Position Hold Versus Spring Return to Center Hall Effect Joysticks

Hall effect joysticks are an essential component for many equipment and machines. When used in the commercial and industrial sectors, these devices have to be engineered to offer exact precision. They should also be equipped with additional features to make the user’s work easier. One of the things you will have to decide when buying a joystick is whether to go for the position hold or the spring return to center options. What you need the joystick for will influence your decision.

Spring return joysticks

There are two types of spring return joystick mechanisms. The first is the central spring. Here, a spring is mounted at the base of the shaft. It offers a uniform feel when deflected along any axis. There is only one spring in action, whether you are using a single axis or a multi axis joystick.

The second option is the dedicated spring design. There is a spring for the X axis and another for the Y axis with this mechanism. The hall effect joysticks that use the dedicated spring design are categorized as ‘guided feel’. The user will feel tension when operating on one axis; when the spring is engaged. When moving in both axis, more tension will be felt since both springs will be engaged.

Spring return joysticks have many applications. They include the following:

  • Aerial work platforms
  • Food-processing machinery
  • Handling and assembly technology
  • Airport service and apron vehicles
  • Hydraulic platforms and tail lifts
  • Process technology plants
  • Aircraft tractors

Position hold joysticks

These are joysticks that can maintain a joysticks lever position. They do so in one of two ways; friction hold or detents. With the friction hold mechanism, the joystick has no spring. This mechanism enables the operator to smoothly maneuver the handle’s position to anywhere within the operating angle. The added torque offers enough hold so that the lever holds even in rough environments.

The detent mechanism involves a special modification of the joystick gimbal assembly’s X and Y axis shaft. This allows the attachment of machined cams. The cams are simply notched in accordance to where the position angle is needed. There is a spring-loaded bearing which rides along the smooth part of the cam until it gets to the notch, in which case it forces the level into the notch. As a result, the operator gets a distinctive feel when the handle is notched.

Position hold joysticks are used in:

  • Material handling equipment
  • Compactors and asphalt rollers
  • Agricultural tractors and harvesters

There are many customizations available. When shopping for a hall effect joystick, make sure you buy the one that offers the features you need. Keep in mind not every manufacturer creates quality products.

Hall Effect Joysticks