CH Flight Yoke HAT Trick

I've used and really enjoy my CH Flight Yoke. The one thing that has always bothered me is that in the pattern with my right hand on the throttle I can't use the Hat switch. After some thought I decided to have a go at putting the HAT switch on the left side of the yoke. I thought it would be a complicated process with having to cut and splice wires but upon separating the shell I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that it wouldn't be necessary to cut any wires at all.

 

      

Of course this voids the warranty but I think if you're contemplating this mod the warranty has expired or doesn't matter at this point. Having said that, the first thing to do is remove the seven cross-point screws that hold the front and back halves of the unit together, a small Phillips screwdriver will do the trick. After separating the two halves it can be seen that there is a left and right wiring harness that runs to the switches, buttons and hat switch pc boards. They're held in place with four pop-off washers. The job looks pretty simple from here, just a matter of switching the mounting plates to the opposite sides.

     

Not so! The mounting plates are not symmetrical, each one is shaped to fit the left or right side. After a short examination I noticed the differences weren't that great so I decided to continue with the task at hand.

 

The switch mounts and harness are removed from the brackets by removing a couple of the flat washers that hold them in place. The lengths of the wiring harnesses were equal so it's an easy swap from one side to the other. I really didn't expect it to be going this smoothly at this point compared to other projects I've attempted.

    

Here you can see the left and right sides in comparison. There is not much difference except on the right side there are three areas with slight indents to make room for the Hat switch pc board. Still looking at the right side you can see the indent on the upper left and the other one just below the hole for the forward button. In the photo below it's the recess on the right side of the handle is shown more clearly.

 

The first fit attempt to swap the harnesses showed that these areas would have to be hollowed out on the left side for the board to fit. The other problem will be shaping the switch mounts to fit on the opposite side for which they were not designed. I'm not a craftsman so my tools of choice were a Dremel and a small sanding block.

      

Use the Dremel to hollow out the areas to match the right side handle. Be careful here as aggressiveness may cause a hole to be ground in the wall. The operation isn't too hard,  grinding away a little material at a time will do the trick. Keep test fitting as you go and use a sanding block to remove and reshape the switch mounts from each side, it's mainly trial and error  hopefully without the errors.

    

  

These photos show the initial fit after some sanding to get the mounts as close to a good fit as possible. The fit will not be perfect but remove as much material as possible without damaging the rocker switch housings or the PC boards.

            

This is the finished conversion. I plan to fill in the minor gaps with some gray silicone rubber, just a small bead along the edge. It works great and now I can use the hat switch with my left hand while in the pattern with my right hand on the throttle. A much easier mod than I thought it would be and it didn't cost anything, give it a try.