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Rudder pedals dead; Hotlead out of action for now


HotleadColdfeet
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My faithful friend of 3 years, my Saitek Combat Pro Pedals, just died this afternoon. :( So...looks like I am out of action until I can repair or replace them.

 

They have been getting a little worn over the last years. For instance, the right toe brake has been dead for some time now, so I had to map toe brakes to a hat switch in WW2 sims. I am starting to wonder if they are the culprit for my sudden joystick disconnects in flight. If one controller disconnects and then connects again, it often screws up all the rest and can only be fixed through a PC restart. This could be what was happening to me!  :o

 

Anyway, I'm looking at either getting these Thrustmaster pedals:

https://www.amazon.com/Thrustmaster-Flight-Rudder-Pedals-Playstation/dp/B015PII6YI/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1515962621&sr=1-2&keywords=mfg+crosswind+rudder+pedals

 

or splurging and getting some MFG crosswinds:

http://mfg.simundza.com/products

 

I'll keep you guys informed as to when I can fly again. Hopefully shouldn't be too long!  <_<

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Well guys, ya'll talked me into it. Placed an order for MFG pedals this evening. In about 5 weeks, I should be the proud owner of a brand spankin' new set!  B)

 

Until then, I'll still be around the forums, but I don't see myself doing any flying (unless I can somehow resurrect my Saitek pedals). Flying with pedals has spoiled me...don't think I could go back to a twist stick lol! :lol:

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Well guys, ya'll talked me into it. Placed an order for MFG pedals this evening. In about 5 weeks, I should be the proud owner of a brand spankin' new set!  B)

 

Until then, I'll still be around the forums, but I don't see myself doing any flying (unless I can somehow resurrect my Saitek pedals). Flying with pedals has spoiled me...don't think I could go back to a twist stick lol! :lol:

 

Better try to resurrect the old pedals. 5 weeks is too long....especially considering we're short handed in FiF.  Take a close look at, and/or take apart the old ones; look at some basic things....what have you got to lose?  Has the cord been yanked, run over, or damaged in some not-so-obvious way?  It can be replaced if needed. Check the mechanism inside; is something not actuating correctly due to breakage? Maybe something can be glued or repaired.

 

If the electronic circuit board inside is bad, and you don't have an old pair of pedals you can cannibalize from, there's nothing you can do. 

 

Might as well have a look.

 

 

 

If nothing else, these videos and others at least give you a good idea as to how to disassemble.

 

If you want to overnight them to me, I'm pretty good at fixing things.  I'll pay for the cost.  If they can't be fixed, no money's wasted on a return trip.  I really want to get you back in action   ;)

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Hey Hotled,

 

These are relatively simple devices. Take a look at the videos. Most likely a bad potentiometer or a mechanical link to the pot or a broken wire. Tear it down and take a look... you have nothing to lose and as a mechanic, I can say there is nothing as satisfying as troubleshooting a problem and applying a repair yourself. Take Luft up on his very generous offer if you can't suss it out.

 

That failing... fly with the twist grip. Look at it as a challenge  ;) . I know you can do it... you can fly AND gun (successfully) at the same time. Very few of us can claim that facility (not me for sure). I'm sure you originally flew that way as most all of us had. Fly WW2 where the rudder control is relatively less important (you will have to map the brakes though for ground handling... maybe a hat switch?)

 

5 weeks is WAY too long to be without you (selfish, I know).

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Got Hotlead's pedals today.  Opened them up right away and saw two broken wires on a three wire connector plug....nothing else wrong that I could see.  After checking what the wires were for, I could see they were for the right-hand toe brake.  I called Hotlead to see what the problem had been, and he said that although he had had an inoperable toe brake in the past, the problem now was that the pedals seemed totally dead...no LED light, no recognition by Windows.

 

I fixed the wires anyway, hoping for the best.  Although I was able to fix them, it didn't fix the problem, and I'm afraid the circuit board is dead.

 

I looked for the part number on line; Saitek doesn't sell parts.  They want you buy a new set of pedals or whatever hardware.  A shame, because the pedals hardware is pretty good, the circuit board very minor, and I could replace it easily, for what I would guess would be a lot less than the cost of a whole new set of these pedals (Saitek Pro Flight Combat pedals).  They're actually quite well made from what I can see, and the physical layout is much better than the CH Pro Pedals I used to have (they're further apart and the pedals are well made).  However, my CH Pro Pedals never failed.  Wish I still had them now, I gave them to a "friend" over a year ago, that's a decision I regret, and I wish I had them now to give to Hotlead instead.

 

The best chance of repair now would be from somebody that had the same type of pedals that had some other problem, that I could cannibalize the circuit board from.

 

Does anybody else have a set of Saitek Pro Flight Combat Pedals that is broke in some other way?  I could make 2 broke sets into one good set, pretty sure.

 

Sorry, buddy!

 

:(  

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Some photos of the procedure.  See anything wrong below?

 

1.jpg

 

 

Wires couldn't be soldered, being made of a non-copper or non-aluminum material (I'm guessing steel).  Had to remove the tiny pins from the connector, and then pry open the original crimps:

 

2.jpg

 

The pins re-crimped onto the stripped wires.  Because of no color coding, and no ability to find a schematic or wire diagram online, I had to guess which pin went where.  Since one wire was a tiny bit longer than the other, I deduced that it was originally attached to the pin which was the farthest away (the middle pin); this I marked with "M".  In any case, since these are basically the 3 wires of a potentiometer, the worst that would happen is that it would work in reverse, or not have a full range, or be stuck at a position somewhere in the middle of it's range.  Regardless, it would not have damaged anything, and the goal here was just to see if it would come back to life.  The pins could easily be reversed later, if necessary.

 

3.jpg

 

The wires with pins attached, re-inserted into the small plastic connector.  The connector has tiny plastic tabs which engage tiny barbs on the pins.  To remove them, you have to carefully lift the plastic tabs and push the pin out with some thin object.  To re-insert them, you just push them back in the connector, making sure the little barbs on the pins are facing the tabs on the connector.  Once fully inserted, they're locked into place.

 

4.jpg

 

The repaired connector, re-connected to the circuit board jack.  The wires broke originally because they had a little too much slack in them, and they caught on a moving part in the pedals.  I tied them down so that wouldn't happen again.  The potentiometer that is circled in red is the main pot for directional control.  You can't see it well, but there are dots on the gears which must be lined up when you re-assemble it, much like a gear-driven camshaft on an automobile engine.  I tested it, and didn't find a thing wrong with it.  Mechanically, I didn't find anything wrong with any of the mechanical operation of the pedals, except for a lot of built-up gunk from old grease and dirt.  I cleaned the whole thing and re-lubricated it with plastic-safe grease (faucet grease).

 

5.jpg

 

All for naught.  Time spent: about 4 hours.  Well worth it to try to get Hotlead back in business!

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Not sure what you mean with regard to "the wire on the right", but I assure you, none are broken.  If you clarify that, I'll tell you exactly where it's connected in the pictures.

 

As for the USB cable, the "kink" is there on purpose.  When designing something, you always make sure nothing ever physically pulls on the electrical connections.  Routing the cable in that way makes it possible to pull on the cable, but it's locked in place by the "kink", almost liked being tied in a knot.  Thus the part of the cable that is past the kink always has slack and therefore doesn't move.  This is called "stress relief" for the wires.

 

So yes it is possible the repeated flexing, pulling or yanking on the cable, could cause an internal break in one or more of the wires inside the cable.  I didn't see any evidence of that, namely a loose area that would be right where the cable enters the chassis.  The cable is quite tough, and the wires inside of it pretty robust.  In any case, this is how I tested it:

 

You can see the area of the circuit board where the USB cable attaches.  It is a line of solder connections on the lower right side, at the 4:00 position.  A box with labels shows this.  All USB 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 use four wires.  These wires are red, black, green and white.  You can see the labels: "Vcc" (Voltage, common collector). Red goes here. It's the +5 volts from the computer.  "GND" (Ground).  It's the ground reference for the +5 volt input.  "D+" and "D-" (Data +, and Data -). Green and White go there; it's the high speed serial data that goes back to the computer's USB controller.  The last connection on the bottom, would be for a "shield ground", which is a woven wire covering outside of the other wires.  It's there to protect the data signal from outside sources of electrical noise, but mostly to suppress any electrical noise that the data might produce which might cause interference with other devices.  If a cable has this, it's called a "shielded" cable.  Most of the time that connection isn't used.  So the wires go through circuit board "lands" which connect them to the rest of the circuitry on the board.  The wires are connected from the underside of the board, go through the board, and are soldered at those solder bumps you see.

 

Anyway.  Those bumps are basically the end of the cable wires.  So, using a multimeter to measure continuity (passing a small current from one end of a wire to the other), you can tell if the wires are broken or not.  You touch one of the 4 pins, then one of the 4 solder bumps.  One of them should always have continuity.  You test all 4 wires the same way; then you test each bump to all of the others, to make sure none of them have continuity with each other. If they did, that would mean that they're shorted together inside.  Then you can touch the outside metal part of the USB plug, and check the continuity to the bottom shield connection on the board.  If it's not there, it won't cause the circuit not to work, and probably just means it's an unshielded cable.  You can look on the back side of the board to see if anything's connected to it, to verify that's the case.

 

Just basic electronics, really   ;)

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Not sure what you mean with regard to "the wire on the right", but I assure you, none are broken.  If you clarify that, I'll tell you exactly where it's connected in the pictures.

 

As for the USB cable, the "kink" is there on purpose.  When designing something, you always make sure nothing ever physically pulls on the electrical connections.  Routing the cable in that way makes it possible to pull on the cable, but it's locked in place by the "kink", almost liked being tied in a knot.  Thus the part of the cable that is past the kink always has slack and therefore doesn't move.  This is called "stress relief" for the wires.

 

So yes it is possible the repeated flexing, pulling or yanking on the cable, could cause an internal break in one or more of the wires inside the cable.  I didn't see any evidence of that, namely a loose area that would be right where the cable enters the chassis.  The cable is quite tough, and the wires inside of it pretty robust.  In any case, this is how I tested it:

 

You can see the area of the circuit board where the USB cable attaches.  It is a line of solder connections on the lower right side, at the 4:00 position.  A box with labels shows this.  All USB 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 use four wires.  These wires are red, black, green and white.  You can see the labels: "Vcc" (Voltage, common collector). Red goes here. It's the +5 volts from the computer.  "GND" (Ground).  It's the ground reference for the +5 volt input.  "D+" and "D-" (Data +, and Data -). Green and White go there; it's the high speed serial data that goes back to the computer's USB controller.  The last connection on the bottom, would be for a "shield ground", which is a woven wire covering outside of the other wires.  It's there to protect the data signal from outside sources of electrical noise, but mostly to suppress any electrical noise that the data might produce which might cause interference with other devices.  If a cable has this, it's called a "shielded" cable.  Most of the time that connection isn't used.  So the wires go through circuit board "lands" which connect them to the rest of the circuitry on the board.  The wires are connected from the underside of the board, go through the board, and are soldered at those solder bumps you see.

 

Anyway.  Those bumps are basically the end of the cable wires.  So, using a multimeter to measure continuity (passing a small current from one end of a wire to the other), you can tell if the wires are broken or not.  You touch one of the 4 pins, then one of the 4 solder bumps.  One of them should always have continuity.  You test all 4 wires the same way; then you test each bump to all of the others, to make sure none of them have continuity with each other. If they did, that would mean that they're shorted together inside.  Then you can touch the outside metal part of the USB plug, and check the continuity to the bottom shield connection on the board.  If it's not there, it won't cause the circuit not to work, and probably just means it's an unshielded cable.  You can look on the back side of the board to see if anything's connected to it, to verify that's the case.

 

Just basic electronics, really   ;)

:huh: Just read this, and now my head hurts.   :(

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It WAS my job....for 34 years.  Trained in airframe electronics and avionics in the US Army, then got a job with the FAA after that, called an "ATSS" (Air Transportation Systems Specialist), or journeyman electronics technician.  Much, much more training at the beginning, and all through my career, at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, and other factory schools.  I just retired last year.

 

I understand how you feel; but I tell you the stuff I just explained is so basic, it's not even funny.  I can say with complete honesty, I know exactly what every one of those circuit identifiers on the board mean; what the devices are, and what they do; and I can deduce, without any supporting documentation, what the purpose of the board is (it's an ADC, or Analog to Digital Converter).  But all of it does little good without components to repair it....and these days, the "part" is the entire board....nobody repairs boards anymore; it's not cost effective.

 

I think I'm extremely lucky.  I grew up in a time before semi-conductors even became widespread.  I learned electronics at a level that makes me understand what every single component does, and how it works.  I was there when the first hand held electronic calculator was invented; the first personal computers, the first simple microprocessors.  I understand how machine language works; I can do binary, octal, hexadecimal counting, sums, conversions....in my head or with a little figuring on paper.  I understand exactly WHAT'S inside a microprocessor....how the millions of transistors are connected together to form millions of logic circuits.  I understand logic inputs and outputs, truth tables.  I understand how Boolean Algebra is used to create logic circuits, and the basics of how Boolean Algebra works.

 

And that doesn't even begin to TOUCH on what I know about electromagnetic waves, how they're produced, received, how they propagate through the air, antenna theory and configurations.  Radars, Transponders, Interrogators, VOR's, Instrument Landing Systems, AM and FM Communications, Voice Communications systems, Telephone systems, and test equipment that analyzes it all, some of which cost tens of thousands of dollars for just one unit.

 

The knowledge that the human race has accumulated is absolutely amazing.  We truly stand on the backs of our ancestors.  Yet none of that even makes me an engineer (I have "journeyman" credentials with the FAA).

 

You did hit the nail on the head, Kliegmann.  One of the hardest things about knowing all that stuff is that it's like a foreign language that you can never fully explain to anybody....you can't converse with others about what you do, you can't explain to your wife what happened during your day; and there's so few of you that you work alone almost entirely, and the responsibility of what you do is huge.

 

Thus, the retirement  ^_^   

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Wow Luft! Your electrical expertise is beyond me! I never considered any of that!

 

Lots of dust. Looks like the wire on the right is broken? Also, where the usb cable enters the base of the pedals, it is kinked pretty violently. What if the cable’s broken?

This post of mine seems kinda rude upon re-reading it. When responding, I only saw the first part of your post asking if I saw anything wrong. I should have seen the rest of the post. For you to type all that up and then have the next response to start with “Lots of dust†seems really rude. Sorry about that! ;)

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Wow Luft! Your electrical expertise is beyond me! I never considered any of that!

 

 

This post of mine seems kinda rude upon re-reading it. When responding, I only saw the first part of your post asking if I saw anything wrong. I should have seen the rest of the post. For you to type all that up and then have the next response to start with “Lots of dust†seems really rude. Sorry about that! ;)

 

No a problem at all, buddy!  In my eyes, you're always golden, and can do no wrong   :lol:

 

Besides, every customer has a right to be skeptical, or ask questions.  Always keep asking questions....always be skeptical!  Not only is it the basis for all learning or science, but in this country, it may help keep you out of a lot of trouble.  Beware of contractors or businesses that just want you to "take their word for it".   ;)

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S!

 

Yes, I am old. I go back to the days when televisions and radios had tubes. Then along came transistors. You would get a board and say "looks like a blown cap." Pull it out and solder in a new one.  By the 70's Replacing parts on a board was over. You just replaced the board.  I worked in medical imaging. It was great to see the advancement in computers and digital imaging.

 

As Alvin Toffler wrote in "Future Shock", what were once expected to be durable goods are now disposable.

 

In the mean time, I think we aught to change it from "Hotlead Coldfeet"  to "Leadfoot"

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