so today i felt an uncontrollable urge to poke around inside my ch fighterstick. opened it up and examined the mobo. it was a modest sized mobo, 1/2 to 2/3 the size of an arduino, most of the space used up by modular connectors. there are only 3 ics on it, some smd resistors, a single electrolytic capacitor for decoupling no doubt (mrobibly some smd caps as well to filter the high freq stuff), and a 6 mhz oscilator (common speed for usb devices). one chip was a 74HC138, a 3-8 line decoder. this just takes a 3 bit address and this is used to pick which one of a set of 8 pins will be active (active low in this case). these are usually used for selecting one chip from a bank, but in this case looks like its part of the button multiplexor. you need a 5*4 or a 7*3 scan matrix to address all the buttons on the fighter stick, and you save a large number of mcu pins using this ic. i presume you could do it with 6 pins instead of 9 or 10, assuming its wired as a 7*3 matrix.
the second chip was from ti, a tlc1543c. this chip was kind of a surprise to me. it was a 10 bit adc, with 11 channels and a serial output. again reducing the pin count on the mcu (also eliminating the need for an mcu with its own adc). this chip has more resolution than the config software (and the joystick calibration dialog) reports, and i suspect the mcu is scaling the value to 8-bit, that or this is done is the drivers. the header connecting to the axes had way more connections than it needed. i would assume that this is the standard mobo used by ch, if i took apart something, say the throttle, id bet id find the exact same mobo.
i didnt id the mcu being used. it was a chip in a 14 pin dip socket, and a label covered up the markings. this was probibly a firmware identifier. the chip is probibly from pic or ti, avrs seldom come in this package (tiny84 is about it), and not with hardware usb. id love to download and disassemble the firmware (thus allowing me to hack other sticks, or the drivers to let me configure 3rd party sticks), but these chips usually come with protection fuses that prevent that from happening. this chip, being the only one in a socket (the other 2 chips are surface mount), leads me to believe that they use a different firmware for each stick. should point out that the chips are pocket change and the headers on the mobo probibly cost more than they do, and aside from any claims to ip this board probibly cost less than $20 to make (thats what i could make it for, not counting the savings of mass production).
despite the overall quality of the stick in general. why were these things so ****ing expensive? i mean the whole stick is injection molded plastic. the hats and buttons, all off the shell stuff. why the **** are joysticks so ****ing expensive! this stick was $150 when i bought it 3 or 4 years ago. i mean the technology hasn't changed in decades. i can understand why the warthog costs so much, milsepc switches and metal construction, hall sensors up the wazoo and large cuircuit boards. but the ch sticks, as good as they are, are somewhat overpriced for the technology contained within.