1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice
Like RaceDepartment on Facebook.

ARC_Team G25-e Mod Review

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Brian Clancy, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. Well, it’s been a while coming, but here at last is the much anticipated ARC Team G25-e Review.
    ARC-ModG27-E.jpg
    For those of you not aware of the G25-e Mod, I will give a brief overview of the conversion and what it does. In essence, the ARC conversion doubles the voltage to the Logitech G25 (or G27) FFB wheel from 24 volts to 48v, but it also almost doubles the available ampage from around 1.8to 3 amps with a new power supply. The idea of this is not just to increase the output power of the FFB motors in the wheel (which it does very well), but to improve the ‘definition’ or ‘feel’ of the Force feedback. Obviously, you cant just plug in a higher voltage PSU and expect it to work! So there are numerous component changes on the PCB, plus cooling fans and switches/fuses included in the modification too, but more of that later.

    Right, before I go any further, I think I should list the options available for buying/installing thismod. There are 3 options available:

    1) The Full G25-e Mod.

    This is the full kit supplied and fitted by ARC_Team to YOUR wheel, you simply send your G25 to them and they do all the install work and return it you. For many people this may be the best option!

    2) G25-e Modding Kit.

    This is the self-install kit, all the components needed to complete the conversion, plus detailed and very clear instructions, along with live MSN/SKYPE support during your build. This is a very good value option IF your competent with a soldering iron and have a good general working knowledge of electronics and access to a reasonable tool kit (more on that to come) and it was the Kit that Andrea from ARC kindly sent me to review.

    3) G25-e D.I.Y. Kit

    By far the cheapest option, you receive only the BoosterCircuit, instructions and a shopping list! You have to source your own power supply and other associated components such as resistors/fuse holders/switches etc. Obviously only really an option for the more experienced modder who wants to save some money on international shipping costs or has access to some of the components already.


    In The Kit:

    The Modding Kit comes with everything you need in the way of parts/components, including a very high quality 48 volt/ 3 Amp Power supply, the ARC Booster circuit and all the smaller components you need such as fans,switches, fuse holder and resistors etc. The instructions are on a Downloadable PDF and are very clear, but ARC_Team also offer free support via MSN, SKYPE and E-Mail too.


    The Build:

    As I stated earlier, Andrea kindly sent me the G25-e Modding Kit to install and review. It’s a complete and comprehensive kit with everything you need to upgrade your wheel. You will also need access to some general electronics tools including a good fine tip soldering Iron, soldersucker, a Hot Glue gun, drill and bits, side cutters and files etc.

    boostercircuit.png
    ARC_Team Booster Circuit

    Although not a particularly difficult job, you should not underestimate the skill needed to fit this kit. There is quite a bit to do outside of the electronics, including cutting holes in the G25’s case for thefans, power switch and fuse holder as well as modding the front panel of the casing. You do have to remove (and occasionally re-use) a number of components from the G25 circuit board, some of which are Surface mount (Very small and fiddly!). However, if you can solder to a reasonable standard, follow instructions carefully and work in a methodical manner, this kit is well within the reach of the D.I.Y enthusiast. I can’t go into too many details regarding the kit for fairly obvious reasons, but it took about 5 hours at a very relaxed pace, start to finish and although that may sound a long time, a lot of it was double checking everything, re-reading the excellent instructions and working at a sensible pace (This is not a job to rush!) Overall it was an enjoyable experience and I learnt a lot about the G25 too!



    Driving with the ARCG25-e:

    Okay, this the section most people are going to jump straight to. Well, having installed the kit and reconnected the G25 to your PC,it’s time to flick the power switch on (a really handy addition to the wheel in my opinion). Two things grab your attention right away, Firstly the sheer SPEED that the wheel goes through its self-calibration routine, no joke, the wheelspins at an incredible rate! Far faster than a standard G25/7. Next is the fan noise, the two 48v fans may be small, but they really do move some air and makea fair bit of noise, but the reality is, once your in-game and have the volume at a normal level or wear headphones the sound is lost. However, it could annoy some people! (not least the wife!)

    Before I go into how the Force feedback feels, I should remind everyone that as always, a FFB Wheel is only ever as good as the software driving it and secondly, how well set up the wheel is. I am going to list a number of the more popular sims below and try a give an impression on how the G25-e feels in each one compared to the standard Logitech wheel, but before that I think I need to give you an overall description of how the wheel feels after the conversion before you try it in game:

    POWER:

    The wheel is now hugely more powerful, it’s not going to break anyone’s wrists, but you can feel the higher torque values just in the resistance from turning the wheel left to right before you even enter a game!

    SPEED:

    With double the voltage and a sizeable increase in available ampage, the wheel speed is vastly increased, in fact, keep your hands clear during the start-up sequence!

    The difference is quite remarkable and makes it feel like a new wheel, all together, a rather different beast.



    IN-Game:

    rFactor:

    I used a number of mods in rFactor to test the wheel on a number of tracks and settings, but as normal, differing Mods had greatly varying FFB effects , so I opted to write my thoughts on Enduracers v1.2+SP1 Mod, running RealFeel to the recommended settings as my base line for testing on ISI’s popular Sim and Ryan Callans World Touring Masters Mod without Realfeel. The first thing you notice is the weight of the wheel, you now have to ‘work’ at turning the wheel, sure you can adjust this greatly, but like for like on the settings, it’s a heavier and more realistic feeling. Bumps, curbs and changes in elevation are much more powerful and defined now. You get a far clearer feeling of what all four wheels are doing as you drive, the slip angle is more defined, understeer has a more pronounced feel to it and I found it much easier to feel what the back of the car was doing.

    To be honest, its little less than a revelation, the cars feel quite different and much improved! The FFB in rFactor has always been lacking a little in strength and definition, Realfeel and Leo’s FFB helped in this area a lot, but the G25-e gives the FFB the feeling you always thought it should have!

    RACE Series:

    For Simbins titles, I used stock content and just adjust the standard setting to my tastes. Once again, the increased power makes its presence felt from the get go! The FFB is sharper, clearer and more defined again. The impact isn’t quite as large as the effect felt in rFactor, but none the less, quite impressive and a great deal more realistic and immersive.

    NKPro:

    I have for a long time thought that the FFB in NKPro was possibly the best out there and after the impressive gains in rFactor (partly due to the titles lack lustre FFB) I wasn’t sure what to expect. All things being equal, it would make sense that a lesser but still good gain could be expected from NKPro.

    Well, it just goes to show that all things are NOT EQUAL! NKPro literally shone with this wheel, even crisper, more detailed feedback was evident, the connection to the car was simply stunning. Driving the car at the edge of adhesion was a joy, every little nuance of the FFB was evident, but well balanced. You were constantly aware of what the car was doing and making small continuous adjustments to the steering was natural and correct, utterly immersive and most impressive. Slip angle, drifting, under steer, turn in and kerb effects etc. were all outstanding.

    F1 2010:

    I didn’t hold high hopes for Codemasters beautiful F1 2010 game. In fairness, this isn’t and never pretended to be an outright sim and as such, the FFB was at best, well, adequate with a stock G25. No surprises really that the G25-e saw only marginal improvement’s here, the game just dosent send the detailed info to the wheel. But still the G25-e managed to improve the overall ‘feel’ of the game just with its brute power and added some finesse to a few of the effects.



    Conclusions:

    This was always going to be an interesting review, even I had no real idea what to expect! All in all, the G25-e mod makes a huge and positive impact on the performance of Logitechs wheel. The increase in power and improved definition of effects has to be felt to really appreciate just how big a gain it is. On the down side, this was never going to be a cheap option and for most casual racers a standard G25/7 is more than enough. But, if your looking to improve your FFB Wheel, but don’t want to spend the $1000’s of dollars on a Frex or other top end wheel, this is a very serious contender and fills the gap nicely between the Logitech/fanatec’s wheels and the High value items from Frex etc.

    If you have the skills/tools to fit the Modding Kit yourself, you can buy the kit for 240 Euros plus postage and as such, it’s a far cheaper option than a high end wheel and truly elevates the G25/7 from a gaming wheel to a true simulation tool! The Fully modified and built option (i.e. sending your wheel to ARC_Team for conversion) is 309 Euro’s and considering the amount of work involved is quite a competitive price, however, you will have to add the shipping costs to this and they may well add up to be quite substantial to send to Italy depending on where you are.



    Value: 90/100 From the outside, this may seem a very expensive conversion, but given the gains, quality, and the cost of other wheels in this performance range, it is actually quite cost effective!

    Functionality: 97/100 It simply performs beautifully! A top score

    Quality: 90/100 All the components supplied were of excellent quality throughout, as were the instructions and online support.

    RD Rating: 277/300

    Buy One???: If your looking for a sizable performance upgrade, but don’t want to spend thousands on a top end wheel, this has to be a top contender.

    I would like to thank Andrea for his kind assistance in making this review
    [​IMG]
    RDHwaresmall.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2013
  2. Nice one Brian. Yep love my ARC G27 too. Deffinately a good up grade.
    Thanks ARC.
    George
     
  3. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff Premium Member

    Sounds like an interesting bit of kit, not for the faint of heart though I'm tipping.
     
  4. It really is a great bit of kit and makes a huge diffrence to the Logitechs performance, from a gaming wheel it becomes a simulation tool! :D
     
  5. Hi Sir, I will like to know is there any in ARC in Asia?, cause I from Macau.

    Thank you

    Jose Ferreira
     
  6. Great review, thanks Brian. Well worth considering. To put it into perspective for me, what are the "top end" wheels you refer to in the Buy One??? summary? Cheers.

    PS - think the link is broken?
     
  7. Hi Alex :)

    Well I'm refering to the likes of Frex, ECCI and such, the $1500+ price range wheels. There is a big gap in the market, after the top Fanatec and Logitech wheels (and poss the Thrustmaster T500RS) the next mainstream wheels are a huge jump in price, this conversion offers a substantially cheaper 'upgrade' than going the Frex or ECCI ect wheel route and does kind of fit between these area's......

    Hope that helps :)
     
  8. Link sorted, sorry we have been having a few 'issues' with the front page :redface:
     
  9. Great review. The kit looks like a good buy. As somone who likes a good bit of weight when moving the wheel and strong FFB could well be interested in this in the future.
     
  10. Nice one Brian! thanks for that.:) Been waiting for this!
    Two questions though.
    The G25 ffb motor gets really hot already. Do you think this can affect the motor life? Also, Is this worth it on an oldish G25?
     
  11. It's a very good question Paul..!!

    The motor used in the G25/G27 is the HC685LG-011 by Johnson Motor's.

    The motor specs read: 24v nominal operating voltage and max winding temp at 180'C.

    I would suggest the fact this mod runs the motors at nearly double the voltage (the new, external power supply runs at 42V) and having to cool the windings by blowing air onto them, that you are well and truly outside the design specs.

    It's probably a good stop gap until you can afford a high end wheel but when you factor the cost of the mod (around $340US for the modding kit version with ONLY 3 month warranty (does that say something?) or add another $128US for a 12 month warranty..

    For $468.. I think one would probably be better selling their G25/G27 and putting that towards a BRAND NEW Thrustmaster T500RS with 16 bit steering resolution, 12 months warranty, a set of nice pedals.. and by all accounts, Frex equaling force feedback..
     
  12. Thats a good question, I can say that Andrea uses this conversion on his 'proffesional' Race simulators that have been in use for many hours. With the cooling fans running, I havent seen any temp increases, infact im pretty sure the G25 is running cooler! I know a few people who have been running this mod for quite some time now with no problems also. As for fitting it to an 'old' G25, well I have, mine is an early one, and getting pretty old :) However, with a few replacment parts (small items such as resistors etc) the kit can be transplanted into either another G25 or a new G27:wink: At the end of the day, this IS A MOD, and as such you will void any warrenty from logitech. As for the T500RS I hope to be reviewing it very soon!

    Hope that helps put it into perspective, but its fair to say that ARC_Team have been selling (and more importantly, using) this Kit for some time now, that in itself is a reasionable guage of the quality/reliability :D
     
  13. Wow then this sounds really good! I can imagine the fans do a lot in the way of cooling. I race Netkar mostly and I can't even imagine what it must be like with the mod, but judging by your review, it must be incredible!

    One last question, I know you can't reveal a lot about the how-to aspect in detail, but I was wondering when you say soldering if there's any really delicate desoldering or anything like that that has to be done on the PCB? I have no problem soldering but that might test my abilities to the max.

    The Thrustmaster T500RS looks pretty high end, but I really can't see myself getting used to the fixed paddle shifters. I guess if you consider you already have the wheel the ARC mod is only 136€ for the DIY version, if I understood that right?
     
  14. Hi Paul :)

    The 'Full' kit with EVERYTHING is 240 Euro's plus shipping, the D.I.Y. kit is only the 'Booster' curcuit, you have to find/supply the PSU/switch/fuse/and a few capacitors/resistors/wire etc.

    None of the soldering is VERY difficult, with some patience and a litle skill its within reach of the D.I.Y.'er. There are a couple of Surface Mount I.C.'s with multiple legs that need to be removed, but its not too tricky, more fiddly and time consuming tbh :) As long as your a competent solderer, can follow instructions and be methodical, you should be fine :)
     
  15. Hmmm.... I’m not so sure RD should be encouraging NONE qualified people to undertake this sort of MOD..to be honest it’s not safe to double the ampage in something it’s not designed to do !!
    if it was then LOGITECH would of done it themselves for a better product!!
    and if you’re not PART P 18th addition trained then I would certainly not encouraging this MOD
    to anybody other than the company who undertake this MOD
    so if anything does go wrong and your house burns down or far worse then you have a case to sew the people responsible !! hope RD has public liability insurance !!!

    There are plenty of people out there who would beleive there compitant to have a go at this themselves !! beleive me most wont and could end up being hurt or worse ...
    please take notice RD staff and users ..
     
  16. Hi Brian:)

    Ok I get it. On their site one is called
    Modding Kit - Mod G25-E - DIY Version 240€
    the other
    Modding Kit - Mod G25-E - DIY Version 136€
    I had it in my cart already. On the top banner only the Booster circuit version is visible, confusing.
    Why don't they just call it "Booster Circuit"? if it's only one part and not a kit...

    Thanks again for this review.:)
    The 100€ euros more made me think again, maybe later on.



     
  17. Thank you Paul . I've informed my webmanager to follow your suggestion.
     
  18. Sorry Lee, but you are in wrong. We have done a lot of tests. This mod is born in 2009 and during these years we have always improved the safety taking care of connection and also the material used. in any case exist a fuse to cut the power in case of overhead or overtension.
     
  19. IF this is the correct spec and method of over cooking your componants then how is this safe
    just by having a cut off switch in place and cooling fans.. and even if the overload is only going to harm your componants your putting 42v into something designed for 24v and your telling people who have no electrical knowledge they could put this together !! ha....
    is there a spike filter in place ? is there any onboard fuses added into this mod ??
     
  20. I stand corrected as its just my observation !!!
    off topic.. did you know the most common cause of house fires is electrical appliances
    and the washing machine is number 1 .... left on while you go to work or to bed
    the belt snaps and the motor over heats resulting in devastating damage even loss of life !!
    and that's on something designed to run high volts and amps with fuses and regulators in place built by professionals.....but this is my cause of concern... you can never be sure of component failure !!!
    and stretching the limits of components is un safe and in my mind NOT recommended .