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View Full Version : My Saitek AV8R-01 Review.....



LEBillfish
11-02-2008, 11:23 AM
Not into long posts? Ok....It's junk.

Into reasons?....See below.

My JS experience has been as follows....
Flying RB3d I used the keyboard (no small feat) and did well for a year 1999, then purchased a MS SW PP Optical which I used without a hitch till the release of Pacific Fighters in 2005. At that time it having given up the ghost due to my mechanical alterations to fix centering (it wore out and I still intend to use the optics to make a home made stick)...I was forced to purchase another.

Thinking so what, it's cheap I can buy a new one every 3 months, I purchased a Logitech Extreme 3d Pro, and was VERY happy with it except for the hand rest (as I rest my hand on the base and use the keyboard for the balance). Expecting it to die quickly, 3 years later it was still doing great. Rarely required recalibration, and when finally at 3 years it becan to lose centering due to mechanical wear, was fixed by simply adding paper between the opposing contacts to spread them out, and it worked great for another 6 months...

Add to this I know "stick discipline"...IOW, keeping the stick level and centered at PC start-ups, to even getting it into its level position before and during powerdown....This insures calibration is kept. Lastly, I check calibration before each flight, and when there is a problem go through the long process to clear old calibration and redo it right.

Saitek AV8R-01......

Never liked their centering design, or the light stick forces, yet decided to give the AV8R a try when the logitech wore out finally....INSTANTLY it was a bust.

*Cord was much shorter then any other forcing a move of my PC to accomodate a "stick" or purchase of a USB extension costing as much if not more then the stick. This no simple task considering it's a server tower and oddly you don't move the world for a single minor peripheral.......This was also a problem for me as my PC has a rather exotic cooling system which forced the PC to be placed in a cooling chamber. So everything else had to change.
*Stick doesn't hold calibration during reboots/startups, and this using long learned lessons in keeping sticks level before booting, and better still in their "level" in use position.
*Stick loses calibration virtually every flight.
*X,Y, or Z axis (Y-80%, X-18%, Z-2% roughly estimated), will lose center by roughly 20% and cannot be corrected without calibration it often taking a couple tries to correct it.....When this happens full range of motion is lost as well. It is a software issue, not mechanical. (though the mechanical centering design could be improved on dramatically).
*During use the various axis (above ratio applies), will spike and hold to extreme limits forcing you to jerk the stick rapidly for a temporary fix.....In other words, as an example in flight suddenly the stick will shift to full up elevator forcing a loop...To correct it you must yank back to full up and release the handle to let it snap back to center. This will happen often even in the same flight.....Sometimes resulting in the need for a recalibration, sometimes not. Naturally this doesn't help when dogfighting.
*Ive not even bothered trying to utilize the various buttons and switches.....I've enough problems dealing with the 3 main axis.

Lastly, Saitek doesn't even have a simple .exe to help with recalibration....To do so taking the following:

Currently, you must unplug the stick, then look up the instructions. Then;

*Go to start>run and type regedit.
*Find:
-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (CURRENT_USER if on VISTA)
--System
---CurrentControlSet
----Control
-----Media Properties
------Private Properties
-------Direct Input
--------Inside the Direct Input folder, delete any folder that begins VID_06A3.

Exit the registry, replug in the stick, move all the axes (including throttle) through their full range of movement 4 times, go to control panel/game controllers/properties to see if everything is ok on the test screen, and in many cases have to do it ALL over again before it takes.

So what?......So once a month you have to go through this.....NOPE.....As with my stick at least it is at least daily, if not between each and every flight as the stick doesn't hold calibration.


So what?........Well, after 20 years of JS technology how is it this is such a sad product. At this stage of the game it should be simply ergonomic changes....Yet it seems folks don't learn.

Go for it....Buy the Saitek of which I'm guessing none are mechanically or software different....After all, what's $45.00 thrown away?

K2

Stiletto-
11-02-2008, 12:17 PM
Wow, that sounds horrible. I liked the stick from feeling it up in the store and thought it looked like a good buy for the price with the features it comes with. This sounds very abnormal!

JG52Uther
11-02-2008, 12:28 PM
Take it back!

As an aside,I know Oleg has an AV8/R as well as an X52. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

ronnied316
11-02-2008, 12:49 PM
That sucks BF, sorry to hear about all the problems. Not trying to start a flame war here, but why don't you get some CH gear and never have to worry about joysticks again? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

berg417448
11-02-2008, 12:49 PM
I have that stick for quite a while now and don't have any of those problems. Maybe you just got a bad one...or maybe I'm the lucky one!

x6BL_Brando
11-02-2008, 01:53 PM
That sucks BF, sorry to hear about all the problems. Not trying to start a flame war here, but why don't you get some CH gear and never have to worry about joysticks again?

+1 on the sentiment & the advice. CH is expensive primary outlay... but I've been using mine for 6+ years with no failures or programming problems. Treat yourself, you deserve it http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

B

LEBillfish
11-02-2008, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by berg417448:
I have that stick for quite a while now and don't have any of those problems. Maybe you just got a bad one...or maybe I'm the lucky one!

Check their forum.....I'm "not" the exception.

As to the CH products, unfortunately to go with their stock offerings (no twist sticks), that would entail a rather dramatic change in how I use the PC/fly OR would take a rather radical set of custom pedals.

Currently when at the PC I utilize an ergonomic bench of sorts....So imagine I'm leaning forward at something like a 45degree angle, my knees and shins rest on side benches (attached), and a rail I lay upon that runs from slightly between my thighs to about the middle of my breastbone..............So to use pedals would not be practical.

Besides the fact....What's so difficult about building a product that is at least equal to those 10+ years old?....I mean c'mon...It's not recreating the wheel, in fact just copies mostly with cosmetic changes.

K2

steiner562
11-02-2008, 02:07 PM
I can only speak for the saitek products I have purchased,a cyborg gold when the orginal il2 was released which is still going strong all though its only a back up stick to a CH fighter stick these days,an x-52 which I was very disappointed with which led me to purchasing the CH stick,mixed bag really but I dont think I would purchase another saitek joystick after my nightmares with the x-52.

ronnied316
11-02-2008, 03:26 PM
I agree that everything should be made to some type of quality standard BF.

As far as rudder goes for the CH stuff, you could always use the thumbstick on the Pro Throttle as the rudder movement. I used that with excellent results until I was able to afford the rudder pedals. Just some food for thought.

Sirrith
11-02-2008, 04:01 PM
Thats odd... pretty much everyone I know with a saitek stick, myself included, have no problems with them.

In fact, I don't regret the money I spent on mine one bit. I use the windows calibration tool in the control panel, and I've used it maybe 6 times since purchasing the stick around February this year.

zardozid
11-02-2008, 06:14 PM
Wow, that sucks...bad luck!

I have one of those sticks and it has been trouble free so far, BUT the problem you are describing is a common problem that develops in many saitek sticks after a couple of years...I myself have had 1 or 2 sticks with the laser center problem.

Bad luck...I'll bet it feels crappy.

badatit
11-02-2008, 08:26 PM
Sorry to hear that.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Cheap-Great-Microsoft-Sidewinder-PC..._trksid=p3286.c0.m14 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Cheap-Great-Microsoft-Sidewinder-PC-Joystick_W0QQitemZ150306871168QQcmdZViewItem?hash= item150306871168&_trkparms=72%3A570%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C2 40%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14)

I've been looking for a backup (http://cgi.ebay.com/Microsoft-Sidewinder-FORCE-FEEDBACK-PRO-Joystick-MS_W0QQitemZ190259469864QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item19 0259469864&_trkparms=72%3A570%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C2 40%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14) too (just in case). I've had the force feedback version since their release. No problems...none (I've had one of these for at least 10 years...maybe longer, and it's never needed to be calibrated...ever).

ffb
11-02-2008, 08:43 PM
Originally posted by badatit:
Sorry to hear that.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Cheap-Great-Microsoft-Sidewinder-PC..._trksid=p3286.c0.m14 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Cheap-Great-Microsoft-Sidewinder-PC-Joystick_W0QQitemZ150306871168QQcmdZViewItem?hash= item150306871168&_trkparms=72%3A570%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C2 40%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14)

I've been looking for a backup (http://cgi.ebay.com/Microsoft-Sidewinder-FORCE-FEEDBACK-PRO-Joystick-MS_W0QQitemZ190259469864QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item19 0259469864&_trkparms=72%3A570%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C2 40%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14) too. I've had the force feedback version since their release. No problems...none (I've had one of these for at least 10 years...maybe longer, and it's never needed to be calibrated...ever).

I got one of those old Sidewinders from ebay...but it will not be seen by my XP pro...even with a game port to USB adaptor which cancels the use of the FFB....I have an old sound card with the game port too....no show (or I was sold a dud?)

I have two AV8R's and now use them for their sliders as I have a M$SWFFB2 to fly with. I had no problems with the AV8R though...and I got used to twist throttle with my earlier Logitech sticks...all great ...whilst they lasted

I do not like a spring return though and superglued my spring collar at the top of it's travel...thus compressing the spring

badatit
11-02-2008, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by ffb:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by badatit:
Sorry to hear that.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Cheap-Great-Microsoft-Sidewinder-PC..._trksid=p3286.c0.m14 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Cheap-Great-Microsoft-Sidewinder-PC-Joystick_W0QQitemZ150306871168QQcmdZViewItem?hash= item150306871168&_trkparms=72%3A570%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C2 40%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14)

I've been looking for a backup (http://cgi.ebay.com/Microsoft-Sidewinder-FORCE-FEEDBACK-PRO-Joystick-MS_W0QQitemZ190259469864QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item19 0259469864&_trkparms=72%3A570%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C2 40%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14) too. I've had the force feedback version since their release. No problems...none (I've had one of these for at least 10 years...maybe longer, and it's never needed to be calibrated...ever).

I got one of those old Sidewinders from ebay...but it will not be seen by my XP pro...even with a game port to USB adaptor which cancels the use of the FFB....I have an old sound card with the game port too....no show (or I was sold a dud?)

I have two AV8R's and now use them for their sliders as I have a M$SWFFB2 to fly with. I had no problems with the AV8R though...and I got used to twist throttle with my earlier Logitech sticks...all great ...whilst they lasted

I do not like a spring return though and superglued my spring collar at the top of it's travel...thus compressing the spring </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sounds like you got a dud.
I'm assuming you have the correct power cord for it right? Maybe that's out.
I haven't needed/wanted to try a usb adaptor yet for that reason. I got lotsa game ported sound cards layin around here. Although on two of those cards the game ports are inop. I have a couple of old Turtle Beach Montegos (the MSSWPPFF really seems to like those, as well as the old Sound Blasters) I'm currently running an old Creative Sound Blaster PCI.

TSmoke
11-02-2008, 09:33 PM
I have had the AV8R-01 stick for two and a half years now.

Never a problem, and it has a nice tight feel to it. I have programmed every button and switch on it including the shift options.
I will admit not having a calibration thingy does suck but so far it has never gone out of whack.

It is a light stick in weight but I have mine stuck to a large book with velcro and fly with it on my lap.

Sound like Billfish just got a lemon, it comes with a 2 year warranty send it back for a replacement.

CUJO_1970
11-02-2008, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by LEBillfish:
I purchased a Logitech Extreme 3d Pro, and was VERY happy with it

Expecting it to die quickly, 3 years later it was still doing great.

Describes my experience with the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro as well. Simply the best "bargain" stick money can buy.

I'm on my second 3d Pro and it's on it's 3rd year of heavy use. I'm suprised you wandered.

kingtiger2008
11-02-2008, 09:59 PM
I have a AV8R now and sometimes i feel it's stick isn't as good as my old Saitek Evo(i've used the Evo for six month before the rudder twist broken down).

Ah, and the CH products seem great!!! But i live in China so i wonder anyone here know how to buy them?

P.FunkAdelic
11-02-2008, 10:09 PM
I think you have to take into account the realities of the mass production economy. Its not necessarily that Saitek products are predominantly duds but that A) there will be a certain number of duds or defective products within each production cycle and B) given the significantly large numbers of products sold it will appear whenever you read the support boards that the problems are far more widespread than they probably are.

That said I agree that there has to be a certain assurance of quality. I don't know how good Saitek support is on average, but I've read of a few people having positive experiences when they needed to.

Myself I own a Saitek X-52. Actually I have purchased 2 of them used and while one has a touch of a deadzone it was rather old. However the second one I bought used is pristine aside from the odd scratch.

So I don't think theres really anything wrong with Saitek gear but personally I try and buy it used. I got one for $50 and one for $30! Its amazing how low people who don't value a joystick will sell them (both said a friend gave it to them). Don't be sucked into the consumer trap of buying everything new.

However that long description of losing calibration and such... I really have no idea what that is. I just calibrate mine in game.

tagTaken2
11-03-2008, 02:41 AM
Originally posted by LEBillfish:

Currently when at the PC I utilize an ergonomic bench of sorts....So imagine I'm leaning forward at something like a 45degree angle, my knees and shins rest on side benches (attached), and a rail I lay upon that runs from slightly between my thighs to about the middle of my breastbone.............

Um... why?

BashChelik
11-03-2008, 07:26 AM
BillFish,

Try the Saitek ST 290Pro. I'm using one with my custom built rudder pedals and its a great stick for the price, has enough travel, doesn't lack precision, has a twist rudder with a spring strong enough to prevent involuntary rudder inputs, precise throttle with just the right amount of resistance to movement, six buttons (1 for index finger and five thumb operated) and an 8- way hat switch. No fancy- shmancy optical sensors inside, plain ol' pots that work great. You will not need to calibrate at all, just plug it in and you're set to go. Price should be in the 20$ range.

Now, I used a more expensive stick, but this one died while my bro and I were attaching rudder pedals I've built for it so I figured I'd buy a cheapo stick with as little electronics in it as possible so I could attach the pedals by myself. I thought I'd use that until I find the time to build myself custom stick and throttle, but this stick sure feels like a keeper.

LEBillfish
11-03-2008, 07:36 AM
Originally posted by tagTaken2:
Um... why?

Why not?


Originally posted by BashChelik:
Try the Saitek ST 290Pro. I'm using one with .......feels like a keeper.

Ehh....Thanks for the advice yet I think I'm done with the Saitek's. Point of this post simply my experience to weigh in with others thoughts when other folks decide it's time to buy.

K2

BashChelik
11-03-2008, 08:17 AM
Rgr that.

If you can track down a MS FFB2 in proper working order, and if you have a power socket to spare, you'll be set for a long time to come. If you haven't solved the problem that is.

ytareh
11-03-2008, 09:51 AM
Glad to see a bit of Logitech Extreme 3d Pro appreciation goin on for once ...There is literally no other stick for me as far as I can tell ...I have tried 10-12 of them all the way up to Cougar HOTAS.I love them and they are cheap enough to replace if necessary but as at least two posters in the thread confirm they can go for (3) years

ytareh
11-03-2008, 09:53 AM
By the way I feel perhaps against the popular view that you would want to think long and hard before 'investing' in one of those MS Sidewinders ...They arent nearly as comfortable/anatomic as the Logitech...they have a far weaker spring and a distinct lack of buttons...

Stingray333
11-03-2008, 10:34 AM
I think there might be something wrong with your AV8R stick, or your drivers or something. I've had an Aviator, and never once have I had to calibrate it, it has automatic calibration AFAIK. For me it was a great stick, cheap, responsive, tons of buttons, two throttles

TheCrux
11-03-2008, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by Stingray333:
I think there might be something wrong with your AV8R stick, or your drivers or something. I've had an Aviator, and never once have I had to calibrate it, it has automatic calibration AFAIK. For me it was a great stick, cheap, responsive, tons of buttons, two throttles

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

I stayed with dying and/or cobbled up repairs of my MS Sidewinder 2's, but I finally fought the loyalty/familiarity hangup and got an AV8R and wished I had done so sooner. Very accurate and very fluid. My only gripe is that my thumb is not quite long enough to activate the guarded ordnance switch without occasionally hitting the rather sensitive center ( my "weapon 1" MG command ) button while reaching for it. Yeah it's ugly and quite bizarre looking, but there aint a better stick out there for the money.

SeaFireLIV
11-03-2008, 11:47 AM
Well, I have no idea why you`ve had so many problems. I had the Aviater for ages with no such problems. the cord length, for one is a PERSONAL issue, as I have never had a problem with the cord being too short. It stretches the 2-3 feet to my PC easily.

Everyone has a different PC set up and obviously yours just doesn`t like it. I believe it`s more a computer\personal issue than anything else.

Let me just add that I don`t like Saitek very much either, as the others were rubbish, but the Aviater was the ONLY stick I was able to fly with when my Sidewinder died until I could get a new sidewinder, now the AV8R is my second `Hotas` stick.

Love the stick, throttles and switches that control my engine start, prop, surperchargers, FLAPS, etc which I can`t do without.

ytareh
11-03-2008, 12:27 PM
I asked a shop assistant to let me have a feel of an AV8R (LOL).It may have been the weakest springed stick I ever handled...

JG52Uther
11-03-2008, 12:33 PM
As I said,I have only tried one once,with Oleg before '46 was released,and it seemed like a nice stick.I still think LEB just got a bad one.

K_Freddie
11-03-2008, 01:14 PM
I'm not sure of the CH stuff, but the only reason I got the X52, was for the contactless (magnetic) X-Y axis. As this was the axis that is worn the most, so this reliability factor is paramount.

I would regularly 'destroy' logitek sticks in 3 months, an X45 took 9 months, but this X52 has been around here for ~2 years... no problems... OK one problem.. I bent the 'swash'(dust cover) plate in my excitement a few weeks ago, and jammed the stick. Just cut it out and all is A-1 again.
In all it's not worth going 'cheapy', just get the 'best' and fly like an angel. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

stugumby
11-03-2008, 02:39 PM
I had an aviator and it was a decent stick, im strictly plug and play, no fancy tuning. it lasted 2 days and i took it back.
1. made of picnic fork plastic, the trigger cover broke and the throttle lock detent broke as well.
2. good smooth and responsive stick, no complaints of flyability, set up the toggles for carrier ops,no complaints there.
3. entire thing was so light it would come off the table in vicious dogfight due to my stick pressure, thats what broke the trigger parts.

I have a logitech 3 d pro and its doing fine 3 years on as well as an ancient sidewinder, thats feeling sloppy in left twist.

GregGal
11-04-2008, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by TheCrux:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Stingray333:
I think there might be something wrong with your AV8R stick, or your drivers or something. I've had an Aviator, and never once have I had to calibrate it, it has automatic calibration AFAIK. For me it was a great stick, cheap, responsive, tons of buttons, two throttles

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

I stayed with dying and/or cobbled up repairs of my MS Sidewinder 2's, but I finally fought the loyalty/familiarity hangup and got an AV8R and wished I had done so sooner. Very accurate and very fluid. My only gripe is that my thumb is not quite long enough to activate the guarded ordnance switch without occasionally hitting the rather sensitive center ( my "weapon 1" MG command ) button while reaching for it. Yeah it's ugly and quite bizarre looking, but there aint a better stick out there for the money. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


I have an aviator for 2 months now. I'm completely satisfied with it, absolutley no calibration problems, very good stick and not only for the money. I think yours has a problem, and you should take it back.

joeap
11-04-2008, 09:36 AM
Strange, never had problems with Saitek but Logitech always crapped out on me...went through 3 in 6 months once so to me they are junk. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif

LEBillfish
11-12-2008, 09:04 AM
Well I think I figured out what the problem is.

Being UK based, Saitek got their electrical engineers from Triumph...(not that anyone ever had trouble with Triumph automobile electrical systems http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif)......Top that off with the mechanicals developed for a more "delicate" wrist (my guess too much cricket and soccer, not enough baseball and football) so that aspect explained as well.

Luckily the receipt was thrown out... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif.. Yet lord knows I was needing another paper weight as their support like many other gaming sticks is no help. It's absolutly unplayable from all the spikes in the Y axis (as I'm stalling planes that cannot be stalled, and barely able to hit anything from it constantly spiking to full up elevator throwing me into loops).

Add to that it's centering design is poor (sticking), and allows dirt into the unit easier then most.......So....

Final rating = P.o.S.

K2

JG52Uther
11-12-2008, 09:55 AM
You're just mad 'cos you threw the receipt out!
Even CH will probably occasionally make a bad stick.I think you just got a bad one looking at most of the responses in this thread.

LEBillfish
11-12-2008, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by JG52Uther:
You're just mad 'cos you threw the receipt out!
Even CH will probably occasionally make a bad stick.I think you just got a bad one looking at most of the responses in this thread.

Heh....well not really the money not the issue. In fact the bad stick not even so much the point (though does hit in their +/- column).

What bends me out of shape more is their response as to customer service.....and that not coming from just my experience yet many others if you look on the forum.

That aspect (though typical, same with logitech), inexcusable.

K2

JG52Uther
11-12-2008, 12:10 PM
Thats what I find so strange.Even though I now use a CH stick,when I had my X45 I found Saitek support excellent,even sending me new pots for nothing.

LEBillfish
11-12-2008, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by JG52Uther:
Thats what I find so strange.Even though I now use a CH stick,when I had my X45 I found Saitek support excellent,even sending me new pots for nothing.

How many years ago?

JG52Uther
11-12-2008, 12:36 PM
Last year!
And,even though they sent me the wrong pots first,after I had emailed them a picture of the pots,they sent me another set,for free,with instructions how to fit them.
The stick was several years out of warranty when they did that.

LEBillfish
11-12-2008, 12:48 PM
Well, guess it's time to start emailing....I'll let you know.

K2

na85
11-12-2008, 01:21 PM
Friends don't let friends buy Saitek. My logitech 3D pro will soon be 4 years old, while my roommate's X52 broke last week. He bought it 8 months ago and flies less frequently than myself.

Urufu_Shinjiro
11-12-2008, 01:22 PM
I too have had good support from saitek, I thought this was one of the best aspects of the company, then several started mentioning bad support on the forums and I was puzzled. I hope this is not something that has occurred due to the buyout by madcatz.

TSmoke
11-12-2008, 07:34 PM
Well to me it sounds that she got a bad stick,like anything mass produced can't come up with the occasioinal POS.

I have 2 MSFFB2's sitting here gathering dust they are my backup sticks because they SUCK!!

Now there are hundreds who say they are the best thing since beer was created, but personally they are a POS. Logitech FFB's are even worse but then all their sticks blow after 3-6 months.

So if money is no issue it seem the hands down winner for sticks around here are the CH sticks.

At least thats what my next one will be if my AV8R ever bites the big one.