What version make or model?
Yeah, get TrackIR5.
TrackIR 5 is the most recent model although it’s been out like 10 years. I don’t know if they still sell any older ones but I wouldn’t bother with them.
I will say that if you want to upgrade from the clip that goes on a hat, there are alternatives to the TrackClip Pro that are compatible with TrackIR which may be a better choice, like the DelanClip. The TrackClip Pro is notoriously flimsy.
It indeed is, mine doesn’t even fully clip on my headset anymore but it does stay put.
Hi Guys and Gals,
Thanks for all the valuable feedback. Some very varied feedback but all enlightening. Yes indeed, I have bound several camera views to my POV hat and they’re helpful and mostly I’m OK because I fly IFR. However, I fly into smaller airfields with my TBM a lot (OnAir) and although I’m flying on Vatsim, most of the time the controller clears me for a visual approach into these small airports and oftentimes I join the circuit on downwind. That’s when the wheels fall off because now I’m flying the circuit and I’m like urrgh where’s the runway, when do I turn base and final etc. I used to fly in real life and in my opinion flying a circuit is really hard in a simulator precisely because you can’t look around as freely and easily as in real life. That’s kind of why I was thinking about TrackIR. But, thanks to all the helpful comments, it certainly doesn’t seem to be a perfect solution.
TrackIR will benefit you here. It has helped me countless times in the pattern (circuit). Not only do I always know where I am I know exactly when to apply carb heat, reduce the power, drop a notch of flaps, slow to a specific speed all with a quick turn of my head.
A cheaper option, if you’re handy with a soldering iron, is EDtracker. It’s pretty easy to put together and uses OpenTrack to mimic TrackIR with ‘pseudo-6DoF’. There are explanatory videos on how to set it up. It’s a little bit fiddly, but once you have all the axis curves set properly, it’s life-changing. I can’t fly without it now.
TrackIR is great for pattern work. I also really like opening the window and leaning my head outside when taxiing a tail dragger. Or looking around and behind stuff when trying to get a switch. It’s working fine in the DC-6 so far, but I can see the appeal of just having defined views too.
I think you’ll find all of these opinions are entirely subjective though. What some people swear by, doesn’t work for the next guy. You’re just going to have to try stuff and see what works for you.
I’ve also tried it and especially as a real world pilot I never got used to it.
During a pattern you have to turn your head, but at the same time you need to keep your eyes glued to the monitor. It felt very unnatural to me and more distracting than helpful.
The hatswitch is working fine for pattern work plus a button to immediately snap the view back to a perfectly straight forward you.
(Perfect re-centering was a problem for me as well with TrackIR.)
I use an app called Smoothtrack which uses your phone camera. It only costs £10 and works very well without the need for a headset. It’s also very accurate and smooth which I was surprised at given that it uses your phone camera and is a wireless connection. Would highly recommend instead of paying £300 or what ever it costs for TrackIR.
Cheaper alternatives are always good though I must ask who is charging over 400 USD for TrackIR5? I paid less than 200 USD for me.
I have used Smoothtrack on my phone. While it’s very impressive for what it is, it can’t compare to TrackIR, and there’s also the issue of needing to use your phone with the battery constantly draining and unusable for anything else.
OK thanks everybody for your input, very helpful indeed, both sides of the coin. Perhaps I’ll just leave it for now. It costs around $170 here in the USA which is not too prohibitive. Maybe I’ll try that app just to get a taste of what this kind of thing is like. What @PZL104 says above is exactly what I’m worried about: Turning my head to pan left, but now keeping my eyes right to see the screen. Seems weird, but like most things, I guess it becomes second nature eventually.
You get used to it pretty quickly. When I play DCS and in a dogfight my head is always moving ever so slightly and it doesn’t feel odd at all.
Been using a TrackIR for about 10 years or so. It’s great for VFR, providing you with better situational awareness, and just great for taking the environment in. For IFR I can do without it since so much of the flying is on instruments (and at FL390 there’s nothing much to see outside anyway).
But in the end it’s very personal.
Absolutely worth it. Would not know how to fly without it.
Using it for more then 10 years in every possible flightsim (Xplane, LM P3D, FSX,FS2020,DCS). Adds greatly to the immersion and gives more freedom to look around in the cockpit (f.e. for that switch that is behind the yoke ) Looking outside for traffic. Even in spotview (when supported by the sim) it gives additional sense of freedom. Installation is straight forward, there is auto update for games function. You have to launch the program before you launch the flightsim. Never bothered to tweak profiles. Works for me straight out of the box
Oh yes, i love it.
Best purchase ever
I used a TrackIR for about 10 years before switching to VR a couple of years ago. I have to say my original TrackIR lasted very well, I am still using the original pro clip LED thing. I had to replace the TrackIR “camera” as it eventually just died. Given the amount of use it saw (hundreds possibly thousands of hours) it was extremely good value for money, and I did not worry about buying a new one.
It did take time to get used to initially, but once you have invested some time and tweaked the settings to your personal preferences it quickly become second nature to use. You soon calibrate your own head movements and can accurately glance at gauges, switches and track your turns towards runways very naturally.
As other have said it’s tracking can be effected by other light sources or even reflections off your watch/jewellery/clothing. My biggest issue in this respect was having a window more or less behind me, so I used to have the curtains pretty much closed all the time. In the evening/night I would tend to only use a desk lamp.
It’s not “perfect”, but infinitely better than looking straight ahead or making do with a hat POV. While (arguably) it does not provide the “being there” immersion VR provides it also does not entail the expense of VR or the associated processing power needed for good performance. TrackIR also has the benefit of allowing you to see your RL surroundings for other screens, switches or home cockpit should you have one.
Personally I expect to continue with VR, but would happily recommend TrackIR and would always view it as a fallback.
I also use it for my racing sims. Just pan, no tilt or twist, and only z translation.