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Featured Review: Sim Racing Hardware SBB2 Button Box

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Humzah Hussain, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    Sim Racing Hardware (SRH) SBB2 Button Box 01.JPG
    It's time to review the SRH SBB2 Button Box of Sim Racing Hardware and see how it's stands the tests.

    This button box is priced at £120.00 ($187.00, €153.00) with shipping to the UK at £9.95 with EU shipping at £14.95 (€19.00) and International shipping at £17.95 ($28.00), pricing may very depending on currency exchange. The construction of the button box is made using a black plastic shell with SRH's multi-layer front which consists of a single piece of plastic with a Carbon effect and a clear acrylic piece to top it off. This design not only provides a solid construction but also provides great aesthetics, meaning the box will look great on anyone's rig. Plus if you want to remove the acrylic piece then you can, by simply removing the 4 allen screws on the front you can take the acrylic piece off to which gives you a nice black carbon look.

    Sim Racing Hardware (SRH) SBB2 Button Box 02.JPG

    Sim Racing Hardware (SRH) SBB2 Button Box 03.JPG

    The Box:

    The button box has a 3x4 array of buttons giving a total of 12 buttons, each row is a different colour allowing you to assign each row to a specific area such as Camera, Fuel, Telemetry, etc... Not only this but having each row a different colour allows you to visually remember the placement of the buttons, so that when you are in a race you can easily remember which button does what.

    Sim Racing Hardware (SRH) SBB2 Button Box 04.JPG

    The buttons themselves have a very positive feel to them, they require a good amount of force to push them which means you won't be accidentally pushing these buttons. Also the buttons have a very good audible click when they are pressed and also a great tactile response, all this meaning you know exactly when you have pressed the button.
    On top of the buttons there are 2 Rotary Encoders which also have different colours. These are good high quality encoders which have a decent grip to them so that you don't accidentally slip your fingers off them while trying to operate them and also the audible click and solid tactile response you get when turning the encoders provides a pleasurable experience.

    Inside The Box:
    Now let's get inside the box and see what's making all this magic happen. When we open the box we find a Leo Bodnar BU0836A 12-Bit Joystick Controller which is taking all of our buttons & encoders, then it sends that down to our computers via a USB Cable. Looking at the board we can see that there are plenty more connections for more buttons & encoders, plus you can add switches. So if you were into DIY or Modding then you can easily add more to this button box.

    Sim Racing Hardware (SRH) SBB2 Button Box 05.JPG

    Mounting:

    Attaching the button box to your rig is fairly simple, there are 4 small screw holes on the back of the button box which you could use to mount the box to a surface. Also if you wanted to you can easily drill into the box, avoiding the circuit board and USB cable, which would allow you to mount it to a surface with bigger screws/bolts (M6 for example). Alternatively you can use double sided sticky tape to stick the box to a surface. There really is no wrong way of mounting it but there are many ways of doing it, for me I bought a GT Omega Shifter Mount V2 and used double sided sticky tape to attach the box to the shifter mount but again alternatively you can use 80/20 Aluminium Profile and use screws to mount it. In all honesty the only limit to mounting the box to your rig is your imagination.

    Sim Racing Hardware (SRH) SBB2 Button Box 06.JPG

    Final Thoughts:

    Overall I enjoy using this button box, it has great tactile response on both the buttons and the encoders plus the audible feedback you get adds to the great feel when using this button box. I highly recommend it to anyone looking at getting a button box, it is set a great price plus like I have mentioned the circuit board here allows for expansion if you are willing to put in the effort to do so.

    Update From SRH:
    Since doing this review there has been an update from Brian over at SRH. Latest versions of the SBB2 Button Box use SRH's own JC 32 Input Board and the Board is directly mounted using stainless steel screws to the main housing. Also the USB port is now mounted to outside of the box.

    If you would like to have your hardware products tested and reviewed by RaceDepartment.com email me at humzah.hussain[at]racedepartment.com.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
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  2. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium Member

    Can you compare it to a DSD Button box? I am pretty happy with mine and the DSD boxes offer a lot more for a lower price. I think around 160€ incl. shipping is quite a lot when you see what DSD offers for 120$.
     
  3. Although it has nothing to do with the price difference, I love these button colors (when compared to DSD), and have never liked the huge DSD logo buttons Derek adds to most of his boxes. It looks cheap to my eye. Then again, I also prefer a metal housing, a feature few others would deem important.

    I do agree that nothing obvious appears to explain the price discrepancy.
     
  4. Ehm... Insane pricetag and the logic board glued to the bottom of the box? Sorry but this screams overpriced as hell to me.
    As a comparison, the DSD P1/P2 costs about $100 including worldwide shipping, so even after local VAT you'll be saving some money while gaining even more function. Granted I don't know (yet) what the internals of a DSD buttonbox looks like, but at that premium price SRH is demanding I'd expect premium work inside the box as well as outside.
    Good review though. :)
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  5. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium Member

    You basically dont have to care as DSD offers lifetime support and the P1/2 isnt the best bang for a bug from DSD in terms of amount of functions.

    @Michael Henke I think you can request to use special colours on your DSD Box (not 100% sure). I got a CSW panel, but took the one without the DSD button. I dont hate the button, but it sounded very cheap in some reviews.
     
  6. Good to know, as I have also ordered one CSW panel, looking forward to getting mine! :D (though I'm still waiting for the CSW v2 base :p)
     
  7. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    I can understand the price problem here, when comparing to DSD's Button Boxes it is overpriced but I can't compare it in terms of price in the review mainly because these products are in two different economies meaning that from the shell to the screws, the parts & labour are priced differently and unfortunately here in the UK it's mostly priced higher. So it would be unfair to compare the prices due to the huge difference in the currency but I do understand the price problem and hopefully once I get my hands on a DSD Button Box I will be doing a head to head comparison.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    Also if you look at it from a DIY point of view, the cost of the board plus the buttons plus the encoders comes to just over £100.00 and that doesn't include the housing, tools, screws & USB Cable.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium Member

    Sorry but these look like the relatively cheap buttons, that DSD and Sam Maxwell custom use as well. The are maximum worth 3€. From simprojects you get them for 1.20 GBP and the Rotaries are maximum 5 GBP (with covers) Simprojects sells you a joystick controller for 15GBP.
    That would make 14.40 GBP for the Buttons, 10 GBP for the Rotaries and 15 GBP for the circuit board. That are 40 GBP for the electronics maybe less as they buy higher volumes or the same if they use higher quality parts. In total you are looking at a DIY cost of maybe 60GBP if you include the housing etc.
    I dont say they are super expensive, but the competition looks better in my view and the US and GB are both countries with high labour costs, so that is no excuse.
    I wouldnt say it is overpriced, but I would like to know, if there is some benefit. I saw a review (Simpit) on their big center console, which is a real looker, but the components didnt look like they were super high quality just the normal buttons and high quality buttons are damn expensive.
    An example: If you take 12 Knitter buttons, you are looking at 10 GBP per button instead of 1.20 GBP. In that case the components alone would cost you more than this box :D

    Dont get me wrong I really like SRW, but I think they got the pricing wrong on this one. They have a lot of nice products for a very good price. I would much rather take that centre console with its extra functions (at least 50% more) and cool design for 225GBP than a very simple box for 120GBP. There wheelplates are also very good value for money, but they dont have one fitting for mine :(
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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  10. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    Point well made :)

    My bad research, didn't look at Symprojects. :(

    Like I said compared to DSD's Button Box, the SRH Button Box is expensive. However in my opinion I think its priced ok and for those who don't like ordering things from overseas (to which I know there are some) then the SRH is a good option. I also saw their Centre Console but for the price they have listed it at I am a bit hesitant on it; considering it has 10 Buttons, 5 Encoders & 5 Switches I would say i'd rather go for the DSD Button Box.

    The only reason I have the SRH Button Box is because at the time I did not want to order from overseas as I have had some bad experiences and I am still to this day glad I got the SRH Button Box even at the price, it suited my needs very well. I will hopefully try and get my hands on a DSD Button Box to compare and also use.

    Obviously the amount someone is willing to pay for a product is relative to the individual and obviously there are no brainers in terms of buying products. But for me I remained honest and portrayed how I felt about the button box, obviously once I get my hands on the DSD Button Box then my views may change but they may not. We will have to see.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  11. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    But at the end of the day DSD Button Boxes are infamous now all over the world and are renowned at being one of the best button boxes to have. For me the SRH just provided the right amount of features and provided a nice clean design. Obviously for this price point you would be looking at getting the DSD Race King which includes Safety Switches, Switches & more Rotary Encoders but I would of had no use for that many switches and encoders hence why the SRH suited me better. It's all about finding the right product for you.
     
  12. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    So depending on how you do it (Here in the UK), I am pricing this as if you were trying to replicate SRH's Button Box. All options require you have tools to finish the project:

    Option 1:
    12 Buttons = 12*£1.20
    2 Encoders = 2*£2.95
    Leo Bodnar Board = £24.99
    2 Acrylic Pieces = 2*£20.89 (Rounded Edges, 4 Holes Drilled, 4 Screws Included) + £4.49 Delivery

    Total = £87.07

    Option 2:
    12 Buttons = 12*£1.20
    2 Encoders = 2*£2.95
    Leo Bodnar Board = £24.99
    2 Acrylic Pieces = 2*£0.22 + £10.00 Delivery (Plain Clear Acrylic & Black Acrylic)

    Total = £55.73

    Option 3:
    12 Buttons = 12*£1.20
    2 Encoders = 2*£2.95
    Leo Bodnar Board = £24.99
    Your Own Housing

    Total = £45.29

    So for both Option 1 & 2 you would still need tools to drill the holes for the buttons and encoders, then you would need to fabricate a plastic or metal back housing to house everything together. Option 3 is probably the better option if you already have the tools and can easily get the materials.

    You could lower the prices by going all from Symprojects but the cost of tools still would need to factored in as not everyone has tools to do this.

    I'm not trying to justify the price of the box to anyone or trying to make it sound better than the offerings from DSD but i'm just stating that for the price it is not that bad.

    But hey all i'm doing is giving my honest review on the button box, nothing more. I understand the price point and all but from what I see the price of the button box is not that bad.
     
  13. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium Member

    Yep, all fine I dont like buying overseas that much as well :) I would never do something like this myself.
    I still think these things are reletavely cheap considering the low production mumbers. If you would put this in a racing car it would probably cost ten times as much :)
    I hope you get something more from SRH they have some really nice stuff, but it is so hard to find reviews for most of their stuffs :(
     
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  14. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    Thanks man :)

    Yeah I am in talks with SRH but going to have to wait till after the Holidays due to the high amount of orders SRH and loads of other companies have at this period.
     
  15. I actually ordered the CSW Ultra panels last year, and messed up the installation, breaking my CSW.

    Ultimately, it was my fault, but I wish Derek had warned buyers that unless you really squeeze the CSW base together (after removing the necessary screws), the holes will line up improperly.

    Thinking I'd somehow removed the wrong screws, I impulsively began ACTUALLY removing the wrong screws (when I should have calmed down and thought through the issue), and disaster resulted.

    In any case, I eventually installed the panels correctly, but I just couldn't overlook that huge, backlit button with DSD written across its face, nor did I find the buttons easily accessed. I sold the panels earlier this year, and now, of course, I need something to handle pitstops in a few titles.

    SRH does seem to have a nice CSW dashboard, featuring inwardly angled wing panels, but without a review, preferably from Barry Rowland, I'm loathe to pull the trigger.

    Henk
     
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  16. Kris Vickers

    Kris Vickers
    Hardware Staff

    Mostly because people who come forward to write a review are just wanting 'stuff for free'. Also, it seems when people buy a product and are completely happy with it, you never hear about it, it's only when something goes wrong that you do. The fact that you can't find anything negative (except, perhaps, the price?) is a good sign :)
     
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  17. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    Totally agree with this, too many people out there just want free stuff and when they get free stuff then they do a review which is some cases in ok but we need more people reviewing stuff they are happy with and bought.

    The incentive to do a review should be because you want to share your opinion on something, not because you got a free sample of it.
     
  18. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium Member

    I think if you have a good reviewer it is no problem. I spent around 1000€ for my CSW V1 with rims and I was open to my teammates, that I only like it with the F1 rim and the FFB is to weak and slow on the big heavy GT2 Rim.
    I think the guy from Simracing Garage is pretty objective. He even bought a CSW Base for his universal HUB review and judging by his rig, that wasnt a big amount of money for him. I prefer that a lot more than people who just get stuff, because if I buy something for that amount of money I want it to be perfect. If I just get it, I may not be so critical. But fanboys seem to be everywhere these days :D
     
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  19. Humzah Hussain

    Humzah Hussain
    Godspeed!

    Hopefully i'm an ok reviewer :p

    I try to be as honest as I can about what I review but at the same time that can create conflicting views on things.
     
  20. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium Member

    I think you did a better job than most, because you even opened the box and showed what is in there. Most reviews only show you the outside, but not what components are used etc.
     
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