Some annoying HOTAS stuff with the F/A-18C (on the Logitech G940)


#1

Hey guys, this stuff has been bothering me for a while now, so maybe I thought I could get some help from you.

Some time ago, I came across a new Logitech G940 setup that was selling locally for a good price, no import taxes, etc, and I bought it. While the beggining was tough getting everything to work, I got to a place where I’m fairly happy with the config. Especially for the hornet, I was able to map most of the hotas commands and I am having a good time flying.

Well, except for 2 things:

First of all, the radar antenna angle control: On the real hornet, it is actually a switch that you can select it to go up or to go down, but that stays in place as soon as you take your finger of it. On my throttle, it’s a wheel. So, it being an axis, I cannot bind it’s axis position to my antenna position, only set regions where it will act like a switch (Up/Down/Stopped on the deadzone). That has been very hard to operate.

Then, there is the trim control: I’d love to use the trim mini joystick to set trim, or better yet, the trim axis on the base of the controller, but unfortunately, the trim on the F/A-18c is set by button presses (trim uo/down/left/right) and not by axis.

So, okay, fine, my workaround for this was to invert a hat on the throttle with my trim mini joystick and now I use the TDC controller hat as trim, and mini joystick fot the TDC control (one of the few controls that can be bound both to an axis or to a button). That should not be the end of the world. But my mini joystick is pretty bad, and keeps registering ghost inputs even when I set it down. So my TDC is always moving somewhere, ultil I force it to go where I want (it would be great if I could map it to work like a hat instead of a joystick).

Bottom line is I always have to wrestle my radar when I need to lock to something: Antenna elevation AND a bad TDC control, and it drives me crazy.

So the question is: Is it possible to actually hack some stuff to translate into better input on DCS? How do I do it?


#2

For antenna elevation, welcome to everybody’s world. My X56 has a detent at neutral but I find that I have to nuance that. Even then, half the time I look at my radar, I find the elevation buried at the bottom of the gimble. With practice I have learned to deal with it. I went through several G940’s. I gave the last one away. So much potential. So much frustration. Mini-sticks on all joysticks have finicky moments I guess. My X56 is as good as any setup I have used in this regard. But the 940? Ugh. It was a bear getting it to be useable in DCS. Somehow Falcon BMS was never an issue. It seemed to stabilize or maybe ignore spurious values. In DCS it would hop all over. I found some improvement by using a very exaggerated curve along with a big deadzone. Trim really must be an off/on sort of affair. For a Spitfire, using an axis is groovy. But for anything even slightly modern, from a Baron to a 747 and everything in between, trimming is done with little stabs at a button. For this, either go back to using a hat or set up “bands” for the mini-stick and give each of the four bands the key-command in DCS for trim ("’", “;”. “.”, “,” I think?).


#3

I also use a G940 and I am quite happy with it.
For my A10 and Ka50 profiles I solved some of the problems you mentioned by assigning the keys not in DCS but in the Logitech software.
I am fairly sure that you can assign zones of an axis to work as buttons, and I think I did the trim that way.


#4

The other way would be using the profile switch button to switch and then just use another set of buttons for trimming, as their second function.

I admit I haven’t done a F18 profile yet though.


#5

For antenna elevation…I usually get too frustrated with cockpit and/or mapped controller switch and just point the jet’s nose up or down…it works. :sunglasses:


#6

Sorry if I sound like… Bad Cop…
G940 … let it go


#7

A weird and cheap idea (my forte) is if you run out of binds on a low-cost HOTAS that lacks buttons/knobs/sliders is to put an X-Box controller (or something similar) next to it and then bind DCS extra functions on that.

I used to love using my MS Sidewinder for the force feedback (good times), but would place a X-Box controller next to it and then I’d bind things to the D-Pad and 4 buttons, and then TDCs etc to the thumb sticks. About 10% better than a keyboard.

Obviously not ideal, but most sims are great at lots of controllers and you might already own a controller to use.


#8

Which is the way trim controllers work in thermal thing. Actually, in the F-14 at least, what the trim switch does is to move the control stick–up, back, left, right–to a new “centered position”. I remember being a bit surprised the first time I used the trim in a (real) F-14 simulator and the stick moved in my hand. The longer you keep the switch pressed, the more it moves.

Anyway, the pointy “trim hat” in the middle of the Logitech G940 control stick should work.


#9

The core problem still exists though; the Hornet and most other modern fighters have more hat switches/D-pads on the stick then the G940 does. To that end, Taubkin want’s to setup the G940 Axis-based hat to act like a digital pad, where the output is one absolute for each cardinal direction, versus a range of outputs. There’s a reason CH and TM have copied the F-16 style stick; it can generally provide a home for the inputs found on any other stick used on western fighters.

Also, for me it was one of the great frustrations of the G940: in theory it should have been able to replicate the trim method on non-fly-by-wire aircraft beautifully, as it’s force feedback motors would allow it to effectively move the center of the stick with in-game trim. In practice, I found it far too notchy to do this well, and this was compounded by having a relatively large Force feedback deadzone, ie you could move the stick several degrees before encountering resistance from the motors, even through the stick was registering digital input.


#10

I somehow solved that problem.
AFAIK there was some setting in the software that made the center force a lot stronger, and using that I noticed that both the FFB and the inputs are actually quite more precise than I initially thought.

The number of buttons problem never was a problem for me, I just put the trim on another profile so I had enough buttons for everything in the A10C.
And I love the two stage trigger. I wish some of the other sticks had that.
Basically an x55 with FFB and two stage trigger would be something I’d replace my G940 with. A TM Warthog… not so much.


#11

Thanks guys…

So yeah, basically, I’m happy with the G940 for the time being. Would I love to have something more current? sure. But it was a good deal, considering, and it’s far from my main upgrade priority. Even the FF spring simulation is okay for now. The hat switches were impossible to configure using Logitech’s outdated software though, maybe I should invest in third party… However, before installing any more crap into my machine (I already feel like doing a fresh reinstall before the end of the year) I just tied to set better axis values in my DCS internal controls setup. Put huge deadzones on the mini joystick and a bizarre curve setting for my wheel. I think it’s usable now…

DCS should be a little more condescending on realism for it’s controls though…

Now @Hangar200, if the tomcat stick actually moves/recenters for trim, it would be really cool if Heatblur made the module compatible with the G940 FF system like the Helos… But it’s probably a long shot to ask a 2018 early access release to be compatible with a 2007-now discontinued piece of hardware…

Thanks for all the input. I’d love to hear how @Aginor got his set to optimum configuration and deadzones, but everything is so subjective that I’m afraid the minutiae will just get lost on the text translation and I’ll make what I have now worse. :slight_smile:


#12

I use the 940 as well and I fly Hornet almost exclusively at the moment.

I use the China hat on the stick in button mode for trimming (no axis) and it works great. You will only need trimming when setting on speed AoA for landing anyways. The FCS will automatically trim for one G during normal flight.

TDC is on the throttle (obviously also as button and not axis). Works okay imo.

For radar elevation I agree with you. It’s not an issue in any other module. Somehow ED decided to go full real on the Hornet although there is no hardware that I know of which provides a spring centered dial. I have configured huge deadzones on my throttle rotary but it’s clumsy to use and I revert back to two dedicated buttons on the throttle base to control elevation.

I can’t stop moaning about the potential of proper FFB implementation as well. My guess is that most module developer don’t care about this feature. For the hornet, there is no FFB whatsoever. Only some generic center spring logic as far as I can feel. There should be increasing force required to put more G / AoA on the jet (depening on speed). Unfortunately we don’t see this in the sim.

On my G940, the center spring effect is quite choppy. It feels like 3 distinct force detents and makes precise flying a chore. I solved this by running simFFB:

https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=1628706&postcount=43

https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=84883

This little tool is intended to replicate some basic center spring, dampening and friction for nonFFB modules. If you initialize it, it overwrites the DCS modules implementation for FFB effects (which is ok due to the reasons stated above).
In theory you can also use this tool for controlling force centering. There are two modes: one-button-mode a la Ka-50 and trim hat mode, The latter would be very similar to what @Hangar200 described for the F-14 simulator. Unfortunately it is hardcoded for the castle switch on the stick. Also there is no coupling to what happens in the sim and you could run out of sync quite fast.


#13

How do you get to use it in button mode? Using the Logitech software? I spent days trying to get that to work!


#14

It’s pretty simple. I’m not at my gaming PC but iirc you select “Instant Trim Mode” from the File menu and configure a button via the dropdown list (e.g. 6 for the thumb button on the stick).

Select “init” from file menu and move the stick to your new center and press the button. FFB should hold it in this position and you can release the stick.

I think ED built a similar mode for the Ka-50 later on as an out of the box feature…

It’s really meant for Helicopters. For the Hornet, I select “none” as trim mode in simFFB.


#15

so there is no way to have the trim movement in the hornet with the g940?
i plan to map the g940 ministick as buttons for trimming and i was hoping simffb could solve the lack of ffb by ed


#16

As I understand, there is no trim movement in the real jet. The FCS will automatically trim for 1g and you won’t have to trim away any forces from the stick.


#17

The FCS doesn’t account for assymetry in the roll axis, and the pilot must manually trim to configure the aircraft for landing and catapult take off