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I own a Logitech 3D Extreme Pro flight stick and the Z axis is all kinds of jumpy meaning I have to set a really large dead zone on my rudder axis to make it usable. I originally intended to simply replace the potentiometer (pot) with a new one, (ideally of better quality). That’s when I came upon this article on Instructables that provides a detailed writeup on how to replace all of the potentiometers in this model of flight stick with Hall Effect sensors which will never wear out.
I’ve already successfully done a mod very similar to this one on my Fanatec CSL Pedal set which you get read about at the link. This shouldn’t be much different, but rest assured I’ll provide a detailed write up when I’m done.
What’s wearing out?
You see in a potentiometer there is a conductive track and a wiper that runs along it that changes the amount of resistance which is how the computer knows how far you have moved the stick. This is also why another name for a potentiometer is a variable resistor, or more accurately a potentiometer is one type of variable resistor among many.
The inside of any pot looks like the illustration below:
Over time the resistive material in the track that the wiper rides on gets worn away especially when dirt, dust and or anything else even slightly abrasive gets inside. It’s unavoidable, however more expensive pots last much, much longer than the incredibly inexpensive ones Logitech chose. –Imagine that.–
The upgrade to Hall Effect Sensors
There are two types of hall effect sensor latching and non-latching, the non-latching type are all we are concerned with today. A non-latching hall effect sensor is merely another type of variable resistor which instead of using a conductive strip it uses its proximity to a magnetic field to vary its resistance.
As you can see nothing in physical contact means nothing to wear out over time.
I intend to perform this modification to my own Logitech 3D Extreme Pro flight stick in the very near future. Thankfully only the Z axis on my unit is acting up thus far. I haven’t decided whether to only replace the potentiometer (pots) with a hall effect sensor or to just go ahead and replace them all while I’m in there? I have a couple replacement pots that I’m 90% sure are good.
This post addresses this particular brand of flight stick, but the procedure is going to be largely the same regardless of which make, model, and manufacturer you own. Jump on over to Instructables have a look at the detailed procedure Logitech 3D Extreme Pro Hall Effect Sensor Conversion.
Check out another detailed write up of a hall sensor conversion for sim racing pedals this time.