I just purchased a new joystick for use with the flight simulators that I use. It is a Saitek X52 flight system and replaces my Saitek AV8R-01 which developed a faulty toggle switch that prevented me from being able to raise flaps. The new stick is a fancy job with two separate modules wired together. The main stick uses a magnetic hall effect system for detecting and converting stick movements to control movements. I was looking forward to this advance in technology from the very old fashioned potentiometer method. We all know how quickly POTs on radio volumes get dirty and function poorly. Perhaps joystick POTs are not as susceptible because of their frequent exercise which I think should help keep them clean, but the hall effect method of control is advertised as more precise since it is non-mechanical. But after my purchase I learned that poor placement of the magnet components leads to a large dead zone. I also learned that this technology is not new either, having been discovered in 1879 by Edwin Herbert Hall.
I’m not sure if the dead zone is a problem yet. What has been a problem is the action of the stick which immediately became sticky in certain positions. I eventually tried a little bit of silicone spray which made the problem a bit worse. I cleaned the stuff off and I could barely move the stick until I applied several pounds of force to start movement each time the stick movement was stopped. I did more research and saw that someone recommended paint ball gun lubricant, another person recommended molybdenum disulfide lubricant, and the same person thought that silicone grease would probably work. Well I had some silicone grease that I had purchased as a faucet libricant so I tried it and it helped a lot. I’m still not sure how much of a problem the stickiness is going to be. In general the forces on the stick seem light and to my liking. The problem is making very small movements when it still tends to be a bit sticky.