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The Warthog is a plague


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#1 BADMUTHA

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:50

Hello, I've owned the TM Warthog since November so quite a while now. I've tried various tweaks and alterations to get things right to little avail. Thanks to some suggestions from Pirato it's bearable to use in terms of the sticktion issue.

But I wanted to make this post to share my experience thus far with the stick and maybe deter some from wasting their money on such a pain in the ass product.

First: My throttle on day two of having this set ran into what I thought was the issue that caused people's throttle to brick and required returning the throttle to Thrustmaster. Thankfully it wasn't that serious however I'm unable to use the included TARGET software for programming of any kind because it crashes and corrupts my throttle's drivers, every time it's used which then forces me to reinstall the drivers.

Second: The sticktion issue, this problem is a problem with the design of the stick, it's not avoidable. The way they designed this stick is that there is a ball that the stick itself attaches to, this ball presses against a piston that is guided by four rods and has counterweight provided by a large spring which gives it the weighty feel. The problem lies in the rods that guide the piston, when you move the stick you forcefully apply horizontal pressure against these rods causing friction which makes the movement in the stick get stuck causing an uneven amount of pressure to move the stick around; it's a pain in the ass and totally ruins any possibility for fine correction and movement.

Third: Delamination, this also is an issue that is apparently unavoidable. At first I thought it was my fault and Thrustmaster led me to believe it was my fault as well, there is an O-ring inside of the piston that puts an ease to the center clunk that the stick has and probably is intended to prevent wear on the ball because without the Oring it would contact with a metal plate. The problem is this O-ring is known for coming loose as it is glued in with some sort of sticky glue like adhesive that doesn't do it's job very well so the O-ring ends up coming loose and causing flat spots in the movement or coming out completely like it did in my case which then requires you to find a replacement.

I purchased a PTFE O-ring from a guy on the warthog forums as per Pirato's suggestion and it is a much better solution than the original rubber ring.

Fourth and last: Calibration, also seems to be a problem that many people have. I cannot get this stick to recognize it's full range of physical movement in the virtual world. Below you will see the screenshots from in ROF that show the maximum traveling distance of the stick physically and how that translates virtually.

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Hopefully you can see, the stick goes all the way to the corner when I move the stick to the bottom right, to the bottom left it goes most of the way but to the top left and right it barely goes far at all. This is a serious detrement as it hamper's the stick's possible range of motion which I can't seem to even correct using curves for some reason.

I have tried the thrustmaster calibration tool as well as the windows calibration and after multiple attempts with both sets of software I still can't move the stick fully in either direction. Incredibly frustrating.

For a 350-400$ flight stick this thing is an absolute disaster, I certainly expected better quality. I purchased a CH fighterstick for 100$ and it has worked flawlessly out of the box without any of these problems.
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#2 Scott_Steiner

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:20

That is unfortunate to hear. I often take negative user accounts on negative hardware reviews with a grain of salt, but your descriptive and detailed commentary on the problems clearly show that you very much know what you are talking about with the problems you are having.

As far as the calibration issues and the stick not going to its full range, could this be related to the Target software not working and crashing your drivers? What OS are you running?
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#3 TX-EcoDragon

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:44

I'll have one to test tomorrow, I'm about as picky as they come when it comes to controllers I guess, as I've never had one that I was actually happy with outside of real aircraft. I picked it up from Amazon, they have a good return policy…
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#4 BADMUTHA

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:13

That is unfortunate to hear. I often take negative user accounts on negative hardware reviews with a grain of salt, but your descriptive and detailed commentary on the problems clearly show that you very much know what you are talking about with the problems you are having.

As far as the calibration issues and the stick not going to its full range, could this be related to the Target software not working and crashing your drivers? What OS are you running?

I don't believe so, the calibration software is entirely separate from TARGET itself. Using both the Thrustmaster software and Windows calibration software I had no change at all. with the CH fighterstick if I purposely don't move the stick to it's full range you see it's range shorten after calibration, not so with the warthog, whatever I try it will not go to it's full range.

I think others have been able to get past this issue but not I.
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#5 BADMUTHA

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:14

I'll have one to test tomorrow, I'm about as picky as they come when it comes to controllers I guess, as I've never had one that I was actually happy with outside of real aircraft. I picked it up from Amazon, they have a good return policy…

I'm not a real pilot and haven't been in an aircraft since I was maybe 11 years old. But the CH fighterstick is top notch out of all the ones I've tried, G940, X52 and the Warthog, CH takes the cake IMO.
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#6 O_Taipan

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:15

Issue 3 & 4 I was able to work around with calibration software and a PFTE ring, although others prefer to just remove the ring for a lighter feel.

Fortunately 1&2 I don't have. TARGET works flawlessly for me and I have all kind of scripts running.
Sticktion for me is so minor it's not noticable, but I regreased.

Overrall I love this Warthog setup. But like I've said in the past it's an enthusiast product that is not without work to get the best out of it, that includes maintenance and scripting that can be time consuming.

I prefer this stick over the fighterstick or any other stick I've owned
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#7 smil

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:19

TM has been building garbage controllers for many years now. Their heart is in the right place, but they just cannot get very good quality control.

Sounds just like the Cougar, or FLCS or F-22… take your pick.
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#8 BADMUTHA

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:22

Are you using the same grease as I am Taipan? Synthetic Polyolefin "EM-30L"? Because the only way it reduces the sticktion issue is if I apply it daily directly to the shafts that guide the piston and that is an unacceptable fix to me. If they had used some sort of teflon coating on the shafts or the piston instead of bare metal on bare plastic I think that would have eliminated this problem.

As for calibration, I really don't know, I tried their calibration software many times in a row following each step as ordered and it would not register the corners properly no matter what.
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#9 O_Taipan

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 14:01

Grease I'm using is Valvoline multipurpose. NLGI 2 Lithium Soap based grease for automotive chassis and industrial ball bearings. I use it for everything :)

I applied it to everything, the ball, the shafts, anything that contacts.

Calibration software I used was the one hosted on ED forums.
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#10 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 17:48

Okay, I might try the grease you use, this stuff was recommended on the Warthog forums and I found it to make things worse.

As for calibration, your stick now registers every corner? I don't know why mine won't do it, I tried several times like it suggests but it would not register those corners.
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#11 O_Taipan

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 18:16

Yes corners too, but don't follow instructions precisely.

When it says to move all the way to the left, move all the way to the left CORNER. Then it will detect the full range of movement.

Same with other directions, it only looks at the axis it's calibrating at the time so push it to the corner and it will increase the axis registration distance
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#12 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 18:29

Yep you're right that done it. As for this grease, it's safe for plastic and everything inside the stick, it must be or you wouldn't use it ;P
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#13 JD

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 21:16

I took the plunge just minutes before redpiano's made the first post. I might have had second thoughts if I read it first.
Hopefully I won't be sorry. My cougar is starting to spike and the hall sensors was one reason for the upgrade.
Speaking of grease, has anyone tried graphite based grease on thos sticky spring shaft things your talking about?
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#14 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 21:58

I've only tried synthetic grease. Taipan says he uses soap based grease and has no sticktion, I'll believe it when I see it ;P
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#15 Winston60

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 22:09

I modded one of these for a friend by removing the big spring as shown here: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=aBMBR8M0z2E" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">

I then wiped off ALL of that nasty red grease and replaced it with a common silicone grease that's easliy found at any plumbing supply store. There is now absolutely no stiction whatsoever and the stick is light enough to be easily moved with the little finger.

The grease sometimes gets displaced by lengthy use so when stiction is ever so slightly noticed, just go in (every 6-8 months or so) and re-distribute the silicone grease.

We never had a calibration problem.

Can't wait until I can afford one for myself!
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#16 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 22:29

And now has no center at all, not an acceptable fix.
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#17 arjisme

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 23:07

You should've stayed with your G940. Less money than that Warthog, a great joystick and includes FFB! :P
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#18 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 23:10

I like to try new hardware so I switched it up for that reason mostly, I'm just disappointed with the warthog's problems for how much it costs.
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#19 Winston60

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 23:20

And now has no center at all, not an acceptable fix.
Shim the 4 smaller springs with thick washers on the bottom. You can also look for stiffer replacement springs or stretch the original ones. Don't forget to reposition them as shown in the video. They go in a different place now from where you removed them. I suspect a better fix would be a lighter big spring… but I couldn't find one and I was quoted $200 to make a few custom ones. :S!:
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#20 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 23:28

I would like to see a video after stretching the springs and putting washers in there. If I knew someone that could make me a custom spring I would be happy to just do that because I know just having a weaker spring will fix the problem but I can't imagine those four little springs can be strong enough to get rid of the sticktion and hold the stick up at the same time.
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#21 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 23:43

Lol, okay I tried it, stretched the little springs out and it's still really sticky with slow movements. This thing is a broken piece of hardware, if Taipan's grease doesn't work I'm throwing it out.
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#22 O_Taipan

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:01

I probably have some small sticktion but it's too small for me to notice.

Put it this way, after the fighterstick my gunnery was definitely much better even with the default grease it made me a "better" killer in these sensitive planes. I could never go back.

All HOTAS has shortcomings, just different ones to deal with. There is no perfect HoTAS unfortunately.
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#23 BADMUTHA

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:19

Well I like the fighterstick, it doesn't seem to have any shortcomings so far. If you're right and the grease you use removes stiction then great, I would rather use the warthog if that issue goes away. I'll pickup a tube of the stuff you mentioned and try it later this week.
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#24 Winston60

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:56

…..I can't imagine those four little springs can be strong enough to get rid of the sticktion…..
Sticktion is removed by using a better grease. That red stuff has to be completely removed. Just try some cheap Silicone grease from a plumbing supply and see the difference. Then you can look for the super greases that may be better. Also check the ball and upright posts for any defects or roughness. You also may have a tolerance issue on yours. Maybe polish those parts with some super extra extra fine wet and dry sandpaper? Up to you though on that procedure.

For a custom spring see here: http://www.acxesspring.com/main.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.acxesspring.com/main.html They'll probably want you to send in yours, (make sure you tell them that you need it back) or you can take hi-res photos of it next to a ruler and measure it for them very accurately. They'll need the diameter of the wire used down to the thousandth of an inch. It won't be cheap, and they can make several for the price of one, but if you do it right you could sell the others to those people wanting to have a lighter throw and recover some of the cost.

It's really a shame they can't handle this problem during manufacture and assembly. Maybe they can improve on this product with another version in the future?
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#25 wiseblood

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:40

It's really a shame they can't handle this problem during manufacture and assembly. Maybe they can improve on this product with another version in the future?

When I went looking for a new stick and read about people's issues with the X65, Warthog and other TM gear, G940, etc, all I could do was shake my head. This stuff costs about as much - or more - than you would pay for a decent quality washer or dryer. And they can't even seem to get the simplest possible things right, or pay for any kind of quality component or quality control process. It just amazes me that it works out for them and that they haven't been strung up by the necks yet.
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#26 O_Taipan

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:43

Well I like the fighterstick, it doesn't seem to have any shortcomings so far. If you're right and the grease you use removes stiction then great, I would rather use the warthog if that issue goes away. I'll pickup a tube of the stuff you mentioned and try it later this week.

Give it time, it will fail if you hammer it as much as I did.

Problems I had with fighterstick were spiking, loss of accuracy over time, only 255 values accuracy on the board, and calibration being messed up ie 110 values one direction with the other 145 the other direction so the precision was not uniform across the whole range.

With a hall sensor you don't get these sort of things, just mechanical maintenance but the sensors stay good in the Warthog.
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#27 ZaltysZ

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 07:42

Keep in mind that you need to do 3 calibrations. The 1st must be done with TM tool, and it is a bit tricky, if you want precise center and full range. The 2nd one must be done in Windows Control Panel. TM tool works in driver level, Windows CP works in DirectX level. The 3rd one must be done in Windows Control panel too, but only if you are using TARGET. Warthog without profile and Warthog with profile loaded look like different devices to Windows, so they have different IDs and calibration entries in registry.

Calibration in Windows CP is rarely needed, however if you do nice calibration with TM tool, but still get wrong response in games, you may want to do calibration in Windows CP. TARGET has Device Analyzer tool, which allows you to see input from drivers and input from DirectX. It is very useful in determining which calibration is off.
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#28 BADMUTHA

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:37

The calibration is fine now, it's just a matter of whether or not I can get rid of the stiction to an acceptable degree; if not I'm done with it.
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#29 der_zahn

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 22:10

Ditch the stick, use the throttle and get a MSFFB 2 used from ebay or craigs list.

I bought a brand new throttle from someone on ebay who purchased the warthog for only the joystick and it works fine as a standalone unit.
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#30 JD

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 21:03

I got my Warthog stick yesterday and have been fiddling around with it some. I've been learning how to setup a script to use the Warthog stick with the Cougar throttle and Simped rudders. I didn't want to get to involved yet setting up the Warthog throttle yet at this time. (suffering from a very bad back problem currently which limits my concentration and time at the PC)
I finally got it set up, but after trying it, I found the thing I will need to get used to is the extra throw of the Warthog and the twist action that happens when moving the stick to the corners.
I haven't felt any of the sticktion your talking about, but I guess that's because it's still new.
I would think through that this should be something that should be able to be over come by finding the right type of grease for the two types of materials. Also using the weaker center spring should help possibly reduce some of the force on the parts that the sticktion is coming from? But I'm new with this thing so I admit I might know fully what I am talking about.
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#31 BADMUTHA

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 22:01

Take your index finger, put it against the stick and push ever so slowly. It'll get worse when they grease they put in starts to wear out though.
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#32 JD

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 23:44

I understand what you are talking and I see a very long thread over on the Ed forums.
It seems when you are at a certain point and only move it back and forth slightly in that area for awhile, you can start to feel it.
I don't feel it with my stock Cougar. Keep in mind though that the real planes we fly probably had much worse problems with slop in the stick and tight and loose spots. I know that's not what you want to hear, but if it's any consolation.
I know the Citabria I flew had a very sloppy stick.

Anyways, I was looking at some of the internals on some of those pics on that Ed Forum thread. I haven't read through the whole thread yet. But if the stickyness is coming from those four spring rods riding through the white plastic flange, maybe some metal sleeves on the flange might help.
But my first guess would be it's coming from the ball and socket. Plastic on plastic is never a good thing. It would have been nice if they were both chrome.
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#33 BADMUTHA

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 05:55

It isn't slop, the slop I can deal with, it's the chunky, fat, slow, sticky feeling when you move the stick. I'm sure if you don't feel it now you will eventually, it's a real crappy feel.
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#34 TX-EcoDragon

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 20:10

Mine is going back today. Yeah, it's better than the cougar is when in stock configuration as they have gotten rid of the X/Y transition flats, but it still has a strong flat at the x=0/y=0 position that has the same effect of screwing up the precision around center point. There is some sticktion, but nothing that is difficult for me to manage (though I hear it gets worse). I also find the Throttle to be less ergonomic and being rather dedicated to the A-10, it's also lacking some of the features that people will miss even when compared to sticks like the lowly X-45. It's a decent enough stick that I'd probably keep it if it were half the price.

I don't really like any of the mass produced sim controllers, so if I'm going to have to suffer through their poor feel and poor simulation of actual aircraft controls then I at least want to pay an appropriately low price.

I'm starting to think of doing a project for rainy days at work to build a decent stick, that's not absurdly priced, somewhat like the Tarmac Aces products.
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#35 ZaltysZ

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 20:36

but it still has a strong flat at the x=0/y=0 position that has the same effect of screwing up the precision around center point.

Is hardware deadzone turned off? It is on by default.
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#36 O_Taipan

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 09:24

but it still has a strong flat at the x=0/y=0 position that has the same effect of screwing up the precision around center point.

Is hardware deadzone turned off? It is on by default.

Hi Zaltys

What do you mean by "hardware" deadzone?

And where do you turn it off?

I haven't noticed any deadzone with my warthog.. but I run via target script.
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#37 ZaltysZ

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 09:51

Main TARGET screen has all devices listed with "Check firmware" under them. Warthog stick has "Settings" or something similar under it additionally. Pressing that would bring a window with checkbox for deadzone.

Keep in mind disabling that deadzone will remove precise centering and stick won't be centered at (0,0) after you remove your hand. In fact, sometimes it will be (-50,36), sometimes it will be (12,80) and so on, because physical centering is very inprecise. You will definitely need to recalibrate your stick a few times to minimize center offset, but don't worry, once you get it right, stick will register even slightest push around the center. It helps a lot in Ka-50 and A10 while doing gun/rocket runs.
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#38 winger2

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 16:35

@ OP: I got the warthog too and its the best stick you can get for that money. No sticktion or whatsoever issues. I dont use any axis adjustments in ROF.
I can nothing but recomment this stick. It does deliver loads of bang for the buck and for the flightsimenthusiast there is no other way to go - that means if you dont want to spend thousands for stick, throttle and rudderpedals.

Winger
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#39 BADMUTHA

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 21:06

I really don't think you could be any more wrong winger, your opinion is your opinion but for the price of that stick it comes with far too many flaws. Even the delamination issue alone which is destined to happen to everyone who owns a Warthog is a problem they really should have been able to foresee through testing, same with the stiction which I can't believe you aren't experiencing because it's inherent to the design of the inner workings of the stick.

For half the price of a Warthog I have a CH fighter stick and a Saitek throttle quadrant and rudder pedals that work far better for a wider range of games than the Warthog does. I have four axes in total for mixture/altitude throttle, throttle, radiator and for other flight sims whatever other axes are needed like flaps, prop pitch etc. It also has six buttons on the throttle which I use for engine start, gear and such and the fighterstick has only one less button than the Warthog's stick but minus the stiction and it's much lower to the desk than the warthog which is a must for me.

The cheapest you can get a Warthog is about 450$ in the states unless it's on sale, that doesn't include rudder pedals so might as well make that 500+ you're spending 1/2 of a thousand dollars for a stick that has design problems and a throttle that is only designed to be used with DCS A-10C. Unacceptable to me. The only thing I liked about the warthog after my time with it is the fact that it's made of metal, but then even that had it's drawbacks being a 20 lb piece of hardware.
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#40 winger2

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 15:43

I really don't think you could be any more wrong winger, your opinion is your opinion but for the price of that stick it comes with far too many flaws. Even the delamination issue alone which is destined to happen to everyone who owns a Warthog is a problem they really should have been able to foresee through testing, same with the stiction which I can't believe you aren't experiencing because it's inherent to the design of the inner workings of the stick.

For half the price of a Warthog I have a CH fighter stick and a Saitek throttle quadrant and rudder pedals that work far better for a wider range of games than the Warthog does. I have four axes in total for mixture/altitude throttle, throttle, radiator and for other flight sims whatever other axes are needed like flaps, prop pitch etc. It also has six buttons on the throttle which I use for engine start, gear and such and the fighterstick has only one less button than the Warthog's stick but minus the stiction and it's much lower to the desk than the warthog which is a must for me.

The cheapest you can get a Warthog is about 450$ in the states unless it's on sale, that doesn't include rudder pedals so might as well make that 500+ you're spending 1/2 of a thousand dollars for a stick that has design problems and a throttle that is only designed to be used with DCS A-10C. Unacceptable to me. The only thing I liked about the warthog after my time with it is the fact that it's made of metal, but then even that had it's drawbacks being a 20 lb piece of hardware.


Maybe i dont experience the sticktion because i got a centermount and a stick extension of aproximately 20 cm.
On Simhq i saw someone talk about some special grease you can use to fix the sticktion issue. And again - i really havent had any of the problems you mentioned. OK, now after buying the stick at day 1 some of the paint on the trigger is going loose. But hey, that doesnt bother me at all. What else do you mean with "delamination"?
I am sad you had that many issues. Because i stand 100% behind what i say about the stick. Besides TIR for me the Warthog ist the best spent bucks in gaminggear EVER! Also i have quite some folks in my squadron who use the stick - all without anny issues…

Winger
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