Disaster strikes

I was planning on settling down to a good bit of simming over the long weekend – it’s a bank holiday in the UK on Monday – and to that end, I’d decided to try out the Mimo mini-touchscreen USB monitors I bought a couple of years back for The Project. At that point, the Display Link drivers didn’t play nicely with FSX, but I’d heard that the latest ones had proper DirectX support and so should do.

UPDATE: I’ve ordered replacements for everything. The Saitek Multi panel is just not available in the UK short of usury, but it turns out I can order it from Amazon US and go for expedited shipping which should have it here as soon as the stuff coming from Amazon UK – provided customs don’t get in the way. And cheaper than buying locally. Fingers crossed.

My sim rig is currently in the back bedroom, shoved into the corner because of work being done in the room it usually occupies, so no room to put up the projector; but I would be able to use a large monitor + the two Mimos.

However, I’d run out of USB ports on my PC, and so I dug out the USB hub I’d bought originally for The Project back in, I think, 2009. Connected up a bunch of stuff and plugged in the hub – it’s a powered hub – and I heard a ‘pop’ and smelled that lovely burning smell you associate with shorted-out electronics. Oops. Turns out five years old is just too old.

Long story short, the hub – which should be protected against this, but clearly wasn’t – shorted out, and sent way too many volts to all the devices connected to it at that point. Which included my Saitek Yoke, my Saitek panels – all three of them – and my throttle quadrant. Now all of those devices are dead as a dodo, since the over-voltage fried their electronics.

To say I’m gutted would be an understatement. In hindsight, it looks like I may have used the wrong power adapter for the hub. When you have as many as I do, it’s easy to get mixed-up.

An ignominious end for some useful kit. Especially galling because I only bought most of it recently, specifically for the desktop sim, and since there’s no way I can claim it’s faulty, I’ll have to replace it myself at my own cost. Worse, the Saitek Multi-Panel now appears to be out of stock completely in the UK, apart from a couple of places that have literally doubled the price overnight. It is by far the most useful of the panels. Hopefully there will be new stock soon, because I’m not paying north of £200 for something that was less than £100 a couple of weeks ago.

Worst of all, perhaps, is that I now won’t get any simming done at all. Unless I want to go back to keyboard + joystick, which I don’t.

I can, in theory, try to resurrect the yoke and quadrant. After all, they are basically a collection of pots and buttons. The switches and pots should still be fine. I have the yoke box from earlier in the project with the boards from two CH yokes in them, and the ability to wire up the axes and buttons. I might try that. It would save buying a whole new yoke and quadrant.

Sigh. Happy bank holiday, everyone 😦