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Review: Ricmotech G27 v2 Load Cell

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by AussieStig, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 17.21.49.png

    As a fan of all things immersive, I like to try new things out in order to get the most realistic experience possible from my equipment. So I contacted Frank Rico to see if I could organise one of his D.I.Y. v2 load cell kits for the Logitech G25 and G27. Happily, he consented and speedily shipped me a review model to test for you here.

    Brake Pedal

    Probably one of the most important pieces of equipment in anyone’s sim racing set up is a good brake pedal. There are sim racers that swear by their hydraulic or load cell equipped pedal sets and others whom are just as content racing with a standard spring loaded pedal. Some of the fastest sim racers achieve alien times using bog standard equipment! So why a load cell? If you are into immersion as much as I am, a load cell can be a cost effective way to mimic the feel of a real world hydraulic brake and give you the immersion you are looking for.

    D.I.Y. Kit

    So what’s in this D.I.Y. kit? Basically, everything you need to install the load cell mod is included in one small box, printed detailed instructions, load cell, PCB, spring with rubber stopper and three rip ties. Pictured, but not included is the drilled top half of my G27’s brake piston. Although there is no soldering involved in installing this mod, I still see it as a true D.I.Y. project. There are aspects that might put some people off, while others such as myself will really enjoy changing things up. So to each their own I say!

    IMG_2939.jpg

    Tools

    As with previous reviews, I like to begin by showing you guys which tools are required to enable you to install this load cell mod.

    IMG_2918.jpg

    Pictured from left to right are, Allen key 2,5mm, Small Side Cutters, Scribe or pointy metal implement, Stanley Knife, Ruler, Needle Nosed Pliers and a small and large Philips Head Screwdriver. Not pictured, but very handy to have at the ready is a small dish or container to deposit all those removed screws.

    Instructions

    Included in the D.I.Y. kit is a comprehensive printed instruction sheet, pictorially depicted with accompanying text. Alternatively you may like to view Ricmotech’s YouTube installation video which has some handy tips and hints included. I went ahead and read through the instructions before installing the mod, which in themselves are perfectly adequate. However, I ended up using the video as a reference for my install.

    Disassembling The G27’s Pedals

    The best way to prepare the G27 pedals for this mod is to have an old shoebox or similar to cradle the G27 pedals in an inverted position. This allows you to remove all of the 14 silver and 12 black screws from the underside of the base. Prior to this you will have to remove the brake pedal face from the pedal arm using a 2,5mm allen key.

    IMG_2922.jpg
    A word of caution, handle the brake assembly with care when removing it from the housing. The wiring is quite delicate and easily damaged. In addition to this, when removing the clips from the potentiometer it is extremely important to exercise restraint whilst using your needle nosed pliers to grip the clips and gently remove them from their respective positions.

    IMG_2925.jpg

    Load Cell Installed

    With the load cell installed in the top half of the piston and the wire routed through the previously drilled 5mm hole, it was time to reassemble the brake assembly and get it back into the base.

    IMG_2942.jpg

    The next step was to attach the new PCB and wiring to the existing potentiometer clips. Be sure to follow the colour sequence for reattaching the wires and clips. not forgetting to re-attach the ground wire to the side of the brake assembly by means of a small grub screw which was removed earlier during disassembly. Now follow this step by peeling off the self-adhesive backing and positioning the new PCB within the top section of the G27’s housing. Here is where I deviated slightly from the instructions and decided to have the PCB sitting slightly proud of the plastic moulding as can be seen here in the photo below.

    IMG_2949.jpg

    This allowed me to have the wires which originated from the load cell itself, exit the PCB at a natural angle and loop back around to the self-adhesive side of the PCB. Here I firmly pressed the main wire into the self-adhesive material. This gave me a little more peace of mind that once everything was buttoned up, the wires were not going to move around and put pressure on the PCB’s connection point.

    Additionally, I opted to swap the previously installed GTEYE springs out. What was the brake spring is now doing duty as a clutch spring and the clutch spring now regulates my throttle pedal. Because of the extra leverage I achieve with my seating position this turned out to be a good decision giving me the right amount of resistance in the other two pedals. Now with the tie rips holding the rest of the wiring at bay, it was time to close up the base and get it back on my rig.

    All Back Together And Ready To Go

    Now that all the steps had been followed and the G27 pedals were whole again, I was very eager to hard mount them back into my rig and feel the results of what this 35 to 40 minute project had in store for me! As you can see, I do not have a standard G27 set up. My self built rig is based off of a HyperStim design which calls for Formula-style pedals. The G27’s pedals do not have these as standard, of course, me being me, I made my own extensions to offer the desired near vertical foot position once seated in my rig.

    Time To Brake!

    IMG_2963.jpg

    With the mod installed, the first thing I wanted to do was feel how hard the pedal had now become! Soft-soled slippers or shoes are the first thing you will need when pressing on this brake, it is hard with a capital H! With a short 20mm of travel and 35 kilos of pressure before you hit that wall of stiffness, you know you have just installed a heavy duty mod! The amount of travel that is built into this mod brings the brake pedal almost exactly parallel with the throttle when at its rest position. Heel and toe is the order of the day, ladies and gentleman, exactly what I was hoping for as this is my favourite way to drive those hairy chested race cars from the not so distant past!

    Racing With The Ricmotech Load Cell

    Down to business then, after recalibrating the pedals in Assetto Corsa, I went straight for my favourite combo, the Mazda 787b and the incredibly technical Nordschleife. Out on circuit, the immediate sensation was, ‘’Whoohoo, I can brake as if I were in a real car!’’ With ABS turned off and now being able to actually feel the amount of pressure required to threshold or trail brake, as well as the point of where I would be locking the brakes, I wanted to see how much quicker I could be?

    Back down to Earth after that initial moment of euphoria, it was painfully obvious that I was not going to be quicker any time soon. There is a whole new learning curve for braking with a load cell. Thankfully, it is not that steep and after a few hours of practice and adjusting my braking points I got to within six hundredths of a second of my best Nordschleife time of 6:16,223. However, I expect to break this time after a few more hours in the Mazda.

    EDIT 03-09-2015: I was right, my best time has now become 6:15,855, nearly half a second over the full Nordschleife is not too shabby!

    EDIT 10-09-2015 New PB is 6:14,346 WhooHoo

    On shorter circuits my times have improved rapidly! I can say with 99% certainty that the load cell is solely responsible for my improvements. It is a huge help to me to know I can really jump on the brakes and not get instant lock ups, dabbing them now brings the nose into the apex much more accurately and the weight transfer of the car I am racing is much more perceptible. I would class these as very positive improvements indeed. Not forgetting the immersion level, which for me has just been taken up a few notches!

    Pricing And Shipping

    These prices were correct at the time of publication, September 2015. All prices were taken from the official Ricmotech website and include sales tax where applicable. For shipping costs, please check the website here. All prices quoted are subject to fluctuating currency rates.

    Price for this review model, Load Cell Conversion for Logitech G25 and G27 (v2) item #: RMT-LC27

    Euro € 115,47 / USD $ 129.95 / BP £ 84,75 / AUD $ 184.60 / CND $ 171.31

    Final Thoughts

    Ricmotech have produced a great mod which is compatible with PC and consoles alike, so any console owners wishing to create more immersion, you are covered guys! Frank Rico offers excellent customer service and is only too happy to answer any questions or queries one may have regarding his sim racing products. On top of that, he is a genuinely good bloke and it is a pleasure to deal with him.

    Is this load cell mod for every G25 or 27 owner? Honestly speaking, maybe not. It comes down to what you would like to get out of sim racing. If you are like me, realism is important and I can appreciate what this load cell mod does for the way I race. The mod imparts the feel of a race car’s brake, that is, very little travel and a decent amount of your energie is required to operate it optimally.

    Also, there are alternatives out there such as the the GTEYE spring set, Perfect Pedal mod, (which have more travel and a softer feel), or even fully hydraulic set ups which can run over a thousand dollars. Others may not want a hard pedal feel or find the price point too expensive. Whichever way you choose, if you are into realistic immersion and your budget allows for it, it will be money well spent.

    To me, the immersion, performance and time gains I am now able to enjoy justifies the $ 129.95 price tag!
     
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  2. You could just buy a used set of fanatec elite pedals for the same price.
     
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  3. You could indeed, only thing is there aren't that many second hand in perfect working order Fanatec pedals floating around are there?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
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  4. Kris Vickers

    Kris Vickers
    Hardware Staff

    You`ll also get a bunch of comments along the lines of "How much? I could make it myself for less".

    Well yes, yes you could make it yourself. This also applies to practically everything you can buy, as people have to make a margin when they are providing a service for you.

    Take a new car for example. Let`s say this new car is £12k. You could build one for less (eg. £8k) and it be just as functional. It may not look as quality as the £12k factory car, but just as functional.

    Now let`s say you get carried away and think, I can make these and sell them for £10k. Well yes, yes you could. But you`d also be the same person to complain when someone says "How much? £10k for a kitcar, I can make one for less". So congratualtions, you have just become a hypocrite.

    The point is, if you`re complaining about the price, it`s probably because you can`t afford it (or justify the spend to yourself/partner/parents) and instead of admitting that, you bash the price.
     
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  5. Phil Davies

    Phil Davies
    Fix it till it's broke,Then fix it some more. Premium Member

    Great review,I use my trusty old G25 and i also have a spare one with about ten hours use so these mods are of great interest to me,I already use the GT eye mod which for the money is a massive improvement on the original springs,now you've got me seriously contemplating the load cell mod,Nice job on the pedal extensions :cool:.
     
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  6. Thanks Phil,

    Glad you liked the review mate. I enjoy reviewing products for you guys and in the process it may help some people out whom are in the market for an upgrade or want to change things up.

    Cheers AussieStig
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
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  7. Yapci

    Yapci
    Premium Member

    Hi! Im really interested in that extensions!! Any plans or tutorial??? Thanksss
     
  8. Does anyone know that can i replace the ricmotec's spring and rubber with something different for example nixim mod?
     
  9. Shawdad

    Shawdad
    PSN ID: Shawdad

    I am curious to know how the pedal travel of this mod compares to the AP Electrix load sensor mod. I really like that mod, with the exception of the almost non-existent travel. Think this would also be compatible with the new G29?
     
  10. I am trying to get a hold of a Perfect Pedal to review as well. The G29 question will be answered very soon. Please stay tuned.

    Cheers AussieStig
     
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  11. I am getting a hold of a G29 to tear apart and I should have the definitive answer if it will work on the G29 as-is or if it will require some changes.
     
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  12. Some users have gotten creative and come up with their own spring/bushing combo. The combo I provide has proven well and lasts over time. It is designed to feel like a race car brake and its design lends itself to it while keeping the cost moderate.
     
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  13. Michael Watts

    Michael Watts
    XB1 Gamertag: michaei watts Premium Member

    Does that mean there will be something available for the up and coming G920? I believe they share the same pedals. It's too bad you can do something with the flaccid Thrustmaster TX pedals.
     
  14. [​IMG]
    w00t...
    AussieStig, are these G25/27 angle&height adapters available for purchase somewhere?
     
  15. ive never understood this either...csr elites are only $150 (+shipping, which is not insignificant). i dont like DIY stuff at all, so theres no real savings here for me...but even if there was i dont get how its enough. maybe if this was under $100 i could see it.
     
  16. Ashley Cowan

    Ashley Cowan
    Premium Member

    Hi AussieStig, I too am driving in a craftwood contraption. Can you zoom out on your rig?
     
  17. No mate, I made them for myself as I needed a special angle / height and this is what I came up with.

    Cheers AussieStig
     
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  18. Hey Ashley,

    I'll show you mine if you show me yours :) I will post a pic later on today, cheers mate, AussieStig
     
  19. NOPE,
    mine are in a non working heap. boo them.
     
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  20. I respect your opinion, but there are some very good reasons to upgrade the Logitech pedals. The Fanatec pedals will not plug directly into the wheel, so console compatibility is out. Also, the Fanatec uses a cheap $10 paperclip load cell which is notorious for failing. My kit uses a high precision, fast reacting, medical grade load cell which costs over $80. My failure rates on the load cells is less than 0.1%. And of those failures, they have all been physically broken and none have been electronic failures. So bottom line, not all load cells are created equal and the Logitech pedals are a stout platform to begin with. Why not improve upon what you have rather than investing $150 on a set of pedals that only gives you $10 worth of improvement.
     
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