Dual-Stage Trigger Mod

The trigger on the real F-16 Falcon is a dual-stage spring loaded lever which starts a film recorder when you pull to the first stage and then fires the nose cannon when you pull the trigger all the way.  This mod emulates that behavior very nicely except, of course, the function of the two stages are completely programmable so that you can do whatever you want with the two stages. 
This is actually my second design of a dual-stage trigger for the CH FighterStick. My first attempt at this consisted of placing two switches together and trimming the internal posts of the trigger to cause one switch to be pressed before the other. The problem was you couldn't feel the clicks and because the trigger didn't move, you didn't get a very good feel for when the switches were pressed. This new design allows the trigger to move about 1/4" before it reaches the second stage. When the first stage bottoms out, you feel and hear a definite click when the second stage switch fires. Very nice.

The Concept 

Most of this mod takes place in the trigger of the CH FighterStick.  The only other modification involves adding two wires to the pinky button (B4) and connecting them to the second-stage button.

After removing the original trigger wires and relocating them to the micro-button in the trigger, you simply solder wires from the pinky button to the (now) secondary stage trigger button as follows.

This means, of course, that pressing the pinky button (B4) is exactly the same as pressing the secondary trigger. However, because of the dual-stage trigger design, you cannot press the secondary trigger without the primary trigger (B1) being held down at the same time. Using script, we can exploit that behavior. Here's how to do that:

// In the GUI, assign a CMS button to be the action you want the 
// secondary trigger to perform. For example:
// CMS.B1 <= Fire_All_Guns

%DEFINE Primary_Trigger JS1.B1
%DEFINE Secondary_Trigger CMS.B1
%DEFINE Pinky_Button JS1.B4

Secondary_Trigger = ( Primary_Trigger AND Pinky_Button);
Since the Pinky button and the secondary trigger button are electrically the same button, our script can tell the difference between the pinky button being pressed by itself and when it's pressed in concert with the primary trigger (B1). The other nice side effect of this arrangement is if you don't want to use the dual stage trigger for a particular game, you simply don't include a script to handle the secondary trigger and everything functions as before (except that if you pull the trigger all the way until the secondary trigger is pressed, it will be like pressing the pinky button). 

The Step-By-Step

This picture shows the parts you need to complete this project. I pulled the micro-button out of a Logitech circuit I had laying around. My daughter donated the hair clip.

First, solder two wires to the micro-button.

The rear internal post of the trigger must be removed to make room for the installation of the micro-button.

Now we have to cut a notch away in the back of the trigger to allow it to pass the stop correctly inside the FighterStick so the second stage button can be reached.

A slot is cut on the hinge end of the trigger to make way for the spring which will give the trigger the tension and movement as well as depressing the first stage button.

A small machine screw will serve as a stop for the trigger. The head is cut half way off to provide the proper movement of the trigger. The screw can be turned slightly to adjust that movement.

The screw is installed at the end of the trigger and will fit nicely in the crevice of the FigherStick at the bottom of the trigger.

A lady's hair clip provides for the spring that gives the trigger its tension as well as pressing the primary trigger button. Here I'm sawing out a 2cm section of it which will be glued into the slot cut out in the hinge end of the trigger.


Next, mix up some epoxy putty and mash it down into the trigger then set the micro-button in the putty leaving just the top portion of the button extending above the surface of the trigger. The putty will also secure the spring into position.




Here is the trigger after all the mods have been made.

When installing the trigger, the spring will lock against the mounting bracket for the original trigger switch (now the secondary trigger button) and the screw fits neatly between the outer wall of the FighterStick and the stop post.

The last mod to do is to trim the pinky button switch down to provide the trigger the 1/4" of movement it needs in this new configuration.

This picture shows how much of the button is cut away.

Finally, the wires on the original trigger switch must be removed and rewired to the micro-button inside the trigger. The two green wires are soldered to the green wire on the trigger switch and the blue wire is soldered to the other lead.


In Aces High, I use the primary-stage trigger for my Main Guns and the second-stage trigger to fire All Weapons.  I assign the side button [mode button] as my secondary fire button so that I can fire my secondary weapons independent of my main guns when I need to.  Before this mod, I used to use two fingers for weapons during dog fighting:  my middle finger on the trigger and my index finger on the side button.  Now, I can perform both functions using only the main trigger.

Hope you find this mod useful. Let me know if you try it and what you think.