by Alexey Podrezov
After checking a few reviews on the existing flight simulator yokes on YouTube, I realized that my Logitech/Saitek G Flight Yoke needs to be modded.
The yoke’s rotation is limited to 90 degrees. I am not sure why Saitek decided to do it that way, but I wanted to have the proper rotation angle: 180 degrees, like on the professional yokes and on the real airplanes. So I bought a broken yoke (the main board seems to be fried) from a local guy and started to look for the ways to achieve my goal.
When I first disassembled the yoke, I realized that most of the internal mechanics would need to be replaced in order to get the 180 degree rotation. While there was a way to adjust most of the original parts to support the new rotation angle, I decided to create the necessary parts from scratch.
I cloned most of the parts in Fusion 360 and made them compatible with the new rotation angle. It took a few tries to get things to work properly. The pitch lever driver was made compatible with the rubber band mod for this yoke in case someone would want to have that mod in addition to the 180°R mod.
The biggest challenge was the roll driver mechanics. Basically I had to replace the lever-based mechanics with the belt-driven one.
To keep the original range of the potentiometer that is responsible for the roll, I had to recalculate the gear sizes so that the 180 degree rotation of the yoke’s shaft would result in the 125 degree rotation of the roll potentiometer.
I tried using a thick thread, a rubber band and a chain to connect the yoke’s shaft to the gear that rotates the potentiometer, but all those attempts failed. Eventually I looked at my 3D printer and realized that the thin GT2 belt would be the best option. The obvious solution was always in front of me, but it took a few days to notice that.
Another challenge was to get the proper rubber band that would be sturdy enough to withstand constant stretching while not loosing its elasticity. Most of the household rubber bands didn’t survive even a short test.
I tried using the elastic floppy disk driver belt, but it was stretching too much and was loosing its elasticity after a few rotations of the yoke’s shaft.
In the end, I took the special wide rubber stripe that is used for sports and used a piece of it as the rubber band. This solution returns the yoke to its central horizontal position a bit slower than the original spring, but no one will notice the difference.
Followings are two videos showing the testing of the 180°R mod:
I still need to test how the modified yoke works with the flight simulator and the calibration tools. But I can’t do this until I fix the yoke’s main board.
I am going to replace the USB2504 chip and see if the board gets recognized by a PC then. The chips are already on the way to me from China.
I am 95% sure that the mod will work. The potentiometer’s range and the middle point are almost the same as with the original mechanics. If the yoke becomes less sensitive, I will adjust the gear size accordingly.