Subject: General Tech | March 3, 2017 - 01:48 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: xbox one, wheels, wheel base, rally, racing, PC, Fanatec, ClubSport V2.5, ClubSport V2
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2016 - 12:12 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: wheel base, wheel, TX, Thrustmaster, T500, T300, racing, force feedback, Alcantara
Thrustmaster is announcing today the upcoming availability of their latest PC focused racing wheel and base. The TS-PC is a brand new design that integrates many new features as compared to their previous offerings. The press release did not mention compatibility on consoles, but it seems for now that it is aimed squarely at the PC (hence the name).
The big improvement from past part is the inclusion of a 40 watt motor providing more force than what we had seen previously in the T500, T300, and TX series of wheel bases. I do not know how it compares to the Fanatec CSL’s 6 Nm of force, or the higher end ClubSport V2’s 8 Nm. My guess is that it could very well be somewhere between those two options.
The motor needs some extra cooling so that apparently has received a pretty good upgrade. Thrustmaster seems to like their acronyms, so they are calling this cooling system the MCE. This stands for Motor Cooling Embedded. Few details were provided, but this system is in place to keep the motor at peak efficiency even at high transient levels of force. It does this without ramping up the speeds of the fans in the base. Hopefully soon we can find out how Thrustmaster was able to increase the thermal capacity in a base that is not all that much larger than previous products.
Thrustmaster is also implementing what they call a F.O.C algorithm (Field Oriented Control) that supposedly boosts the already impressive precision of the H.E.A.R.T. system (Hall Effect AccuRate Technology). I told you they like acronyms. This features the same 16 bit resolution of the T500 and T300 products, but it seems the new software reading the values is able to do a better job at it than previous parts.
Powering all of this is an external power supply that supports up to 400 watts of peak power. This is a peak number and not what it can do under constant load. That number is probably closer to 100 watts, but the specifics have not been released yet. The motor in the wheel base does not pull a constant amount of current, so its needs are varied depending on the type of inputs required by the application. When more force is required, it typically is not for extensive periods of time. It seems that the power supply that Thrustmaster is using is going to be quite a bit more powerful than those that were integrated into the T500/T300/TX wheel bases.
The open wheel itself is a new design. It features suede grips, an aluminum plate, and aluminum paddles. Thrustmaster claims that it has optimized stiffness and weight to give it the best overall response for the size of the product. More mass is never a good thing when trying to transmit small or subtle variations of force feedback, so the less mess in a wheel while maximizing rigidity gives the best overall experience no matter how strong the motor is.
The TS-PC is compatible with the entire Thrustmaster ecosystem of parts. This includes the 599XX Alcantara wheel that I reviewed some months back. Wheels, pedals, and shifters are all compatible with the new base so users can customize their experience as needed.
The TS-PC will be available on Dec. 5, 2016 for $499.
Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2016 - 02:46 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: wheel base, Thrustmaster, T500RS, T300, steering wheel, pedals, Fanatec, CSL Elite, ClubSport V2
This past Summer I was introduced to Fanatec products for the first time. Before that I had only handled some lower end Genius products, as well as low end and midrange Thrustmaster units. My review of the Fanatec setup will be posted here this next week, but my overall impressions of what Fanatec offers is overwhelmingly positive. The only issue, and it is a glaring one, is the lack of an affordable setup based on their designs. This past Friday Fanatec introduced a new series of products that aims to make their setups far more affordable than what we have seen so far.
The new CSL Elite Series of products offer many of the same features of the higher end ClubSport series of products, but at a much more affordable price range. This does not mean that they are skimping out on features and quality construction. The CSL Elite Pedals with Loadcell Kit offer a full aluminum build with a three pedal setup and the load cell on the brake pedal. This allows increasing resistance during braking that other spring loaded pedals may not offer. Fanatec claims that up to 90kg of pressure can be applied to the load cell. Having used their upper end ClubSport pedals, I can attest to what a difference such a load cell and a heavy aluminum base can do for the racing experience. Fanatec includes three different types of anti-skid pads that can be swapped out on the pedals.
The CSL Elite Wheel Base offers 6NM of force to the wheel. This is more than the ClubSport V1 base, but slightly less than the V2. In violent crashes, the wheel certainly can break the grip of the user’s hands. The base accepts a wide variety of wheels from Fanatec, but the bundle comes with the CSL Steering Wheel P1 for Xbox One. The base comes with the automotive grade quick release unit that easily swaps in and out wheels. The base also includes an RPM LED display on the base that is not included in the ClubSport series. The base also includes a built-in table clamp that is a $50 accessory for the ClubSport V2 setup.
The smaller motor, single belt design, and plastic construction of the wheel base allows Fanatec to shave a big portion of the price off of this part. It still features the metal drive shaft and metal quick release mechanism (something that Thrustmaster doesn’t have even on their high end T500RS base). The base still allows the connections for the optional shifter and e-brake.
Fanatec offers the bundle with a full version of Assetto Corsa for Xbox One for $639.85. This is a tremendous price point that puts it in range of the T500RS. Fanatec products have never been this reasonable for PC and Xbox One racers. It is still a chunk of change, but it is nowhere near the $1800 range where a full ClubSport V2 setup can be bought for.
The base can be upgraded with options such as a static paddle shifters.
I’m looking forward to seeing reviews of these parts and how they stack up to the V2 and other setups from competitors.