taken your advice and re-assigned my axes to be just single throttle, prop and mixture. Having then calibrated them I now have struck on another problem.

The throttle lever functions fine, as does the mixture. However, the prop pitch range now seems to be limited to 50-100% only. In other words, if I bring the TQ lever all the way down to 0 the tool tip in FS indicates 50%. A 50% position on the TQ equates to 75% in FS. If I then bring the prop lever back down into the feathered range, the lever in FS jumps down to the 0 mark and indicates props feathered. If I then come out of the feathered range to just forward of 0% on the TQ, the lever in FS jumps forward to 50% and beyond. In other words there is no means of setting a prop pitch of 0-50%.

This is similar to the problem I had before with the mixture controls, but which I was able to cure using the NRZ option. However, this option does not exist in the generic controls, so I am now at a total loss to know how to rectify this. I have tried recalibrating to no avail. And I've checked the .ini file and there does not appear to be any remnant of the previous settings.

Please could you give me some advice on how to rectify this problem with the prop lever? I don't really want to fork out another £50 for a second TQ if I can avoid it, but I'm starting to think that that might be my only decent solution.

Thanks again, Pete.
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#6 Pete Dowson

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:13 PM

Most of the time I fly a King Air B200 or a Seneca II, both of which are twin engine. So when I bought my TQ I did some research and was told that it was perfectly possible through FSUIPC to use the 3 levers of a single TQ to operate what in effect are 6 levers in FS.

Yes, but that is also perfectly possible using default assignments in FS itself. The generic controls for throttle, prop pitch and mixture, operate on all engines. They always have. And those generic controls are the ones used in FSUIPC calibrations EXCEPT on the tabs which handle up to 4 separate assignments for the 4 separate engines.

Furthermore, the generic controls do not have the complication of any reverse zones.

The places where you calibrate up to 4 axes are really aimed at those folks who do actually have more than one control of each type. The only reason for using those otherwise is to provide the reverse zone which you don't otherwise get -- but it is still better, then, to assign to the generic controls and map to the 4 controls using the mapping facility shown there. This is, in fact, the way documented for getting reverse zones on single controls.

I was also told that it was a very good idea to set decent null zones, so that you are sure of getting 0% on each axis before pulling back into the negative or reverse range. This is important to avoid so called hot starts on the B200. When I first read through the documentation on FSUIPC and looked at it from within FS9 my immediate perception was that the null zone settings were only possible from within the 4 engine set up

That's normally a null CENTRAL zone, between reverse and forward. As the calibration steps clearly encourage, you should have "null" zones at minimum and maximum positions too -- and that applies to axes without "centres" too, like normal throttle assignments with no reverse zone. The reason for a "null zone" at each extreme are so that you can always reach the extremes (zero thrust is obviously most important for that) despite any minor variations in the read-outs, and so that you've always got a reliable place you can park levers with no "jitter" to interfere with autopilots and such.

So I have now taken your advice and re-assigned my axes to be just single throttle, prop and mixture. Having then calibrated them I now have struck on another problem.
The throttle lever functions fine, as does the mixture. However, the prop pitch range now seems to be limited to 50-100% only. In other words, if I bring the TQ lever all the way down to 0 the tool tip in FS indicates 50%. A 50% position on the TQ equates to 75% in FS. If I then bring the prop lever back down into the feathered range, the lever in FS jumps down to the 0 mark and indicates props feathered. If I then come out of the feathered range to just forward of 0% on the TQ, the lever in FS jumps forward to 50% and beyond. In other words there is no means of setting a prop pitch of 0-50%.

You are saying that with the minimum possible input of -16383, calibrated on your prop pitch, that the lever showing on the FS screen does not come fully back?

If this were the case no one could use a prop pitch lever for FS at all, because they wouldn't work in FS with or without FSUIPC. So, it is hard to believe. Please tell me what the "OUT" value shows for the prop pitch when your lever is pulled right back. If calibrated properly it should be -16383. or possibly -16384. Also, is this with all variable pitch aircraft or one particular ones?

You could also post your JoystickCalibration section from the FSUIPC INI file for me to look at. Don't paste the whole INI.

Regards
Pete
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#7 broncomaniac

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 08:14 AM

The OUT value is -16384. However the negative values are not reached until just before the lever is pulled fully back on the TQ. O corresponds to about 5% on the TQ, and then the values drop away sharply to -16384 when the lever is pulled right back to 0%. I have tried this on the default King Air 350 and my preferred Aerowork King Air B200. Here's the section from my FSUIPC.ini file:

[JoystickCalibration]
FlapsSetControl=0
ReverserControl=66292
MaxThrottleForReverser=0
AileronTrimControl=0
RudderTrimControl=0
CowlFlaps1Control=0
CowlFlaps2Control=0
CowlFlaps3Control=0
CowlFlaps4Control=0
SepRevsJetsOnly=No
Reverser1Control=66422
Reverser2Control=66425
Reverser3Control=66428
Reverser4Control=66431
Mixture=-16384,16383
PropPitch=-16384,16383
ExcludeThrottleSet=Yes
ExcludeMixtureSet=Yes
ExcludePropPitchSet=Yes
ApplyHeloTrim=No
FlapDetents=No
MaxSteerSpeed=60
AllowSuppressForPFCquad=Yes
UseAxisControlsForNRZ=No
Aileron=-16384,-1170,1250,16383
Elevator=-16384,-1280,1170,16383
Rudder=-16384,0,0,16383
LeftBrake=-16384,16383/16
RightBrake=-16384,16383/16
Throttle=0,16383

Thanks for your help.

Adrian
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#8 Pete Dowson

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 09:27 AM

The OUT value is -16384. However the negative values are not reached until just before the lever is pulled fully back on the TQ. O corresponds to about 5% on the TQ, and then the values drop away sharply to -16384 when the lever is pulled right back to 0%.

In that case you certainly need to calibrate the minumim with the lever pushed forward a little. You should be doing this in any case (it is one of the numbered calibration steps in the instructions). Without a little "null" area at each end of the movement you cannot guarantee to reach 0 or full. And in this case it sounds very much like the lever is running off the measured area of the hardware and either dead shorting or coming to a place where it is disconnected, so calibrating there will lose a lot of the intended output range. That's a hardware thing. It may even be a fault on that lever, but nevertheless it can still be overcome by correct calibration.

I have tried this on the default King Air 350 and my preferred Aerowork King Air B200. Here's the section from my FSUIPC.ini file:

Mixture=-16384,16383
PropPitch=-16384,16383
Aileron=-16384,-1170,1250,16383
Elevator=-16384,-1280,1170,16383
Rudder=-16384,0,0,16383
LeftBrake=-16384,16383/16
RightBrake=-16384,16383/16
Throttle=0,16383

Well, all of those show you've simply not followed the instructions for calibrating. Having -16384 and +16383 as minimum and maximum is NOT calibration. There's no room for jitter, no room for hardware differences, nothing! There's really no point in using FSUIPC for calibration if this is what you want -- you'd be far better off just using FS itself. Please follow the steps listed in the User Guide for calibration. There is no way any properly calibrated axes will ever have the maximum maximum and the minimum minimum.

Regards
Pete
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