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Using a flight controller joystick in liew of game pad controller

Seabotix or VR, taste in controllers are individual off course ( liked the VR control) ergonomic is most important :slight_smile:

I’ve been looking into joystick controls for left and right hands with a bunch of buttons that are accessible with your thumbs. Any thoughts on a kit like this so we have a left and right hand joystick with 3 axis’ on each stick?



For fixed installation systems ie, in the back of a van or in a boat it would for sure be my preferred option. The joystick have to be ergonomically installed on the armrests of a comfy chair. Installing them on the desk in front of you is asking for neck, back and shoulder pain :slight_smile:
The good thing about all the buttons is that hopefully you wont have to use the shift command anymore.
I know I would prefer all movements in the horizontal plane including yaw to be on the right stick, and descend, ascend on the left stick pushing fwd/aft.
Right left on the left stick optional for rotate cw/ccw on a grabber + fire button to close…for instance.
I feel a bit very in my thumbs after 4-5 hours on the gampad- guess I`m too old for gaming. :slight_smile:
Keep us posted on the progression

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@SDI Thanks for the feedback, good to get it from the commercial ROV operators.

This control set-up will be for the inside of a cabin on a 30ft power boat, so I have some room to work with. No chair, but I have a bench and a movable table, so I was thinking of mounting the joysticks to a plastic board and clamping that to the table. Not ideal, but will hopefully provide some stability.

I know, my thumbs get tired after about an hour on the tiny sticks, so hopefully this will help in a semi-permanent installation. I plan on adding two more screens to my set-up too so I can put up a companion computer data screen, a video screen and a map screen.

Looking forward to see the result, keep posting.

Old postings regarding my flights sticks:

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I tried the Thrustmaster joysticks and wasn’t impressed by them. They didn’t seem very rugged. I really think the best option (assuming you’re not happy with the Logitech / X-Box gamepads) is to build your own from industrial components. It’s really not hard to do.

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Thanks for the feedback on the Thrustmaster joysticks, I’ll be discarding that idea. Someone just needs to tell Logitech to make a left handed joystick and we’ll be good.

@kevink - Have you ever tried using one of the industrial joysticks from CH or similar? The “feel” is night and day different from the “gaming” joysticks. The Logitech 3D’s are pretty rugged but the feel isn’t “perfect”. I’ve looked at some of the “HOTAS” joysticks but haven’t found one that would work well with an ROV (not yet at least). Most have a split throttle with no detent. DIY is probably the best solution.

I haven’t tried any of the industrial joysticks yet. I’ve looked around, but it seems like the ones from CH are all right handed only. We kinda need something ambidextrous so we can get two sticks up.

I’ve looked at some of the other Logitech HOTAS sticks as well. Any thoughts as to if we could combine two of say the Logitech X52 sticks and omit the throttles? Each module seems to have a USB connection. Maybe we can plug those in and map the axis’ and buttons.

DIY would be good, but I lack the tools to fabricate something. I’m also trying to put as many buttons close to my thumbs as I can. With a lot of the portable ROV control boxes I’ve seen, you have to move your hand or thumbs off the central control stick. The solution I’m looking for keeps maneuvering control at all times.

@kevink - What’s your budget? There are tons of options out there, there are even companies that will build you a custom controller, but it gets pricey.

Personally (for an ROV of this size), I prefer a control box I can rest in my lap. 3 DOF joystick on the right and 1 or 2 DOF joystick on the left. If I were to build an 8 thruster BlueROV2 I’d seriously consider using a space mouse (probably mounted to a box with all the buttons I needed).

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Yeah, and that’s what I’m afraid of. Maybe something like $200 and easily repeatable.

3DOF on the right and 2DOF on the left is pretty much what I had in mind too, unless there is a good reason to have another yaw control on the left. But at that point, we might as well just make them symmetrical anyway.

Have a look at my controller in the build section. I based it on my Mohican controller’s design. It works very well.

Someone posted above that the Logitech Extreme 3D is now plug and play - what joystick actions control ascend and descend?

I’m thinking the ideal option might be to use the 8 way hat switch on top of the stick to control ascend/descend (using forward/back on the hat switch), and throttle (left and right on the hat switch).

yes,I tried the Logitech Extreme 3D,I can use it control the bluerov2,but too difficult,for example I want to come forward,but it always has inclination.
I prefer like this

Do you have a try?

If you plug one of those Logitech Extreme 3D joysticks in what controls do you get straight away and what don’t you get? And what controls ascend/descend?

It is plug and play.

You can assign the controls in QGC. It’s really up to you.

The Throttle at the bottom is what I used for vertical movement. The problem is it is hard to put it back in the center to null out the thrusters when you fly.


Many thanks Etienne. I had a look at one of those joysticks last night at a friends place (he has the Extreme 3D Pro version - not sure of the differences between normal and pro version) - the 8-way hat switch on top of the stick might be an option to control ascend/descend as the switch returns to centre as soon as you take your finger off it.

Not sure which version I have. I think its the pro but QGC does not detect the hat switch unfortunately. I would have used it for camera tilt.

It wouldn’t work for up and down though because you need analog signal for that.