on July 5, 2011
The warthog is a good product, I would've given it 5 stars, but unfortunately for Thrustmaster, as with its past Cougar debacle, missed a QC issue. Many users, including me, have noticed that the stick has a 'stiction' issue - that is, if you hold the stick at a position, then try to make a slow and fine adjustment, inevitablely you make too much correction due to bumps.
The static friction is much greater than dynamic friction so when making precision work such as gunnery and formation flying, it's rather frustrating. My first unit (which died but was replaced) was smooth at first, but after one month of use, the stiction came about. The replacement unit had stiction from start. Some users have reported that they do not have this issue, while other do. [...]
The joystick sensor is very accurate, but it's rendered entirely moot if mechanical accuracy is not there.
The solution is to take the joystick base apart and replace the existing grease with a better plastic safe grease. It's not hard but soldering is most likely required as breaking wire is almost certain if you don't know what you are doing. I've replaced the grease with Molykote EM-30L as suggested in the forum and now the stick is buttery smooth.
Of course, the Warthog is otherwise very awesome to behold and stiction is not as apparent unless you are doing precision flying. The construction is solid, I just wished that Thrustmaster had opted for a better grease. Had I known this problem and didn't know how to fix it, I would not have paid the $500 - I'd expect better.
on June 15, 2013
It's probably the best you can get in the consumer price range. It looks like the real thing mostly but underneath the surface it's NOT like a real flight controller. (considering that the real controllers put together cost about $40,000 what can you expect right?)
Basically the throttle has circuit boards which are soldered directly to the large switches and the switches then stay in place mostly due to that. Which means the switches are not easily replaceable like in the real thing. Further to that the throttle is really 90% plastic not metal. The HATs and Slew Control are internally just plastic pieces of junk, held in place with screws and hot glue. Heavy iron plates are added to the throttle and stick bases to make them feel better and stay in place. Accidental pressure (drop etc) to throttle levers could EASILY break the lever of, it's not aluminum etc. The stick is made of heavy cast iron which makes you wonder, aluminum would certainly be nicer but more expensive.
In any case, the stick I got had an issue with 11 functions not working on the right throttle lever intermittently. It turned out that the circuit board in the right throttle had some left over solder squashed between the circuit board and connector socket leading down to the base, and it would intermittently short the board. This took a long time to diagnose!
Additionally there was a rice sized bead of solder left loose and rattling around in the base of the throttle, which if left unattended would have shorted something eventually and possibly caused real damage.
So clearly the Chinese assembly line is working too quickly and/or in "dirty" (messy) conditions.
Other than that, the circuit is designed pretty well in that shorting most connector traces will NOT damage the stick. So if your wires break apart and short, you should still be able to repair the stick/throttle without replacing circuit boards.
The Slew Control is overly sensitive and not gradual enough. Very difficult to set up in any flight sim to achieve actual analog mouse like control. But digital like HAT performance is achievable.
Stiction is indeed a problem as mentioned in the other reviews. Where the stick/throttle has initial resistance to overcome which then drops off immediately.
Honestly I wouldn't swap it for any other consumer stick, but for the price you are getting a VW when you should be getting a BMW or Porsche. Mostly due to it being assembled in China. That's a ripoff IMO.
The TARGET programming software is BRILLIANT. It can be pretty simple when using the GUI version, or very complex when using the script version which offer C like operands and even stuff like bit shifting. It is really incredible what you can achieve there, writing functions, re-mapping axis on the fly, etc etc. Your imagination and time constraint is the biggest limit to what can be done in the software. Note that setting up a nice scripted profile for something like DCS KA50 can take you easily up to 10 hours if you want advanced stuff catered directly to you.
The CMS HAT switch and MIC HAT switch are not quite up to standard. It is very easy to press the wrong action especially if you are trying to depress them inwards. Just cheap stuff.
All the axis utilize hall effect sensors rather than potentiometers, which should help with service life quite a lot. So the thing I would be most worried about AFTER you get your initial issues resolved if any are the HAT switches, physical throttle levers, and lastly other switches.
I recommend the stick, but be prepared for an initial service of 2h+ or RMA if you aren't one of the lucky ones. I personally believe it should cost $220 if made in China in this manner. Shame as the software is really state of the art and the design is better than usual.
After 11 months of use about 2 times a week the throttle stopped being recognized in most USB ports. This is a common fault it seems with the Warthog Throttles. I had Firmware 20 all along so it's not that. Basically the EEPROM on the throttle has wiped itself clean and no amount of playing with the TM diagnostic tools will restore it. So off to warranty support to get the Throttle or main board replaced.
Spent 1h on the phone to TM support yesterday and NEVER got a person to pick up the call until it was 2000h EST and closing time! I've never had to wait that long for support :)
Considering the DOA and the throttle firmware failures, I no longer recommend this as a purchase. Because when your 2 year warranty runs out, you've likely paid ~$450 for just a Stick as the throttle is going to poop itself any time.
After several email exchanges with TM support to ID the issue, TM agreed to send me the throttle PCB so that I could replace it. It arrived a few weeks later (~2 weeks) in the mail free of charge. Installed, runs perfectly again. (there are no instructions)
So if you need TM support, just e-mail them, calling gives poor results in Canada anyway.
on December 19, 2010
I received this kit from a contest about a month ago and it has performed flawlessly during that time with well over 20 hours of game time using it.
I wrote a review for my former TM Cougar HOTAS (http://www.amazon.com/review/R329NM8PE25CQJ/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm) and while I owned that particular piece of gear I thought it was the best that I had owned at the time...this piece of equipment simply blows all others I have owned out of the water. I have owned gear from CH, Saitek, Logitech, Gravis, Suncom (now out of business) and each time I continue to come back to Thrustmaster gear.
This Warthog has a superior feel to it with the ball joint on the stick portion and the split throttles allow some great customization of the controls and how you can work a single or multiple engine aircraft in games. The one problem I have is with the programming software and trying to understand it out of the box...well you have to download it directly from Thrustmaster but you should know that going into the purchase.
For connectivity I have tried this hardware on operating systems from Windows XP up to Windows 7 64bit and it is recognized immediately and operates as advertised by the manufacturer. I feel that I must let you know that there are some people reporting loss of the throttle response randomly and as a result the manufacturer has released an updated firmware that is reportedly fixing many of the "bricked/dead" throttle units. However a few are having to be sent back to the manufacturer and replaced with new parts to take care of the problem. [...]
If you want to spend the money then you will not be disappointed. Again this is the best flight simulation gaming gear that I have had the opportunity to use in my 20+ years of playing flight simulation games. [...]
on May 2, 2012
I have been a fairly serious flight simmer, (and real life fixed wing/helicopter pilot) for well over 10 years, mostly with the Microsoft Flight Simulator products but also with Longbow 2, EE-CH, X-Plane, and more recently, DCS Black Shark. (Not to date myself, but my military flight simming goes back to Falcon 3... oops I think I just dated myself.) I have a number of flight sim hardware add-ons, including CH Products, GoFlight, and Precision Flight Controls gizmos.
A while back DCS's A-10 Warthog product was discounted on Steam for $20 so I bought it on a whim, but it took a couple months for me to actually run it. Not too many days later, I decided I had to have the TM Warthog HOTAS since the A-10 is so HOTAS-centric. Initially I thought I would be dedicating the TM HOTAS to that sim and leave my all-CH Products stick and throttle for FSX/etc, but after a week or so of using the Warthog setup I decommissioned the CH stuff (which has been rock-solid for many years) and reconfigured FSX for the TM setup (keeping the CH Pro Pedals of course).
I've had this setup for about two months, and I can only say that my CH stick and throttle are staying in storage. The 'Hog's joystick feel and movement resistance feel real to me (not that I've ever piloted an A-10 of course), and the throttle's feel is... I was going to say "sensual" but that's a bit over the top so I'll just say "feels right".
The "TARGET" keystroke/axis programming software has a fairly steep learning curve, but I've managed to learn it enough to be able to control the TM throttle quadrant's backlighting, as well as the 5 assignable LEDs to show the DCS A-10's flap and spoiler position. I have also integrated the HOTAS into FSX for aircraft such as the Wilco BA-609 TiltRotor, leveraging the FSX add-on "FSUIPC" to customize the HOTAS to "fit" the BA's special control requirements.
The one downside, at least for me (other than the price!), is that the TARGET software merges the stick and throttle into a single DirectX controller, meaning that due to DirectX's 32-buttton limitation, you have to resort to keystroke assignments for some of the switchology of the HOTAS since it has far more than 32 different switch positions. I hope that TM will enhance TARGET to treat the stick and throttle as two seperate DX controllers, so that keystroke assignment is not necessary.
Summary: Can I justify spending over $400 on a HOTAS setup? Not really. Am I satistfied with the purchase? Heck yeah. TM got it right this time (unlike their previous Cougar HOTAS, which I bought and then sold shortly thereafter due to various issues with that product). If you're a serious flight simmer, and especially if you're wanting to fly the DCS Warthog the way it was meant to be flown/controlled, you kinda sorta but really need the TM Warthog HOTAS 8^) .
on February 17, 2011
I've been a flight simmer for several years and have owned several HOTAS and joysticks to include, Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback 1&2, Saitek X-45,X-52 and X-52 Pro. I currently own a Thrustmaster Warthog and must say even though its expensive, its well worth the money. This is without a doubt the best HOTAS I've owned. The only CON is there's no adjustment to turn off or adjust the brightness of the LED lights, however, Thrustmaster indicates this option will be forthcoming in a future release of the software which is still in development.
on April 3, 2012
Five star feel and function, one star reliability.
Great joystick and throttle, when it works.
I have just returned my HOTAS Warthog Joystick for repairs for the SECOND time.
- There is some sort of short causing all the joystick buttons to cycle on and off. First failure after 10 months, second less than three months later.
My Warthog Throttle has been returned for repair ONCE.
- EAC switch "ARM" back-light failed after two days)
Tech support is painful and slow. Once you finally get an RMA, it takes several weeks to get your joystick back. They will refund your shipping, but it takes months.
When it's working, the Warthog is great (a nice improvement over the HOTAS Cougar).
The feel of the joystick, throttle, and switches is solid and very much like an actual aircraft. (20 years as a Navy pilot)
Joystick is MUCH smoother than the old HOTAS Cougar.
Right Throttle lever has a little bit of play left/right, but is otherwise OK.
I have been using Thrustmaster products for over 15 years. F-16 FCLS and TQS, F-22 Pro, Rudder Control System, MFDs, and HOTAS Cougar.
Previously, the only real problem I had was a broken spring on the Rudder (after 15 years of use) and the Cougar joystick gimbal was poor out of the box.
I'm really not sure if I would buy a Warthog again. It is FANTASTIC when it works, the best I have ever used, but for $500 it should not break in under a year, and three failures is ridiculous.
Update: Had to return the joystick a THIRD time for an internal short.
The good news is that Thrustmaster replaced it with a new one AT NO CHARGE. No problems with the new one so far.
I've got to give Thrustmaster (Guillemot) credit for working to make things right.
on December 16, 2011
The Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog consists of 2 separate pieces. A Throttle Quadrant and a Joystick. Each piece is adorned with an amazing number of levers, buttons and switches.
Everything I read about this control surface gushed about the Warthog's build quality, heaviness, and overall feel. This is an incredibly SOLID and substantial product. It has far exceeded my expectations, and using FSUIPC (registered version) I was able to completely calibrate the flight axes on both the throttle quadrant and the joystick.
Even though this device is specifically designed as a control surface for the U.S. Airforce's A-10 Warthog, I use it exclusively to fly the very fine PMDG 737NGX (with Service Pack 1b) within Microsoft Flight Simulator X Gold Edition (w/ Acceleration Pack). Adding this product to my cockpit made my overall flying experience go up at least 4 notches on the immersion scale!
Throttle Quadrant: Configured mine so than after the throttle is pulled back to the detent (Idle Thrust) position (where it stops moving towards you), one is able to then lift the throttle handle straight up while simultaneously pulling it even further back towards you which will engage the reverse-thrusters.
JOY! Then I programmed the grey slide lever on the right side of the TQ to control 9 positions of flaps (0=FLAPS OFF then settings ranging from 1 degree to 40 degrees flaps). When I push the slide lever all the way forward I am able to completely remove flaps (after landing) which is simple and very fast. It's also nice to instantly switch off the landing lights and turn on the taxi/runway turnoff lights all with just 2 toggle switch throws on the throttle quadrant portion of the Warthog instead of motoring around inside the Virtual Cockpit looking for the toggle switches on your PC screen. Note: This functionality requires free add-on software see next paragraph.
I was using FSUIPC to assign the Warthog switches and buttons within FSX, but then discovered a software utility called "LINDA" which is available free of charge on Avsim's website- and I've been quite busy doing that. "LINDA" is a Graphical User Interface that allows you to custom-program complex aircraft within Microsoft Flight Sim X and assign buttons as you wish. In my case, I have the Throttle portion of the HOTAS WARTHOG configured to do cool things like turn on the Landing Lights, turn on the Taxi Lights and the Runway Turnoff Lights, set flaps from 0 to 40 degrees, set and release the parking brake, turn up all the lights on all the aircraft control panels, set the speedbrake, engage the reverse thrusters, lower and raise the landing gear, engage the localizer (APP), release Auto Pilot, and so much more. I even have separate toggle switches to shut down the engine 1 and 2. Because LINDA allows 1 set of commands for 'normal' Throttle piece and 'normal' joystick, it also allows you to configure a "SHIFT" button so in effect all your pushbuttons and toggle switches are 'doubled'. Amazing! You still will need to set the AXES (the plural form of "AXIS") within FSUIPC. Linda will handle everything else. With Linda assigning custom actions for each of the buttons and toggles on the Warthog is MUCH easier, because when you touch a button on the controller, LINDA jumps to that control on screen and you choose what action you want to assign when the button is PUSHED (one action) RELEASED (a seperate event for the same button) or HELD. So you have 3 functions possible. Same thing with a Toggle Switch. One action you can assign when the toggle is lifted and another when it is flipped back the other way. One of my toggle switches "Toggles" the HUD (Heads-Up Display) on the PMDG 737 NGX. Again, that is incredibly HANDY to have things happen on your PC simultaneously with your actions on the Warthog's control surfaces.
The joystick is so smooth and solid (it's heavy!) you'll feel as if you're flying a real jet, something I never felt when I used my old all-plastic T.Flight Hotas joystick/throttle (also by Thrustmaster). The difference between this beast and all other joysticks? About like comparing a Ferrari to a Yugo. Sheer curb weight - the 'metal content' - the lighted graphics on the TQ panel - the programmable LED's - Wow.
You will spend hours deciding how to set this up for aircraft OTHER than the A10 (it's designed to self-configure for the A10 plane), but once you experience how the plane flies with this control surface, your smile will light up the room, and your (existing) joystick will be relegated to the dust bin.
Generally I don't go crazy recommending a product, and for what this costs, you may hesitate (as I did). Once you get the feel of the Hall Effect sensors and the magnetic insides of this beast, you will feel completely justified in your purchase decision. Everyone I spoke with online said the same thing: Buy it, you'll never regret it. I second that emotion!
on August 10, 2011
The HOTAS is plain awesome when it works. The programming software takes some time to learn, but once you get it going, it's the best there is out there. However, since owning this thing for 6 months or so. I am on my second RMA. Shortly after I purchased this HOTAS, the firmware fried the unit, it would not respond, had to send it back for repairs to Canada which is not cheap from my state. Problem number two just occurred with one of the throttle buttons going out. Support wants me to RMA it again. Once again, not cheap to send this back for repairs. Thrustmaster is willing to fix the product but the RMA process is about a 4 week turn around and it is expensive to the end user considering I paid $500 for the best system out on the market but seems to have some quality issues. Needless to say I am frustrated with TM.
You should also know TM is willing to refund shipping charges, but they require your bank account information in an email in order to process the refund. There escalation process is horrible and there support although willing to work with in the their own policy constraints are not very customer centered from what I have seen so far. Again, great HOTAS if it works. Hopefully you don't get stuck with a lemon like I did...
on August 25, 2011
This joystick and throttle combination look great and are sturdy feeling as can be and if that is all that mattered they would have 5 stars, but as is I have had them for a month and a half and I still don't have a working joystick. There technical support is horrible. I have sent in the joystick twice, having it refused on their end once. Their phone support is in france with people who only speak so so english and have no phone manners, they only contact you through email and only respond once every other day or so. I can not recommend a product at this price with customer support this bad, their are many other options out there, take them.
on February 10, 2015
Design and function are amazing. It just feels more solid than any other stick out there.
One downgrade--the stick stopped working after a couple of months. Looks like it might be a hardware issue (0x34100002) judging from forum searches. Will update review if I am able to get it fixed.
EDIT 1: Within 6 hours I was contacted back by tech support--they'll want a picture of the joystick male and female pins, the tag at the end of the USB cable, screenshot of the error, and an invoice. Will update further with my progress. For $500 I expect the problem to be solved in a week tops.
EDIT 2: After reading other reviews about the shoddy crafstmanship internally, I have bumped down one more star. For $500 you'd expect something that isn't going to break in five months. This process to get it fixed/replaced is looking like it is going to be a lot more painful than I had hoped. Of course Amazon's return policy expired only a few days ago.