Description and Function
The CH Throttle Quadrant is appropriately and very descriptively named; it is a rectangular six-lever throttle quadrant with six two-way spring centering switches on the facing side. It clamps to a desk or table top with what appears to be the same clamps as on CH Products ‘Yoke’ controllers. The throttle knobs are interchangeable allowing several combinations of colors and shapes among the throttle levers. Each Throttle has two detents in the aft, or throttle closed, position. The detents are the ‘extra’ 12, or pseudo buttons on the TQ. The additional 12-pseudo buttons cannot be directly activated without lever movement. As previously stated, Windows does not recognize the additional buttons in the standard game controller applet until Control Manager has been installed. Once that’s accomplished then Windows displays a six-axis, 24 button unit.
Control Manager software allows you to configure the throttle levers in several ways. The default lever control assignment is as an axis (DirectX Mode). If the game function you want to use a given lever for does not allow axis assignments, then you have the choice of two different ways to assign keystrokes in Programmed Function mode, they are Up/Down or Positional.
The Up / Down function is used with ‘increase’ and ‘decrease’ keys. It has two zones, one above and one below the detent, with a minimum of two positions and a maximum of 100. There are also separate assignable detents that are specific for each direction of lever movement… i.e. increasing direction key assignments and decreasing direction key assignments. The Positional mode has two sections, the Min Zone Keys below the detent and the Normal Zone Keys above the detent. The keys assigned here will activated in proportion to the position of the lever.
The six two-position momentary switches on the front of the TQ are programmed just like standard CH controller switches/buttons using CM software. CM is very intuitive and I am sure that it will satisfactorily fulfill the needs of most users. For the really adventurous MAP makers CH Products included a text based scripting utility called CMS (Control Manager Scripting). It can write more complex command algorithms when the CM GUI just won’t do… I have used CMS with other CH units. It is a very useful programming utility, but it is definitely more complex and will take some time to learn.
The TQ in Games: FS2004, CFS 3 and Pacific Fighters
FS 2004 was initially selected due to its very realistic engine control emulation and interface. It seemed the most appropriate game to begin my evaluation. The TQ was added to my current CH HOTAS FS 2004 Control Manager Map of Fighterstick, Pro Throttle, and Pro Pedals. The process went quickly and was easily accomplished. The only real limitation I had was running out of available axes on a single controller; eight is the maximum. Control Manager software provides a solution by allowing the creation of another virtual controller (when the map is ‘activated), and therefore an additional set of axes. The only limitation is the ability of the intended game to recognize and use multiple controllers. Most recent flight sims do have this capability so it should not cause a problem in most situations. FS 2004 does indeed recognize multiple controllers; in fact it allows the assignment of three separate controls per engine for up to four engines. If you assign each engine with a throttle, prop, and mixture that’s a total of 12 axes for engine control! If you had a B-17 or B-24 add-on for FS2004 you would need TWO… yes TWO CH TQ’s for engine management alone! That’s a whole lot o’ levers! “Everybody grab a throttle! We’re going around!”