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[review]Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 wheel

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Fonsecker, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. Fonsecker

    Fonsecker
    Premium

    Messages:
    148
    Ratings:
    +496
    Today, i don´t post any new sound mods, i want to talk about the new Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 racing wheel.

    I have followed a long time the product line of Fanatec Wheels, but for my taste, they are all a bit to expensive. But now with the new CSL Elite series, it looks interesting in price and quality.

    I have started my sim racing career in the mid 90´s with a racing wheel without pedals, but with throttle and brake by pedals on the steering wheel. Very interesting and a complete new driving experience compared to an analog joystick i have used before to drive Papyrus NASCAR Racing.

    With the introduction of FFB wheels from Microsoft, i switched to the Microsoft sidewinder FFB racing wheel.

    In the beginning of the 2000´s i ordered a Logitech Driving Force Pro and also, very expensive upgrade from FREX Japan, a real Momo wheel with custom made shift pedals, buttons and new pedal set for throttle and brake.

    I stayed till now with the pedals, but switched one year ago to the Thrustmaster T300RS Ferrari Alcantara edition.

    Now, thanks to Fanatec, i received few weeks ago 4 parcels by UPS with the new CSL Elite PS4 wheel, CSL Elite Pedals with load cell upgrade and the Clubsport F1 rim.

    [​IMG]

    First i have unboxed the base with its new designed PS4 rim.

    I have noticed immediately the low weight of the rim. I thought its less than the weight of the Thrustmaster 599xx

    alcantara wheel, but i was wrong. The Fanatec has a approx. weight of 1009g, the Thrustmaster has 1093g. So they are equal, perhaps it feels different because the Thrustmaster rim is bigger in diameter.

    The quality of the Fanatec rim is slightly better. The leather on the side of the rim feels nice and compared to the suede leather, it could be more durable if driven without gloves.

    The blue stitching looks very sporty and with the very bright and good viewable display and shift light indicator, it looks a bit like the steering wheel of a BMW M235i racing.

    Special on the new PS4 rim, you can change the button caps with PS4 design to other caps, so you can have individual buttons, way better if you use the wheel on the PC as i do. It is not that easy to change the button caps, in my case i need flat-nosed pliers to get them off.

    The shift pedals on the wheel feels great. For my taste they are a bit too far away from the rim. I have big hands, but it could be a bit closer. They have a nice and strong click, but almost silent. Great for me because i don´t have a separate room for sim racing and my wife is very happy if my driving does not make any noise.

    [​IMG]

    Let´s go on with the wheel base. Very nice, heavy and a bit smaller than the T300RS. The table clamp is great and looks and feels like the one from the T300. Perhaps the designer of both companies had the same idea.

    Special hint: If u grease the thread of the mounting a bit, it is more easy to screw/unscrew the table clamp.

    So, before i can go on track, i have to mount the pedals.

    [​IMG]

    You can order the CSL Elite pedals as a two pedal set, with only throttle and brake pedal, where the brake pedal has a common poti. If you order also the loadcell upgrade kit, the brake pedals will become the clutch and a new brake pedal with a 90kg load cell can be mounted.

    As i use a h-shifter from Thrustmaster, a clutch pedal is very important for me, and of course the upgrade to a loadcell brake is not that bad :)

    In the controller setup menu, i have set the brake pedal pressure to 40%, that is more than enough for me, because i don´t have a racing seat. I only have a desk and using an office chair.

    [​IMG]

    In the past years, i used the pedals from FREX Japan. They are great, heavy duty aluminium made with strong springs and nice potis. But no loadcell. Can´t wait to feel the difference.

    After mounting all the parts (they look more than they are, and mounting was almost possible without using the manual) i can go on with mounting the PS4 wheel to the base.

    In the first moment, i was a bit dissapointed, because the PS4 rim does not have the very nice and realistic quick-release system. It is more like a simplified quick-release with clamp ad a screw to fix it. But compared to the "quick-release" from the Thrustmaster rims, it is far more advanced, stable and durable.

    [​IMG]

    So, now all the hardware is mounted, drivers installed and configured, i can start driving.

    of course with Assetto Corsa...what else :)

    I have started with the BMW M235i racing @ Zandvoort. But before a drive, i use a very nice feature of the Fanatec wheels. You can change on the fly the steering angle of the wheel. You can also save 5 presets of settings for each rim, great if you use more than one game. You can setup the steering rotation angle from 200° to 1080°.

    After a few laps, i am really amazed how quiet the wheel works. No sound from the motor, the belt or any other noise. Compared to the T300 RS or my old Logitech driving force Pro, it is an absolute great feel.

    ==================================================
    Btw. noise: The wheel produces a strange rattling noise if there happens a strong force feedback effect. This loud and noisy rattling is reported from many other users and happens from game to game more or less.

    The guys from Fanatec created a beta firmware upgrade (v292) which adds a new setting in the wheels setup menu:

    FEI = Force Effect Intensity

    This tuning menu parameter is adjustable within the range of 000 - 010. The default setting is 000 which is equal like the current public released firmware for both bases. Increasing the value for FEI means that the motor will decrease the attack impact when the effect direction changes, higher values mean more 'dampening'. This will reduce or eliminate the rattle noise.
    ==================================================

    Back on track, after few more laps, i can say that the strength of the FFB is much more intense and higher than in the T300. After some more laps, its even too high so i have to decrease the FFB strength. Great to know that there is enough space for stronger FFB without clipping. That is a point where the T300 is weak, cause with more FFB strength, clipping starts.

    Now few words on the pedals: Those CSL Elite pedals are really nice and a have a very good price performance ratio. Sure, i miss a bit the adjustments you can make on the Clubsport V3 pedals, but for 150€ less the the Clubsport, they are doing their job very well. The additional loadcell upgrade does its part to improve the overall feeling of control. I have never had loadcell brake pedal, my modified FREX pedals only has poti for all three axis and some heavy duty rubber damper, which is great, but not to compare to a loadcell brake. After few days of training, my brake performance and lap times increased a lot. The only downside of the not adjustable pedals in my view is, if they are used for heal and toe in combination with an H-shifter. Brake and throttle pedal have the same height, so it is not that comfortable to heal and toe. I will do here no comparison to the stock T300 RS pedals, even if i had for a short time the Thrustmaster T3PA 3-pedal set in use. For a price of 99€ they cost half of the Elite pedals, but have more than the half of performance, quality and feel.

    So, now coming to the end of this small review to a short conclusion:

    I have compared more or less the Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 wheel with the T300 RS, because it is the lower priced wheel of Fanatec and aimed for the entry level of Fanatec products, but the wheels are not that easy to compare in terms of quality and price. They both are top level wheels, but you will get a better package in quality, FFB strength and durability with the downside of a higher price. But once you have tested the Fanatec wheel, you will never miss the small nice things like the genius quick-release system and the adjustable settings while driving. Sure, the PS4 rim does not have the quick-release system, but sooner or later, i will replace this rim with the Clubsport BMW GT2 rim just for the quick-release.


    Pro´s:

    -ultra quiet belt drive
    -very strong FFB
    -very good quality and durability
    -wheel settings adjustable while driving with the LCD display
    -solid table clamp and compact design of the base
    -compatibility to all Clubsport rims and addons like shifter, handbrake
    -PS4 support

    Con´s:
    -higher price compared to the Thrustmaster T300
    -inconvenient not that quick-release system on the PS4 Rim
    -PS4 rim could be a bit thicker and full of alcantara leather (like the new CSL Elite rim P1)

    Big thanx to Fanatec for supporting me with the hardware!

    https://www.fanatec.com/eu-de/racing-wheels/csl- elite-racing-wheel-ps4.html
    https://www.fanatec.com/eu-de/pedale/csl-elite- pedale-lc-eu.html
     
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  2. Sergio Goncalves

    Sergio Goncalves

    Messages:
    139
    Ratings:
    +60
    Thanks for the review!

    Just going to say that you will miss some FFB if you decide to get the BMW GT2 because it's super heavy, around 2kg!
     
  3. MarpanX

    MarpanX
    Premium

    Messages:
    31
    Ratings:
    +13
    Thanks for a great review, aren't both wheels 30cm in diameter? 599 vs CLS elite PS4 wheel
     
  4. mancSLO

    mancSLO
    Premium

    Messages:
    365
    Ratings:
    +92
    Thx for the review. The same package (except f1rim) i will recive yesterday.
    Which preset profile did we use for the assetto corsa and what fbb setup did we set?
    Is there eny set in the PC driwer? Like logitecg prifiler?
    Thx for help...
     
  5. Fonsecker

    Fonsecker
    Premium

    Messages:
    148
    Ratings:
    +496
    as i remember, there is a profile for the CSL Elite Base. I have used that. But u have to setup a lot through the wheels setup menu for your own taste.

    And donßt forget to do a firmware upgrade for the new FEI setting, which is needed for AC. I have used 005-007 depending on the car.
     
  6. BoulderMark

    BoulderMark

    Messages:
    10
    Ratings:
    +1
    Thank you for this very informative post.
    I was writing a post asking for advice comparing both these wheels.
    My CSR has finally died (FFB motor gone and Fanatec state that they can’t assist because they don’t even have any of the motors left).

    I was looking at the T300 Alcantara edition and was wondering if the Fanatec bundle (basic pedals - I may upgrade at a later date) was worth the extra £200.
    I think from your review it is worth it!!

    One question. I read that the supplied RIM does not have vibration motors in it. Is this a negative?