Frequently asked questions on CH Products Retail Simulation Products
What is USB?
USB is a communication protocol used to connect a range of devices to a computer. USB "game controller" joysticks are plug-and-play with most versions of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems. Plug-and-play capabilities should be verified in Windows "Game Controller" utility.
I have one of your 15 pin controllers. Is there an adapter I can use to convert it to USB?
CH Products no longer supports legacy 15 pin controllers nor do we recommend the use of adapters.
Does my Flight Sim Yoke require drivers?
NO. All retail products are driverless USB Plug-and-play devices and do not require device drivers.
What Operating Systems are compatible with my CH Products game controller?
All CH Products USB devices are compatible with all Windows Operating Systems including Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as MAC OSX 8.6 and above.
Why is my throttle and rudder automatically increasing / decreasing?
If you are using the Throttle Quadrant or Pro Throttle with any CH yokes or joysticks, you will need to disable all throttle assignments on the yoke or joystick inside your Flight Simulator.
If you are using the Eclipse Yoke and Pro Pedals together, you will need to disable the Rudder, or Z Axis on the Eclipse Yoke inside your Flight Simulator.
Why is my device not showing up in my game?
All devices must be plugged in and recognized in Windows before opening up your Flight Simulation program.
Why does my MFP's have a white logo and my keys are in green? Will they work together?
All Multi Function Panels (MFP) and key sets purchased after November 2010, are not compatible with earlier versions. Versions are color coded for you convenience, and cannot be mixed. Earlier models have a white CH logo on the panel and are compatible with key sets with white numbering. Newer models have a green CH logo on the panel, and are compatible with key sets with green numbering. This is not a feature upgrade but a firmware change only. If you received incompatible versions, please return to the original point of purchase, or contact the factory.
What is Control Manager software and where can I find the latest version?
Control Manager is optional programming software and intended for advanced users who want to program their buttons to function beyond the standard default settings in your game. This software is compatible with Windows operating systems only and are NOT DEVICE DRIVERS. The latest version of Control Manager programming software for the retail product line can be found under each specific retail product. You can also find the download under our "Download and Community" page located HERE.
** NOTE: The Multi Function Panal (MFP) is the only product that REQUIRES the installation of Control Manager prior to plugging the device in. Please refer to the MFP Quickstart for more information **
I consider myself an "advanced user", but Control Manager is still a little confusing. Is there a tutorial that will help answer some basic questions?
Absolutely! In addition to the fantastic people on the CH-Hangar forum dedicated to CH Products, you can also find the "Control Manager Dummies Guide" that should help you get started!
What are the 3 LEDs on the front of my devices for?
The red, green and yellow LEDs on the Eclipse Yoke, Pro Throttle, and Fighterstick are modes that support up to 3 sets of button assignments programmed within the Control Manager software,
Can I customize my controller in my Flight Simulator without installing Control Manager?
All of the buttons on the CH devices can be fully customized through the support of the Flight Simulator. Some buttons are already assigned by default, but you may change the default setting by going into your Flight Sim's main menu > settings > controls or assignments.
Where can I find documentation on what each button does on my controller?
Sample default buttons assignments can be found under our "Download and Community" page located HERE.
Where can I find wiring diagrams for my legacy CH Products controller?
Wiring diagrams for most of our game controller can be found on the CH Products public FTP folder at: ftp://ftp.chproducts.com/pub/Postings/Wiring/
I love all my CH Products gear and just want to chat with others who do, too! Where can I go to share information, files, game strategies, or just hang out with other cool people like myself?
The CH-Hanger is just the place for you. Hurry over... they're waiting for you now!! www.ch-hangar.com/
Where can I purchase more of these fantastic game controllers?
You can find a list of U.S. and Canadian Retailers and International Retailers under our Sales Network page. Amazon.com also carries our full product line at unbeatable prices!!!
CH Products Eclipse Yoke
Microsoft Flight Simulator is in mothballs, and, like many relics of aviation basking in desert sun, it may never fly again. The demise of Flight Simulator hasn't stopped enthusiasts and makers of add-ons and accessories from developing and releasing new products, however.
CH Products was one of the first companies to offer joysticks, yokes, rudder pedals, throttle quadrants, and other accessories for PC-based civilian and military flight simulations. It announced the latest in its line of flight yokes, the CH Eclipse Yoke (SRP $174.95), in the fall of 2008. It's a step up from the venerable Flight Sim Yoke (SRP $129.95), offering several new features and controls that compete with the Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System (reviewed here at BruceAir.com).
The all-in-one Eclipse Yoke shows its CH Products pedigree and is a solution for folks who don't want or need separate throttles, rudder pedals, and consoles for switches and knobs. Like the Flight Sim Yoke, it includes built-in power controls, which can be configured as throttle, propeller, and mixture levers or as two power levers, plus, for example, a spoiler control.
The Eclipse, however, adds several controls to the basic set offered on the Flight Sim Yoke—most prominately, paddles on either side of the hub. By default, the paddles are rudder "pedals" in Flight Simulator (they could be gear shifts for a driving simulation).
The yoke's hub includes several other buttons, knobs, and dials:
- Programmable trim/scroll wheels with center-push function
- Two backlit square push buttons and a third round push button
- A three-color LED selector dial that multiplies the functions (up to 240 commands/functions) you can program with the CH Control Manager software (a free download from CH Products)
Each arm of the yoke includes an eight-way hat switch and rocker switch (the Flight Sim Yoke has only one hat switch).
Overall, the Eclipse offers six analog, 10-bit axes for aileron, elevator, throttle, propeller RPM, mixture, and rudder controls.
Testing the Eclipse
Courtesy of CH Products, I've tested the Eclipse with Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Windows Vista.
Like its predecessor from CH Products, the Eclipse is made of heavy black plastic. It feels a bit stouter than the Flight Sim Yoke, although the design is sleeker—perhaps another nod to the competition from Saitek. The levers and other controls have positive, smooth actions. The new paddles are easy to reach and move.
The Eclipse attaches to the edge of a desk or table with two clamps that can handle thicknesses from 3/4 to 2-1/4 in.
I found the attaching mechanism a bit fussy compared to the single, beefy clamp that secures the Saitek yoke, but the Eclipse system holds the control securely without getting in the way, and that's the goal.
Setup is simple: plug the USB connector into your computer, and the device driver installs automatically. You don't need to run an installation program. Since all essential controls are on the Eclipse, you need only one open USB slot, and there's no tangle of cables to contend with.
Flight Simulator X recognized the yoke immediately, and with the Settings command in Flight Simulator, I was able quickly to configure the yoke buttons and throttle quadrant levers for the stock Baron BE58. (For more information about customizing control settings in Flight Simulator, see Using a Joystick in the Flight Simulator X Learning Center.)
Like the Flight Sim Yoke, the Eclipse uses a plastic shaft and centering spring. The elevator and aileron "feel" is comparable to that of the Flight Sim Yoke and the Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System (which touts a metal shaft connecting the yoke to the housing). In other words, the action isn't as smooth and precise as it could be. But as I've often noted before, the next step up in controls for PC-based simulations costs at least $500, and even those controls don't precisely emulate real airplane controls.
Still, the Eclipse provides a serviceable control feel, and after a few virtual flights, you’ll fine-tune your inputs to hand-fly effectively, just as you adjust to the differences in control responses among real airplanes.
The Eclipse certainly meets the FAA specification for flight training devices, which, for example, requires that “Levels 2 and 5 need control forces and control travel only of sufficient precision to manually fly an instrument approach.”
For more information about the requirements that the FAA has established for Flight Training Devices (FTDs), see Fight Simulator in Aviation Training here at BruceAir, especially The Flight Model Myth.
The Eclipse offers a significant advantage over its rivals. It consolidates all controls, including power and rudder mechanisms, in one unit. If you value being able quickly and easily to convert your PC from workstation to flight trainer, the Eclipse's simplicity and space-saving are plusses.
You of course give up the larger power levers available as an accessory with the Saitek system. Those separate throttles feature realistic, long control throws and detents. But CH Products also offers a separate throttle quadrant that has six levers (double the three controls on the Saitek system).
Configuration and Customization
To use all of the buttons and switches on the Eclipse with Flight Simulator, you must spend a few minutes changing and adding control assignments with the Settings command (see Using a Joystick in the Flight Simulator Learning Center). This process is a straightforward select-and-click operation that lets you specify which buttons, dials, switches, and levers on the Eclipse control such functions as nose-up and nose-down trim, operation of the landing gear and flaps, and so forth.
To take full advantage of all the controls on the Eclipse, you need the CH Control Manager software. CH Products wisely doesn't include a software CD with the yoke; you can get the latest version of the software as a free download from the company's website.
I've never bothered to dream up and then create some 200 control assignments for Flight Simulator. I'd never remember them all anyway, and in most situations, I prefer to use a mouse to operate cockpit controls in Flight Simulator. Doing so replicates reaching for landing gear and flap levers, avionics knobs, and light switches in a real cockpit. But if (like the FAA) you insist on physical controls, CH Control Manager lets you make the Eclipse as complicated as a church organ.
The Eclipse is a welcome addition to the world of virtual cockpits. It adds several new features, including an innovative solution to the "rudder problem."
Most importantly, the Eclipse gives the typical virtual aviator a compact, easy-to-use, option at a reasonable price. If you insist that a complete Flight Simulator "fort" is essential to deliver a realistic experience—for training or entertainment—like its rivals, the Eclipse alone won't suffice. But for most of us, the Eclipse more than meets the requirement for a set of controls that makes Flight Simulator a practical alternative to flying a real airplane.