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View Full Version : Before you write off that MS FFB2 joystick....



F6_Ace
09-05-2006, 02:40 PM
Any switches that don't work but still 'click positively' appear to respond well to a good soak in solvent cleaner.

Desolder them, soak them for about half an hour in the cleaner and watch the dirt come out of them. Then dry....solder back in and test. Hey presto...as new MS FFB2.

It may also be worth giving them a quick splash of PTFE lube if you have it around, too; I do as I use it to polish my gimp suit.

thefruitbat
09-05-2006, 02:53 PM
interesting, my trigger's been dodgy for about 6 months now.

Funny thing is, i've got so used to using button 3 it dosent bother me now. Course i did map button 8 as the shift key, to give every other button a second feature including the hat.

cheers fruitbat

F6_Ace
09-05-2006, 03:00 PM
Same here. Only the trigger went..then the #4 button....

I've got so used to not having them, it's strange to use them again (I keep expecting them not to work)

Deacon352nd
09-05-2006, 03:06 PM
What kind of "solvent cleaner" did you use? Some of them dissolve plastic very well.

F6_Ace
09-05-2006, 03:13 PM
Good point...

I used RS Electronic Solvent Cleaner Plus which my employer kindly 'supplied' http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

http://rswww.com/cgi-bin/bv/rswww/searchBrowseAction.do...0&cacheID=uknetscape (http://rswww.com/cgi-bin/bv/rswww/searchBrowseAction.do?D=solvent%20cleaner&Ntt=solvent%20cleaner&Nr=avl%3auk&Ntk=I18NAll&N=0&Nty=1&=undefined&=undefined&=undefined&name=SiteStandard&forwardingPage=line&R=1975488&callingPage=/jsp/search/search.jsp&BV_SessionID=@@@@0295724565.1157490652@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccchaddikhdkflmcefeceefdffhdglf.0&cacheID=uknetscape)

thefruitbat
09-05-2006, 03:16 PM
How difficult operation is opening up and desoldering the switches? I cant say i've ever soldered anything, and i dont think my ability to weld is going to make much odds!

fruitbat

F6_Ace
09-05-2006, 03:34 PM
Opening the stick up isn't too difficult - it's just the screws down the handle that you need to remove (do this on a large table, though, as although there aren't about 68 springs that shoot in all directions like when you open some sticks the screws do go walkies easily)

Pull the two halves apart carefully and watch the trigger button and the #2 button fall out.

Note where the ribbon cable to the top PCB is routed for later. Also note the rudder pot and the IR sensors for detecting your hand being present on the grip.

The PCBs are not very high quality although they're better than some so you'd have to be very careful desoldering the switches by not heating the pads up too much (as they'll come off). Fortunately, the switches used are better quality than some sticks I've seen and they are mostly standard items, too.

The main trigger is a tall, not particularly standard switch that is soldered via two PCB pads. The #3 and #4 are pretty standard PCB-mount minature switches which you could probably replace from Digikey or RS quite easily (except you probably need an account which is a load of hassle so Maplin would be a good UK choice)

To desolder, you really need an iron with a small, clean tip and (ideally) a desoldering pump but you can get away with some desoldering wick. If you are gung-ho, you can just heat up the solder until the switch falls out (which is OK for the main trigger) but #3 and #4 leads are bent over and it's not so easy.

I've been soldering stuff for a long time so I didn't have any trouble at all but if you don't have an iron etc, you could probably soak the entire PCB in solvent (electronic cleaner) because there isn't anything that's likely to get knackered apart from the adhesive tape around the ribbon cable at one end. The trouble with that is that you may move some dirt from one place into the switch contacts and make it worse.

You can test the stick without putting it back together by simply inserting the USB plug (DON'T power it from the mains, though) and checking the switch actions vs the control panel dialog in Windows XP. Try pressing the buttons individually then holding them whilst moving the switch 'contact area' around gently to see if there are any 'bad spots.'

If all is well, you can put the stick back
together. Take care to route the ribbon cable so you don't pinch it then slide the #2 button back into it's channel (and the hatswitch) and mount the IR PCB, rudder pot back if it fell out. Put the two stick halves together, and put the trigger back whilst the two halves are together but before you put the screws in. Plug it back in again and give it a quick check for buttons working and rudder operating. Make sure you can see the IR sensors are in the right place, too.

Tighten the screws gently, feeling for 'cross threading' or you putting a self tapper through a nice ribbon cable (I'd suggest unplugging the stick while you do all this)

That's it.

Divine-Wind
09-05-2006, 03:46 PM
While we're talking about FFB2's... Anyone know why my stick will suddenly go dead until I plug it into another port? I mean not just unplug and plug again, but plug it into a completely different port, before it works again. Really bugging me, I'm worried something electronic is funking up.

thefruitbat
09-05-2006, 03:50 PM
cheers F6,for taking the time to type that explanation, i think ive got a soldering iron somewhere, i think i'll give this a go in the near future.

cheers fruitbat

F6_Ace
09-05-2006, 04:04 PM
OK, best of luck but don't blame me if it goes horribly wrong http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Just practice soldering somethine else first and be patient when you do the job proper and it should be ok.

I'd suggest also cleaning the old solder off the pads before you put the switch(es) back, though...And, if you are going to clean the whole PCB, remove the adhesive tape from the end because the solvent may redistribute the adhesive all over the switch contacts meaning more trouble.

As to Divine's problem - I've not had that before but I seem to recall someone saying that they'd had a similar problem with Windows 'losing the stick' from time to time. Do you get the same problem with any other USB devices? If not, it could be a fault inside the stick such as a dry joint or an intermittent wire in the lead.

T_O_A_D
09-05-2006, 05:43 PM
No need to unsolder if you are afraid of the job.

This stuff or equivalent CRC Electrical Cleaner (http://www.midwayautosupply.com/detailedproductdescription.asp?4417) will do the job for you. Just use the spay tube to direct the spray into any orifice or gap you can find on the switches.

Then use compressed air to dry them out in the same manor.

Been doing this for years, cleans nicotine tar from electrical components too.

I've had Mobo's, modems, gpu's, ect. all come in dead or flaky and get a good wash down and reinstall and work just fine, afterwards.

Daiichidoku
09-05-2006, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by thefruitbat:
interesting, my trigger's been dodgy for about 6 months now.

Funny thing is, i've got so used to using button 3 it dosent bother me now. Course i did map button 8 as the shift key, to give every other button a second feature including the hat.

cheers fruitbat

excellent tip!

think i will do that

i have a trusty non-FF mspp2 for amny years now...this year the trigger went (but still clicks)

will try toads idea of spraying cleaner in there

took me awhile it become accustomed to using #3 for firing..esp taking my thumb of the stick to do so...but its natural now...if fact, it has perhaps helped my gunnery, in fact i must insure i have good shots, and that i must think ahead for each solution, more so than before

but some times i must make abrupt stick movements, with my thumb resting or depressing #3....which means it sometimes nudges my hat...which means my POV goes arwy http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif

Divine-Wind
09-05-2006, 08:27 PM
Originally posted by F6_Ace:
As to Divine's problem - I've not had that before but I seem to recall someone saying that they'd had a similar problem with Windows 'losing the stick' from time to time. Do you get the same problem with any other USB devices? If not, it could be a fault inside the stick such as a dry joint or an intermittent wire in the lead.
No, I don't believe so, although my X52 has been somewhat 'twitchy.' The stick has been laying around for... Hmm, about 2-2 1/2 years now, just gathering dust, and when we moved from the Middle East something might have been jolted, or the like.

Daytraders
09-06-2006, 01:48 PM
Originally posted by T_O_A_D:
No need to unsolder if you are afraid of the job.

This stuff or equivalent will do the job for you. Just use the spay tube to direct the spray into any orifice or gap you can find on the switches.

Then use compressed air to dry them out in the same manor.

Been doing this for years, cleans nicotine tar from electrical components too.

I've had Mobo's, modems, gpu's, ect. all come in dead or flaky and get a good wash down and reinstall and work just fine, afterwards.

what stuff m8 ?

Te_Vigo
09-07-2006, 07:21 AM
Stick goes dead?

try going into device manager: USB Controllers/ USB Root Hub/ Power Management and unchecking
"Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power".
Do this for all Root Hubs.

might help, might not

Works for some other sticks from another manufacturer.

my gymbal/ motor gears are worn and slightly sloppy...it's in cryo awaiting a cure to come along in the future.

Cdn.401GATOR
09-07-2006, 08:07 AM
Hi Guys,

I have fixed many trigger button failures in the past.

I have discovered a pattern of failure of the tactile switch that is used for the trigger button.

The failure occurs where the printed circuit board pad that is the connection point for the switch actually FRACTURES!

I have been able to fix them all by scratchin off the fiberglass mask over some of the unexposed copper surrounding the fractured areas then applying or "welding" the two sides to reattach the tactile switch to the electronic ciruit.

When you take apart the handle of the stick you must study with detail how its all together there.

Take great care in putting back the stick handle together again after you have repaired the problem. Laying the handle so that it is perfectly horizontal helps I've found.

Be very patient, its quite tricky, but with patience you should be able to do it.

F6_Ace
09-07-2006, 11:33 AM
Are you talking about the PCB upon which the switch is mounted or something else?

I suspect the PCB could be stressed as the switch is in the centre of it and will be flexing slightly with each press. I didn't notice any cracks in the tracking on my PCB but the switch worked after a good clean so it's not likely.

If someone does see this problem, an alternative to scratching the PCB coating would be to push some 'mod wire' into the through hole where the switch legs are soldered and solder these alternative mod wire connections to wherever the previous track(s) went. That should alleviate any repeat problems altogether.

Cdn.401GATOR
09-07-2006, 02:13 PM
yeah that's what I'm saying F6_Ace..

One of the legs of the tactile switch where it is soldered to the PCB. The solder pad breaks off from the PCB.

I also agree that it is breaking off from stresses that occur from the in and out motion of the trigger button.. Over time the constant stress caused the hairline fracture to occur.

Sintubin
09-07-2006, 02:39 PM
Do you open the stick at the bottom?

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

i never open the stick

so i am afraid of do something wrong here

Can you claen the stick itself ?

Cdn.401GATOR
09-07-2006, 08:31 PM
No, NOT the base, only the handle..

Please do not take apart base!

The trigger problem, (where you're trigger button doesn't work or works intermittently), is in the handle of the stick. The handle is comprised of two halfs held together by screws.

There are three recessed screws that hold the two halves of the stick handle together..

When you grip the stick with your right hand they would be located where your palm rests on the stick...

You have to be mechanically inclined to be able to open the two halves of the stick handle and then be able to assemble all the pieces back together.

When you open the stick and pull the two halves apart I recommend that you have the stick handle horizontal so that you can pull one half off slowly..

If I remember it correctly (it's been over a year since I opened one up), the number 3 and number 4 buttons HAVE to be re-inserted after the stick has been fully reassembled.

Hatswitch comes off by just pulling it off..

There is a wire clip that provides the twist handle return to center tension. Pay attention to how this clip is installed as you take the handle halves apart. One of the guys in my squad had a tough time putting the handle back together and ended up bending that clip irreversibly ruining the return to center of the twist handle...

There is also an optical sensor that detects when your hand is holding the stick.. That's how the stick knows when to cut off the force feedback.. Got to keep an eye on this when reassembling..


Before re-inserting the screws at the end, hold the stick tightly, (to keep all the pieces from falling out again!), and check that following things are working \ look OK..

1) Make sure that the twist rudder is working properly.

2) Make sure that the 3 and 4 button are removed. (Re-install them after you tighten screws)... They just pop in afterwards..

3) Make sure that the #2 button and trigger #1 button are working (positive clicking sound when depressed)..

4) Check that the optical sensor and LED are inserted properly. You should see an IR led peeking out of a small hole at the handrest area.. This shines a light up to a photosensor at the top (below the trigger)..

Well that's all I can remember.. I wish I took photos the last time I disassembled one so that I could share it with the community..

T_O_A_D
09-08-2006, 08:02 AM
Doh! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif
CRC Electrical cleaner (http://www.midwayautosupply.com/detailedproductdescription.asp?4417)


Originally posted by Daytraders:
<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:
No need to unsolder if you are afraid of the job.

This stuff or equivalent will do the job for you. Just use the spay tube to direct the spray into any orifice or gap you can find on the switches.

Then use compressed air to dry them out in the same manor.

Been doing this for years, cleans nicotine tar from electrical components too.

I've had Mobo's, modems, gpu's, ect. all come in dead or flaky and get a good wash down and reinstall and work just fine, afterwards.

what stuff m8 ? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

leitmotiv
09-08-2006, 08:17 AM
Since there this is a gathering of Microsoft SideWinder users, maybe one of you could answer a question. I recently bought an unused SideWinder 2 Force Feedback on eBay, and it is a fantastic stick---better than any of the others I have. I understand there is a SideWinder 2 Pro. Is this stick newer and better than the SideWinder 2? Should I bother trying to find one?

Divine-Wind
09-08-2006, 10:49 AM
IIRC, there's the Sidewinder series, the Sidewinder Precision series, and the Sidewinder Forcefeed Back series. (Correct me if I'm wrong) As far as I know, the FFB2 is a newer stick than just the Sidewinder (if you consider being released 6/7 years ago 'new' http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif)

Bartsimpson-
09-09-2006, 10:27 AM
I have a msfb ff that's semi locked up have checked all my settings but seem to have lost force feedback in all axis , any ideas on a fix or a solution ,

cheers in advance .

Bartman .

gdfo
09-09-2006, 03:27 PM
There was a post on the greatergreen forum from a guy who could get the tiny switches to replace the worn ones. I know cuz I paid him for a couple for an MS precision pro. The switch is small and too much heat from a soldering gun can damage them. If I could do it almost anybody could. Yes you can clean the switches also I used plain old 90%rubbing alc then a drop of dw-40 silicon