I previously reviewed the saitek pro flight yoke on this website and although it was not perfect it had enough overall positives to really challenge CH in the consumer flight yoke business.
The saitek offering sold really well and a concerned CH decided to answer the call of their challengers.
Almost a year after the original saitek pro flight was released, back in 2008 the CH Products Eclipse Yoke was released.
For anyone familiar at all with CH products they will recognize immediately how similar the new ch products eclipse yoke looks to CH’s previous flight yoke offering. In fact I am going to say that the ch products eclipse yoke is not so much an evolution but rather a revision of a tried and true performer.
Firstly, for those unfamiliar a flight yoke is geared generally towards those who prefer to fly civilian flight sims. One of the nice things about a yoke is that it is general pretty intuitive, you tug back to raise a plane and push forward to make the plane pitch down. If you fly a plane with your body behind it, it makes sense. As you lean forward and look down or lean back and look up the plane mimics that in real life. Its also very convenient that you can fly with two hands and not only one, ala a joystick. I personally find I have much more control with two hands and I tire out less than behind a joystick.
If you play Microsoft Flight simulator than you will have noticed that a lot of the civilian prop and jet planes are actually controlled using a flight yoke and not a joystick. The primary difference is that a flight yoke can be used by both hands simultaneously, even though most single prop planes will be flown one hand style, with the other on the throttle.
The control movement is also different compared to a joystick. The flight yoke pushes in and out and turns left and right just like a car steering wheel. This movement more realistically and accurately captures the type of movements you would make when sitting behind something like a Cessna 172. Of course, by the magic of simulation you can fly the same Cessna 172 using a joystick instead, how the physical coordinated movements will not be anything what you will find behind a real Cessna.
If you value realism, than there is no way you would want to compromise on something as basic as the flight controller.
CH Products Eclipse Yoke Features
- 6 Axis (Analog Potentiometers, 10Bit resolution)
- Aileron (Turning)/Elevator (Pitch)
- 3 Throttle type controllers with different colored handles
- Throttle/Propeller Pitch/Fuel Mixture
- Rudder (Paddles)
- Yoke grip controls (on both left and right grips)
- 8 way POV Hat/Rocker Switch/Red push button
- Yoke central face controls
- 2 x Trim wheels which can be depressed
- 3 x Push buttons (outer 2 are illuminated)
- 3 Position selector switch to change between controller profiles and allows buttons to be assigned multiple different actions
- Other controls
- 2 x Flip switches on the base/3 x Levers/Adjustment wheel for actual yoke adjustments
- To buy the CH Products Pro Pedals,you can find them here at Amazon
- Built using a new and improved industrial grade grade plastic and material components
- Flight yoke uses a *NEW* free floating, non-binding shaft construction. Shaft is less likely to start sticking, allows smooth action through the entire range.
- Thin adjustable clamps that for desks 3/4 to 2-1/4 inch thick. Thin enough to fit between your desk and keyboard drawer.
- Sturdy mounting base with 7 foot USB cable
- Plug and Play driver less USB installation or Use the CH Control Manager to allow customization of the controls.
- Like most CH products, comes with a two year limited warranty
CH Eclipse Yoke Changes
For those looking to upgrade from a previous CH yoke, the newest most visible addition to this yoke is the finger paddles. Which funnily enough, you can actually find the eclipse bundled with rudder pedals and advertised as the CH Racers pack, obviously CH was hoping that the racing sim crowd might latch onto the flight yoke and see the paddles as shift levers or something. Although you could definitely use the yoke in a racing sim, if you own a dedicated racing wheel you wont be throwing away that Logitech G27 racing wheel any time soon. The CH eclipse is first and foremost a flight controller and then a racing wheel for the occasional need for speed driver.
CH Eclipse Yoke Review
Wow, CH have added a lot of buttons to the eclipse. The addition of the new dual hat switches are very convenient and allow you to pan and zoom around your cockpit, however if you have TrackIr than you can free those hat switches for an additional 16 button assignments!
At the time of writing, the CH products eclipse yoke can be had for a very reasonable price, you can also buy it bundled with CH rudder pedals all for around the $300 mark. Keep in mind that on release day the CH products pro pedals came out at $250 for the yoke itself, I think that the passage of time has definitely made purchasing dedicated flight controllers a realistic option.
The basic operation is basically the same as the old yoke. However since the old yoke was prone to sticking, this time around CH have gone with a newer free floating shaft design. It would seem that it was good design choice. 3 years on and there are almost no complaints about sticking from online users on forums or reviews.
During a play through on flight simulator the yoke had a good fluid and precise movement to it. It was a far cry from the old $30 joysticks I had accustomed myself to. The trim wheels were similarly as awesome, however trying to push them down to reset trim functions led to unintentionally movement of the dial. The answer was to push down slightly off center. Some of you may miss electronic trim buttons, however you can always re assign a rocker or hat switch to compensate.
The new CH Products Eclipse Yoke looks much more colorful than its predecessor. However it still keeps a very professional look (if not a bit bland) and makes for a professional home flight simulator look.
The addition of new buttons and flip switches are a welcome addition. You can now control more things on your plane on the yoke itself without having to reach for the keyboard. For example. I set all the flip switches to control the landing gears and flap settings. It is a very natural set up. I reserve the 2 POV Hats for POV and cycling between the different 3D or 2D cockpit views. Remember also that if you also have a trackir 5 it does free both of these 8-way hats for assignment to a different airplane control.
In fact there are more buttons on this yoke than I really know what to do with. A definite plus. If you also add in the 3 color led selector knob, you can now assign 3 times the amount of commands in addition to shift functions. Which in laymans terms means, more assignable controls than you ever need.
Thumb Rudder Paddles
The biggest change of course is the thumb rudder paddles located on the yoke itself. Now CH Products sells this feature as gear shifters for racing games, or rudder control in flight games. It does neither of them very well. It works of course, however I don’t see dedicated racers playing Dirt3 or Forza 3 on a flight yoke any time soon.
For a serious home flight simmer, the thumb paddles do not come off as being very well conceived. It its neither realistic (buy flight pedals) or fully functional as you lose out on being able to control the left and right brakes (differential braking) while taxing your plane.
The rudder paddles require two handed use, if you have a hand on the throttle controller than you will have to shift back to the yoke to control both rudders. Not only is this a little bit unrealistic, but you also lose the option of differential brakes in the process, however for those who are on a tight budget the addition of finger rudders are better than nothing. I actually re-assign the thumb paddles for cockpit zoom using FSUIPC.
The greatest improvement has to be with the new free floating shaft. The older flight sim yoke had a tendency for the shaft to stick, as reported by many online users. The new design is much smoother and solves the old sticktion problems.
Unlike the Saitek Pro Flight yoke, the CH Products Eclipse Yoke does not have a centre detente. Which simply means that you can push the shaft freely without their being a little bump in the motion to indicate centre position. This is a realistic action, on the other hand some fliers may prefer a more solid center feel to assist them with flight.
The springs in the eclipse yoke are strong and give good tension. If you rotate the yoke and let go, it will rotate back to the center perfectly. On the other hand it is worth noting also that if you push or pull on the yoke, than the springs will only return the shaft back to the center very loosely. Add to the fact their is no center indent, this does make the shaft seem a little loose. However, according to CH Products this was a design choice. They deliberately created a little bit of imprecision so that you can apply plane trim without having to use the trim wheels.
From user reviews on the net, the operation of the yoke is as smooth as the old flight yoke. Even though the saitek uses a metal shaft with ball bearings, CH must use some special plastic as the overall feel is comparable if not better than saiteks yoke. The entire yoke mechanism relies on a spring to recenter itself, however unlike the Saitek yoke there is no hard center or detent which allows much more precise smaller movements around the center.
There is so much to say about the CH Products Eclipse Yoke. However personally I think that it is worth a buy over the older CH flight sim yoke, only because the new free floating shaft is a real improvement on feel and durability.
There are enough buttons that you should not have to worry about running out and the thumb paddle is there for rudder if you are just starting out with your home cockpit building.
The 3 levers for thrust,fuel and prop pitch are a good addition and work well. Once again a dedicated throttle quadrant would be a better choice but they are functional and work better than the thumb paddles do for rudder control.
It is the priciest of all the flight yokes you can buy without going up into the serious dedicated $500 and up elite level. The saitek pro flight yoke is a little bit cheaper and even comes with its own separate dedicated throttle levers.
If you already have other CH Products than its a no brainer. A solid piece of equipment. If you do not need all the extra buttons than the older Ch flight sim yoke would be your next option.
- Smooth action, no central notch or detent
- New buttons and controls, addition of integrated push levers completes the package
- Finger rudder paddles, good if you do not have a separate rudder pedal control.
- Trim wheels! If you have never used them you won’t understand the point , once you do have them you will swear never to use another flight controller without them on board.
- No need for additional drivers, true plug and play.
- CH Product. Built to last. (period)
- Short handle throws on the levers and can be hard to reach over the yoke
- No toe breaking function on finger paddles (Assign a yoke grip button instead)
- No force feed back. Not at this price bracket unfortunately.
- Trim wheels can be fiddly to reset.
Check out what other users had to say…
Martin L. Davis II,
I bought and used an earlier version of the CH Yoke (the CH Yoke LE as it was called) a few years ago. The old yoke had only a throttle axis and lacked the new “thumb” rudder axis and front handle buttons. Advertising for the CH Eclipse Yoke claims a better shaft. I don’t notice much difference in shaft friction or smoothness, but I never had problems with the original [...] Read the rest of the review >
William J. Currey,
I received this product from Amazon about a month ago, and it works perfectly for me. It was a choice between CH and Saitek. The two thing that sold me on CH was real trim tab wheels, and no detent in the shaft for elevator control.
I don’t have a Saitek yoke, but have a X-52 joy stick. The quality of the hat switch’s and overall workman ship on the CH unit appears to me better. Also CH seems to support their products better, easier to find and fix something that is solid broken; then an intermittent problem which has been reported for the Saitek yoke. [...] Read the rest of the review >
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