First, let me say that I love my Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar, but it has a few teething problems. Most of these problems are related to how the physical interface works in relation the X and Y axis. The design is not inherently wrong but the material choice has left me wondering “Why” most of the time.
This gimbal system has been redesigned a multitude of times by people over the past decade and a half. Unfortunately most of them are either out of production or increasingly expensive to acquire, if at all.
Well, my Cougar developed a play around a center, which meant that I could move the stick quite a bit in all directions without any, or jittery input on the potentiometers.
I opted to open it all up and disassemble it in the knowledge that this stick is very moddable and probably easy to fix with some of the shelf components.
My shopping list includes:
Aluminium Tape(reduce play X axis)
shimmy rings(very thin rings, 0.1mm thick, reduce play Y axis)
Ball Bearing grease(Lithium based non acidic).
Note that I also ordered some extra bits since I am also building an extension for the stick, but I consider that outside the scope of this little report .
Stick opened up, you can clearly see the simplicity of the gimbal design, can’t say I dislike it as many people do.
Removing the setup is rather simple, you need a Hex/Allen Key to stop the bolt from turning and a plier(it’s not very firmly connected) to remove the little nut. First start my removing the roll axis(north to south in this picture)
Roll axis removed, don’t forget to put all the parts in a container with a lid of sorts.
For the pitch axis we first need to remove the base of the stick, it goes through the casing and has the mounting thread/adapter for the stick itself attached. This one is connected with a rather thin axle that has a tiny locking ring on it.
We can already clearly see the wear on base… Ouch…
Removing this axle turned out to be a little bit of a challenge. Turns out it has suffered some damage(no idea when) and thus is bent…
Now, for measuring the wear roll axis… drum roll
The original measure is 14.1mm, not bad.
That means we’ve gained .4mm of play total! roughly .2mm on either side. That’s massive!
Well, right now I am waiting for the parts to show up and then I can start assembling again. Hopefully this fix will work.