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  1. #1
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    Saitek Pro Flight TQ conversion

    Hi

    Im Will, i'm new so go easy! Im looking at slowly starting to put together an A320 home cockpit, i say slowly because funds dont allow me to go quickly. I have chosen the A320 because I hear it is an "easier" build, with no complex yoke and fewer systems. I want to build the throttle first and then build up, so at least I can fly with a basic system whilst I am building. I have been looking at these forums, and people who have built their own TQ, and they look fantasic. So my question is could I use a saitek TQ and add the airbus style throttle levers, reverse thrust, housing etc and still have it look and feel like an A320 TQ? Has anyone else used a Saitek on their home cockpit? Any other low cost suggestions would be fantastic!

    Thanks

    Will

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    Re: Saitek Pro Flight TQ conversion

    Welcome Will,
    Good choice on the aircraft. Just take your time and build it the way you want to. This is a great site with a ton of information and people who are always willing to help. Make sure you check out the "search" function as you will find a plethora of data there.

    Joe

  3. #3
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    Re: Saitek Pro Flight TQ conversion

    Hi Will.

    I'm planning on doing something fairly similar - a TQ based on a heavily-modded CH TQ that is similar to an A320 quad (but will have four thrust levers rather than two). I've been thinking about it for a long while now - I'm still building my shell ATM - and I think it's definitely possible. In my case, though, I'm planning on a fairly radical mod which basically discards the entire CH case and breaks apart the six levers so each can be packaged individually. The Airbust-style thrust levers will be built to fit over the existing metal levers from the CH TQ. The two-way toggle switches - or rather their inputs on the control board - can be used for things like fuel cut-out etc with careful use of 'momentary contact' versions of the traditional DPDT switches used in most builds.

    If you just want to use the electronics and the levers in this sort of way, I think it's eminently doable. Something based more directly on the CH TQ as-is - modding the case, for example - is also possible, and much simpler, but you'll have more of a job approaching the look of an Airbus TQ.

    Can't give you much more advice at the moment as I haven't done more than disassemble the CH, but I'll certainly post progress when I get onto it. Assuming you get onto yours first, I'll be very interested to see your progress.
    Last edited by Neil Hewitt; 09-24-2010 at 06:25 AM. Reason: Replace Saitek with CH

  4. #4
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    Re: Saitek Pro Flight TQ conversion

    Hi Neil,

    Yes I was planning something like yours. Using 2 Saitek TQ, building a shell around it and changing levels etc. I was going to have 2 engine levels, 2 for reverse thrust, 1 for speed brake and 1 for flaps. Do you know where I could buy some Airbus levers and knobs? How are you building your housing? Out of MDF/ply or other materials?

    Cheers

    Will

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    Re: Saitek Pro Flight TQ conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by will101 View Post
    Hi Neil,

    Yes I was planning something like yours. Using 2 Saitek TQ, building a shell around it and changing levels etc. I was going to have 2 engine levels, 2 for reverse thrust, 1 for speed brake and 1 for flaps. Do you know where I could buy some Airbus levers and knobs? How are you building your housing? Out of MDF/ply or other materials?

    Cheers

    Will
    No idea where you'd go about buying the levers and knobs - I daresay some of the Airbus builders around here might know a supplier. Most TQs are either bought off the shelf whole or custom fabricated. I know that Gwynn Perrett AKA Westozy, who is the resident mechanical engineering guru around these parts, has built a complete A320 TQ for a customer (as well as an A340-style four-lever quad) - see here. He might be willing to fabricate just the levers for you, but the cost, including the shipping from Australia, would be prohibitive, I suspect. Better to make them yourself.

    The A320 has tab-style reversers - you pull back on a tab at the front of the thrust lever and this enables you to pull the thrust lever back beyond idle into the reverse-thrust zone; the A340 and most other Airbuses have reverse thrust levers like Boeings. I'm going to have a four-level quadrant but with the tab-style reversers, as this is far simpler to construct. But if you're only planning on having two thrust levers then you can indeed use the spare two inputs on the board to connect pots for your reverser levers.

    My own build is a generic pit, so strict accuracy is not my goal. I like the general look of the Airbus TQ versus the Boeing equivalents, but it's only a point of inspiration. I'll do whatever looks good but is easier to build with the toolset I have available.

    You probably don't need to use a pot input for the speed brakes, since this is a binary on-off thing in FS; a lever that trips a switch at either end would do. I can wire up one of the two-way momentary contact inputs on the CH board for that, for example. I'm also planning on making my flaps lever using microswitches in each position rather than a pot. That way I have pot inputs free for trim controls.

    I'll be working mostly in ply, most likely with clear acrylic for frontage (so I can get a nice curved surface, and back-light it) with a printed opaque layer over it to provide the labelling. I'm toying with the idea of a swappable modular system where you can add and remove individual levers and parts to have anywhere from a single-jet to a quad-jet and also a single or twin prop with feather controls etc. The handles would be hot-swappable to enable this. That might turn out to be a little ambitious, though. I have a design in my head but I have yet to put it down on paper.

    Still so many weeks work on the shell and interior structure that I'm probably going to do my test flights with the CH TQ unmodified. As it is I still have to fabricate a yoke system before I can really fly it. Though again there I'm hoping to have a detachable yoke system so you can remove the yoke handles and fly with a side-stick as an option.

    So many ideas, so little time to put them into practice
    Last edited by Neil Hewitt; 09-24-2010 at 06:26 AM. Reason: Substitute CH for Saitek

  6. #6
    25+ Posting Member jsfboat's Avatar
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    Re: Saitek Pro Flight TQ conversion

    Although I'm not going to use Saitek nor build an airbus, I'm doing something similar with my 747 TQ. I'm going to use a CH TQ (since it has 6 levers) and basically just use the electronics. I'm going to have custom made levers and a part plywood and part lexan. So all of us have the same idea, but haven't started. I'm looking forward to seeing updates from everyone.

  7. #7
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    Re: Saitek Pro Flight TQ conversion

    Yes, me too. Although having read your post I just realised that I've been wittering on about Saitek TQs when in fact I have a CH TQ, not a Saitek one. For some reason I'd gotten CH and Saitek transposed in my head. Reading my posts back, they make much more sense when you realise I am in fact talking about the six-lever CH TQ.

    Oops I went back and edited my earlier posts so they make more sense now.

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