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My story with the Logitech Driving Force GT and some advices for potential buyers

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by boglav, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Hello everybody.

    I wanted to share my experience with the new DFGT I have bought, with the hope that it might help with the decision for those that want to get into simracing, as it is the wheel that everyone recommends. If the "story" is too long for you, just skip to the part where I give some tips to follow when buying a new DFGT.

    A little background:
    I am new to simracing, although I must have played most PC racing games out there (the entire NFS series, minus a couple of titles, all Codemasters titles and other sims/aracde games such as Burnout Paradise, RBR, GC F1, etc.). In 2003 I even bought a wheel, a Thrustmaster Enzo FFB. My first wheel had some major flaws, that made me give up on it pretty quickly: a weak construction (cheap plastic), too strong FFB motor for a very light wheel and the most important the lack of a deadzone around the center position that made the wheel constantly fight you left-to-right as forces took action. Also, when strong forces were applied it seemed to be skipping gears and going to break. However, it was not as bad as I thought, as you will see.

    Three events got me into simracing:
    1. the discovery of NFS Shift that made me dust off my wheel and give it one more try, and then look for a more realistic sim;
    2. Trying the Race07 series with the Enzo, that tought me what a real sim is;
    3. A visit to a friend that was running F1 2010 with a Momo wheel and HD projector on the wall (imagine some 3 meter diagonal screen - that was a really impressive experience!).

    As such I began to follow the simracing world, I even built a DIY wheel stand (that I’m really proud of), and all that was missing was the main piece, and most people have just one recommendation for a tight budget as I had: the DFGT.
    After some convincing of the wife and waiting for it to become available in my country (all on-line shops listed it as unavailable), one of the big electronics networks bought what I assume is quite a large stock of DFGT’s.

    1. My first wheel – the hope
    - upon unboxing I was really impressed as the wheel looked even better than the pictures I saw online. I set it up as and fired Race07 and I got a bag of mixed feelings for the following:

    • from what I read (tens of reviews, mind you) the most impressive feature of the wheel should have been the FFB (some even go as far as to prefer the DFGT to the G25), and I was shocked to find myself disappointed – while the forces were indeed strong, they lacked greatly in refinement compared the old Thrustmaster Enzo – I couldn’t feel losing the grip anymore and all became more artificial. However, on a positive note the wheel didn’t fight me anymore which made the FFB bearable;
    • the pedals are as bad as everyone says, expect no more. Weak springs, and short travel make it difficult to control the level of gas/brake you apply. While noisier, the pedals of the Enzo were miles ahead;
    • the build quality is more than adequate. While some say it’s toyish and plasticky I find it comfortable and even good looking. I even liked the button “paddle” shifters, and even the sequential shifter looks usable, for someone with a light hand.
    The first problem arise after a few hours of use though. I had the angle limited to 270 degrees, as I was used to that, and exactly at the limit point, when turning the wheel to the left, it began making a clicking noise, as if something was braking at that point. It would happen only when FFB was in action, so presuming there was something wrong with the FFB motor, I went the second day to the shop and replaced it with:

    2. My second wheel- the disaster
    Everything was wrong with the second one:

    • buttons – the downshift button on the wheel was working but not clicking while on the sequential shifter it was double clicking (working OK also);
    • the brake pedal was VERY loud this time, mostly because the thin spring was too weak. This also gave a weird sensation when pressing the pedal, as it gave almost no resistance until it hit the second spring (the thick black one), like stepping on a **** with a rock underneath J;
    • the most common problem with the DFGT and the most annoying one- rattling/clicking sound, generated by a weak wheel inside. Any FFB force like running though gravel and over curbs generates a huge amount of noise as if something is broken. The feel of the wheel is still ok but man is it annoying. I posted a youtube movie when I contacted the support so you can see what I’m talking about:
    Very disappointed, I went to the process of submitting the wheel to the local support they sent it back after 2 weeks, claiming to have repaired a “mechanical fault”, but they did nothing (the movie above was made after the wheel had returned from service). After sending it back, they tried to convince me that that was normal operation, even though Logitech on-line support acknowledged the problem and agreed warranty replacement !?! Most annoyed, I went back to the shop and asked for a third replacement:

    3. My third wheel – the compromise:
    This one ticked all the boxes: well-functioning buttons, very good brake pedal (silent, good springs), no rattling sound…for a few hours. After that it started to make the same clicking sound at certain rotation angles (like wheel no 1), mostly around the center position (at 5 and 7 o’clock). It’s not a loud sound, comparable to the clicking of a mouse button, but it’s there and believe me it’s distracting. I resorted to wearing headphones and hoping it doesn’t turn into a general problem.

    Conclusion and buying tips:
    Hands down, in theory, the DFGT is the best wheel in the price range. If it works correctly, it is also very gratifying; with the mention that I don’t believe you can face “the aliens’ of simracing without a proper set of replacement pedals, such as the Fanatec CSP.
    The build quality has great variability, see wheel no 2.
    Logitech support is very helpful (e-mail answers within 48 hours) but in real life you depend on the shop and local support representatives.
    If you want to buy a DFGT you should try the following:

    • test the wheel if possible at a friend, to see if you like it;
    • if possible, try to buy at a shop near you, with enough in stock for quick replacement (some have gone through even more than 3 replacement with DOA wheels or with similar problems to mine);
    • when testing at the shop, check for the play in the wheels that generate the rattling sound. Move quickly left to right to see if there is a large play with a clunking sound. Here is how wheel no 2 acted, and what you should avoid:
    • press the brake pedal with your hand. There should be a clicking noise, which is normal, but there shouldn’t be a big difference in the resistance between the first part of the travel (looser) to the second part (harder).
    I have bad electronics karma, and tend to pick products that go to warranty at a certain point. However with the DFGT I think it went beyond that, and even though this must be a long and mostly unuseful read, I hope it helps some of you that want to get a DFGT, or some owners that wonder if some of the presented problems are normal operation.
    Thanks and good luck (more than me at least)! :D
     
  2. One thing about your setup that you didn't mention. Did you try and adjust the force feedback setting. Most people have found that setting the force feedback to medium and then playing with the amount of force even for the higher end wheels is required to make sure that the wheel doesn't get into overload stage. This is where the data has values higher than what your wheel settings will allow and it clips the data making things feel less real.

    Several people have stated that they were able to better feel the loss of traction of the tires after adjusting the settings. There is a thread here somewhere that gives more detailed information as well as suggestions on how to find the sweet spot for the settings.
     
  3. I only use race 07. In the controller profile (Windows) I have the FFB set at 100%.
    In-game FFB settings are as follows:
    1.FFB effects: Medium
    2.FFB strength: 78
    3.Steering Force: 78
    The FFB is normal with this settings, IMO (I can easily steer with one hand).

    I dropped the levels for 2 and 3 to 70 and the "clicking" effect came in much later, and at a reduced level. With the previous settings, the wheel was 'clicking' at certain angles (5,6 and 7 o'clock) much louder (similar to the change of gears using the stick shifter).
    What is annoying about the clicking noise is that it isn't always there (happens once in 3-4 passes maybe, or when I have to countersteer qiuckly), and when it happens it's very distracting. I'm a smooth driver btw and tend to keep the wheel jerking to a minimum.
     
  4. Hiroshi Awazu

    Hiroshi Awazu
    Off Topic Moderator

    If you have not checked yet,check your ingame steering settings. I find that FFB effects are set too high.