Good afternoon everyone,
This is my first attempt at a hardware mod/tutorial, so be easy. In this post I will address how to Fix an unstable twist (rudder) feature, tighten the stick to get rid of some of the floppyness of it,
and in my opinion most importantly remove the deadspot in the center that forces you to move the stick a few inches before the computer takes any input
Recently I purchased HAWX 2 (I cant believe it was actually worse than the first one, that was hard to do) because basically when it comes to arcady flight sims its pretty much the only game in town.
I busted out the trusty Saitek X52 and the twist (rudder) function was spazzing out, anytime I would twist it it would jump back and forth from center to about 1/4 way down the meter to the right. Noticeable in game and when looking at the control panel it was really noticeable really how unstable it was jumping back and forth. That got me on track to fixing it, I found the video linked below, his method works great, it just involves opening up the stick and spraying the potentiometer letting it dry and pitting it back together. You will need a phillips head screw driver, a size 10 torx wrench (allen will probably work) and mechanical tuner cleaner/lubricant from radio shack. I am not going to bother going into more detail because his way is perfect
After I did that I decided I wanted to fix the other two issues, tighten the stick and see if I could make in more sensitive.Tightening the stick -
This one I found a few different guides for, I opted for the simplest (linked above). I am posting additionally because the video doesnt get in really close to show what is actually done. Similar to a washer mod it uses the center of a CD stack cover to compress the spring compressing it and creating more resistance. On top of that because of the shape of the CD case top the bump in the center fits in the center of the spring, securing it pretty well.
You take a CD case top like this
Cut out the center peice, then hollow out the center of that, I used a #11 xacto knife, and I ended up using a lighter to heat the plastic up to soften it for easier cutting. Make sure you cut out a wedge
Once you have it cut out, compress the spring and wedge your "washer" onto the center shaft, i found it to be more stable if the "bump" faced down
Final result should look like this (well it should look better, I am pretty lazy
)Removing the deadspot!
This is something that me and every other X-52 owner has dealt with since day one, massive dead spot in the center making minute adjustments hard and pretty much guaranteeing overcorrection. I looked all over for ways to do it and most involved inserting rubber bands or gluing the magnets onto the internal gear, frankly I didnt like any of them so after looking into how it worked I came up with my own way.Technical explanation, each axis rotates a shaft which connects to a small gear which in turn connects to a small peice of plastic about 1.5in wide with a magnet on each end. Suspended stationary in between those magnets is a sensor. At that point it becomes obvious the reason for the deadspot is the distance in between the magnets and the sensor is too far (or the magnets are too weak) so as far as I was concerned you have two options, decrease the distance between the magnets and sensor, or increase the magnetic field allowing the sensor better reception. I went with the 2nd option, allowing for me to maintain the existing mechanical structure
First, open the bottom of the stick
Once open you will see two sensor assemblys, each secured with two screws (top and right in the picture)
Next, remove the screws and the sensor (the sensor should just hang off to the side)
Once the sensor is moved to the side, pull out the stock peice with the magnets inside (notice this does not
have the big silver pieces the previous pictures had, those are not on the stock piece and will be added in a moment)
Remove original magnets (as seen in a previous pic I had to drill a hole in one to get behind the stock magnet and push it out, the rest I was able to get behind with the hook)
Once the old magnets were removed, I brought out the big boys
Using a larger magnet on the outside and a smaller inside, the magnetic field generated by these is massively more powerful than the previous (I dont know how the polarity affects the sensor, but I didnt want to find out either, I made sure the positive/negative sides were matched up with the way the originals were installed, this was easy as the stock magnets had red lines on the back
When you are done, reinstall the piece, make sure it is centered (I didnt when I took the picture, it is off to the left
At that point, reassemble and perform the same process on the other sensor and magnets
I actually used smaller less powerful magnets (still more powerful than stock) and got decent results, but nothing compared to these newest magnets I put in.
What to expect at this point is a much better joystick experience, the stock stick NEEDS
to be as floppy as it is so you can get past the deadspot in the center. Not only that but the magnets in the stock stick are so weak they dont influence the sensor unless really close to it, this means that rather than a circle when you rotate the stick, you get something closer to a diamond on the calibration screen as any Saitek X-52 owner can tell you.
Once you have upgraded the magnets if you just barely shake the stick you can see the crosshair move just as slightly as the shake you gave it along with being able to reach the corners of the same calibration screen, much more range of movement and much more fluid.
With the increased sensitivity from the magnets and the increased stiffness from the washer mod you can FINALLY
get the nice smooth precise X-52 experience that should have came from the factory.
Thanks for reading, sorry if its a little long winded! I hope this helps everyone to better enjoy their games played with the X-52