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Thread: Joystick repair

  1. #1
    Cherry (Level 1) Retronick's Avatar
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    Default Joystick repair

    Hello!

    I've got a bunch of old joysticks I picked up at a thrift store and I'm having difficulty with their range of motion. For the PC Commander Plus, I opened it up, cleaned up the contacts, and it still won't reach all the way down or to the right in Windows 98 Calibration (I play classic games on classic computers).

    Anyone have some tips, tricks, or resources for repairing or maintaining these old joysticks? I'd love to get them working again.

    I've got 2 PC Commander Plus, and 2 CH Flight sticks. So far only one of the former is working properly.

    Thanks in advance!
    Dig it old-school?
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  2. #2
    Cherry (Level 1) Retronick's Avatar
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    Default

    Also, let me know if, in your opinion, they're just hosed. Saves me the headache of continually taking them apart and wins me a cache of spare parts.

    Thanks!
    Dig it old-school?
    Visit http://www.retronick.com
    or follow me on twitter: @Retron8

  3. #3
    Strawberry (Level 2) AdamAnt316's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how these particular joysticks are constructed internally, but the switches/potentiometers inside could likely benefit from an application of DeOxit contact cleaner. Carefully take each one apart, note whether it is digital (switches) or analog (potentiometers), and see if you can spot an opening to get at the insides of either. Give each one a spritz of DeOxit, work the control several times (you may need to quickly put the joystick back together first), and once everything is buttoned back up, try calibrating it again. The pins in the joystick connector might also benefit from a little bit of DeOxit. Don't go overboard with the stuff; let any excess drain off before putting things back together. Good luck!
    -Adam
    Last edited by AdamAnt316; 03-25-2015 at 05:31 PM.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Leo_A's Avatar
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    Default

    The models I used to use always had sliders under the base for adjustments. If my hunch is correct, I'd look under the base and mess with any adjustments you may have available there while in the calibration screen, before doing anything else.

    My problem with every model I ever tried back in the day, were the buttons/triggers dying out on me after a few months of use. I was doing more racing than flying back then, and $15-$30 PC flight sticks struggled to endure long races for very long in games like NASCAR Racing 2 back before I moved up to wheels and pedals in the early 2000's.

    I eventually moved on to a higher end Saitek X-52 a decade or more ago for my flight sim needs.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 03-25-2015 at 06:28 PM.

  5. #5
    Strawberry (Level 2) CRTGAMER's Avatar
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    Default

    Usually on decades old controllers its not internals, but the cable connection. Even though no visible damage the cable gets twisted and stretched possibly separating some wires under the insulation. Get a volt meter to verify the connections from the 15 pinout to the internal solder or terminal connection points. You might get lucky and just have a couple of wires pulled at one of the ends; hopefully inside the controller instead of the plug end.

    Since Windows is not picking up the stick at all, its either a driver issue or bad cable connection and not just dirty internal button contacts or potentiometers.

    I hope you get that CH stick working, a great Flight Stick. I have a few myself and have converted them to USB with a simple adapter.

    My Review and Adapter Solution:

    Gameport Controllers in a USB Port Fly that Vintage FlightStick
    http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewt...646565#p646565





    Last edited by CRTGAMER; 03-26-2015 at 10:29 PM.
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    Kirby (Level 13) Leo_A's Avatar
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    Default

    He didn't say that his PC wasn't detecting them at all. He's having range of motion problems in Window's calibration screen, which to me indicates that it's unlikely to be something like a short.

    Any luck, Retronick? I'm curious if my suggestion was of any use. I think they're called axis adjustment sliders, and if my suspicions are correct, all you have to do to get these working right is to mess with those while at the calibration screen to get everything correctly centered.

    For anyone else that may encounter this thread someday with a similar issue, trim tabs like on the CH Flightstick Pro can also get things out of whack while calibrating if not set correctly. But that's not likely an issue here, since he's having difficulty moving all the way to the right while presumably able to reach all the way to the left. If improperly set while calibrating, they shouldn't cause such an issue with the horizontal axis.

    But if you just can't go all the way down, check your trim controls on the stick if you have any since that's a possible culprit if all your issues are with the Y axis.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 03-26-2015 at 08:48 AM.

  7. #7
    Strawberry (Level 2) CRTGAMER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post
    He didn't say that his PC wasn't detecting them at all. He's having range of motion problems in Window's calibration screen, which to me indicates that it's unlikely to be something like a short.

    But if you just can't go all the way down, check your trim controls on the stick if you have any since that's a possible culprit if all your issues are with the Y axis.
    Oop missed that. I do recall in Windows 98 the calibration was much more temperamental on the 15 pin game port controllers compared to Windows XP. If the OP's PC is a much older motherboard, CH put out an ISA gamecard with twin 15 pin joyports that has speed control capability to tailor it closer to the older mother board clock speed. Sometimes this would help in the calibration, but only for much older ISA slot PCs.

    Last edited by CRTGAMER; 03-26-2015 at 10:36 PM.
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