To get your car around the track quickly, good pedals are just as important as a good steering wheel. This time the A.D2 pedals of the Spanish DCsimracing are on the program to be taken care of by SRB. At the time of writing, these pedals are for sale on the DCsimracing website for €350.90 including VAT and can be ordered directly from their website. If you prefer 3 pedals yourself, it is possible to buy a separate clutch pedal for €110.00, or you can order the A.D3 pedals immediately for the price of €459.80. We opted for the variant with two pedals because most of the cars we drive have a sequential gearbox.
Packaging & content
After shipping from sunny Valencia, where DCsimracing is located, we received the pedals in the Netherlands within a week. The courier gave us a brown box with clear “Fragile” markings and a DCsimracing sticker on it. Fortunately, inside this box we find a lot of protective foam. To protect both sides of your package, foam sheets are placed in the top of the box. This sheet needs to be unpacked to get to the actual contents. All parts in the box are neatly fixed in a cutout and can not go anywhere. In addition to the pedals themselves, there were also a foot plate, mounting materials, some tools and maintenance materials in the box. We had also ordered the heel plates, the new elastomer set and the complete elastomer kit, these were all in the same box. All metal parts have a very thin greasy layer. Something that is absolutely nice to see as this ensures that your stainless steel pedals end up on your doormat completely unaffected.
Engineering & Quality
the first feeling that goes through your mind when you take the pedals out of the box is “wow”. The pedals are made entirely of 3mm thick cut stainless steel. Everything from the base to the foot plate has a nice raw look. Nevertheless, the edges of the material are neatly finished so that you cannot cut your hands, or feet on it. As a result, you can also use these pedals barefoot or wearing socks without any worries of hurting yourself. One of the beautiful details that immediately catch the eye is the milled DC logo in the perforated foot plates. Because we find it very pleasant to drive on socks (something we also secretly do in the car) we also ordered the heel plates. Besides the fact that these look very slick and give the pedals a more luxurious look, they also ensure that your shoe, foot or sock cannot touch the rotating parts of your pedal. A downside that did come up is that on 1 of the heel plates the slot width did not fully correspond to the slots on the pedals. The result of this was that it was not pleasant to mount the heel plate on the pedal and it had to be mounted with some appropriate force.
Besides the fact that the pedals look great, they also have to work properly. For a smooth usage of your pedals, these are equipped with two ball bearings that are connected to each other with a shaft. These bearings ensure that the movement of your pedal remains smooth even when a considerable load is exerted on the pedal. This is not a superfluous luxury, since the brake pedal is equipped with a load cell that can handle no less than 100 kg of pressure! Definitely not a kids toy. To ensure that this power can also be transferred with a realistic feeling, there are 2 polymer bushings in the pedal that are covered with a beautiful stainless steel sleeve, which is also (optionally) available in carbon. The advantage of these bushings is that they are interchangeable with different hardnesses, so you can adjust the pedal completely to your own preference. A short spring on top of the sleeve provides an adjustable preload, this will allow you to customize even the smallest details of the pedal feeling to your own liking.
The accelerator pedal is of course different. Despite the fact that the metalwork is more or less the same, the signal comes through in a different way. The accelerator pedal, and if you have the clutch pedal that one too, is equipped with a high-precision Hall sensor. This is a magnetic sensor that is more reliable and accurate than a potentiometer which is more common on the cheaper pedals. The accelerator pedal is also equipped with 1 long spring to give some resistance to the pedal, this spring can also be preloaded depending on your personal preference for a heavy or light pedal feeling.
All signals coming from the pedals are routed to the 16-bit controller which has 65,535 resolution steps. Perhaps the best thing about this controller is the placement. In the 5mm thick baseplate on which everything is attached, a short slot has been milled close to the connection of the controller. The signal cables from the pedals can be routed through this slot to the underside of the footplate. The advantage of this is that all unnecessary cable length disappears from view, but also that the controller can be mounted in a very low position and the cables can still be plugged in at the bottom without kinks. In this way, both your controller and the signal cables are neatly concealed in the whole picture.
The mounting of the pedals is the point where some obstacles came to light. To be fair, attaching pedals to your rig is not rocket science. However, if you have never mounted pedals of this caliber on your cockpit before it is no luxury if a good manual is included. The box in which the pedals were delivered in does not contain an extensive manual, fortunately it does contain a flyer that refers to the online manual. After scanning the QR code you will be redirected to the DCsimracing website, which is in Spanish by default. You will have to search for the language functionality of the website and set it to English. If you scroll down there will be 3 buttons named “Manual and maintenance”, they have the same name but each button has the manual in a different language. Which language belongs to which button is not listed, so just trial and error until you arrive at the right one. If you’ve got the right language, you can start mounting your pedals, you might say. But no, there are no instructions in the manual about placing your pedals on the baseplate. So it is a bit of a guess which side of your bolt-nut connection is up and which one is down and where the rings should be placed. The good thing though, us that more than enough mounting material is included. What must be taken into account is that only Allen keys are included with this pedal set and you must ensure that you have the correct ring or open-end spanner at home.
As soon as your baseplate is equipped with your pedals and you have also mounted the controller, you can connect them to each other. You can lay the cables through the aforementioned slot in the back of the plate before clicking them into the correct socket of the controller. Unfortunately there is also a lack of information here as the controller does not state which plug belongs in which socket, this cannot be found in the manual either. In a bit of a logical way we clicked the plugs in the sockets and hoped it would work (and luckily it did on the 1st attempt).
With everything neatly put together it was time to attach the whole thing to the FXU. Like many cockpits nowadays, the FXU also has adjustable aluminum profiles to make it accessible for all types of baseplates. Fortunately, the manual does contain a picture about the order in which you should attach the baseplate. This is because several bolts, washers and a spacer are used here to protect your cabling against pinching when the whole is mounted. At the bottom of the drawing, however, you can see that a bolt is turned in the bottom of the wired spacer, which is impossible since it is impossible to slide the bolt into the aluminum profile. Somewhat surprised, but I looked again in the manual, there was really a photo of the baseplate attached to an aliminum profile. A bit doubtful about our own thinking abilities, we decided to send an e-mail. Despite the fact that it was a bit later on the day, the e-mail was answered very quickly. Unfortunately, the answer was not quite what we had hoped for, because it was true that the mounting materials for an aluminum profile were not included. The email did include a link for click-in nuts and they told us to use them. Of course they were already in the cockpit and the problem was that we had to connect a wired spacer with a nut. The cleanest solution to connect these two parts yourself is to use 4 M8 set screws. Since it was already after closing time of the shops, we went into the garage purely out of impatience to saw 4 M8 bolts into threads so that everything could still be connected. And the result is impressive, the pedals are now rock solid on our cockpit.
Adjustment and usage
With this kind of caliber pedals, the adjustment possibilities are almost endless. Just about everything about the pedals can be adjusted in such a way that they are completely tailor-made for you. For example, you can adjust the angle of your pedal, the stroke of your pedal, the angle at which the spring or your elastomers do their work and even the height of the foot plates on the pedals. So plenty of choice. For your brake pedal, the manual also lists 5 different combinations of the elastomers to give your pedal a harder or softer feel.
Since these pedals were placed here on a cockpit with a formula stance, we still wanted to adjust a few things to have a good feeling with it. For example, we wanted the pedals to be upright and also to have the smallest possible stroke to ensure that we did not have to over-stretch our legs. Although these are not super difficult adjustments, we still wanted to consult the manual to see how the pedals had to be adjusted. Here too we had an unpleasant surprise, because there is nothing about pedal adjustment in the manual. There are a few pictures with the maximum values and a few pictures with some Spanish words in them, but that’s about it. After having studied the pedals well, we started to unscrew a few things and we were still able to get the pedals into a comfortable position.
With the pedals nicely attached to the rig, it’s time for the next step, connecting the pedals to the computer. Included with the pedals is a 2m USB cable that connects the controller to the computer. The computer immediately recognizes the pedals without having to download anything or make any effort, after which they can be calibrated. To do this you have to download DCsimracing’s own software from the website, this is a one minute job. Simply create a folder and drag the contents of the zip file into it and you are ready to go. When starting the software, a well known problem occurs again. Just like the website the software is in Spanish by default. Fortunately, there is an “English” button at the top right and people outside of Spain and Latin America can also use the software. This is an action that has to be repeated every time the calibration software is started, it does not remember your language preference. The software opens a window with some nice graphs of your pedaling progress and a lot of pluses, minuses and percentages. To find out how to calibrate these pedals, we would like to consult the manual. You may have guessed it, there is nothing about the software in the manual and there is also no separate software-manual on the website. Fortunately, the software looks a bit similar to the Heusinkveld software and things became clear while playing a bit with the software. However, the software does not feel entirely user-friendly. For example, we actually miss the function for a self-calibration where you press the pedal as much as possible and the software registers what the 100% should be. In the software, you have to manually adjust this by setting an end-deadzone. By fully pressing the pedal you can see what kind of signal is coming through and you can set the dead zone. However, this is only possible by clicking on the pluses and minuses, no values can be entered and you cannot hold down the minus. Which means that for a 30% deadzone you have to click the minus sign 30 times. Not a very nice way of calibrating either. Fortunately, the software does have a number of presets for the brake pedal that allow you to set the pedal progressively, linearly or degressively.
Now that everything is completely set up and ready to go, you can finally drive. Oh boy what an experience! Every lap we drove on the virtual track, the frown turned a little more into a smile. The pedals are extremely reactive and feel super smooth and accurate. Dosing your gas and slowly building up speed out of the corner is super easy. Also the trail braking on pressure instead of pedal position feels smooth and above all very natural. In the moments when you are super fanatically trying to squeeze the last bit of time out of your laps, the pedals got slammed quite a lot but with absolutely no sound. The pedals are very sturdy and can withstand a lot of force.
After a day or 2 of really intensive use, there was sudden squeek from the accelerator pedal. Oops! Because of our enthusiasm we completely forgot that there also was maintenance material in the box. The box contains a small jar of grease and a jar of oil. If you want your pedals to last for a long time it is advised to maintain them well. After greasing the necessary pivot points on the pedals, they felt even smoother than before and the noise is gone. In the meantime, a few weeks have already passed and the pedals are still very quiet. If you have run out of maintenance equipment, that’s not a disaster, at many hardware stores there is a good dry grease for metal that also does not attract dirt. This way you keep your DC pedals in absolute top condition.
Bottom line, we have some mixed feelings about DCsimracing’s A.D2 pedals. There is no doubt about the product itself, the pedals, are absolutely top notch. The feel, the precision, the looks, everything meets all expectations. There is no doubt that you will not find a better pedal set for this price. The A.D2 pedals are also absolutely worth every euro. If you are looking for a good and relatively cheap upgrade, this pedal set should definitely be on your list of possible candidates.
So why the mixed feelings? The mixed feelings mainly find their origin in the user experience. There are a few things that we ran into. The fact that there is actually no useful information in the manual, the illustrations are in Spanish and a lot of information is completely missing, is in our opinion, perhaps the biggest shortcoming. Added to this are the simple mounting materials that are missing to attach them to aluminum profiles. The software that is not entirely user-friendly and which does not contain a manual also does not do much good for the user-feeling. Lastly, we also see the use of the Spanish language as the default while you are active on the international market as a minor annoyance for people who do not speak the language..
Fortunately, these are all things that are very easy to fix. We also sincerely think that if DCsimracing tackles these small points in a proper way, we will hear a lot from these guys on the sim market.