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I use Thrustmaster’s Rudder Controll System (RCS), bought in the mid nineties. Theese pedals are made from thick aluminum rails, resulting in a sturdy and almost undestructible device. Over the years, the original system went through a couple of modifications.

The first thing to go was the original pot. It became unreliable after less than a year of use – even the Windows calibration screen showed wild spikes when the pedals were moved. As a replacement, I installed a precision pot that worked well for several years.

The pedals as they look today. In the cockpit, they are bolted to the floor to avoid any movement. The far end is slightly tilted up in order to to reduce strain on the pilot’s ancles and to increase cofort during use.

The pedals plug into the Cougar USB joystick (as does the throttle), so the three units are seen as one control device in windows.

The two sliding pots for analogue braking connect to the EPIC card. The lever in the center is part of a Hall sensor installation that replaced the pedal’s pot.

Details of the analogue toe assembly. This was not part of the original RCS. The pedal that needs to be pressed for braking is spring loaded and hinged to the RCS base pedal. The sliding pots are calibrated as L and R brake axis in FS9 or FSIUPC.

The unpainted plywood piece was added later for ergonomic reasons: without it, the pilot had to bend his toes at an unnatural angel to achieve full braking.

For more details on the toe brake, click here.

Another shot of the toe brake. In the lower left corner the Hall sensor’s linkage is visible.

Hall sensors basically have the same function as pots: they electrically measure angels. But a Hall sensor – as opposed to a pot – produces a completely linear and noise-free output signal. The advantage of this for a simulator can not be overstated.

With a Hall sensor, each control movement, no matter how small, is picked up and sent to the simulation program. Even minute corrections produce an immediate result. Since Hall sensors are such a big step towards realism, I now employ them in all control devices (throttle, joystick and rudder pedals).

For more info on Hall sensors, check

The RCS Hall sensor modification comes as a set. It requires almost complete disassembly of the RCS.

The pedal movement is transmitted to the sensor through a 2-piece linkage. It might look complicated, but it works flawlessly. Since there is almost no force required to turn the axis of a Hall sensor, the service life of this setup should be almost unlimited.

Some more Hall Sensor close-up’s.

As always, images are clickable. Larger versions open in a separate browser window.