A method and apparatus for providing safe and low-cost force feedback peripherals for consumer applications. A device microprocessor local to an interface device is coupled to the host by a first interface bus. The microprocessor receives host commands from the host computer on the first interface bus, such as an RS-232 interface, and commands an actuator to apply a force to a user object, such as a joystick, in response to host commands. A sensor detects positions of the user object and outputs signals to the host on a second interface bus, such as a PC game port bus, separate from the first bus. In a "recoil" embodiment, a user initiates force feedback by pressing a button on the joystick, which sends an activation signal to the actuator. In other recoil embodiments, the host computer can transmit one or more enable signals and/or activation signals to the actuator to enable or command forces. A safety switch of the present invention disables the actuator when the interface device is not in use and enables the actuator when an amount of weight over a predetermined amount is placed on the joystick created by a user grasping the joystick. A circuit of the present invention includes a capacitor for storing power provided by an input signal and supplied to the actuator when forces are to be output.