• Review: TCA Quadrant Add-On Airbus Edition

    Review: TCA Quadrant Add-On Airbus Edition

    By Ray Andersen

    Intro

    Quality hardware to increase the flight simulation experience is an everyday growing market and new products keep coming up and being released to the enthusiastic flight simulation community. Some of the hardware is good and some is outstanding with a high level of professionalism and quality.

    I had previously had the exquisite experience of testing a replica Airbus throttle quadrant created by ThrustMaster - that experience was totally awesome and using the throttle quadrant was a great way of bringing my flight simulation experience to a higher level. Today I am fortunate to be able to also test and review the new side pieces for this throttle quadrant, making the quadrant an even more interesting piece of hardware. The pack that is covered within this review is the TCA Quadrant Add-On Airbus Edition.

    Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition

    Packaging, Delivery and Assembly

    I ordered these new modules (side pieces) directly at Thrustmaster and the very same day I ordered them, I received an SMS from the forwarder FedEx that the pack was already received by them and the estimated delivery time would be the next day (Friday afternoon). This means that from I ordered the modules till I received them, was only 1.5 day for both packaging and the entire transport from their warehouse in France and to my address in Denmark. That is really quick which is perfect because when you order a new toy, you also want it super fast and this was just perfect.

    Both modules were packed within one box. The outer box was a transport box consisting of hard thick multi-layer cardboard, which is perfect for transportation and provides a great support for the inner box and the modules within. Inside the transport box was the display box which was made from thin cardboard and which also fitted perfectly into the transport box providing extra good support.

    Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition     Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition

    Opening the inner box I now found both modules nicely packed within a 2-piece form-shaped thin cardboard that created excellent support for each module. Additionally each module was also packed within a thin foil or plastic bag - I think to prevent potential scratching during packaging or un-packaging. Overall the packaging was superb with great support for the modules even during a long and bumpy delivery.

    Included in the box are the two modules, two connection cables type SATA, extra fittings and also extra screws. There are no tools included which is okay since a prerequisite for using these modules are, that you also have the throttle quadrant. Included in the throttle quadrant was a Phillips screwdriver and this one is all you need for the modules.

    There is no assembly needed to get the modules working other than connect each module to the throttle quadrant using the SATA connector cables included. However, I do recommend that you also mount the fittings using the screws to secure the modules properly to the throttle quadrant.

    Additionally there are also a very short assembly guide included which does not provide much information. Here I would recommend visiting the https://support.thrustmaster.com/ webpage where you can find the modules and select to download the manual/guide in PDF format. The download is quick due to a good connection to the server but also because the PDF file is not that big.

    The manual is named TCA Quadrant Add-On Airbus Edition and is a 287 pages long PDF manual describing all the various technical information. First there is a layout of the functions on each module and the possible customization that you can perform. Secondly there are a 'how-to-mount' the modules to the throttle quadrant using the fittings and screws and how to place the entire setup correctly on a support. There are also described how to install software drivers and how to map functions to each switch or lever, but this will be covered in the section of Connection And Performance.

    You don't have to read all the 287 pages since the manual is written in multiple languages to support most possible customers, and to make sure that most, if not all simmers, will understand and get all the basic information about the usage etc. of each module. Each language is about 14 pages long so it actually takes no time to complete the read. I would strongly recommend taking the time to read the manual just to get to know all of the functionality of the modules.

    Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition


    7 Comments
    1. sholay's Avatar
      sholay -
      Really?
      I think we have different models. Most of the internet rants about nightmare configuration, some switches not even working at all in MSFS (and P3D too).
      And then there's plastic feeling of both Throttle Quadrant and Add-On. Faaar cry from what the TM sidestick was.

      I have the very same experience. This is why I wonder if reviewer had the same model most of flightsimmers and me have.

      &

      PS
      Do not get me wrong, it's fun and like it. Is is though not even close to being perfect as you describe.
    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Quote Originally Posted by sholay View Post
      Really?
      I think we have different models. Most of the internet rants about nightmare configuration, some switches not even working at all in MSFS (and P3D too).
      And then there's plastic feeling of both Throttle Quadrant and Add-On. Faaar cry from what the TM sidestick was.

      I have the very same experience. This is why I wonder if reviewer had the same model most of flightsimmers and me have.

      &

      PS
      Do not get me wrong, it's fun and like it. Is is though not even close to being perfect as you describe.
      ***
      I don't see the programming or assignment issue - it is easy..? The modules are perfectly recognized in the sims as gaming ware and you are then easily able to add various functions to each button/lever or whatever. Even the flaps lever with detents worked more or less straight out of the box on both the Airbus series from Aerosoft as well as props, turboprops from both Carenado and A2A together with numerous other addons.

      I programmed the set on both P3Dv4.5, Xplane11 and DCS World 2.5 and found no issues what so ever ... so I don't understand why all the negative talking about the programming / assignment of functions. I do recommend to calibrate the levers and if I remember correctly then the spoilers lever are to be set 'inverted' in P3Dv4.5 - otherwise it works the opposite.

      I am quite sure I have tested the same set as other simmers - also do remember that these add-on modules are to be connected and programmed through the throttle quadrant - here also do remember to select the correct add-on in the dropdown menu in the assignment tool. I have noticed that several people who found issues with programming hardware, unfortunately selected the wrong module in the dropdown. E.g. they wanted to program the flaps lever, but had set the selection on the TCA sidestick instead of the throttle where the flaps lever is connected through.

      I am sorry, but I really did not have any issues and still doesn't - I set it up quickly and it has been working flawlessly ever since.

      All buttons and levers are recognized - that said, I have not tried it on MSFS2020 and do not know if you have to install a certain driver or similar..

      The look is awesome in my opinion and the usage is really good. I has brought me a lot of fun flight simulation experiences. Yes the base, the casing and the knobs are not metal which I also would have love it to be, but then the cost would also have been quite different I am sure. Pricewise I think you get a lot of fun, experience and quality for a very fair price. BTW - the TCA sidestick is also plastic but still feels cool :-)

      /Ray
    1. sholay's Avatar
      sholay -
      I mean - good for you you had no issues with configuration.
      What concerns me it was the same with TM Throttle Quadrant. No review mentioned any issue, while forums were full of people who had huge amount of problems. I thought - damn internet haters, that piece of equipment looks great, reviews are great, TM TCA Sidestick is great - let's get Quandrant.

      Hmmm, it turned out forums told me the truth not reviewers. So I am skeptikal. Either TM sends massaged/curated versions or it's just only 50% of the stock which has issues - no idea.

      Again - do not get me wrong. I love it, I pre-ordered it and after couple of evenings full of profanities I got it working like a charm

      Cheers
    1. chopan's Avatar
      chopan -
      Let me congratulate you, because I bought two throttle quadrant and they really are a fiasco.
      Impossible to calibrate engine 3 and 4, TM only says that I must follow the firmware, the driver, the software and nothing works, and I read every day in the forums, terrible things, I advise not to buy it, until they calibrate it as it should to be.
      I do not think I have to do a Master in computing to install a joystick, since I bought it I have not been able to use them, not to mention matching the levels of the quadrant with those of the MSFS2020 simulator, impossible, and if it increases or reduces some of the calibration does not work anymore the Flx, TOGA, Reverse, the quadrant of the motors 3 and 4 do not work directly, I threw 200 dollars in the trash, the start engine switches did not work, also the manufacturer did not cover the slots of the levels, then the garbage, or any other item could fall inside causing a problem.
      The only thing that works is the joystick, which is very heavy, hard, it should have been softer, as it is in reality, and put a trim control accessory, because in the A320 it is not necessary but in the other planes it is. they are needed and if the switch is assigned to trim, we lose the camera. And if we want to use it as a trim on another plane, we lost the camera, it really is a fiasco.
      But the worst thing is that it does not work at all, flying the 747 with 4 engines is impossible and in TM and in Microsoft they only say that you have to wait.
      But my money already has it, for that they did not wait.
      Forget the driver or firmware, they are useless at all, but the quadrant engine 3 and 4 does not even detect it. A joke to which we are accustomed, as always, if you have problems go to the nearest TM distributor, to have the equipment changed, I have two I have changed them reconfigured and you have the same problem.
      The big problem is having launched something that is useless on the market, without having tested it.
      Good bye to the days plug and play, now is plug and suffer.
      Thanks
    1. chopan's Avatar
      chopan -
      I bought two throttle quadrant 1 and 2 engine 3 and 4 engine. It is a real fiasco.
      It is impossible to configure them, levels 1 and 2 engine are very difficult to configure, no matter the driver, firmware, software, it is impossible they are never the same as FSMS2020, levels 3 and 4 are impossible, trying to fly the 747 is an adventure, a mission Impossible, I bought these teams because I trusted Thrustmaster, but I have been disappointed. They kept my 400 dollars, and I only have four levels that do not work correctly, I advise not to buy them, until they have a software that makes their use more user-friendly, I am not a NASA engineer, I think all this is for have fun, the only thing they have achieved is make my life bitter, and lose 400 dollars.
      The joystick has many problems, it is hard and heavy, it is not like the real A320, the switch that I normally use for the trim, it is used for the camera, they did not put a switch to attach in case of using it with another plane. Impossible to configure it for trim because the camera is lost in the A320, it is double work, I made consultations with Thrustmaster and Microsoft and they only say that we have to wait, and all the forums that I read are one disaster after another, a real fiasco, do not spend your money, the only answer is go to your representative and ask for a change of equipment, I have two, it cannot be that both do not work.
      The blades are not protected in the slots so dirt gets into it, or things that could damage them, by not putting something to protect that slot.
      They are very nice to see but a real nightmare to operate, behind are the days of plug and play.
    1. Raymar99's Avatar
      Raymar99 -
      I was excited to see the addons shipping but super disappointed that Thrustmaster failed to notice the big Trim Wheel might be useful.

      Regards,
      Ray
    1. ryogahibiki345's Avatar
      ryogahibiki345 -
      Quote Originally Posted by chopan View Post
      I bought two throttle quadrant 1 and 2 engine 3 and 4 engine. It is a real fiasco.
      It is impossible to configure them, levels 1 and 2 engine are very difficult to configure, no matter the driver, firmware, software, it is impossible they are never the same as FSMS2020, levels 3 and 4 are impossible, trying to fly the 747 is an adventure, a mission Impossible, I bought these teams because I trusted Thrustmaster, but I have been disappointed. They kept my 400 dollars, and I only have four levels that do not work correctly, I advise not to buy them, until they have a software that makes their use more user-friendly, I am not a NASA engineer, I think all this is for have fun, the only thing they have achieved is make my life bitter, and lose 400 dollars.
      The joystick has many problems, it is hard and heavy, it is not like the real A320, the switch that I normally use for the trim, it is used for the camera, they did not put a switch to attach in case of using it with another plane. Impossible to configure it for trim because the camera is lost in the A320, it is double work, I made consultations with Thrustmaster and Microsoft and they only say that we have to wait, and all the forums that I read are one disaster after another, a real fiasco, do not spend your money, the only answer is go to your representative and ask for a change of equipment, I have two, it cannot be that both do not work.
      The blades are not protected in the slots so dirt gets into it, or things that could damage them, by not putting something to protect that slot.
      They are very nice to see but a real nightmare to operate, behind are the days of plug and play.
      Well there is a real A320 pilot that reviewed this very hardware and said that to him while not perfect it was in fact very close to the real thing. The issue with calibrating the engines is that you have to go through and delete all the default assignments, and then re-assign them. This is a pretty well know work around for the issue you are having so it seems to me that you didn't do your research after you got it. I don't even own this set of hardware and it seems that I have more information on it than you do. I haven't bought it because I am not a fan of Airbus.
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