HoiHman's GS-5 Review

HoiHman

1000RPM
Dec 7, 2009
1,016
1,283
My GS-5 review (from a SFX-100 owners perspective)

I loved my GS-4 and have posted a couple of times the GS-5 was too expensive and i would keep my modded G-seat.

But... as time passed i realised that the best upgrades i have done were always replacing something i loved for a better version. I was slowly justifing the huge price tag for myself and then i knew.

I was going to get one anyway in the future, so why not buy one right now:D

I know that there are a lot SFX100 owners wondering if this is the perfect add-on to their chassis mover. I will be covering this review from that perspective and maybe update the review on a later stage on how it is to use the GS-5 as a standalone motion solution.

The Seat

When i saw the GS-5 for the first time in real life, i was impressed. The GS-5 is a good looking and well built seat. The seat, the cover, the servos and panels all have a quality look to them. I expect this to last a lifetime. Almost everything is improved upon the previous version the GS-4. The GS-5 is made from aluminium, but it weighs much more that the good old GS-4.




Because there's more padding in the front of the seat than at the back, you are automatically forced to raise your legs. I really like the position, but it did made me have to raise my pedal deck.

The mounting bracket allows you to tilt the seat further backwards if needed and has enough recline adjustment available.

The comfort of the seat is much better than the GS-4, but this does have some drawbacks.

The GS-5 is a big seat.

The seat comes with an external control box and some really (too) long cables. Nothing to help you with cable management of these long and sturdy cables is included. The cables can be plugged in any order into the control box, the right panels will be recognised automatically.

Because the cables are very sturdy, i do think you have to be very careful not to damage the connectors when moving the cables around. That's why i ziptied mine on a plate, making the connector - cable connection secure.

I inquired at SimXperience about mounting the control box on a "d-box style" rig and got the answer "we think it will be OK" but also got the recommendation not to mount it close to a buttkicker.

Because the SFX100 can do some serious vibrations and i have installed 2 buttkickers under my seat, i decided not to install the controlbox on my rig, but on a separate panel that lies on the ground. This way it's clear of all vibrations.






Noise levels

The servos are definitely NOT quiet, if you are not a headphone or VR-user the noise may bother you. The noises are digital and to me personal very annoying when driving with a speaker sound system. With headphones or Oculus over earphones, they are almost non-existent and do not bother me at all.

Like with all things in simracing, great speed and performance comes with higher noise levels. This applies to my AccuForce, SimWind, Buttkickers, the SFX100 and yes it's the same for the GS-5.

The servos have 4 different modes available and the most quiet one is the one with the least performance obviously. The sound might be annoying, but it's the kind sound that does not travel far through closed doors or walls. I can race at night with the GS-5 at full speed and power without waking up the family

The different servo modes are still under development and some future improvements on the noise levels are expected.



So what's it like to drive ?






The GS-5 and the SFX100 are a match made in heaven and i'm writing this "review" from that perspective only. I have been enjoying the seat for a couple of weeks now. I have never even tried using the road bumps or vertical surge effects, simply because i have a system in place that does this a lot better and not only on the seat but for the entire frame.

When i got the seat at first it needed some (manual) tuning before it was the way i liked it. It needed a lot of smoothing, a special "Pat mode" and Pat Dotson created even a "Henk mode" before it felt exactly as expected.

Out of the box the GS-5 is very responsive, twitchy and this might be great for someone who sees it as an complete motion solution, but it was not why i bought it.

The support from Pat Dotson at SimXperience has been great in getting to achieve what platform mover owners expect from a GS-5 seat.

Stable and smooth constant G-Forces.


The strongest point of the GS-5 are two panels at the back, the bottom panels are a bit less present.

When you accelerate the 2 back panels push against your back and the lower 2 panels move down. This gives you instant throttle response and it's one of the main features of the GS-5.

Of course the G-forces in the corners is what most people buy a GS-5 for.

It does this really well
, you can feel the build up of the G-Force in synch with the FFB in your wheel. It even does this with a comparable amount of speed and torque. For example the S-curves in Suzuka, followed by the Dunlop corner are joy to drive through........... every single lap.

When you accelerate out of the corner, the panel that was already pushing, pushes you even more together with the other one.

To get a maximum sense of G-load you have to turn down of disable the sway effect of the SFX100. I will try to explain why.

When you have sway enabled and you turn in to a corner, the (frame) seat moves very fast in the opposite direction. Because of the mass inertia of your body, the seat will move away from you on the outside of the corner and taking the panel, that's supposed to press against you, also away.

I have tested this a couple of times and the GS-5/GS-4 feel much more intense with sway turned down or even of.

I've always been a big fan of letting each system do what it's best
Buttkickers : RPM
SFX100 : Heave, Surge, Roll, Pitch
GS-5 : G-Force (=sway)

The bottom panels do a great job for the constant G-Forces. Turning the bottom panels of is an instant miss in the corners. However they are not so good (out of the box) for surge. Compared to the SFX-100, which gives you instant brake response, they feel kind of laggy. Standalone (without the SFX-100) the surge on the bottom panels feels better, but improvement can be made in this area.

This "problem" is mainly caused because the bottom panels are lying (too) deep and pretty far back into the seat. On the front there's about 3-4 inches of foam. The bottom panels first have to travel through this tick foam layer in order to reach your legs, even though they are already lifting your butt.

Here you can see that the bottom panels lie relatively low and to the back.





Under your butt there's maybe half an inch of foam or less, which may cause some comfort issues. If you look closely you can see in the picture below, your butt is almost directly sitting on the panels.




I put an layer of hardform underneath the seat cover that greatly enhances comfort. You can clearly see the lines in the hard foam from the edges of the panels. Without hard foam, this is what your butt is feeling.





GS-5 tuning

There a lot of ways how you can tune the GS-5.

- You can set level of G's on which the panel reaches it's full position
- You can set the intensity of each individual effect
- You can add filters (like smoothing) to each effect
- You can increase the overall intensity of the panels
- You can change the mode of the servos that power the panels
- You can change the offset of the panels

The offset of has a great impact on how the forces are felt and where they are felt, also you can use the offset to adjust the GS-5 more to your body size.

Default profiles and even autotuning can make the GS-5 feel underwhelming, i recommend manual tuning to get the most of of the GS-5


Seat Belts

Wearing seatbelts with the GS-5 is an absolute must. It's the difference between sitting IN the GS-5 or sitting ON the GS-5. Effects are felt so much better, but also feel a lot better.



I just can't helping commenting on the Sim Racing Pit's review At 17:48 i found this rather funny: "I even read in the forum that some GS-5 owners were actually wearing seatbelts"

Get a couple Shawn and you know what all the fuss is about.

Final thoughts

Should you get a GS-5?

Short answer: if you have the money to spend is YES

The GS-5 is an expensive add-on but if feels like something once it's on your rig, it wil never leave. This has always been the case with the GS-4 and was the reason why it has been almost impossible to buy one used in the last couple of years. Nobody who has one wants to race without.

The GS-5 has improved in speed, reliability, torque, looks, comfort, build quality over the GS-4. There's still some improvement to be found with the bottom panels, but i'm a critic and really nitpicking here. I can also see ways for improvement on this area with the same hardware.

I have only scratched the surface of tuning the GS-5 and the combo SFX100 + GS-5, but it's already amazing.

The GS-5 is the only available turnkey simracing peripheral that can simulate G-forces and it does this in a very convincing way.
 

BenKay

100RPM
Jul 17, 2018
145
39
36
Great review Henk and I fully agree....for some reason I haven't got access to the GS-5 section of the owners' forum, so have had to ask them to give me access.

I look forward to getting my hands on the PAT and HENK modes, as I'm using it almost on stock settings (using auto-tune)..but with vertical G/bumps turned off...and I agree it is far too twitchy for the purpose I want it for.

I notice the silver metal plate at the front of your seat, between the panels...what is that for? I don't believe it is there on my seat at all.
 
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HoiHman

1000RPM
Dec 7, 2009
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Hi Ben

Here's my mediafire download link
http://www.mediafire.com/file/en89c4nqg5c34qf/PAT_MODE.zip/file

Put the "Pat mode" file into C:\Program Files (x86)\SimXperience\Sim Commander 4\Device Specific\GS5\V1\Modes

Launch SC4 and you have an additional mode: "Pat mode" available for both panels.

The silver plate is a reïnforment plate to make the GS-5 seat handle the added weight of a LFE better.

In the front there 3 holes which have the mounting dimension for a buttkicker mini LFE, but i wanted to mount a big buttkicker LFE, so i made an adapter

 
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HoiHman

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Dec 7, 2009
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Awesome write-up Henk.

Would love to try a GS-5 someday :D
Geen probleen Johnny, kom gewoon een keer langs, is altijd leuk. Ik denk dat wij heel veel te bepraten hebben :)

(no problem Johnny, come by an visit, i think we have a lot to talk about)
 

RaceNut

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Oct 5, 2009
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Great review Henk, and I totally love the mods you've made to your GS-5, and the whole system. Thank You for sharing! :thumbsup::)
 
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Requis

25RPM
Oct 15, 2018
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Great Review Henk Should have ours mounted to the Rig in the next two weeks, was there a reason you did not use the punch out of the seat panels for the LFE...is it your opinion it would have been to little??

Thanks for your thoughts,
Barry
 

HoiHman

1000RPM
Dec 7, 2009
1,016
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Great Review Henk Should have ours mounted to the Rig in the next two weeks, was there a reason you did not use the punch out of the seat panels for the LFE...is it your opinion it would have been to little??

Thanks for your thoughts,
Barry
The punch out in the panels are for dayton mini pucks. Maybe someday i will mount them in there, but i already had a good working simvibe configuration using an LFE at the bottom and a Advance at the back of the seat.

I use those mainly for engine RPM based effects
 

Steve D

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May 12, 2014
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@HoiHman / Henk, a couple of quick questions if you don't mind.

1. Do you feel that the GS-5 + the passive harness set up you have in place does away with the need for an active harness solution? I know you were keen on the latter recently so would be interested to know if you feel that passive is now sufficient.

2. A bit of fun but in the first pic, what high-tech 'elastic-band' mod is that you've done to the actuator feet / anti-vibration cups? :D Just intrigued mate!

Cheers,

Steve
 

HoiHman

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Dec 7, 2009
1,016
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1. Passive is sufficient Steve. I will give a try to add an active one when the second controller support is released, but if it get's too complicated, i will leave the seatbelts as they are right now. I will only active tensioning on the lower 2 belts, not the upper ones.

2. They keep the SFX 100 in place and prevent it from walking :roflmao:

Seriously, my rig is mobile.

It's place on a cart and stored in a different location during the day. Als a the rig is lowered on the cart the feed would fall of and the rubber cubs would stay on the ground.

The feet of the SFX100 are already "sticky" they are fixed to the steel rods. However every time i needed to place the anti-vibration cubs exactly under the feet. Now with elastic bands they stay attached to the feet and thus saves me some setting up time every day.:cool:
 
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Steve D

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May 12, 2014
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1.
2. They keep the SFX 100 in place and prevent it from walking :roflmao:

Seriously, my rig is mobile.

It's place on a cart and stored in a different location during the day. Als a the rig is lowered on the cart the feed would fall of and the rubber cubs would stay on the ground.

The feet of the SFX100 are already "sticky" they are fixed to the steel rods. However every time i needed to place the anti-vibration cubs exactly under the feet. Now with elastic bands they stay attached to the feet and thus saves me some setting up time every day.:cool:
For a very brief moment there Henk you had me!! ;) (It's early!)

Makes perfect sense and is a damn good idea actually as I jack the rig up on occasion and it's not that easy to line the feet up with the rubber cups all at once when I lower it back down. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest! Now off to raid my wife's stash of hair bands before she gets home from work!
 
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Mascot

Card-carrying mod whore
Jul 13, 2014
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For a very brief moment there Henk you had me!! ;) (It's early!)

Makes perfect sense and is a damn good idea actually as I jack the rig up on occasion and it's not that easy to line the feet up with the rubber cups all at once when I lower it back down. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest! Now off to raid my wife's stash of hair bands before she gets home from work!
A circular 'loop' of blu-tac pushed into the 3DP cup keeps the cups on the pistons when raising the rig. The washing machine feet get left behind though, although mine are semi-captive anyway, being a tight fit in their little plywood pods on the harness board.

 
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RCHeliguy

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Jan 19, 2019
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Seriously, my rig is mobile.
Could you share pictures of how that works for you?

Mobility l is a requirement for any rig that have and currently my retractable casters are working well, but I haven't seen a mobile SFX-100 or DBox system yet.
 

BenKay

100RPM
Jul 17, 2018
145
39
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Could you share pictures of how that works for you?

Mobility l is a requirement for any rig that have and currently my retractable casters are working well, but I haven't seen a mobile SFX-100 or DBox system yet.
No I think he means his rig is "unintentionally mobile". i.e. it jumps across the floor..
 

anton_Chez

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Jun 1, 2016
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Come on @anton_Chez ... you gonna bite the bullet?

How much are we looking at?
$6K+ AUD mate. I just bought and mounted a Sparco Rev II as well since I removed the V3 and the seat that was on it. They are both sold now. So add the cost of the new seat to the total as well as it would be pretty much wasted. Might get half of what I paid for it ($700).

Probably the only reason I haven't ordered one yet IS because I bought the new seat. Ok, maybe not the ONLY reason, I mean, it's 6 grande. Not sure if I need anything more at this stage when my sim racing priorities lie with actual league racing. Sometimes I race with no motion at all. Most times I can't be bothered to strap the harness up. If it were half its asking price, i'd have one most likely. I also highly dislike Simcommander so that's also something I'd have to deal with.....
 

anton_Chez

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No I think he means his rig is "unintentionally mobile". i.e. it jumps across the floor..
Henk's rig is indeed properly mobile. He has a system where it (should) takes no longer than 5 minutes from pulling it from storage to accessible to race on. Everything runs off one USB cable, also.
 

RCHeliguy

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Jan 19, 2019
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Henk's rig is indeed properly mobile. He has a system where it (should) takes no longer than 5 minutes from pulling it from storage to accessible to race on. Everything runs off one USB cable, also.
Very cool. I'd like to see it. I am surprise he is running a wheelbase, SFX-100, and GS-S over a single USB cable.

Now that I'm going to a single Neutrik quick connector for all of my transducers, I should be able to setup my rig in under 1 minute, including rolling it into place, dropping the casters, plugging in power cables, USB's and transducers. I might make a video of the process.