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Thread: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

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    Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Improve Your HOTAS

    In my experience no matter what brand of HOTAS you have or it's cost, all HOTAS systems currently available have the same failing. They all exhibit 'stiction'.

    stic•tion
    Physics
    noun: stiction
    1. the friction that tends to prevent stationary surfaces from being
    set in motion.

    I've owned Microsoft, Gravis, Saitek and Thrustmaster joysticks and HOTAS systems. As I could afford it, I've upgraded to the newest and coolest only to be plagued once more with sticking controls. Even the Holy Grail of flight controllers, the Thrustmaster Cougar, disappointed me. A bit miffed, I decided search for a solution and fix the problem myself.

    Stiction Problems Explained

    Joystick Problems:

    Most joysticks use traditional rigid gimbals to translate a joysticks movement into X and Y axis signals. The joystick gimbals' are generally supported in bushings.
    Plastic bushings are almost universally chosen but, can be prone to some stiction. This stiction can be masked by the heavy resistance of gargantuan return springs (ala' Thrustmaster).

    Some joysticks mount into the base using a plastic ball-in-cup connection (ala' Saitek). The joystick shaft passes through the ball to hall effect sensors mounted below the cup. Elegant in it's simplicity but, many owners of these sticks have complained about the high stiction of this design. All manner of lubricants and powdered concoctions have been tried eliminate the sticking but, the problem returns in a short period of time.

    No perceived stiction is evident when joystick gimbals are supported in ball bearings. Too bad no major HOTAS manufacturer uses ball bearings.

    Throttle Problems:

    The throttle either rotates around the throttle's base in an arc or slides fore and aft in a linear plane. Whether rotating inside a large plastic bearing or sliding along a plastic rail, both styles have large contact areas. Through friction, the contact points resist initial movement and once moving, resist any change in direction. The user feels this resistance as 'stiction'.

    In an attempt to reduce the annoying stiction, users loosen the throttle's tension brake. The users continuously loosen/tighten the adjustment dial looking for the magic spot where the stiction is acceptable while still holding the desired throttle position. Most of us just give up and live with a sticky throttle.

    The Cure for Stiction:

    I read reports that you can reduce/eliminate stiction and impart a smooth, linear, high-quality feel with damping grease of the appropriate viscosity. A few posts on the forums recommended NYOGEL 767A grease as the bingo needed. Here is a short demonstration video on grease viscosity. Click to View https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59F9qUDNwnQ

    In researching Nye Lubricants I discovered they manufacture greases (gels) designed to control motion, maintain accurate positioning, smooth operation, and provide touch feedback. Wow, sounds just like what is needed!

    After explaining my HOTAS problems to Nye Lubricants, they were kind enough to send me some samples of greases they felt appropriate. I received a small sample quantity of different damping greases and what follows is my results.
    Here is a short video on Nye Lubricants . Click to view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7ERDuXn1NM

    tube.jpg

    Nyogel 767A:

    As this was the product recommended in forum posts I began here. This is a clear, heavy viscosity, synthetic grease intended for components that require a heavy level of damping. 767A is also used to reduce free motion and to quiet operating noise of loosely-fitting components.

    It came delivered in a white squeeze tube. To give you a sense of it's consistency think of 5 minute mixed two-part epoxy after about 3 minutes. VERY thick and very sticky. The tenacity of the grease to remain in place is a key to reducing stiction. It doesn't squeeze out from between the components. As a grease it smoothes the movement of the parts yet, unlike regular grease, it damps (slows) the components movement. Moving the Cougar throttle after applying 767A feels like rotating a high quality Nikon lens. Sweet!

    In actual use I can attest that, after my Cougar throttle was lubed with Nyogel 767A, consistent positioning of the Cougar TQS throttle was possible without the need for any throttle brake. (A different TQS may need a bit of brake depending on how much wear there is on the TQS parts.)

    Nyogel 868VH:

    Nye Lubricants suggested I also test their 868VH Fluorocarbon gel grease. This is a white color grease with (Teflon) particles to improve lubricity. I lubed a second TQS throttle with 868VH. This grease has almost the exact viscosity of the 767A grease but, the high percentage of Fluorocarbon (aka, Teflon) changed the lubricity to the point that about 35% brake was needed to hold the throttle in position when hands off. The throttle's resistance to movement was less than with the 767A but, didn't feel as 'cushy' . Overall, I prefer the 767A damping grease.

    Conclusion

    Nye Lubricants damping grease performed better than expectations. 767A damping grease greatly smoothed the throttle's action and it eliminated annoying stiction. A bonus is the grease eliminated the need for adding the additional friction of a throttle brake and therefore, further reduced wear. I expect 767A will provide really great protection against parts wear, too.

    Any sim enthusiast that uses a joystick or HOTAS system will be amazed at how good their controls will feel after application of Nyogel 767A. I certainly hope the controller manufacturers read this article. We've been complaining about the stiction problem long enough. They need to step up and cure the problem, especially if it is as easy to cure as this.

    Here are a few photos I took while I re-greased my Cougar HOTAS throttle with Nyogel 767A...

    DSC_0069.JPG
    Throttle base with bottom cover off.

    DSC_0070.JPG
    Remove screw holding ground wire to PC board.

    DSC_0071.JPG
    Pull up on wire bundle connector and remove from pins on PC board.

    DSC_0073.JPG
    Remove red grease from Throttle brake pad and the inside of the throttle base.
    Alcohol and paper towels work well.

    DSC_0075.JPG
    Throttle assembly with red grease removed. Ready to apply Nyogel 767A.
    Last edited by Buddy; Oct-17-2017 at 19:11.

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Buddy.

    I've stickied this thread for easier future reference.

    Cheers,

    Snapper


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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Nice to read a post with actual experience of the product. Great Post!!

    ( 1lokos recommends it too so that would have been good enough for me in any case!!)
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Buddy, thank you for this clear, concise primer on stiction, and for providing a cure.

    Being lubricants do you feel that dust might be an issue, and if so, do you think an an annual cleaning would suffice?

    My throttle and HOTAS action seem quite smooth, but even so, do you feel that lubing them would make a difference?

    Thanks again for this.

    @ Snapper, I can't believe that you didn't say something, "Pun intended" or "No pun intended" when you said you would sticky this thread.....

    One more question if i may.... does the lube come in flavours?
    Last edited by farley; Oct-16-2017 at 21:49.
    "If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down"......

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by farley View Post
    Buddy, thank you for this clear, concise primer on stiction, and for providing a cure.

    Being lubricants do you feel that dust might be an issue, and if so, do you think an an annual cleaning would suffice?

    My throttle and HOTAS action seem quite smooth, but even so, do you feel that lubing them would make a difference?

    Thanks again for this.

    @ Snapper, I can't believe that you didn't say something, "Pun intended" or "No pun intended" when you said you would sticky this thread.....

    One more question if i may.... does the lube come in flavours?
    Hello Farley,

    In my experience household dust does not get into throttle bases. They are usually sealed. Same for joysticks.
    Guess it could be an issue on joysticks where the pivot mechanism is in the open (like Saitek) or in the case where an owner removed the protective
    joystick boot and cake crumbs started falling in. If things started to look a bit hairy in there because of adhering dust, I'm sure I'd wipe out the
    controller and ban the dog from my computer room!

    However, if you are inquiring if dust can cause stiction problems,.. not in the quantity we'd expect to see on a stick or throttle.
    I think of dust as more a cosmetic issue.

    An annual cleaning and re-lube is probably not needed, either. Once a good damping grease is installed, it's more of an install and forget about it.
    Good damping grease is made from PAO synthetics (Poly Alpha Olefin). The absolute best stuff for grease or oil on the face of the planet. It will not
    break down, thin out or get stiff in our lifetime.

    To answer your question about your personal HOTAS,.. YES, changing to 767A damping grease will definitely make a difference. Will it be a difference
    you'll prefer? Only you will know that after you use it. If you are experiencing no stiction or throttle creep, and are happy with your HOTAS' feel in your
    hand, then don't bother with replacing the OEM lubricant with damping grease.

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Thanks for your reply Buddy.

    I have never opened a stick or throttle, so I wasn't aware that they are sealed so well.

    I guess what flashed into my mi9nd was the rudder pics (Saitech for eg) that show lots of yuck in them, but I'm sure that is because they are on the floor and not able to be sealed in the same way.

    Think I will try the lube and see how it goes. Sounds like a good winter project for me.

    thanks again for enlightening us on this.
    "If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down"......

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    Question Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    Good damping grease is made from PAO synthetics (Poly Alpha Olefin). The absolute best stuff for grease or oil on the face of the planet. It will not
    break down, thin out or get stiff in our lifetime.
    I'm new to the HOTAS game so I'm still learning. When I asked Thrustmaster what HOTAS lube they recommended, they said silicon based for plastic components (I asked about Nyogel 767a in particular but they said nothing about it). I know that hydrocarbon will eat away at certain plastics. Now I understand that 767a is silicon thickened, but it is based on a synthetic hydrocarbon. In all the 767a threads I read on google, no one has mentioned that yet. Do you have anything to say about this?

    I bought some for the throttle on my brand new t16000m FCS Flight Pack which is sticky AF, as many people recommend it as the best solution.

    I only joined ATAG just now as you seem to have some experience on the topic and I would like to know.

    Cheers.

    Tom.

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Informative post, but just be aware, when trying to lubricate plastic moving components, 'plastic' is a very broadly used term that loosely defines many different types of organic polymers.
    So in a case like this one size does 'may' not necessarily fit all as such, and the starting point is really first identifying exactly what you are trying to lubricate to achieve effective lubrication and not potentially cause damage over time. (i.e. the actual makeup/type/polymer of the 'plastic')

    Look at this table just for a quick reference on different lubrications for different plastic polymers.
    http://www.gacol.pl/files/UserFiles/..._plastikow.pdf


    edit: The Nyogel 767a blurb page.
    Looks like one for the toolbox for sure.
    http://www.oveready.com/nyogel-lubri.../prod_421.html
    Last edited by Vlerkies; Oct-19-2017 at 06:31.
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    I have been using DOW CORNING MOLYKOTE EM-30L Synthetic Grease on my Thrustmaster Warthog and Saitek X-52 sticks and throttles for several years based on a recommendation that it would not harm plastics. It has served me well and is not so thick that it will impede movement. This white goo does the trick and is available at eBay for a song.

    Available here:https://www.ebay.com/i/280612855824?chn=ps&dispItem=1

    The 1 OZ size is plenty for me. A little of this goes a long way...
    Last edited by Baffin; Oct-19-2017 at 11:59. Reason: Re-read OP. Removed comment.
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Well, people have been using a broad variation of lubricants in that "blessed" Warthog gimbal over the last ~7 years, from Ky gel to Nyogel passing by Molikote's...

    and until now no one report that their gimbal plastic has melted - is more common this part broken in half in certain hands.

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    I swear I found a engineering chart the other day from NYE that said PAO was incompatible with Polycarbonate. Now I can't find it. Must have been something else because here is a useful one I found just now that says it is good to go with PC:

    https://shop.newgatesimms.com/wp-con...ence_Chart.pdf

    On that topic, short of trying to pry the information from TM, who weren't very helpful in the half a dozen email exchange I had with them about TARGET Script issues and grease, how do we find out what plastics are used in our HOTAS? Some one doing a review on the T16000m FCS I watched on Youtube said something about PC which is why I specifically mentioned it above. There's no mention of plastic type on the box or the joystick. Does it say inside when you open it up? I haven't opened mine up yet, but normally plastic types are mentioned somewhere on most products aren't they?

    Thanks for the reassurance 1locos, but I had to ask because I'm wise to the ways of the web (or lack thereof...) what about the new T16000m FCS Flight Pack? It's less than half the price of a Warthog so might have cheaper nasty plastic used. Speaking of Warthogs, I like my 16k so much I just bought a Warthog because I want the premium feel. And what I payed for it new was equivalent to buying just the pedals local which I'd have bought anyway if I'd jumped the gun when I got the 16k. Anyway, I think I'm developing a problem

    Cheers.

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    https://shop.newgatesimms.com/wp-con...ence_Chart.pdf

    This a very reassuring chart for people worried about deterioration due to incompatibility.
    I especially like the description of PAO grease as "Lubricious"!
    I guess that means that you can eat it if you run out of Oriental Noodle soup some day. (Or if you're constipated)
    Last edited by Baffin; Oct-19-2017 at 15:12.
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by 1lokos View Post
    Well, people have been using a broad variation of lubricants in that "blessed" Warthog gimbal over the last ~7 years, from Ky gel to Nyogel passing by Molikote's...

    and until now no one report that their gimbal plastic has melted - is more common this part broken in half in certain hands.
    Lol, true, however its about 'effective lasting lubrication' to reduce friction, and using the right one for the composite. That's precisely why there are different types.
    While a lot will work, other will work much better and last a lot longer without any micro damage that may even increase the friction. But you know that already I am very sure.

    Its like not using baby oil on a condom, if you do, buy a crib and a pram.
    http://theairtacticalassaultgroup.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=4036&dateline=1382347  940

    If it's brown, shoot it down!

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Mot, that 767a looks like some good stuff. I have also seen it mentioned on the Eagle DCS forums before.
    I think its a safe bet. Its nice and viscous as well so will stay where you need it to stay.

    The Dow one mentioned by Baffin also looks good, a company like DOW will certainly not loosely specify 'plastics' in their TDS unless they have tested a comprehensive range of them without noting exclusions.

    Grab whichever one is easier to get.
    http://theairtacticalassaultgroup.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=4036&dateline=1382347  940

    If it's brown, shoot it down!

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlerkies View Post
    Its like not using baby oil on a condom, if you do, buy a crib and a pram.
    Isn't that why it's called "baby" oil?
    "If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down"......

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlerkies View Post
    Mot, that 767a looks like some good stuff. I have also seen it mentioned on the Eagle DCS forums before.
    I think its a safe bet. Its nice and viscous as well so will stay where you need it to stay.

    The Dow one mentioned by Baffin also looks good, a company like DOW will certainly not loosely specify 'plastics' in their TDS unless they have tested a comprehensive range of them without noting exclusions.

    Grab whichever one is easier to get.
    I'm just being cautious as I wont be able to replace something in a hurry if I bugger it up. I had already ordered a nice big tube of 767a before I joined this forum, and want to be certain about it. I think my initial concern may have been due to misreading something (as well as just not knowing exactly what I am dealing with plastics wise).

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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    Improve Your HOTAS

    In my experience no matter what brand of HOTAS you have or it's cost, all HOTAS systems currently available have the same failing. They all exhibit 'stiction'.

    stic•tion
    Physics
    noun: stiction
    1. the friction that tends to prevent stationary surfaces from being
    set in motion.

    I've owned Microsoft, Gravis, Saitek and Thrustmaster joysticks and HOTAS systems. As I could afford it, I've upgraded to the newest and coolest only to be plagued once more with sticking controls. Even the Holy Grail of flight controllers, the Thrustmaster Cougar, disappointed me. A bit miffed, I decided search for a solution and fix the problem myself.

    Stiction Problems Explained

    Joystick Problems:

    Most joysticks use traditional rigid gimbals to translate a joysticks movement into X and Y axis signals. The joystick gimbals' are generally supported in bushings.
    Plastic bushings are almost universally chosen but, can be prone to some stiction. This stiction can be masked by the heavy resistance of gargantuan return springs (ala' Thrustmaster).

    Some joysticks mount into the base using a plastic ball-in-cup connection (ala' Saitek). The joystick shaft passes through the ball to hall effect sensors mounted below the cup. Elegant in it's simplicity but, many owners of these sticks have complained about the high stiction of this design. All manner of lubricants and powdered concoctions have been tried eliminate the sticking but, the problem returns in a short period of time.

    No perceived stiction is evident when joystick gimbals are supported in ball bearings. Too bad no major HOTAS manufacturer uses ball bearings.

    Throttle Problems:

    The throttle either rotates around the throttle's base in an arc or slides fore and aft in a linear plane. Whether rotating inside a large plastic bearing or sliding along a plastic rail, both styles have large contact areas. Through friction, the contact points resist initial movement and once moving, resist any change in direction. The user feels this resistance as 'stiction'.

    In an attempt to reduce the annoying stiction, users loosen the throttle's tension brake. The users continuously loosen/tighten the adjustment dial looking for the magic spot where the stiction is acceptable while still holding the desired throttle position. Most of us just give up and live with a sticky throttle.

    The Cure for Stiction:

    I read reports that you can reduce/eliminate stiction and impart a smooth, linear, high-quality feel with damping grease of the appropriate viscosity. A few posts on the forums recommended NYOGEL 767A grease as the bingo needed. Here is a short demonstration video on grease viscosity. Click to View https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59F9qUDNwnQ

    In researching Nye Lubricants I discovered they manufacture greases (gels) designed to control motion, maintain accurate positioning, smooth operation, and provide touch feedback. Wow, sounds just like what is needed!

    After explaining my HOTAS problems to Nye Lubricants, they were kind enough to send me some samples of greases they felt appropriate. I received a small sample quantity of different damping greases and what follows is my results.
    Here is a short video on Nye Lubricants . Click to view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7ERDuXn1NM

    tube.jpg

    Nyogel 767A:

    As this was the product recommended in forum posts I began here. This is a clear, heavy viscosity, synthetic grease intended for components that require a heavy level of damping. 767A is also used to reduce free motion and to quiet operating noise of loosely-fitting components.

    It came delivered in a white squeeze tube. To give you a sense of it's consistency think of 5 minute mixed two-part epoxy after about 3 minutes. VERY thick and very sticky. The tenacity of the grease to remain in place is a key to reducing stiction. It doesn't squeeze out from between the components. As a grease it smoothes the movement of the parts yet, unlike regular grease, it damps (slows) the components movement. Moving the Cougar throttle after applying 767A feels like rotating a high quality Nikon lens. Sweet!

    In actual use I can attest that, after my Cougar throttle was lubed with Nyogel 767A, consistent positioning of the Cougar TQS throttle was possible without the need for any throttle brake. (A different TQS may need a bit of brake depending on how much wear there is on the TQS parts.)

    Nyogel 868VH:

    Nye Lubricants suggested I also test their 868VH Fluorocarbon gel grease. This is a white color grease with (Teflon) particles to improve lubricity. I lubed a second TQS throttle with 868VH. This grease has almost the exact viscosity of the 767A grease but, the high percentage of Fluorocarbon (aka, Teflon) changed the lubricity to the point that about 35% brake was needed to hold the throttle in position when hands off. The throttle's resistance to movement was less than with the 767A but, didn't feel as 'cushy' . Overall, I prefer the 767A damping grease.

    Conclusion

    Nye Lubricants damping grease performed better than expectations. 767A damping grease greatly smoothed the throttle's action and it eliminated annoying stiction. A bonus is the grease eliminated the need for adding the additional friction of a throttle brake and therefore, further reduced wear. I expect 767A will provide really great protection against parts wear, too.

    Any sim enthusiast that uses a joystick or HOTAS system will be amazed at how good their controls will feel after application of Nyogel 767A. I certainly hope the controller manufacturers read this article. We've been complaining about the stiction problem long enough. They need to step up and cure the problem, especially if it is as easy to cure as this.

    Here are a few photos I took while I re-greased my Cougar HOTAS throttle with Nyogel 767A...

    DSC_0069.JPG
    Throttle base with bottom cover off.

    DSC_0070.JPG
    Remove screw holding ground wire to PC board.

    DSC_0071.JPG
    Pull up on wire bundle connector and remove from pins on PC board.

    DSC_0073.JPG
    Remove red grease from Throttle brake pad and the inside of the throttle base.
    Alcohol and paper towels work well.

    DSC_0075.JPG
    Throttle assembly with red grease removed. Ready to apply Nyogel 767A.

    Thanks Ever so much Buddy, I for one will most definitely be following your lead and getting some Nyogel given that I too have been suffering from sticky control surfaces

    Thanks again for sharing

    Viper

  27. #18
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Nice post. Thanks.

  28. #19
    Supporting Member Buddy's Avatar
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Update: 01/03/2018
    I just got an email today from a retailer that was out of 767A. They now have it back in stock. The URL is...

    https://www.oveready.com/flashlight/...ease-10g-tube/
    Last edited by Buddy; Jan-03-2018 at 18:29.

  29. Likes BOO, No.119_Viper (VK-S) liked this post
  30. #20
    Student Pilot
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Thanks for sharing!

    I've been looking for this stuff since months. My Warthog has 0 additional lubricants applied and it's terrible when it comes to aiming.

    Cheers.
    "Led by courage followed by luck" - Puma sqn.

  31. #21
    Supporting Member Buddy's Avatar
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    Re: Improve Your HOTAS Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by VO101_Mate View Post
    Thanks for sharing!

    I've been looking for this stuff since months. My Warthog has 0 additional lubricants applied and it's terrible when it comes to aiming.

    Cheers.
    Hi,

    I've found various size tubes of Nyogel 767A for sale on eBay. also check out https://www.oveready.com/flashlight/...ease-10g-tube/

  32. Likes VO101_Mate liked this post

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