Since it’s my team’s rookie year, we spent most of our season driving with the standard kit joysticks. However, about halfway through our competition, another team loaned us a pair of CH Flightsticks to drive with and…well, let’s just say it was MUCH better! Since our team won the All-Star Rookie award at our regional and we’re now going to nationals, we figured that we should get some better joysticks. (Well, that and the fact that two of ours actually stopped functioning.)
So, considering that we’re having trouble getting some Flightsticks and that we’re short on time, what are some good (and affordable) joysticks? Unfortunately, they can’t be USB ones as we don’t have any way to connect them to the OI.
CH makes similar flightsticks I’ve seen a few teams using that have a hat and a couple buttons like the white joysticks, that don’t appear to suck.
Other than that, I haven’t really found much, try checking yard/garage sales in your area, its starting to become that season again, and you might find someone trying to unload ancient joysticks in with old computer equipment.
Of course, it doesnt really matter, since we’re getting an entirely new control system (likely one that supports USB natively) for 2009.
Our team still uses the older joysticks (black, 2 buttons, don’t know what they’re called). They work a lot better than any of the new ones, it’s a shame you can’t get them anymore (especially since we’re down to the last 3 of them) :o
Logitech Dual Action Gamepad
Logitech Cordless RumblePad 2
Logitech Attack 3 Joystick
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick
Logitech NASCAR Racing Wheel
Microsoft XBox Controller
Microsoft XBox 360 Controller
Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical
Saitek Aviator Joystick
Saitek ST290 Joystick
Saitek ST290 Pro Joystick
Plus I imagine other basic USB controllers (please, don’t quote me on this. I’m just saying, if you decide to go this route, try plugging in some controllers you have before you shell out more cash for new ones.)
Don’t invest too heavily though. Who knows what kind of control system we will see next year (I’m hoping for mind control support.)
if your using a basic tank drive setup for your robot then you can follow all the advice above but instead of buying two crickets and two sticks cut the cost in half by buying one cricket and a Xbox360 controller. they work well out of the box, support two analog sticks and handle alot better than two larger joysticks. and if your driver has any Xbox experience it a no-brainier.
since the 15 pin Gameport is up in the air for 2009 investing in multiple crickets might not so be wise.
the cricket only requires a few minutes of electrical work such as cutting wires and stripping them to interface with a backup battery or another battery of your choice. a small brick of 6 AA batteries is a great bet to as they don’t require any special chargers. with a single controller and a single cricket battery life goes from 7-8 hours but id only guarantee 6 as in testing the controller was never actively used.
Beware of traditional xbox controllers. Of the two that I tested, both analog sticks were very wacky and inaccurate, and almost never returned to the same value when centered. I can’t say about 360 controllers, as I have not tested one.
I was actually talking with a friend about this, and does anyone know if a 360 Guitar Hero Controller works with the USB chicklet? We were thinking that it would because it plugs in like a normal 360 controller.
We were actually considering using an Xbox controller at the beginning of the season, but by the time we realized we needed the Chiclet it was out of stock. And at this point, we don’t really have the funds to buy it.
Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I think my team has found what we need.
From what we have found, the easiest way to make the standard joysticks better is to unscrew the upper plastic part, then remove it and replace it with either a piece of plasic, or even just a screwdriver. This removes any of the slop due to the heavy top of the joysticks.
We use CH flightsticks for driving, and the new joysticks for everything else. According to our driver, it’s because the joysticks we receive are both right-handed (left-handed, maybe… I forget), and the CH flightsticks are much better for tank driving (what we use).
Yeah, we found out that using the flightsticks for actual driving and the kit joysticks for everything else works really, really well…but then the team we borrowed the Flightsticks from wanted them back at the end of the competition.
At first the driver had 360 for a while and played it religiously. he brought a controller from home and had centering issues. he still wanted the robot controlled with a xbox360 controller so we bought a new one and the centering issue was not there. seems that the controllers wear out over time and such. but driving a robot for a few minutes at a time doesn’t compare to beating out controllers for months.
the makers of the cricket only support Microsoft made xbox controllers and don’t guarantee any other controller from a 3rd party. im sure some of the 1501 teams this year has tested a guitar hero controller. hopefully they will post.