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Friday, January 9, 2009

Microsoft Sidewinder Joystick -- disable the throttle?

I have an unusual problem, and haven't found a solution.  Here's the situation:

I'm running 32-bit Vista.

I have a Microsoft Sidewinder Joystick.  It's the cheap one, that's just marked Microsoft Sidewinder, Part No. X05-63895.   No Force Feedback, not a Precision2, just the relatively plain-vanilla USB joystick.  Eight buttons, throttle on the back.

Cost me $1 US.  Nice.  Clean.  Shiny.  Works fine.

I have a Belkin Nostromo N50 Game contoller.  The left-hand thingie.  Got the Belkin software/drivers installed, those also work fine.  The Belkin also has a throttle, or a wheel that can be used as one.  I want to use that, not the throttle on the Sidewinder.

If it matters, I'm using both of these on "NASCAR Racing 1999 Edition."  Yeah, it's an old game, but I enjoy it.

So, what I want to do is disable the throttle on the Sidewinder, so I can use the throttle on the N50.  I've done a bunch of Google searches, not quite sure what I'm searching for.  The Sidewinder installs as an 8-button, 3 axis game controller, which is what it is.  Basically, the joystick itself shows up as Joystick 1 for purposes of the game I'm trying to play, and the throttle shows up as Joystick 2 X-axis.  Pretty conventional.

Thing is, because the throttle is there, Vista never gets as far as recognizing the throttle on the N50 even exists.  Vista doesn't (apparently) give the option Win98 did, of installing the joystick as a 2-axis controller, so the throttle is ignored, as I used to do on my old machine.    Did I miss that somewhere in there?

One thing I tried in the Game Controllers screen is to set the N50 to be the Primary controller.  That should (theoretically) make the throttle Joystick 1 X-axis, and the Sidewinder joystick part X-Y for Joystick 2.  I could live with that.  Seems to have no effect at all, though.

Is this happening because of the installed Belkin drivers?  Maybe those drivers force the N50 to be the secondary, which puts it "behind" that throttle?  My next experiment will be running the game without the Belkin drivers loaded, so the Nostromo appears to be just another game controller.  Hmmm...

Any ideas?  I did find Nova on Sourceforge, which looks like overkill since I have working Belkin drivers.  It's supposed to be a substitute for the Nostromo Loadout and Profile managers provided by Belkin.  It was intended for back when the Belkin software didn't work in Vista, and just leaves the N50 driven as a conventional joystick, overlaying macros driven by the conventional game controller drivers.

This really oughta be simpler than it's turned out to be so far.


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