The Trifecta of Flight Sim Peripherals: Page 3

Software

Saitek has come a long way in their software, from drivers to their programming utility. Even though it picked up immediately on the pedals, I went ahead and re-installed the software and drivers from the disc.

And, as a bit of built in nostalgia, ran into problems. I uninstalled the previous drivers and software and followed the “Autorun” instructions. It got to the place where it tells you to plug in your devices and just sat there. I unplugged and reinserted the devices. Nothing. I unplugged my “old, original” X52 and the pedals and rebooted, ran the installation software, and plugged in the device when prompted. Nothing. Just a big box of grey with a “Next” button, as if their auto install program failed to recognize that the HOTAS and pedals were there.

Eventually I figured out that the dialog box saying “please connect the device you wish to update the drivers for” is just that — a dummy dialog box. Nothing to indicate that it knows you’ve connected the device, Saitek assumes one is smart enough to follow simple directions and just hook up the pedals and press “Next.”

This is why, developers, I should be a beta tester for all new sexy hardware devices and the software that comes with them; if I can understand it, anyone can. Y’all need the dumbest guy in the room to evaluate stuff before unleashing it on the public. Email me for my address and start sending the nextgen hardware. I’ll even do it for free and spare the company the hassle of return shipping once it’s all sorted out.

The best thing is that the pedals know their status in relationship to the X52, and took up the ID2 position in the Game Controller section. Yes, I had to remap the controls within IL-2/PF, but did so with glee.

Tension Control

This, along with the slightly wider throw (why couldn’t they have gone as far out as my old Thrustmaster Rudder Control System — “Wider is Better!”), the real benefit of the set is the ability to adjust spring tension on the pedals. The spring is a beefy sucker to begin with, and even at the lightest setting is more resistant than the CHPro.

Review: Saitek X52 PRO HOTAS and the Saitek Rudder Pedals

To increase the tension, one turns the big knob in the center of the set in the labeled direction.

I experimented with this until I found my sweet spot — about three quarters to full max — and grinned. No more accidental application of rudder! No doubt this will shorten the life of the pedals by some margin, just as the beefy spring in the RCS failed after a few years, but it’s a trade-off I’m happy with.

Accuracy

Since I put the tension up to stiffen them, I’m finding that I over correct with the pedals a lot less than I did with my CHPro’s, as they require far more positive input. Small corrections are easier for me, and with a little dead zone in the middle to account for the slight waggle around the middle (which I suspect is due to changing the spring tension), things have really zeroed in for me.

Final Conclusion on the Pedals

If you don’t have rudder pedals at all, buy the Saitek ones! It really makes the sim come alive in a meaningful way and will reduce a huge amount of frustration if one is using the keyboard, a twisty stick, or a rocker switch.

If you’ve had problems with the narrowness or light touch of the CHPro pedals, the Saitek pedals are probably your answer. If you’re happy with your CHPro set, hang onto them.

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