Now driving games, although considered a niche, are the fuel of a market of devices that in recent years it has become more and more flourishing. If all leading manufacturers now have in their catalog, mouse, keyboards, headphones, and other devices in common use, the steering wheels and pedals it is a market where you can not improvise, hoping to get good profits. The technological evolution has made giant strides in the last ten years, reaching wonders such as the Direct Drive. The bases and flying are, however, only part of the equation that sees in the pedal the second fundamental element for achieving a position good quality.
And here the choice in the field of gaming (we do not consider the companies that make professional solutions at prices unapproachable) is reduced drastically to three world-class manufacturers: Fanatec, Logitech and Thrustmaster. The american company owned by the French Guillemot is one of the largest manufacturers in this field, strong is a catalogue suitable for a little all needs and all budgets. Logitech doesn’t have the same variety but holds tightly to its slice of the market, living of a pension of the great success of the line G25 and G27. Fanatec, aimed at the high end of the market with solutions that are semi-professional high-level: with this new product, the pedals, T-LCM, Thrustmaster begins to evolve their line towards the approach of his German competitor, and does it with a product of undoubted quality.
Our unboxing of the Thrustmaster T-LCM. Quite tiring, to tell the truth, considering the weight of the unit.
The pedal in question represents a clear leap forward in terms of construction, as you can see in the unboxing video, the T-LCM is a control pedal is very solid with the main structure of the pedals in plenty of aluminium in place of the hard plastic used so far. You can’t see it, but a good part of the frame in the inner part is made of metal with a total weight of over five pounds.
Accessories for all tastes
In the catalog Thrustmaster, at the time of the launch, will be placed on some accessories for those who want to add a new feature to extra to this T-LCM. At the beginning will be only three, but from the technical details that we have received, we understand, may arrivarne other short-term. The first accessory is the cover rubber (14.99 Euro) for all the pedals in order to improve the adherence of the sole of the foot. Definitely useful, would not be bad to find them already in the package, even if the low price makes them among the most popular for a purchase extra.
In the second bar we have the adapters for the fretwork standard T3PA and T3PA-PRO. Also in this case, spending a fortune (14.99 Euro) will resolve the problemaì but we would have preferred to avoid with a configuration of the lower part can accommodate a few traforaggio more.
Finally, for those who don’t have a whole cockpit but do not want to give up the stability here is the T-Pedals Stand (49.99 Euro): it is virtually the same as the retail version for the T3PA and T3PA-PRO which is also perfectly compatible with the T-LCM. Note the possibility of inclination additional in order to suit every type of session.
The sockets are in the back with a jack for the connection to the PC and one for the classic cable, the RJ12 to connect the pedals directly to the wheel. This distinction is important: if in the first case, the pedal board can be connected directly to the PC and, after installing the driver, be used in conjunction with any steering wheel, also of other manufacturers. In the second allows a wide range of compatibility on the front of the console: for owners of the PS4 can connect to the flying T-GT, T300 and T150, while the Xbox One is compatible with the bases for TS-XW, TX and TMX.
The performance is guaranteed mainly in three areas: the possibility of customization through different configurations of springs and spacers, the adoption of sensors instead of the old potentiometers to measure the position of the three pedals and the possibilities of intervention via the software after you have downloaded the driver provided by Thrustmaster in the support page on the official website. We start from the first topic which sees precisely in the shape of the back of the brake pedal the first big news of this product. If in the past the brake adjustment concerned the inclusion of a spring of different resistance in the pack, this time Thrustmaster has really done things right. In addition to the two springs of medium hardness already pre-installed, in the package there is also a spring soft white in color and two soft hard color red. Together with two spacers to install between the springs you can obtain many different combinations to vary the resistance in different ways.
The spacers also change the total stroke is going to meet the tastes of those who ask for more or less travel of the pedal. An excellent solution from Thrustmaster that requires very little time to be implemented and does not even require special tools to disassemble the brake. You just lift the pedal and slide the latch from under the seat to expose the pin and slide vertically in the first spring, the spacer and the second spring and then close again; in the space of sixty seconds the game is done. It is a typical solution of this kind of pedals that allows to reduce maintenance to a minimum, but most of all it leaves ample room of manoeuvre to third-party manufacturers to make springs, elastomers and spacers custom of different stiffnesses and lengths to give users a space for manoeuvre even more.
Here is the Thrustmaster T-LCM, here is the rubberized, which can be purchased as an accessory.
The combinations made possible by the springs and spacers already present in the package are numerous and should be sufficient to cover the needs of most users. We found ourselves very well with the two springs medium already mounted in the factory that offer a remarkable strength, but it is not very necessary to adapt to the combination of the spring harder, and with a stroke shorter. Though as far as the brake, we are definitely in front of the pedals, the most sophisticated ever made by Thrustmaster, there are no significant news regarding the accelerator and the clutch. These are considerably softer, as the clutch has a spring that allows a return to the location more quickly. All the plates of the pedals can be moved sideways thanks to the traforaggi to suit your needs: the throttle even one notch towards the top and towards the bottom. Inside the package there are also the thicknesses of the plastic that allow you to change the inclination of the heads of the pedals to fit in the best possible way to the position of the feet in relation to the position of the guide.
On the front of ergonomics, there is an aspect to review: the flaw more important that we have noticed about the placement of the plug connection/USB bus power. Even if the pinout is of excellent quality and the weight of the pedal set high, the resistance of the brake not allow them to use “free” loosely, in some way, the movement of the pedals. Inside of a cockpit you can bolt on using the panel in the lower part, while those who used to lay it on the wall or using a stop of some kind must be careful not to damage the input of the USB cable or the RJ12. A lateral positioning would certainly have been more suitable.
A detail of the brake spring. Easy to unhook and change with those included in the package.
Moving on to the software, the pedal is connected to a steering wheel is automatically recognized: however, for those who intend to use it also on consoles, it is interesting to note that, thanks to the calibration tool custom installable on any PC, it is possible to make extra configurations to the stroke of the pedals, and then save it in the eprom internal to the foot, making them also usable on the console. The calibration tool allows you to set the dead zone of the initial brake as well as the initial and final brake and clutch. You can also limit via software the intensity of the pressure of the load cell (certified to up to 100 pounds) to adjust the maximum excursion of the braking: very handy with cars easy to lock as the single-seater or GT without ABS, and, above all, to find the fine-tuning that can go beyond the replacement of springs and spacers.
With regard to the performance of the sensors, these vary according to the platform on which the pedal is used: the technology is the proven H. E. A. R. T (HallEffectAccuRate Technology) PC-travel 16-bit, 65500 points of detection for each axis, while on the console it stops at 12 bits. Less resolution, but still more than enough to obtain all relevant performance.The proof of the facts this set has given us a very good feeling: we have tested it on PC with Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa and Iracing and on the Xbox One with F1 2019, and the response was very good in every situation. Already with the factory settings and a quick adjustment of the dead zone we found ourselves at home immediately: the brake offers a nice resistance that allows you to quickly adapt and modulate, with precision, both braking easier which comes to the aid of the ABS, both those that are the most extreme in which it’s required a lot of sensitivity in controlling the entry and manage sottosterzi and sovrasterzi.
The footswitch is all metal in the part of the levers and the pedals.
In Assetto Corsa car extreme as the F2004 has allowed us to put in evidence the great flexibility of the brake pedal: we used a combination of soft and medium hard, and played on the sensitivity via software to limit the maximum captures with remarkable rapidity. This is despite the fact our muscle memory was used to a other set of load cell like the Fanatec V3, but mechanically completely different. Nothing to say on the clutch and accelerator: the precision is absolute, even on the console and the excursion for a bit in all types of car, allowing you to easily switch from Formula to GT, from simulators to simularcade with great ease.
Defects? A few, and all in all easily solved with a few tricks. In addition to the ergonomics of someone who can’t afford a dedicated support or a cockpit which we talked about a little while ago, it must be considered that the springs with the passing of the years may snervarsi, in particular the softer, losing part of the feeling the initial terms of response compared to the beginning. Surely, there will be spare parts on the official website as a third-party, but it is a low cost and take into account after years of heavy use.
The calibration software allows you to change the pressure of the brake, and the dead areas of all three pedals.
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The sill is clearly robust, but for those who drive only with socks on, place the heel on a surface so hard, it may become annoying after long gaming sessions, especially since the metal, even if milled, it tends to slide a bit. A rubber surface is able to combine softness and grip would have been ideal. Finally, the traforaggi at the bottom do not guarantee full compatibility since the other pedals by Thrustmaster, such as the T3PA and T3PA-PRO of fretwork different and so it may be necessary to resort to the drill for a surgery additional, that, however, you can avoid buying the T-LCM Cockpit Adaptor that we refer to in the box here to the side.
In part these notes are minor, there is really nothing else to tell you that it can dissuadervi from the purchase of this T-LCM, especially if you are already holders of an ecosystem Thrustmaster and you want a set from superior engineering features, especially when compared to the pedals of the low-end of the catalogue of the american company. The price which it is proposed, that is 199 euro, is very attractive and in line with the technical characteristics and the materials used, comparable to the Fanatec CSL Elite, a product similar to principles of construction and adjustment possibilities. The afterlife of this unit specification, it is pleasing to see a company that, in a market so restricted, reacts to proposals from the competition with products at the height. This bodes well in a Direct Drive branded Thrustmaster, maybe prices are approachable, even for mere mortals.