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Saitek (Logitech) Pro Flight Pedal Toe Brake wire failure...


EmerlistDavjack
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I was landing in MSFS2020 the other day when I noticed that instead of braking with both feet, I veered off the runway.  Left toe brake has failed.  Tested the pots and they both had 5kOhm resistance so, it was time to take it it apart and see where the wire broke.  I was stunned when I opened this thing up because the designing the wires to be inside the moving bar looks prone to fail.  I realized later that the wires have to follow the movement of the foot pedals, but maybe allowing a little play in there instead of the hard glue might work better.    In the second image you can see how the wire broke right where it enters the glue, as shown the plate is flipped up to see the underside. 

I'm pretty sure my failure happened from playing Star Wars Squadrons and kicking the pedals around like crazy (note to self: just use an old springer twist stick for that game in the future).

My question for anybody who knows about these types of electronics:  what exactly are these little metallic braided wires?  They are very thin, maybe 30AWG or something, and unjacketed.  Can I make a splice connection with copper wire or would that mess with the resistance of the system too much?  I only have a basic knowledge of wiring.  Definitely need this fixed by TiF. :)

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Typical of all Saitek gear. I've been lucky so far but they use non flexible wires and route them poorly. Splicing would probably work but the best option would be to replace the wire completely from point to point but in order to get it back up quickly a splice would be fine. The very slight add in resistance would have no affect since the milliamp (microamp) is way low. I'm not sure what the strand count is for flex wires. 22 to 30 ga is more than adequate.

Something like this?

https://www.amazon.com/StrivedayTM-Flexible-Silicone-electronic-electrics/dp/B01KQ2JNLI/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=Flexible+Stranded+Wire&qid=1614998391&sr=8-7

If you have some sort of electronic device that you can cannibalise you could probably rip some wiring out of it. Just check that it can be flexed multiple times and not feel "stiff".

"what exactly are these little metallic braided wires?"

They are probably shielded wires which have a braided wire jacket on the exterior of the wire which is separate from the actual center conductor. These shields are connected to ground and prevent RF from inducing "noise" into the circuit. I'm not sure that they are absolutely necessary in our controllers. 

This is an example of aircraft grade shielded cable:

https://www.steinair.com/product/22-ga-single-conductor-shielded/ 

Don't worry about the shielding if you're just splicing.

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Spot on... quite correct.  Shielding is a pain and killed many a repair. Point to point is what you surgeon would recommend and it works the same with wires. 

It's a tricky bit, watch the temp on your iron and use as little as possible to avoid melting some plastic...   that would be the voice of experience speaking. Then time to start putting away some secret cash for some Crosswind pedals.  Good-Oh !

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@Vonrd, you mention an aircraft cable that is 22ga or waaaayy thicker than this, so it wouldn't work here.  Im familiar with that, and it would be a much thicker braid of wire.  The braided wires for the Saitek are so small that if the metallic braid is substantial...the actual wires inside have to be TINY.

Thats my question: can I crimp 22awg copper braids to 30gauge spice wires and get a result?

 

 

2 hours ago, Vonrd said:

Typical of all Saitek gear. I've been lucky so far but they use non flexible wires and route them poorly. Splicing would probably work but the best option would be to replace the wire completely from point to point but in order to get it back up quickly a splice would be fine. The very slight add in resistance would have no affect since the milliamp (microamp) is way low. I'm not sure what the strand count is for flex wires. 22 to 30 ga is more than adequate.

Something like this?

https://www.amazon.com/StrivedayTM-Flexible-Silicone-electronic-electrics/dp/B01KQ2JNLI/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=Flexible+Stranded+Wire&qid=1614998391&sr=8-7

If you have some sort of electronic device that you can cannibalise you could probably rip some wiring out of it. Just check that it can be flexed multiple times and not feel "stiff".

"what exactly are these little metallic braided wires?"

They are probably shielded wires which have a braided wire jacket on the exterior of the wire which is separate from the actual center conductor. These shields are connected to ground and prevent RF from inducing "noise" into the circuit. I'm not sure that they are absolutely necessary in our controllers. 

This is an example of aircraft grade shielded cable:

https://www.steinair.com/product/22-ga-single-conductor-shielded/ 

Don't worry about the shielding if you're just splicing.

 

I'm not so worried about the shielding as with the wires themselves.  The braided jackets on these wires are TINY.  You posted 22 ga wire...this is something like

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Not having seen the actual wires (and I'm not about to open my Saitek pedals... why tempt fate 🤪) I don't know what the actual gauge is. Rule of thumb is that when splicing, it's ok to go one or two gauges larger (Never Smaller!) in a pinch. I would highly recommend soldering if you are going for a splice. We often use "environmental splices" on acft but they need a special crimper (and needs to be calibrated annually).

https://peerlesselectronics.com/650076-000-splice?utm_campaign=utm_campaign&utm_content=utm_content&utm_medium=utm_medium&utm_source=utm_source&utm_term=utm_term&utm_campaign=9526344450&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=421850933646&utm_term=&adgroupid=97013154373&gclid=Cj0KCQiAyoeCBhCTARIsAOfpKxhqYIJPPQJqKlGQDC-c_5wtn1SgFbcsauS-f06Mb0INLhoG03TfenQaAqmaEALw_wcB

In my R/C model days I would use a small section of brass tube (similar to the metal crimp part of the environmental splice), crimp it with pliers (just to hold it in place) and then solder it.

Really, it's not that sensitive for what you need to do. Twisted together wires would probably work (just be sure to insulate... heat shrink tube is best).

Still, soldering is not difficult and I recommend replacing the wire from the circuit board to wherever it terminates. In soldering, cleanliness is paramount. Get a tin of rosin flux and use rosin core solder if you can get it. Keep your soldering iron tip clean (damp sponge to wipe it while hot). And... practice on test wires before doing the real thing. This is a skill that will stand you in good stead in the future. 

Still... twisty wires will most likely work.

I do realise that the wires in the Saitek are TINY. To answer your question... yes, it's OK to splice in larger wire. Just make sure that there is adequate length and have the heat shrink insulation extend some length into the original thin wire to act as stress relief. The connection of the splice is where it will want to fatigue and crack.

Good luck.

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Worked on a pair of those for Hotlead, and it had the exact same problem.  However, he never knew that part because he never used the toe brakes.  I did fix the broken connections, but it was difficult because the conductors were some alloy, probably made of or at least containing steel, allowing them to be very fine and yet mechanically strong.  Ironically that's their downfall because that mechanical strength causes repeated flexing mainly at the connection, where it snaps off.  BTW, those wires are not unjacketed.  They have a thin layer of clear insulation on them that must be stripped off to make connections.  In any case, that metal resists soldering pretty fiercely and it's difficult or nearly impossible to get a molecular bond between the solder and the conductor.  In my case, the wires broke at those white connectors on the circuit board.  The wires are crimped in the back of the pins in the plastic housings.  Those pins can be carefully removed from the connector.  I think I re-opened the one that was originally used, brass I think (not an easy task), then re-crimped the newly stripped wire back on, making a good mechanical and electrical connection.  I did hit it with some solder at the connection just to make sure it didn't come loose, since the crimp wasn't as good as the original.  After that I reinserted the pins back in the connector, and secured the wires in a way that tried to minimize movement at the connections.

It was all a waste of time though, since the REAL problem with his pedals was that it was electronically dead (that little circuit board shown in your picture).  I tried to find a replacement by attempting to procure an old set of the same kind of pedals to cannabalize from, but it turned out those pedals were pretty rare and I ended up sending them back to HL as a failed attempt on my part.

At some point he got a set of MFG Crosswinds.  I've used them for years without any trouble.  Once you see the construction of those expensive brands, the quality is obvious.  Do yourself a favor and upgrade.  COVID-19 relief stimulus payment is on it's way to you  😀

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LOL I may have to upgrade with some Biden bucks because this is at the edge of my soldering ability, though now that Vonrd mentions it, I realize I might be using cheapass solder which could be a big reason why my work is usually on the edge of acceptable.   Those MFG crosswinds look like they can take a beating, too, so I could use them with SW Squadrons without feeling like I was breaking them?

I have some ribbon cable left over from a repair on my custom throttle unit where I had to remake push connectors, but the white ones here are just so tiny that removing and reworking the metal connectors looks like a truly tricky maneuver.  Otherwise I would just run three new wires, so attempting to splice the broken wire after identifying it seems like the first thing to try.   

Thanks for the info, both of you.  I never would have figured out that clear insulator on the wires, Tobin!

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As Tobin mentioned (and I had no idea about) the wires that Saitek uses may be steel and therefore a major pain to solder. As a last resort (and you may have nothing to lose) you might try an acid base paste flux:

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/WLD51011?cid=paidsearch_shopping_dcoe_google&campaign=GSC-Paint-Body-Equipment&campaign_id=10947560788&adgroup_id=110533803034&adtype=pla&gclid=CjwKCAiAkJKCBhAyEiwAKQBCkkTBq-bmKgkRj_bFn6QJiMlK4MzHhQPZea9Ts62af4bZWHhWQUGCgBoCIFIQAvD_BwE&

Just be sure to clean the joint thoroughly with alcohol and a baking soda solution after soldering since it is an acid and will corrode any metal it comes in contact with.

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On 3/6/2021 at 6:39 AM, US103_Tobin said:

  In any case, that metal resists soldering pretty fiercely and it's difficult or nearly impossible to get a molecular bond between the solder and the conductor. 

 

I have run into this  problem a couple of times  with some smaller wiring.  Couldn't not get a proper bond soldering  at varying heat levels,  flux cored solder,  or solid using a paste.  Tried  everything, nothing worked.  I believe  it was on some  headphones  or a microphone.  Tossed and bought new after a lot of trying

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/6/2021 at 6:39 AM, US103_Tobin said:

At some point he got a set of MFG Crosswinds.  I've used them for years without any trouble.  Once you see the construction of those expensive brands, the quality is obvious.  Do yourself a favor and upgrade.  COVID-19 relief stimulus payment is on it's way to you  😀

I think this repair is beyond my capabilities right now. Soldering the ribbon cable to the pot connectors was easy, but that little bastard white connector is throwing me for a loop.  After some yardwork today I might try one last thing, but it probably wont work.

 

Probably going to score some MFG Crosswinds with my Biden-bucks just in time for TIF.  It's weird they don't show up on Ebay at all, I guess people want to keep them!

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Fixed it!  Took a lot of delicate doing....holy crap these are small connectors but I made it work.  Weird thing: when I hooked up the left brake with the ribbon cable, it became FAR more sensitive than the right toe brake (no jumps, smooth gradient).  I have a feeling that the potentiometers in these units are fine, but the think braided steel wires are horrible.  I was tempted to spend another couple hours replacing the right side wires, but I have a will to live, so...Ill do that when they fail.  I can adjust deadzones to make up for it, but normally brakes are slammed down upon and it doesnt matter.

In the first image you can see the scale of what I was working with vs a normal  1 1/4'' screw.  I saved myself $450 on MFG Crosswinds...for now.

 

 

 

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