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Is advanced simming hardware becoming hard to find?

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If by any chance you read my review of the 747 Lever Kit ( http://www.mutleyshangar.com/reviews/bc/lever/lever.htm) you will have seen my concluding comment that -


"...an outside factor that did concern me a little (as a possible limit on its development) is the availability of Saitek Throttle Quadrants, which seemed to be out of stock at a number of the usual suppliers when I checked just now (late October, 2015), which seems strange. There were none available at the Cosford show, either (although that might be owing to the surprising lack of a Saitek stand at that show ) — as for the other suppliers, given the time of year it may simply be that perhaps their Christmas orders haven’t come through yet."


In fact, I had gone to the Cosford show partly in the hope of picking up three possible items of simming hardware (not including a Saitek quadrant), hence I was somewhat surprised to find that none of them were for sale, either. Chief among the items I was seeking was another VRinsight T&T switch panel for my new FSX machine, as well as a couple of other less urgent and more specialised items. So, a few days ago, I set out to order the T&T (why do they give such a useful and flexible device that peculiar name, I wonder?) Panel from one of the usual suppliers as a (wifely-approved, naturally) :P Christmas present. But I was then even more surprised to find that not one of the usual (i.e. UK) suppliers had one in stock!




Don't get me wrong: if you want a bog-standard yoke, joystick, or rudder pedals from Saitek or CH Products then there's no problem at all — they're available from nearly everyone from Transair, Flightstore, and RC Simulations right down to Currys and PC World. What troubled me was the fact that the more unusual and advanced stuff such as generic MCPs and CDUs from VRinsight or Go-flight, and perhaps even less-specialised items from Thrustmaster or Logitech, proved very hard to find, with low or no stocks being the norm.


So I rather cheekily rang up one of the major UK suppliers and asked what was going on, and the reply left me aghast. That part of the conversation began as follows: 


After some preliminary chat about a previous order, I innocently went on to ask: "Incidentally, I notice that you're out of stock of the VRinsight T&T panel?". "Yes", came the simple reply, "We're running down our VRinsight items". Fighting down an imminent coughing fit, I enquired, as calmly as I could: "Why is that, I wonder?". "Because", they said, "We gather that someone else has taken over the simming market and they're not licensing it for home entertainment".




Obviously, I then went on to clarify that statement with them, but on further enquiry it became all too evident that it was indeed as I feared. Their 'understanding' of the present simming situation is that FSX is dead; FSX SE is taking over the entertainment market (and hence they're running down their stocks whilst waiting to see which hardware will work with it); and hardware for P3D is not being considered at all because that's not licensed for entertainment use. If this is also the understanding of their competitors, then no wonder it was impossible to find what I was looking for in the UK. Obviously I don't want to get the person I spoke to into any kind of trouble, but otherwise I would be writing a fairly energetic open letter to the company concerned.


I suppose we need to remember that I was speaking to a pilot's store that does simming items more or less as a sideline, so their understanding of the simming market is not going to be as profound as it would be if they were specialists. But if this distorted (IMHO) view is in any way general (and the paucity of the more advanced items currently for sale in the UK inclines me to believe that it might be) then what I would term the middle-ground simmers are in for a pretty lean time. I say this because it isn't a problem for those who restrict their hardware items to control wheels and rudder pedals, or for those whose pockets are deep enough to be able to buy from the specialised cockpit-building companies out there — but it is certainly beginning to look like a problem for those like me with limited space (and cash) but a taste for turning a physical IAS/MACH knob on an (admittedly generic) MCP rather than using a mouse to spin a virtual one.


So if you already have some advanced simming hardware, take care of it! If you are in the market for buying some, then you may need to look outside the UK (my T&T panel is now on its way to me from overseas — but I note that even that well-known store has only two of them left in stock).


What do you think? Are the more advanced (but still generic) items becoming harder to find? Do we perhaps need to educate the UK simming hardware vendors about the true state of the simming scene?






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<grin>  I know — I found it when I did a search here.    :)


("If I knew then what I know now...", and all that old-fashioned stuff).


But it's a shame you didn't hold on — if all these stores have the impression that simming is fragmenting, then the second-hand value of this kit is going to skyrocket if it becomes unavailable!






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  • 2 weeks later...

I guess this is the downside of Prepar 3D.  Anticipation of a falling market is going to hit very specialized kit, particularly if you expect the market to stay strictly to rigid licencing laws.


I cant see this happening to more generic hardware though.

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I doubt that the manufacturers have the same perception of where flight simming is heading. They should know their market better than that.


Hopefully those that have a hard time finding re-sellers can set up direct sale solutions for their products. That could even, in theory, lead to lower prices (since there is one or more fewer companies involved that want a piece of your money). That does of course depend on if the manufacturer are located on the right side of the pond in relation to the costumer, otherwise shipping will lead to higher prices :(

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Sadly all I can forsee is higher prices, most stuff is hard to get as it it anyway, I was dissappointed at the hardware at Cosford, managed to get my trimwheel but other than that nothing. As the numbers of suppliers go down then the price will go up, maybe some of it can be made by ourselfs but not everyone has the time/patience/skills to do this, I know I couldnt be bothered.


Like Joe said maybe these national retailers that used to supply need educating a little....

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Yebbut.... they seem to imagine that P3D licensing prevents simmers from using it, and hence they are running down their stocks.     :(




> "They should know their market better than that."


True, and I'm sure that RC Simulations (for example) do, whereas other retailers (notably, those for whom simming is merely a subdivision of their RW aviation stocks) don't (something which I suspect,  but my poll sample is too small to be anything like sure).




> "I was dissappointed at the hardware at Cosford..."


Likewise, which is what started me on this trail.    ^_^


> "Like Joe said maybe these national retailers that used to supply need educating a little...."


Hopefully, a well-respected outfit such as, for example, Mutley's Hangar could make its voice heard in a way which an individual simmer couldn't?     :whis:









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I visited RC a few months back to pick up my TrackIR, they have loads of stuff available, but I feel they are in the minority, Flightsim now seems to be even more of a niche market than it ever was.....



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Too right!


I ordered a Saitek Control wheel/throttle quadrant combo (Pro Flight Yoke - PZ44)  from Amazon.ca just to receive a letter from the supplier to apologise for the fact that; despite advertising the unit, they were "out of stock". They were not able to supply a possible date when this gadget might be available, so cancelled my order.


Everywhere I look this unit is no longer available. Except, of course for the whack jobs on Amazon who want $284 for the unit and $118 for shipping (from the UK). This may not look too bad until you try to import it into Canada - I'd be willing to bet a first born that duties and handling would run at least $100 then you get to pay GST and PST - another 15% hit on top of the duties. Then there's the one that wants $1382.00, but offers free shipping - yahoo! See: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/offer-listing/B000TCD1UK/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new


I think I can get the CH unit, but I was rather hoping to get the separate throttle quadrant.


Anyone have one they want to part with?

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@Matt, thanks for the suggestion.


I've avoided any US suppliers because it is criminal what Canada does to a cross-border shipment. Usurious duties and taxes on top of taxes is the order of the day. It is not uncommon, in Canada, to simply double the cost of anything sourced in the USA. That's before paying for shipping.

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That's a shame March, I could understand that mentality if you were buying maple syrup from the US but to penalize any outside purchases is downright criminal. :( What do they do if someone was to let's say buy a product in the US and then send it to you. :whis:

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I think there's some latitude for "gifts" - especially around this time of year. I just don't know what they are. I believe the sender must make a declaration as to the value of the contents at the time of shipping. Whatever, you can bet that's not a way around Customs and Excise. But thanks for the thought.


You want to see criminal? How about the Cdn Government insisting that companies like Capt Sim collect GST (Gouge and Screw Tax) - 5% and Provincial Sales Tax (same thing as US State tax) - 7% when selling a download into this country.

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Well..they are still out there. I searched FRY's online and the website said "Not Available" for all the stores within 200 miles of me...I swore I have seen some on shelves recently so dropped by my nearest local store and found one on the shelf...would have bought two or more if they had them. Seems they are easily "Flipped" via Ebay. :D

I need one more...if I find Two more, I'll private message you and see if it is worth your while sending one to you March.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Never found a Yoke/Quadrant package March...but I am set with two quadrants now. Offering a third for sale here, and might end up flipping it on EBAY if no takers here.


I glanced on EBAY, and the reason for this post....there are a couple/few Saitek Yoke/Quadrant packages (used) for sale on EBAY right now...have a look!





And this one that includes a backlit information panel as well as a quadrant.



Jump March...Jump!





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Back in stock now  :D


I ordered the Pro Flight Yoke and Quadrant (PZ44) from NCIX.COM (a supplier to Amazon.ca) and it arrived yesterday. Whoopee! The price, taxes in came to just over $200 CAD with free shipping. After seeing some of the horror stories out there (price-wise), I feel lucky that I managed to secure this one.


Now I just have to deal with the installation process. Knowing Saitek (I've purchased their products before) that is NOT going to be Plug&Play. Any advice from others who have gone down that slippery slope would be appreciated right about now. I've downloaded the drivers (I think) and some software.


Here is a direct quote from their website under the heading "Pro Flight Yoke for PC and Mac" - 


"The Throttle Quadrant connects to the Yoke via PS/2 connector cable, and the Yoke directly connects to a USB port on your PC or Mac. You can then simply load your favorite sim, set controls in the sim's options menu, and you're all set for virtual flight without the need to load drivers or install extra software. The Yoke's four-foot-long USB cable frees you to place the controls where they're most convenient for you."


Elsewhere, Saitek talks about their (SST) software. I'm intrigued by this because one of the lines remarks that different profiles can be set up - important if you're flying a Piper Cherokee one day and a PMDG 737 the next.


If anyone cares to ring in with advice, I'm all ears.


Here's the details:

Sim: FSX Gold with Acceleration

FSX is at C:/FSX

Computer: Intel I7 with 8MB Ram

Op Sys: Win7 Pro SP1

Card: NVIDIA GT730


Yoke: Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System

Trim: Saitek Cessna Trim Wheel

Pedals: CH Pro


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I have never used the Saitek SST software, but I have found the assigning of axes and buttons through the FSX controller screen to be quite straight forward.  The concept of 'plug and play' works for the primary axes and even some of the buttons (it's been a while now since I first got mine so I can't quite remember how the buttons worked with 'plug and play'). However, I think you will want to assign the buttons according to your requirements so the 'plug and play' concept becomes redundant.


The key thing to remember when setting up the axes and buttons in the FSX controller screen is to ensure you have the correct controller selected from the drop-down box.




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Thanks Andrew,


I took the time today to start the process - no drivers, simply plugged the gadget in to a USB2 port and plugged the pedals/trim wheel in to the USB ports on the side of the yoke assembly (and the quadrant into the dedicated [looks like an ancient mouse connector] port. I used the FSX controls set up to configure for FSX and then did the same for P3d - all appears to be sweetness and light.


Sure is a lot easier to fly using the yoke than using the joystick. Exactly the opposite of the real world. 

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See post, above.


Not all sweetness and light.


Turns out you have a conundrum with this Saitek Yoke: It has a clock in the middle of the yoke that will display system time IF YOU INSTALL THE SAITEK DRIVERS. The conundrum is that:  IF YOU INSTALL THE SAITEK DRIVERS you will run into difficulty setting the control configurations using the FSX default "Controls" menu. This info is from the FlightSim Forum - "You do have to instsall the drivers to have the clock working ,however if you install the drivers, calibration of the yoke and throttle quadrant becomes a problem".


This rings a very big bell - the HOTAS X55 that I bought a while back (BTW - featured in Mutley's Classifieds and still for sale) gave me fits over the same thing. I finally gave up - I tried to set the thing up using FSUIPC, LINDA, and the Druid Calendar - nothing worked. Or rather, some things worked, but not all, all things worked, but not some, yada, yada.


So this issue is SOLVED. I will not install the Saitek Drivers. I'll just look at my watch if I want to know the time. The digital display in the centre of the yoke has a great little stopwatch feature that works fine without the drivers.


Shame of it is: I'll be willing to bet I'm not going to be able to use the MODE feature to set up PROFILES for different aircraft - but I'm not sure of that yet. I'm already thinking that I need to make two different FSX.CFG files and set shortcuts to them on my desktop. When I want to fly a jet, I'll call up the appropriate .CFG file, let's call it JET.CFG and rename it FSX.CFG. Fly a C-172, call up 172 .CFG and rename that FSX.CFG.


Nothing can go wrong..go wrong....go wrong.....go wro.......

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I hate to contradict information on other web sites, but the first thing I did was install the Saitek drivers, and then calibrated and assigned axes and buttons, as previously described, using the "...FSX default 'Controls' menu...". No problems have ever been encountered.

Just to add further to my problem free experiences, I have done this successfully on two separate computers.

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