When shopping for hand grip joysticks, an important decision you will have to make is on whether to go with the position hold or the spring return to center joystick. The position-hold and spring return to center are two types of joysticks that offer operators better control over machinery. The option you go for will depend on the application. If you need the joystick lever to remain at the last position, the position hold joystick will be ideal. Most modern joysticks come with a central spring which returns the lever back to the center position. The strength of this spring can be adjusted. However, if you need position hold, you will need to find a special model that has this feature.
Spring return joysticks
When it comes to the spring return hand grip joysticks, you will have two main options. The first is the central spring which is mounted at the base of the shaft. This spring offers a uniform feel when the lever is deflected in any direction. Whether you are using a single or multi axis joystick, only one spring will be in action.
The second option is that of the dedicated spring design. In this setup, there is a spring for each axis. For a dual axis joystick, for example, there will be one spring for X axis and another for Y axis. The dedicated spring design offers a ‘guided feel’ because the tension of the spring on one axis is different from when two axes are engaged.
The spring return joysticks are used in various applications including:
- Process technology plants
- Food-processing machinery
- Aircraft tractors
- Aerial work platforms
- Hydraulic platforms and the tail lifts on utility vehicles
- Assembly and handling technology
- Airport service and apron vehicles
Position hold joysticks
These are joysticks that are able to maintain a lever position in two ways: friction hold or detents. With the friction hold mechanism, there is no spring whereas with the detents there is a spring return friction. The friction hold enables the operator to maneuver the handle position anywhere within the operating angle and have it remain in the last position. The mechanism has enough torque to hold the lever in any position irrespective of the environment it is being used in.
The handgrip joysticks with the position hold mechanism are used in a variety of applications including:
- Asphalt rollers
- Agricultural tractors and harvesters
- Material handling equipment
Finding the right hand grip joystick requires a lot of considerations. Knowing precisely what you want is the key to finding the right device for you. You should also ensure you buy your joysticks from a reputable manufacturer and distributor.
Hand Grip Joysticks