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View Full Version : Optical vs mechanical Joysticks



99th Obsidian
07-19-2004, 01:06 PM
My squad mates swore by their MS Optical joysticks. Said their MS Sidewinder FFB2 sticks were the best. So when my Logitech 3D FFB stick became spiky (condition where user input is smooth but output to sim is jittery, inconsistent), I decided to shop for a new stick. I soon learned that the MS sticks use a optical system (similar to optical mouses) to track user input. IMHO optical is better than mechanical systems just like optical mice are better than the old type with a ball inside. The difference is that optical systems are more precise and wont "wear out" like mechanical systems. In 5 years I've been through 2 Logitech sticks. Both got "spiky" over time. My second stick was my first FFB stick (a feature I really like in flightsims).

As you know, you can't buy MS joysticks retail anymore. So on eBAY, I placed a $60 bid on a NIB MS Sidewinder2 FFB joystick. I quickly got outbid and the stick eventually went for more than $160 http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Down but not out, I bid on a new MS Precision Pro (non FFB) stick. I got it for $20 with shipping. It came last Friday and in 10 years of simming I have never had such a good stick. The difference between the Logitech and MS stick was like going from a Taurus to a BMW. More precision, better control, more accurate gunnery, more kills. Less spray and pray. Although I miss FFB (especially the buffeting when the plane is about to stall), because my input is smoother and more accurate with the MS stick I actually stall less. I used to think the Logitechs had the best shaped stick for right handers but the MS sticks are more ergonomic and comfortable.

MS Precision Pro sticks show up on eBay brand new from time to time. If you are looking for a good stick with up to 16 programmable buttons (with shift function), twist for rudder, USB, ergonomic and spot-on accuracy, the MS stick is a great value under $50. For less than $100 I'd get the Sidewinder FFB2 model. IMHO the X-52 stick is not very ergonomic, lacks the twist-for-rudder feature (no big if you have rudder pedals), has no FFB option, and has a sticky, mechanical centering spring and tracking input. However, combine either of the MS sticks with the throttle quadrant from the Saitek X-52 and you'll have one of the best set of flight controllers money can buy.

My BYOS:
-ASUS A7N8X-E mobo
-AMD 2800 Athalon CPU
-512 DDR 400 RAM
-Radeon 9600
-Antec Lanboy Aluminum Case
-MS Precision Pro joystick
-Nostromo N52 Speedpad
-TrackIR 2

99th Obsidian
07-19-2004, 01:06 PM
My squad mates swore by their MS Optical joysticks. Said their MS Sidewinder FFB2 sticks were the best. So when my Logitech 3D FFB stick became spiky (condition where user input is smooth but output to sim is jittery, inconsistent), I decided to shop for a new stick. I soon learned that the MS sticks use a optical system (similar to optical mouses) to track user input. IMHO optical is better than mechanical systems just like optical mice are better than the old type with a ball inside. The difference is that optical systems are more precise and wont "wear out" like mechanical systems. In 5 years I've been through 2 Logitech sticks. Both got "spiky" over time. My second stick was my first FFB stick (a feature I really like in flightsims).

As you know, you can't buy MS joysticks retail anymore. So on eBAY, I placed a $60 bid on a NIB MS Sidewinder2 FFB joystick. I quickly got outbid and the stick eventually went for more than $160 http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Down but not out, I bid on a new MS Precision Pro (non FFB) stick. I got it for $20 with shipping. It came last Friday and in 10 years of simming I have never had such a good stick. The difference between the Logitech and MS stick was like going from a Taurus to a BMW. More precision, better control, more accurate gunnery, more kills. Less spray and pray. Although I miss FFB (especially the buffeting when the plane is about to stall), because my input is smoother and more accurate with the MS stick I actually stall less. I used to think the Logitechs had the best shaped stick for right handers but the MS sticks are more ergonomic and comfortable.

MS Precision Pro sticks show up on eBay brand new from time to time. If you are looking for a good stick with up to 16 programmable buttons (with shift function), twist for rudder, USB, ergonomic and spot-on accuracy, the MS stick is a great value under $50. For less than $100 I'd get the Sidewinder FFB2 model. IMHO the X-52 stick is not very ergonomic, lacks the twist-for-rudder feature (no big if you have rudder pedals), has no FFB option, and has a sticky, mechanical centering spring and tracking input. However, combine either of the MS sticks with the throttle quadrant from the Saitek X-52 and you'll have one of the best set of flight controllers money can buy.

My BYOS:
-ASUS A7N8X-E mobo
-AMD 2800 Athalon CPU
-512 DDR 400 RAM
-Radeon 9600
-Antec Lanboy Aluminum Case
-MS Precision Pro joystick
-Nostromo N52 Speedpad
-TrackIR 2

Dnmy
07-20-2004, 08:15 AM
Microsofts optical sensors joysticks are all of the "pro" type. The "pro" sticks will never ever spike.

If you have a "non pro" stick (like FFB2) it won't have optical sensors but normal potentiometers for the x, y, z and r-axis.
But they're still very good and accurate nonetheless.

--------------------------------

"killstealing only exists in the minds of score*****s"

Bearcat99
07-20-2004, 08:33 AM
I think MS was making the best joysticks out. I really hope some other company bought up the rights wand will continue to make them. Thier FFB sticks are second to none. I still have my original which still works great.

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IMMERSION BABY!!

tsisqua
07-20-2004, 08:57 AM
I am having pretty good luck with this one, guys.

http://www.saitekusa.com/usa/images/product/pcp/cyborg-force.jpg

Tsisqua

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HomeboyWu
07-20-2004, 08:58 AM
I still have the old Sidewinder 3d Pro, the first joystick from Microsoft. Surprisingly for their first entry, it 1) was the first optical joystick 2) had the first twist-handle rudder 3) was the first digital gameport device requiring no calibration!

There's still not ANY spike (x-y axes) on my dusty 3D Pro. The only reason I stopped using it was that the buttons were nearly gone. Oh, how I wish the FFB2 had the optical sensors.

F16_Neo
07-20-2004, 09:20 AM
A shame that no other manufacturer use solid-state technology... guess they wouldn't sell as many if they lasted for 10 years. A market-profit thingy... the technology is ready and available.
Every joystick I ever owned I've eventually discarded due to pot failure. Hope my Saitek EVO will last longer, I really like it.

http://img36.photobucket.com/albums/v109/F16_Neo/Sigs%20Avatars/sig_v2.jpg

BlitzPig_DDT
07-20-2004, 09:35 AM
Toys. All cheap plastic toys.

Use a Cougar and you will never be satisfied with anything else.

::::waits as all the jealous haters pile on with **** about something they can't have - lol::::

Has some problems, yes, but, more than well worth it. The tweaking and modding is part of the fun too. I know people think that for the money they should have something perfect....well, that's not gonna happen. Other rigs are cheaper, sure, but that's just it, they're cheaper.

"Cheap" isn't just a measure of reliability. It's a measure of overall robustness, upgradability, expandability, mod-ability, feel, and user satisfaction.

I mean, you could buy a honda civic and putter around in it, or you could buy a sports car and have some real fun. And naturally, you're gonna tweak on, and mod, the sports car. But it's obviously not a waste of money or BS that you'd end up doing it. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

^ pre-empting the haters. They are drawn to any mention of the Cougar like moths to a flame.

That said - got the Hall Effect sensors on mine and it is suh-weet!

Oh, BTW, all "optical" sticks are mechanical too. Think about it. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

http://operationcarepackage.org/ddtsig.gif

AFJ_Locust
07-20-2004, 09:39 AM
I have a MSFFB2 sitting in the closet its my backup for my CH the only reason I dont use it is because I dont know where id put all the commands that I have on my ch there just isint enough buttons in the right places for me on the msffb alto im dying to try the optical input & the ffb LOL Im tornnnnnnnnnnnnn

http://img20.photobucket.com/albums/v61/AFJ_Locust/new1_1.jpg

http://fighterjocks.net//

WUAF_Badsight
07-21-2004, 12:03 AM
@ TSISQUA , what kind of Saitek is that ?



BTW , that Couger HOTAS is a POS

takes a hefty amount to buy & then you got to rip all the innards out cause their cr@p & replace with aftermarket mods to do the job it was supposed too in the first place

.
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tsisqua
07-21-2004, 07:04 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by WUAF_Badsight:
@ TSISQUA , what kind of Saitek is that ?



BTW , that Couger HOTAS is a POS

takes a hefty amount to buy & then you got to rip all the innards out cause their cr@p & replace with aftermarket mods to do the job it was supposed too in the first place

.
__________________________________________________ __________________________
actual UBI post :
"If their is a good server with wonder woman views but historic planesets...let me know!"
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Badsight, that is a Saitek Cyborg Force 3D, and you really have to use one. The base is heavier than the MS FFB (doesn't slide around), and if you look at it, you will notice that it is quite symmetrical, just in case you happen to be a lefty.

Over a year now, and it still works as well as the day that I purchased it. Shucks, I still have two years warranty left on it (bought a three year replacement warranty from Circuit City where I got it).

And not that this makes it play better, or anything, but the base has a light that matches the lights on my speakers, and the one that illuminates the inside of my case. There is also a light on the firing buttons . . . that I hardly ever see because I am looking at the monitor . . . not the stick http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

DDT, you may be right about your Cougar. I have never tried one, but I have become awfully accustomed to force feedback, and I am afraid that I would miss it alot. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Tsisqua

tfu_iain1
07-21-2004, 07:43 AM
do MS FFB2 (the one that looks like a chunky precision pro?) really not have optical sensors inside? i thought they were basicly the same as the precision! either way, mine is still going strong, and i have an old sidewinder pro and a FFB1 which are just chock full of spare parts to keep me flying for some time yet

HangerQueen
07-21-2004, 08:16 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dnmy:
Microsofts optical sensors joysticks are all of the "pro" type. The "pro" sticks will never ever spike.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But the POV hatswitch will http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif Maybe I need to spray some WD40 down there.

Speed is a device of Shaitan - Fremen Proverb