Saturday, December 17, 2005

Sticking: Logitech Extreme 3D Pro

Braam's second corollary to Electronic equipments: "Threaten the device with a large hammer."

OK, so I maybe skipped the first corollary, which goes around holding up one of your electronics text books and reciting Ohms law, that usually gets it working, but if it's an analog joystick (Yes USB does not mean that it is really digital at all), with a serious drift issue; then it needs love instead.

So I decided to disembowel the machine; something I have enjoyed doing since I was just a little boy. The premise is that if you open it up while it is still working, that when it breaks, you can remember the locations of all the parts, whatthey looked like, and repair it to what it was when you first opened the beastie up to peek inside. You also get to learn how to build one of your own if you happen to get marooned (not the color) on a deserted planet in the Frogstar 5 system. I could find nothing obvious on my first attempt, and only once I had some contact/electronic cleaner spray, did I try again.

This is why these sticks are so good, a solid base of steel, 2 plates in fact about 1.5 mil each. But my problem was a drifting to the right, the "dead-zone" on the stick was moving off to the left, and sometimes just to stay in a straight line, you got o rest your hand against it. The other problem was as the "dead-zone" moves, the stick response where it came from also dies, so turning to the right becomes almost like syrup.

Unscrey every screw in the base, (a smaller philips/star driver required here).

And while we are at it, clean out the throttle control potentiometer as well. I used a Philips head-cleaner spray. If you take the throttle appart, it is possible to recalibrate it, by pluging the stick in, setting the pot to min speed, (as on screen) then slotting the lever in at the min position again. Tighten up and away you go/

And viola, not only do I get no drift, but the dirty control (kind of like overshoot) I was getting every now and then because the slidder was lifting off/away from the potentiometer track, is also resolved as expected.

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