PC Joysticks

The best way to describe a PC joystick is that it takes the physical movement of your hand and translates it into the mathematical language of computers. This actual translation is completely flawless and, therefore, you will not even notice this fantastic form of technology. A PC joystick can allow you to be engaged in a game and interact with the virtual world directly. The simplest design of joystick which was initially used in very early PC and console games can best be described as a specialized electrical switch. The most basic design will consist of a simple stick that is attached to a plastic base and a flexible rubber sheath. Underneath this design will be a circuit board which is made up of printed wires and will typically collected several contact terminals. You will then find that ordinary wires will connect these contact points to your computer.

The printed wires, in turn, will make up a simple electrical circuit that is formed from several smaller circuits. You will actually find that when a joystick is not in use and in the neutral position, all but one of these individual circuits is broken. The circuit as a whole will be unable to conduct electricity as the conductive material that is found in each wire will not connect. As soon as you push the joystick in any particular direction it will push down on a button that contains a metal disc that will usually cover each broken circuit section. This will basically close the circuit and allow for a connection to be made between two separate wire sections. As soon as the circuit is closed, electricity will flow down a wire from your PC, directly through the printed wire and back into another wire that leads to the back of your computer.

Your PC will be aware that it is required to complete a particular circuit whenever you push your joystick in any given direction. Some of the more advanced designs will allow your computer to recognize the diagonal positioning of a joystick, rather than simply forward, back, and side to side. The firing buttons that you will typically find on a PC joystick will work in exactly the same way. As soon as you press a button down, this in turn will complete a circuit which your computer will recognize as a specific fire command.

The best way to describe the communication between a joystick and PC is a type of shorthand. Rather than making gradual and subtle movements, it will process the movement immediately. So your PC will actually be able to distinguish between a slight push or pull on a joystick, and pushing it as far as it will go. This is particularly important for some games as care and gentle precision will be required. An example of this will be Pac Man or Tetris that both require small and gentle movements. With that said, this can limit certain games such as flight simulators.

In the majority of standard joysticks you will find that the handle will actually move a narrow rod that sits in between two rotatable and slotted shafts. As soon as you to move the stick in any direction this will cause one of the axis shafts to move in the same direction. The stick will always return to the neutral position due to the use of springs. The joystick control system will always monitor the position of each shaft which will help you determine the actual location of the stick.

The conventional PC joysticks will use an extremely crude analogue to digital converter. Although this system appears to work, it does have certain limitations. Firstly, the analogue to digital conversion process isn’t exactly accurate and this is mainly due to the system not having a true analogue to digital converter. This, of course, will eventually compromise the sensitivity of a joystick. Secondly, your PC will have to use an extremely high amount of processing power in order to determine the actual position of the stick. Unfortunately, this will reduce the power given to other operations.

However, joystick manufacturers have tried to address these problems in certain ways. One way is to add a sensitive analogue to digital converter chip, which can either be implemented into the joystick or a specialized game adapter card. This will allow the converter to provide digital information to your PC directly. This, of course, will reduce the workload on your PC and should also dramatically improve the accuracy of the stick.

PC joysticks have come a long way since their original inception and can now actually be used not only a PC, but additionally on the majority of game consoles such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation. The price of a PC joystick will vary and this will very much depend on what specific usage you have for it. You can purchase a PC joystick for under $20, whereas certain models will retail at well over $300.

This PC Joysticks Review is Written/Updated on Feb 15th, 2011 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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