198: Cast the Saitek Panel Driver Out

Earlier this month, I was trying to associate a customized EZdok camera view (as shown in picture) to the gear lever on my Saitek’s Switch Panel, so that whenever I extend or retract the gear, the view changes to the bottom of the aircraft automatically.

SPAD01

After numerous attempts, I found there was no way out.   Saitek’s original driver is so “dumb” that except the default control functions, nothing more it offers to the users.

As a last resort, I turned to SPAD (Saitek Panels Advanced Driver).

SPAD is not a stranger to many flight-simmers who use Saitek gears.   But no kidding, I had never tried it before due to many reasons.  In particular, the need of complete removal of the Saitek driver was the most detrimental one preventing me from doing so.

After backing up all my major files, I scrupulously followed the instructions in the manual (actually pretty simple) to install SPAD onto my system.   At that time, I really had no intention to uninstall any existing drivers.

When installation was completed, I clicked on the FSX icon…

Cool, the LEDs on my panels (Switch, Multi and Radio) were “running”, showing that they were activated when FSX was being loaded.   I then flew some sessions and turned on and off FSX a few times.  The panels worked perfectly.  I didn’t even need to set anything.

With the powerful SPAD, not only I can now associate the particular bottom view of the aircraft to the gear lever but also link a number of camera views to the different buttons on the panels.   In the past with the original driver, this was simply impossible.

In fact, I was running SPAD (version 0.5.1) with the Saitek driver side-by-side in the first few days.  Luckily, I didn’t encounter any conflict many people reported on the internet.

To eliminate risks and uncertainties, I have disabled Saitek’s panel driver from the exe.XML  file thereafter.

SPAD02

No matter if you still have “prejudice” against SPAD like I did, I don’t see any reason why we should stay where we are and not move forward and cast the Saitek driver out.

NOTE: Forget to mention, a registered version of the FSUIPC is needed in order to customize the features on the panels, however.

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31 thoughts on “198: Cast the Saitek Panel Driver Out

  1. Tom, I noticed in looking at your exe.xml file below that you have the Saitek DirectOutput RadioStack driver launched as I have in my xml file. It’s been a while, and I seem to remember it needed to be there but, I was wondering if you still have it. I too run SPAD with the reg v of FSUIP4.

    The main reason I ask is that I keep having a conflict with my CESSNA Trim Wheel and cannot figure it out. SPAD does not seem to address it as it is a controller not a panel I would suspect. I have disabled the trim wheel on the multifunction panel in SPAD.

    Also I don’t see EZCA launched and I was wondering if you still used it.

    Could you post your exe.xml file again?

    Thanks
    Rick S.

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    1. Hi Rick,
      The DirectOutput RadioStack driver (SaiFlightSimX.exe) is driver for FIPs. SPAD and FSUIP4 have no control of them.
      I haven’t installed SPAD on my new computer yet as it has compatibility issue with Windows 8. On my Win 7 computer, I too have the trim on multifunctional panel disabled in SPAD.
      Regarding EZCA, I am not yet decided to keep on using it or switch to OPUS since the developer of EZCA seems to be disappeared for months. Also, I don’t quite like how it modifies aircraft files.
      BTW, what kind of conflict you mean with your Cessna trim? SPAD cannot control Cessna trim wheel.
      Tom

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      1. It jumps 2 to 5 tenths at a time after having to spin the wheel further than it used to. I don’t know what happened, it use to work perfectly. I think it all started when I loaded the A2A 172. That mod messed up several things that need to be sorted out I am afraid.

        thanks
        Rick S.

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      2. Hm…that’s strange. Have you checked the axis settings for the Trim inside FSX? Delete all other axis settings under the Trim, if any.
        Also, you could try uninstalling and reinstalling the driver as a last resort. It may help.
        Tom

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      3. Do you reckon it could have something to do with the Standard.xml file in the Controls directory? Seems I have duplicate entries for some controllers. Can you delete it like the fsx.cfg file and it will rebuild itself?

        Rick S.

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      4. Yes, that’s what I am referring to. In Settings for Control, there are three options: calibration; buttons/keys assignment; and Control Axes.
        Just make sure that Elevator Trim Axes is assigned to the Cessna Trim. And there should be no other axes assignment for the Trim.
        Yes, you can delete the Standard.xml file to regenerate a new one.
        However, all previously assigned buttons & keys & axes will also be deleted.
        Instead of deleting the file, you can rename it to something else. Then you can have it back in case you need it. Or you can use it as a reference when you further modify your new Standard.xml file.
        Tom

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      5. If I remove:

        Saitek DirectOutput RadioStack
        False
        C:\Program Files (x86)\Saitek\DirectOutput\SaiFlightSimX.exe
        -run

        from the exe.xml file the FIP’s will not load?

        Thanks
        Rick S.

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      6. Correct. Don’t worry. You could try using the to temporary disable any section, such as the RadioStack, to see how it effects.
        Then remove them after test. The function will enable again.
        Tom

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  2. Hello Tom
    How did you associate the GEAR button on your Saitek Switch Panel with a view from the plane to see the landing gear?.
    I have Ezca and SPAD, is it possible?
    thank you

    Like

    1. Hi Alain,
      Besides EZCA and SPAD, you also need a registered FSUIPC.
      For some reasons, I don’t use the feature I mentioned in my post anymore for months. So pardon me that I don’t quite remember how I set it up.
      But briefly, I use EZCA to make a land gear view and assign a hot key to it.
      Then, I use SPAD to assign an FSUIPC Virtual Button to the function (e.g. Gear Up and Gear Dn) that I want to associate with.
      Finally, I use FSUIPC to call for the Virtual Button for the view I want.
      Something like that.
      Tom

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  3. Hello Tom,
    I am interested and would like to install SPAD.
    But how to uninstall the drivers for Saitek?
    You have disabled the driver in the exe.XML file.
    Please tell me the file path exe.XML
    Excuse the translation with Google
    thank you very much
    Alain

    Like

  4. SPAD and FSUIPC make a really great combination. Especially for the Saitek switches that are one sided.

    In other words, some Saitek switches will make, or break, contact. You don’t actually switch from one contact to another (SPDT).

    As far as I know, FSX doesn’t have a way of recording the *breaking* of a contact.

    Using SPAD and FSUIPC you can easily send a command when a contact is broken.

    It’s all handled in the “Event when switched OFF” section. Nothing could be easier.

    For instance, if I flip the Saitek “FUEL PUMP” switch to the off position NOTHING happens under FSX. Flipping that switch down NOW, *WILL* shut the engine down.

    The same thing will now happen when I turn the magneto switch to the OFF (ground) position.

    I have SPAD send the “Gear Down/UP” switch signal to FSUIPC for proper handling.

    But the most important/powerful function built into SPAD is the ability to create Virtual Buttons to send to FSUIPC. You can have up to 64 virtual joysticks with up to 31 virtual buttons per factious joystick. You can use it to send commands or keystrokes.

    I use that technique to perform 2 actions *at the same time* when I want to switch to an external view AND pause TrackIR. Switching back to cockpit view turns TrackIR back on.

    Want 3 actions with the flip of ONE switch? Not a problem.

    Virtual buttons may be a way of sending keystrokes to EZdok too.

    Speaking of EZdok , I’ve thought of buying it before. I take it that you recommend the software?

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    1. Thank you, Rich.
      Yes, I prefer EZdok camera over OpusFSX due to its better camera features. Moreover, I don’t need OpusFSX’s weather option.
      True, SPAD is quite powerful and handy and there are a lot more to explore.
      Tom

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    2. Tom, is there a way that I can remove my last name from this post?

      I’ll be careful to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

      Thanks

      Like

  5. Hi Tom and other FSX Times followers.

    Regarding the SPAD and the Radio Panel. Should SPAD be installed before plugging the Radio Panel into a USB port?

    Thanks for any info and good luck all.

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  6. Thanks again Tom, I do have your guage’s so far but slowly putting together a new flight sim desk here and adding one bit at a time, testing and then moving on, my FIP’s are next.

    Thanks again for the valuable contribution to the community, it is appreciated.

    Colin

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  7. Hi Tom

    Thanks for reminding me about SPAD, I used it in early versions and was impressed however after a format reverted back to Saitek drivers (horrible) and forgot about SPAD.

    Today I cleaned out the Saitek drivers for my two radio panels, multi panel, switch panel and BIP and installed latest version of SPAD, all seems to work very well but not for the switch panel gear lever? the lights function for gear up/gear down if I use keyboard “G” key but the Saitek gear lever has no effect, any idea’s? This is with my default test flight of FSX Baron set up for a cold start BTW.

    Thanks.

    Colin

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    1. Hi Colin,
      Try opening the Setup page in SPAD for Switch Panel. Then check if “FSUIPC Offset Change” is checked for Gear UP and Gear Down.
      Also, try toggle Avionics Master or BAT button. Sometimes, the panel requires such action to activate when it is started.
      Tom

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      1. Thanks Tom, all is working well now, very impressed with the SPAD software, if only they could include the VR Insight GPS5 too, that has very clunky software as well!

        Regarding SPAD again and the Saitek multi panel, do you have any tips as to what to assign its pitch trim wheel for? I have the dedicated Saitek trim wheel I much prefer to use for this, as far as I know FSX does not support aileron trim or rudder trim as an axis but I’d like to use the wheel on the panel for something useful if I can.

        Thanks.

        Colin

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      2. No I don’t know anything about VR Insight since I don’t have the GPS.
        Regarding trim wheel on the panel, you can set the speed via SPAD. For dedicated trim wheel, I have no idea as I don’t have it.
        For aileron and rudder trim, if you have my Attitude guage, you should see both of them have been included to it.
        Tom

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  8. Tom,
    Interesting idea, though I personally would not want to take my eyes off the cockit or have a diferent prospective of the landing strip at the moments prior to landing, I guess some might. At any rate, what other views are you using? I have used SPAD since I got my radio panels as I found the stock drivers just sucked, the extra ability and control SPAD provides is just fantastic. I appriciate your thoughts and ideas.

    Regards
    Tom

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    1. Yes, Tom. Different people have different requirements. Also, that thought of switching view was just a “medium” which led me to explore the more possibility of expanding the features on the panels. I heard about SPAD from its second or third release but dare not to try it. I am so glad that it is now so stable and feature rich.
      Besides the view associated to the gear, I also did some other views for flap, gauges, etc. Still testing what I really want in the end.
      Tom

      Like

  9. Nice write up Tom. I just purchased a saitek radio panel and one fip. Do you know if SPAD enhances the radio panel in any way? I have not installed the radio panel or fip as of now.

    Thanks for your insights,

    Rob

    Like

    1. Hi Rob,
      Yes SPAD can enhance the Radio panel, and Switch and Multi Panels too. SPAD doesn’t support FIPs; however.
      Also, you’ll need a registered version of the FSUIPC in order to modify their functions.
      Tom

      Like

      1. Thank you for the reply Tom. I downloaded spad And will install it when I have some extra time. I been really busy lately.

        Rob

        Like

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