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Honeycomb Bravo - A Tale of Three Throttles, by Whot'the Dickens

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It was the best of throttles, it was the worst of throttles. The Honeycomb Bravo's realism was unsurpassed in anything like its' price range - this from one who spent the better part of 30 years with his hand wrapped around real Boeing throttles! Even though it was only around half scale, it looked, worked and felt very much like the real thing. And it had many neat buttons and dials; which, on occasion, actually worked as intended.


On the other hand there were, early on, disturbing evidences of quality control issues, and in the beginning they were as hard to lay hands upon as a real unicorn, or a humble pilot!


I was fortunate enough to have obtained one in the beginning, and I was both delighted and impressed by the look and feel of the thing. Getting it set up was another matter, of course, and in truth still is, but pre-made profiles appeared in due course over at Aerosoft, some of which actually worked - to one degree or another.


Sad to say, after a couple of months, one of the throttle axes lost the thrust reverse operation, due to a wire inside the unit that had broken from its soldered connection and could be seen flopping around inside. Since the thrust reverse levers are among the most attractive and realistic features of the unit, I called Honeycomb support and, lo and behold, actually wound up talking to someone after a few tries. The long and the short of it was that they took it back and sent me another unit. Excellent customer support!


Unfortunately, the second unit was a disaster right out of the box. All six throttle/flap/speedbrake axes were seriously mis-calibrated from the factory. Fortunately, I had by now obtained the secret handshake email of the service tech, and so was able to get yet another new unit rolling my way. Again, excellent support, but by now I was chafing under the enforced lack of a throttle assembly to go with the flawless (to this point at any rate, and knock on wood!) Alpha yoke that I also had managed to acquire early on.


After spending yet another three-four weeks of watching the FEDEX tracker inch its' way across the country to my location, the third Bravo arrived. All seemed well.... except that there was a tiny sound, like a muted guitar string plucked, when the third axis was retarded to idle from above around 60% thrust. Nothing seemed to be affected by this, performance wise, and having been exhausted by the multiple RMA's I decided to hope for the best and be very gentle with it. For around 6-8 months all seemed well. I could see, inside the unit, which wire was catching on something, but of course I have no expertise to actually open something like this up, even watching a YouTube video, so I just hoped for the best.


And I got the best, for around 8 months. Then, that axis started to behave strangely. At first occasionally, and now pretty much all of the time, it does the following (all references are to the Windows joystick calibration utility - this occurs across all flight sim platforms, and does not seem to be software or calibration related):


When advanced from idle to full throttle, all is smooth and well. When retarding the throttle (this is axis three, which is throttle two in a 3 or 4 engine setup and throttle 1 in most 737 setups), things go smoothly until reaching around 55% of throttle travel. Then, the axis goes nuts - it jitters around between 50-64% for a few seconds, as read on the Windows calibration utility. then it goes to 100% and stays there. All of this, of course, while the physical throttle is left at the 50% or so setting where the problem started. In the beginning, running the physical throttle to full and back to idle would clear the fault, but lately it takes a great many cycles of the physical throttle to effect any change in the electrical output. The fact that it shows up in all sims AND the Windows utility indicates that there is a physical problem with that axis.


Of course, I will try to dig up that email and arrange for it to be fixed or replaced, but before I do that, I return again to the wellspring of knowledge and advanced computer science degrees that apparently inhabits this and some of the other websites! Does anyone have any suggestions for this problem? I can always just not use that axis, but it is needed for a 4 engine set up....

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Well, no one apparently has this problem, or is in a position to offer advice! No problem, for Honeycomb has once again stepped up and taken care of the problem. The unit will be replaced.


They indicated that this sort of thing was an issue in the first batch of builds back in early 2021, and has been addressed by a new fabrication process that handles the wiring in a different way. This will hopefully take care of the problems that some of us had faced.


Honeycomb customer support has been nothing less than stellar. It is a shame that they had to deal with these issues because the unit itself, aside from the difficulties that any computer tyro such as myself encounters when hooking up something this interactive (and which attend to all advanced devices, yokes, throttle assemblies and input pads), is easily the most realistic looking and feeling throttle unit that I have ever encountered. Short, that is, of the actual Boeing equipment, with which I have many more hours than I have hours on all my sims combined!

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