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F19_CoNa   

I have some friends who use this and they are very happy with it. Improved their driving/braking concistency very much. Got good quick reaponse if anything is not working as it should.

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goon   

I fitted one to my G25 Pedals years ago, and after 30 minutes adjustment to it knew I would never go back to potentiometer brakes. It's not perfectly identical to my car, but it's near enough that it feels natural. Makes dealing with lock ups easier (you 'get off' the brakes instantly, rather than waiting for the pedal to travel full distance. Trail braking in to the apex is way easier, as is easing off just a little to let the car run if you've braked too early. Like I say, I wouldn't want to drive without a load cell brake now - I consider it essential.

Ricmotech were great when I had a couple of questions.

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nhill40   

Ordered!  A fool and his money are soon parted...

I may post a mini-review once I get it installed and tried out.

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nhill40   

My Ricmotech load cell brake mod showed up in the mail the other day.  As promised, here is my mini-review.

Installation -
I found the install process to be relatively run of the mill "D.I.Y." type stuff.  There was no soldering or anything along those lines required - the vast majority of the process was the undoing a variety of screws (both hex and phillips).  I didn't find any of it to be overly tricky, though one of the screws Thrustmaster used on the brake brace (the metal piece that keeps the brake pedal from springing up too high) did snap on me as I tried to loosen it.  It was very easy to find a replacement screw at the hardware store, so really not a problem.  Again, no one step was overly difficult, but once you got deep into the process, my personal "hmm, I don't think they pictured anyone removing this part to be removed" alarm did go off a couple times.  They call it a "mod" for a reason though, right?  I didn't closely watch the clock, but I bet it probably took me maybe 60-90 minutes of install time end to end.

Performance -
Personally, I'm very happy with it.  With 20/20 hindsight this seems impossible naive on my part, but I really don't think I realized how unnatural a potentiometer-based brake pedal really is (even a decent one like you'll find on the T3PA Pro).  You should also know that the extra bit of rubber "mods" that the T3PA ships with are not even in the same ballpark as a load cell.  Those rubber inserts are really just to play a trick on your mind to create the illusion of a pressure-based brake - the brake is still measuring movement, not pressure.

The brake feel is completely different.  It feels more like...well...a brake!  It feels a bit different than the brake in a passenger car, as there is very little "play" in the pedal.  That said, from what I gather, the brake pedal in purpose built race cars do tend to be very, very stiff.  Among other things, this completely changes the heel/toe experience (for the better).  As I've refined my sim racing technique over the last few years, one of the things I've arrived at is that I perform my best in socks.  The main reason for this being that, by not wearing shoes, I'm able to depress the brake pedal far enough to get full threshold braking and not inadvertently also depress the accelerator at the same time.  It only took me about a lap after installing the load cell mod to realize the days of racing in socks are over.  For starters, there is simply no need to depress the brake pedal several inches to generate maximum braking force.  With the load cell mod installed, this isn't even an option - the pedal only travels maybe an inch at most before you are up against the hard rubber stopper.  The second factor that has ended my days of racing in socks is the amount of force required to attain full braking power - simply put, with the load cell mod, I am not able to comfortably apply enough pressure on the brake pedal to attain full braking force.  So, I now race in very thin-soled shoes (like the type of "track flats" that you would wear in a distance race in the 1600/3000/5000/10000m range).  The nice side benefit to all this is that employing an effective heel/toe technique is way, WAY easier when you aren't dealing with obscene amounts of brake pedal travel.

As far as how this translates to performance in-game, I am still adjusting my technique, but it has already been a net benefit for me.  In gMotor based sims, I was already a reasonably effective braker - generally speaking, even with potentiometer based brake pedals, I had developed a feel to be able to hone in on the threshold pretty effectively in rF, rF2, AMS, R3E, etc.  The two main advantages I've noticed in gMotor sims is that (1) I have a much finer level of control with my trail braking and (2) my bad habit of "popping" off the brakes has been reduced dramatically.  The "squeeze & ease" technique as advocated by Ross Bentley in his "Speed Secrets" book is much easier to implement.

The sim that this has really been a game changer for me though is Assetto Corsa.  For realsies, the load cell has totally changed the gameplay experience for me in that sim.  I've played AC consistently since early access days, but over the last few months, I've really come around on the handling physics in that sim (mostly due to letting go of my personal hang-up of expecting it to behave/feel like a gMotor sim).  The one gripe I still had in AC is that the braking feel felt very binary to me and, all too often, I was taken by surprise by the brakes locking up.  As a result, I am brave enough to admit that it was very common for me to be faster with ABS on (which irked me).  The load cell mod has completely changed that - sure, I still lock up on occasion (personally, I think if you aren't momentarily locking up from time to time, you probably aren't consistently braking at full potential), but I find now to be far more predictable (i.e. "ah, I know what happened there - gonna try something different next lap").  Now, with all that said, I want to say for the record that literally thousands of people have mastered the brake feel in AC without dropping $170 on a brake pedal mod.  This is by no means the only way to master the brakes in AC, I'm just saying it has been a great help for me personally.

How I would prioritize this purchase -
This is very subjective but, knowing what I know now, I would personally put this pretty high on my wish list of sim racing goodies.  If I were doing things all over again, I think this would be my personal priority order:

1)  Decent gear-driven wheel + pedals
2a) Some sort of cockpit/ergonomic solution
2b) Load cell brake pedal
3)  Triple monitors
4)  H-shifter
5)  Belt-driven wheel

The reason I put 2a/2b as a grouping with the cockpit/ergonomics ahead of the load cell is that, if you get the load cell when you are still using a swivel desk chair as your cockpit, you are going to end up sending yourself flying across the room the first time you reach a corner requiring threshold braking.

In conclusion, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I would have taken the plunge on this mod a long time ago.

Where to find -
To my knowledge, straight from Ricmotech is your only option.  I got mine here for $169 USD (plus a modest shipping charge): https://www.ricmotech.com/Load_Cell_Kit_for_Thrustmaster_Pedals_p/rmt-lc500.htm

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goon   

Nice review.

(I don't want to say "I told you so..." but....) ;)

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