Displacement Joysticks

Joysticks are the most suitable hand controllers for dynamic applications such as remote vehicle operation and camera tracking systems, and displacement joysticks are the most common type. Our modular displacement joystick range has been developed specifically for applications that require robustness and reliability combined with optimum accuracy and a user-friendly feel.

Force applied to the handle causes the joystick to move, usually between 20° and 30°. This movement is detected and converted to an electrical signal. For applications that require a proportional output we use conductive plastic (not open track or wire-wound) potentiometers or specialist Hall effect sensors (as you prefer) to sense displacement.

In our modular products with potentiometric sensors, the outputs are referenced to centre taps to remove any offsets and give stability, ensuring that, at zero deflection, the outputs are not affected by the supply voltage. Direct coupling of the sensors to the gimbal mechanism totally eliminates backlash.

Based on our 30 years of experience in engineering joysticks, we have selected the strongest commercially-available gimbal mechanism. Its components are machined from steel or aluminium and are supported by sealed stainless steel ball races mounted in a machined solid frame. The use of stainless steel and anodised aluminium also provides excellent corrosion resistance.

Rising from the gimbal mechanism is a hollow inconel alloy central shaft used to mount a grip. The bore of the shaft can accommodate up to 24 AWG wires for attachment to switches, triggers or force-operated joysticks. We can even increase this if your applications allows the use of 30 AWG wires. This gives you a choice of many different handgrip configurations based either on our MG1 modular control grip or on a fully customised configuration.

The hollow shaft then passes through a sprung plate that acts as a return-to-centre mechanism. The design of the plate is such that the force required to operate the joystick is the same regardless of the direction of movement.

Full-scale output on our modular displacement joysticks is provided from the X and Y axes simultaneously through the use of a square gate. The Z axis is operated by rotating the grip. All axes can be operated together, and all provide ±20° of movement with a return-to-centre action. When the joystick is mounted into a panel, a gaiter – manufactured from EPDM rubber – gives sealing to IP66 while remaining flexible over a wide temperature range.

Characteristics / Options

Our MP1 modular displacement joystick is designed for ultimate reliability and performance. It features:

  • Conductive plastic potentiometers or Hall effect sensors
  • Continuous resolution, high-level, analogue output
  • Choice of electrical interfaces
  • Extreme robustness
  • Wide operating temperature range
  • Smooth action
  • Two-axis units panel sealed to IP66
  • Two or three axes (more if multi-function grip is attached)
  • Choice of mounting detail
  • No backlash
  • Two-year warranty
  • Directionally unbiased action
  • Excellent return to zero
  • Engineered using an ISO 9001 / AS9100-approved quality system

A range of options are available so you can configure your device to meet your needs.

MP1 joystick type 2 axis
3 axis
Grip type None
Barrel with button
Mounting detail 4 holes 3.7 on 122.1 PCD
4 holes M5 on 110 PCD
Interface** None (flying leads)
None (9-way D connector)
RS232 (mouse systems)
RS422 (mouse systems)
RS232 (Microsoft)
RS232 (Daco absolute)
RS422 (Daco absolute)
Sensors Potentiometers
Hall effect

*If the MG1 control grip is ordered, please specify your required functions when submitting your quotation. If an interface is required on an MP1-MG1 combination it will be fitted in the MP1 base.

** All Interface options are supplied with a 500mm unterminated flying lead.


Excitation Voltage 5 ± 0.5 VDC
Current 150 mA + output current
Output voltage, per encoder TTL compatible true square wave on output A (yellow) and B (orange).
High 2.7V min.
Low 0.8V max.
Output current, per encoder 18 mA max sink; Fan out of 10 TTL
Insulation, per encoder >10M ohms at 500V
Direction sensing + X XB leads XA by 90 ± 30°
+ Y YA leads YB by 90 ± 30°
Typical Resolution 1.5 inch ball 150 pulses per ball revolution
2.0 inch ball 200 pulses per ball revolution
2.5 inch ball 250 pulses per ball revolution
3.0 inch ball 300 pulses per ball revolution
Storage temperature MT4 series -60°C to +90°C
MT6 series -10°C to +55°C
Operating temperature MT4 series -40°C to +70°C
MT6 series 0°C to +50°C
Humidity MT4 series Up to 100% non-condensing
MT6 series Up to 95% non-condensing
MTBF Trackball only 100,000 hours 2 million ball revolutions
Assumes a level of routine maintenance



If you would like a quote for a modular displacement joystick and know your basic requirements please use the form below, referencing the dimensions drawings and list of options. We are delighted to assist you with the spec for your device, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for advice on the best configuration for your application.

Dimensioning Diagrams

Diagram 1

Diagram 2

Diagram 3