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VirPil hat switch triggers wrong buttons (or VirPil hat switch design limitations)


kingtintony
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Hi all

 

I trawled through as much info as I could find on the CM3 throttle, WarBRD base and Alpha grip before taking the plunge. Now that I have had them for a week, I have discovered that something mentioned, but glossed over, in reviews is actually a design decision on VirPil's part.  Here's an excerpt from their "VPC Software - Technical Overview" PDF:

 

image.png

 

My translation:

 

All VirPil hat switches use an ALPS module. It has 5 physical switches - left, right, up, down, and depress. The depress switch is activated whenever any switch is activated. There are two modes - 5-way (up, down, left, right, depress), and 9-way (up-left, up, up-right, right, right-down, down, down-left, left, depress). The software decodes the button press that you want by detecting which switches are activated. If it is the just the depress switch, the depress button has been pressed. If it is the depress switch and the left switch, then the left button has been pressed. If it is the left switch and the up switch and the depress switch, then you want the up-left button.

 

I have no use for 9-way hat switches, so I have set all of my hats as 5-way hats.

 

Here's the flaw:

 

Some hat switches have a bit of travel in them, like the one under my thumb on the throttle. If I press the left button, the depress switch and the left switch are activated and DCS is told that I have pressed the left button. However, when I let it go, the left switch is deactivated before the depress switch is deactivated. DCS sees - left button and then depress button.

 

Having been a CH Products user for the last 18 months, the switch to VirPil hats is disappointing. The hats are not gated, which means that I activate the incorrect button sometimes. This is exacerbated by the arc of the throttle arm - the angular direction that you move the switch in changes with the position of the throttle.

 

The only things I can do to mitigate the issues are to not bind the depress buttons of the hats with excess travel and to practice being more precise with my thumb when the throttle is in different positions.

 

Thought this might help some users understand why they are not always getting the button presses that they want.

 

Happy travels. 😄

 

 


Edited by kingtintony
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I agree with this--I haven't put a lot of thought into it yet, but I'd like to come up with something tactile I can add to them so that I can more easily differentiate them.

 

I also agree with the OP that when I'm in the idle position, because of the arc of the throttle arm, it is more difficult to activate the switches.  Maybe that is a bit trivial, but I do notice it.

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  • 1 month later...

I think I have the same problem, or at least a similar one.  I bought the Virpil Collective Plus and the Constellation Alpha Grip Left a few weeks ago.  The collective has three, four ways hats.  If I now press hats in any direction with the three four ways, the Virpil software always recognizes that the push down button is also pressed, which means that the hats cannot be assigned in DCS, since DCS then only ever push down  Button recognizes.  I have now temporarily helped myself by deactivating the push down button in the Virpil software.  Since this is not a permanent solution for me, I have now opened a ticket at Virpil, let's see what they say about it.  I couldn't think of any other solution, tried everything possible in the software.  In the Windows game controller settings it is also recognized that both buttons are pressed.  I would be grateful for any solution.

 

Edit: Ok, I have the solution. You have to set or configure the whole thing in the Virpil software. First you choose the Pro mode. There is now the ALPS Decoding field. Simply select 4W in the first two fields and select 8 and 14 as centers, at least that's how it is for me. Of course, you have to find out for yourself which number center is for your hats. And then the number for each direction, so a total of four directions. You can also assign your hats as 8W, then simply select 8W. Physically, two buttons are still recognized, but in Windows and in the game only one key is recognized when pressing in one of the respective directions.


Edited by Joker84
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Moduls:

KA-50; UH-1H; SA342 Gazelle; Mi-8; AV-8B; F/A-18C

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2 hours ago, Joker84 said:

I think I have the same problem, or at least a similar one.  I bought the Virpil Collective Plus and the Constellation Alpha Grip Left a few weeks ago.  The collective has two, four ways hats.  If I now press hats in any direction with the two four ways, the Virpil software always recognizes that the push down button is also pressed, which means that the hats cannot be assigned in DCS, since DCS then only ever push down  Button recognizes.  I have now temporarily helped myself by deactivating the push down button in the Virpil software.  Since this is not a permanent solution for me, I have now opened a ticket at Virpil, let's see what they say about it.  I couldn't think of any other solution, tried everything possible in the software.  In the Windows game controller settings it is also recognized that both buttons are pressed.  I would be grateful for any solution.

 

Edit: Ok, I have the solution. You have to set or configure the whole thing in the Virpil software. First you choose the Pro mode. There is now the ALPS Decoding field. Simply select 4W in the first two fields and select 8 and 14 as centers, at least that's how it is for me. Of course, you have to find out for yourself which number center is for your hats. And then the number for each direction, so a total of four directions. You can also assign your hats as 8W, then simply select 8W. Physically, two buttons are still recognized, but in Windows and in the game only one key is recognized when pressing in one of the respective directions.

 

 

thanks for that write-up. to get a better understanding: have you tried going the directx only path without even bothering using the virpil software? thanks

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No problem!

 

No I haven't tried that because Virpil expressly writes that we should only use their software for it, I stuck to that. Should also work with their software, they built it.

However, I also opened a ticket at Virpil, let's see what they say about it. If I know more details, I'll write it here!


Edited by Joker84

Moduls:

KA-50; UH-1H; SA342 Gazelle; Mi-8; AV-8B; F/A-18C

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43 minutes ago, Joker84 said:

No problem!

 

No I haven't tried that because Virpil expressly writes that we should only use their software for it, I stuck to that. Should also work with their software, they built it.

However, I also opened a ticket at Virpil, let's see what they say about it. If I know more details, I'll write it here!

 

i see. yeah please do so, thanks 😊 

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