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Luftritter

Down hard, it seems

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I've tried everything I can think of on the software or computer side.  It really seems like a failure on the hardware side.  From everything I can see, my grip appears to be DOA.  Since my hardware comes from a long way off....the resolution would have to take weeks if not months.

Sigh.

One thing that might be beneficial is if anybody can tell a method that ensures that a driver is deleted, along with the hardware.  I feel that it is possible that the old (possibly corrupted) driver is not being renewed.

However, it is entirely possible, after firmware re-installations, profile re-intializations and attempted re-calibrations, that there is no solution beyond new hardware.

I've started a ticket with Virpil, and honestly, it is not about the money should I have to repay....it is about the time lost.

I guess I'll miss you guys for a long while, if nothing miraculous happens. 

So please live-stream, record, or whatever.  I will live vicariously through you until I can actually fly again.

S!

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4 hours ago, Vonrd said:

Oh man that sucks. Would you like me to sent the CH stick back to you? I'm not using it. I can do it next day if you want.

No, no.....but thanks for the thought.  I actually have stuff like that here, but to remove what I have would be a PITA, and figure out how to surface mount it, not to mention I"d have to reassign everything in two sims.

The easiest thing at this point would be a grip that would mount to my base.  But for now I'll just see what Virpil's response is.  Best to take things one step at a time.

Thanks for the offers and thoughts, Vonrd and everyone.  In the end, I dug this grave and may have to lie in it for a while.

I had a great look at how you guys have gotten along without me (thanks to Hotlead's live stream), and the results of that makes me very happy....well done!  Keep up the great work!!

S!

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BTW, this is what it looks like when you get a blue screen in Windows 10:

8wmwa9xblu031.jpg

That shown, I would have to add that every single time I've ever gotten a blue screen in any version of Windows, it's been because of a failed piece of hardware either inside or connected to the PC; and even if the hardware isn't totally down hard, it is causing at least intermittent errors.

Just an FYI.

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1 hour ago, Luftritter said:

BTW, this is what it looks like when you get a blue screen in Windows 10:

...

You can get more detailed information by some registry edits:

Quote

 

"I would like to know if there's any way to make Windows 10 show more details when crashing like windows 7 did"

Yes you can.

Navigate to this registry entry

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl

Create a new DWORD value named DisplayParameters and set to 1

Restart and next time is BSOD's it will show you the old bluescreen with error message.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Lee said:

Found this, although I suspect you already have it.

 

https://www.thewindowsclub.com/driver-verifier-dma-violation

Thanks Lee, that is great info.  However, the option to "uninstall driver" is no longer an option on the "driver" tab.  Instead, it is now "uninstall device".  Also, the "roll back driver" button, while there, is not enabled.  That means that there is no version to roll back to, and by inference, means that the driver hasn't been updated.

I did uninstall the devices, shutdown, restart, and then reconnect and reinstall, one device at a time.  Of course, Windows probably put the exact same driver back in.  If you try to "update driver", it just says that the current driver is already the most up to date or best driver for the device.

The only other option would be to get a driver from the MFG and use it.  However, these MFG's do not make their own drivers.  They just let Windows install the basic driver, which is easier and better.  Their stuff is made to work with that 100%.

This all points to the fact that the driver is, or never was, the cause of the problem.  The messages may technically be true, but they can result from a hardware failure.  In fact you could get a ton of different messages depending on how your hardware failed, but in the end all it means is that you need to correct your hardware issue.  However, it is prudent to look into the driver side first, anyway, just in case.  In my case it became obvious that no recent driver changes had taken place, so there was basically nothing to do beyond that.

I think it's important to clarify that the BSOD only happened one time and never after that.  I believe that is just because that's when the hardware happened to go kaput, and was completely dead after that.

Klaiber is saving my butt, because he's sending me a working grip that I can use to replace this one, and that will soon make it clear whether or not it's the grip itself causing the problem.  This is going to be far faster than waiting for anything from Virpil.  If it turns out to be a warranty return type of situation, imagine how long it will take for me to return my unit to Lithuania, and have it verified as failed, and then to get a replacement for an item (which at least IS currently available for purchase....that could change).

This way, if I can see that the grip buttons at least become operable again, I can create a new "TMW grip + WarBRD base" profile, update game button assignments, and be back in action within a short time of receiving it.  Then deal with getting the original replaced as a separate issue.

Thanks Klai!

 

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1 hour ago, Klaiber said:

It's the very least I can do.  After all, you helped me out a lot.  And I want to make sure you get back in the air ASAP to harass the enemy. :D

That’s awesome Klai. 😊 To be honest, I think Luft’s helped all of us out in turn. I can think of quite a few instances where he’s been there for me at any rate.

Ok, I have to rant (positively) a bit: JG1 truly is an awesome squad, and it totally transcends the “online gaming clan” stereotype so often associates with groups like this. Thank you to Klaiber and Britchot for cultivating an attitude of caring personally for (and building friendships with) members within our squad. And thank you to the members who continue to make this organization the premiere group to be a part of! Today I was reminded again how grateful I am to share the virtual skies with you all. 😊 [/endrant] 😋

I look forward to seeing you in the skies sooner than anticipated Luft! We definitely need you up there to undo all the hard work Enente mechanics put in repairing the bullet holes from your last outing. 😁

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6 hours ago, HotleadColdfeet said:

Ok, I have to rant (positively) a bit: JG1 truly is an awesome squad, and it totally transcends the “online gaming clan” stereotype so often associates with groups like this.

Yes, that needed to be said by me, too.  Although it is not apparent here, there have been offers to help with hardware donations (for free!) from more than a few others in this group (and I'm not talking about 1 or 2 people).  I'm glad to be a part of a group like this, that is so willing to help. My heartfelt thanks to all of you, for your good intentions!

S!

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I received a first response from Virpil and they asked me for a screen shot of this:

Buttons-error.jpg

That error code is constantly scrolling through different codes, changing continuously.  Not in order, seemingly randomly.  Too many to keep track of them all.

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Update, after many email responses and jumping through hoops that they set before me, like stupid firmware updating and checking the continuity of the cable at the base of the grip, which seems designed just for them to buy time, they finally stopped responding altogether.  Since it had been over 2 weeks since the last response I got,  I simply submitted a new ticket yesterday and referenced the original ticket number, saying that I was no longer receiving responses.  Here is what was in the new ticket acknowledgement:

"Notice: We are currently under high levels of demand and responses may be delayed past our usual 24-48 hour target. We are working around the clock - your ticket will be responded to ASAP!"

Haha, they can't even make 2 weeks, let alone 24-48 hours.

Something tells me their supplier of circuit boards sent them defective units, God knows how many, and they're now swamped with failure complaints.  Of course, that's just a guess.

I've had no trouble whatsoever with my original T50 Throttle (not the newer models).  The same for my original WarBRD base.  I would highly recommend either of those, but you can't get the original T50 throttle anymore, nor the original T50 grip; and as far as the base, I don't think it's changed.

I'd be very wary of buying anything new.  The stuff is expensive, and if it goes bad, at the very least, it will take an extremely long time to resolve the problem, if they ever do.  If some day they actually do something, I'll let you know; however right now it appears that I'm going to eat the loss of a grip that cost well over $200.00 and only got about 2 months of use out of.

If they actually admit in writing that they won't do anything, I sure as hell am going to post about this on the RoF and BoX forums.

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1 hour ago, Luftritter said:

Something tells me their supplier of circuit boards sent them defective units, God knows how many, and they're now swamped with failure complaints.  Of course, that's just a guess.

That to me sounds like exactly what happened.

I found this though:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Virpil-MongoosT-50CM-Grip-Stick-Only-w-Original-Box-DCS-World-Star-Citizen/153687425802?hash=item23c87c030a:g:qc4AAOSww-ddp71E

I think this is the first version.

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1 hour ago, Klaiber said:

I think this is the first version.

Interesting; I put a bid on it, but don't have a lot of hope to win....a lot of people bidding it looks like.  Plus, eBay gets kind of stupid it seems....people will pay like double or more what a new one cost.  I don't get that.  Anyway as you can see, it is the first version, which I like; but it obviously has some differences from the one you have.  The style of many of the buttons, maybe even the folding trigger and Z-axis lever, is the same as the CM2 version; and the color is all black.  Might be the best of both worlds.  Thanks for the lead.

BTW, I have that extra hand rest from yours that you see in the picture.  I found it in the original box recently....I never even knew it was there, LOL.  Let me know if you want it....I really should give you the original box, too (it has excellent custom soft foam cushioning).  No reason for me to have two of them.

Thanks again!

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Nope....but thanks anyway.  I have as much as I'm willing to pay in there already; it automatically ups the bid on my behalf by a dollar until it reaches that amount.  There was over 40 people watching that item.  The chances that it will go for higher than I submitted are pretty high, to say the least.

Nothing much you can do about people who seem willing to pay far more than it originally cost.

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On 10/23/2019 at 4:37 PM, Klaiber said:

That to me sounds like exactly what happened.

I found this though:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Virpil-MongoosT-50CM-Grip-Stick-Only-w-Original-Box-DCS-World-Star-Citizen/153687425802?hash=item23c87c030a:g:qc4AAOSww-ddp71E

I think this is the first version.

@Luftritter and @Klaiber, you know who to scare people this could be an early Halloween for me tomorrow 🥴

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6 hours ago, Heinrich said:

@Luftritter and @Klaiber, you know who to scare people this could be an early Halloween for me tomorrow 🥴

Hopefully, any mass problem they may have has only to do with a single batch of product, and not every one made....and hopefully yours is safe.  I guess we'll know within the next few months  😀

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My problem has been resolved, though not in the way I expected it to be.

First, after sending 12 messages back and forth between me and Virpil, each with weeks between a reply and getting a response, and in the end a total lack of response, I finally gave up.  In two of those responses, they said that they would "collect" my grip for repair, and I agreed and asked for information on where and how to send it, they never did reply or give the information on how to do that.

So I just gave up and ordered a new grip.

That was far, far faster and easier, though obviously a waste of money; but I wasn't willing to screw around forever.  For one thing, the Virpil store website now has almost everything in stock, with the exception of some items that haven't been released yet.  Paying is also far easier than it once was, with them now accepting credit card orders, AND Paypal.  Lastly, the shipping seemed much faster than it used to be.  I think it took somewhere between a week and two weeks (don't know for sure because it arrived while I was away on vacation).

In any case it was waiting for me when I came home, so when I had time, I shut everything down, removed Klaiber's perfectly working TM Warthog grip, and installed the new one.

Well, it didn't work.  🤔  😥 

After physically installing it, I was pretty sure I'd need to re-load the firmware, and especially the profile, since it had been set for the WarBRD base + TM Warthog grip configuration; and when you do that kind of thing, you have also to re-do the calibration as a matter of course....it's part of the procedure.  So, I wasn't too worried when it didn't work before doing all of that; I expected it not to.  But after loading everything and proceeding to the calibration part, I could again see that the X and Y axis worked perfectly, but the Z axis was unresponsive.  But here is what gave me a clue as to what was going on.  While moving the stick back and forth to calibrate the X and Y axis',  I noticed that the Z axis would jump a little bit every now and then.  So I figured out exactly where it seemed to have some response, and then moved the Z axis while it was in that position.  I could get it to move through about half of it's range.  The problem was somehow in the base!  Then I went to the "buttons" tab, and this time, instead of seeing error messages scrolling continuously for the stick,  I saw all of the button indicators lit up at the same time, as if being pushed all at once.  When I moved the stick to the position it seemed to respond in, I could then push individual buttons, and they'd turn back to blue when not pushed, and then red when pushed; and they all worked.

So I shut everything down again, removed the grip, and unmounted my base to work on it on the bench.  When I had it all apart, which was not very difficult at all, I could see how it worked inside.  The X and Y axis are independent, and each has it's own sensor with a white ribbon cable coming from it.  Those cables basically don't move at all, because on those axis', the movement is completely rotational; the only thing that actually moves is a small magnet on the end of those gimbal shafts.  The input from the Z axis and the buttons from the grip was completely different and independent, so I could see how the ones would work, and not the other.  From the round 5-pin socket in the top of the base neck, there is a 5-wire cable that comes down and exits the neck through a slot in the front.  There is slack in that cable, and it then connects to the main circuit board via a 5-pin plastic plug.

I completely removed that cable assembly, got out my multimeter, rigged up some thin wire strands that I could fit into each end of the female socket and plug, and tested the continuity of each individual wire.  I moved and bent the cable while doing so.  The red, yellow, green and white wires were ok; but when I got to the black wire (the ground), the continuity made and broke while I was flexing the cable.  The wire strands inside of that wire were broken inside of the wire's insulation; and when you moved the cable, the ends of the broken strands would sometimes touch together.  This is a problem that sometimes happens in electronics, when moving parts are involved....I've seen it before.

cable.png.362bd2357cbb316ccad996653aa29f

So the real solution would be to get a new cable assembly from Virpil somehow, or send them my unit to be repaired, which I would never do because at their apparent rate of work that might take years.  So I decided to repair the cable myself, at least for now.  I knew where the break was; it had to be where the cable bends 90 degrees on exiting the neck of the moving shaft, near the slot.  So I very carefully scored the cable's external jacket in about a 2-inch section of that area, and removed that section of jacket, exposing the wires inside.  Then I looked very carefully at the black wire, and bent it back and forth in the suspect area, and found a weak area in the wire (strands broken inside, only insulation holding it together).  Then I simply pulled on each side of it, and the wire came apart easily at the break.  Then I stripped each end of the wire, and installed a section of thin heat shrink tubing over one end.  Then I hooked the exposed strands together, and soldered them; then I slid the small heat shrink tubing over the repair, and shrunk it over that with a heat gun.

Of course that wire was now somewhat shorter than all of the rest, which would tend to put all of the pressure on that one wire, which is not good.  So, I looped all of the other wires over themselves, so that they were all the same length again.  Now, the outer jacket of the cable needed repairing.  This called for a somewhat larger diameter section of heat shrink tubing, which I had, but the correct size will not fit over the connectors which are on each end of the cable.  So, I carefully removed each of the 5 pins from the plastic plug on the circuit board end of the cable, by prying up the plastic retainers and pulling the pins out at the same time.  With only the small pins on the wires instead of the plastic connector body, I was able to slide the appropriate size of heat shrink tubing over the cable assembly, and shrink it in place over the stripped area of the cable.  I again tested every wire end to end, and found them all to be good now.

Then I put it all back together, and installed the new grip back on it.  Then I started up the interface software and went straight to the calibration area and started that procedure.

Nothing worked at all.  🤯 😲 😭   No movement at all from any of the axis; no X, no Y, and no Z.  WTF????

Then I about died....now totally out of business for a LONG time.  Think, think, think....what's wrong?

Hey, maybe when the wire was broken, the firmware never did correctly install itself, since the data could not have passed to the grip part of the assembly.

Fire it up again, restart the software, this time reinstall the firmware....profile....calibration....it works!!!  😃 😊 😁 

So, the real question is how is it that a different brand of grip worked flawlessly, even with a broken wire inside the base, for weeks and weeks?  Is the original Virpil grip actually bad?

I spent some time researching the Virpil forum, and in the technical area for hardware/software, I found a thread with a title alluding to a WarBRD base that worked intermittently for the Z axis and buttons; and that thread had a LOT of replies from people saying that they had the same problem.  WarBRD base users, beware, expect trouble!  These bases, all bought just after they first came out, are all about the same age, and it seems like MANY are failing with that same trouble.  However, two of the posts stated that they had gotten replacement cables from Virpil, and of course that cured their problem.

So in any case, I submitted another support ticket in order to get at least one, if not more brand new replacement cable assemblies.  This is bound to break again in the future.  I don't expect my repair to last forever....or even more than a few months....because a soldered wire often breaks more easily than an unsoldered one, due to the rigid nature of the repaired area.  So I want to have a new part available as soon as I need it; and, hopefully, Virpil may have begun using an improved, or higher quality product part as their replacement.  I would hope so, because if they don't, they're going to be swamped with support requests for a very, very long time, is my guess.

S!

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4 hours ago, Luftritter said:

Fire it up again, restart the software, this time reinstall the firmware....profile....calibration....it works!!!  😃 😊 😁 

Fantastic news!  I'm just sorry that you've had to go through all this hell in order to get the working system you paid for... twice.

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