If you follow me on Facebook or Discord, you know that it’s been a little while since I put my hydraulic pedal set in the closet to test a more conventional pedal model: the SimJack Mini. Based on the principle popularized by the Heusinkveld pedals, the Mini is the entry-level model from China-based manufacturer SimJack.
So, does the price mean concessions on quality? Answer in this article!
SimJack : the manufacturer
Before attacking (the brake pedal, lol), I have to tell you a little bit: So SimJack is a manufacturer that set up shop not so long ago. To tell you the truth, while talking with the boss, I even learned that they had read my article on load cell pedals before designing theirs. This company is young, it’s open minded: they agreed to share CAD files with me (which I obviously can’t share) so that I can develop mods, and eventually give them feedback. Comments, there were some (pedals, I’m starting to master a bit the subject). And obviously, they are planning to take them into account, so we’ll come back to that very soon.
The packaging: classic, simple, effective.
Let’s save our time: it arrived well, well packaged.
The assembly and the setting up.
First small negative point: the supplied screws (M6x10) are much too short. Of course it is impossible to provide screws that would fit everyone. But I don’t see what good it will do. Obviously I have everything I need in my drawers so it was quickly assembled.
For your information, the mounting brackets are 3mm thick, so if you have an 8mm plate like me, you’ll need something like M6x20.
For the parameter setting we use the Diview software…classic! However, for me it was the first time I used this software, and I admit I’m not a big fan… especially the calculation of the central value (which allows to adjust the response curves) is really tedious. We’ll come back to that too.
The control box is very compact and uses an STM32 chip with 16 bits of resolution: it’s classic, it works, it’s perfect. I designed a small clip that allows a clean mounting and the USB cable is long enough to fit in my USB hub.
The possible settings are many:
- start/end of travel
- pedal resistance
- relative position of the pedals in depth (14mm)
- height adjustment of the throttle plate (7,5mm)
What I found unfortunate was the lack of plate adjustments: it doesn’t cost anything to add a few screw locations to offer a little freedom.
As you probably already know, the Mini version implies relatively short pedals (from the axle to the top of the levers, we are at 156mm). And it’s actually on the throttle that this length is the most missing. So I cheated a bit and shifted the plate to get a satisfying length.
Moreover, the frame of these three pedals is particularly stiff, which allows a good precision in the setting and in the use. Moreover, the inversion of the plate does not bring any additional flexibility.
Finally, I found the spring a little too stiff, even when set to the softest position. The good news is that it is very easy to change it for a softer one.
On the other hand, I discovered that when I was adjusting this spring, the ball joint was in contact with another part in the highest position. It’s a bit of a pity, but if it doesn’t prevent it from working properly.
The most interesting! The brake is mounted with a 100kg load cell. I have been asked a lot about the maximum force. I don’t have a measuring device at my disposal but I can tell you that even with both feet fully on the pedal I have a lot of trouble to saturate it. So it does the trick, even for the hardcore. Knowing that, by the way, a 200kg load cell divides the precision by 2…So going for a 100kg is the wise choice.
The feeling ? Hm… honestly ? Yes and no. As you know, since I created my hydraulic pedal, I’m over the moon. Here we just have a spring and an elastomer. By adjusting the preload, we can greatly reduce the impact of the spring. You can even remove it if you wish. So I will start by answering the following question:
Is it realistic : Not really. In fact it’s very simple: with only the elastomer (there is only one delivered): we find precisely the feeling of the hydraulic pedal: it is hard and it moves very little. With spring plus elastomer, we have clearly two resistance curves, with a very clear transition between the two. Not realistic at all. But! Effective…yes, it must be said: the break between the two curves gives a reference point and I must say that I have considerably improved my braking, especially on RF2 thanks to this reference point. Again, I don’t think it’s realistic (the braking feeling, not rf2…well, though…). If I were to push the vice further, I would remove the elastomer and use the mechanical stop to make an end of stroke marker. But that would be really dishonest.
Anyway, you can get anything you want for the feel. I especially like the fact that you only have one spring and one elastomer, which saves you from spending a thousand years adjusting your pedal. I just wish the spring was a bit stiffer so that the transition to the elastomer would be smoother. And once again, the chassis being rigid, and the electronics being good, the pedals are very precise in use, ideal for trail riding.
I was quite surprised to discover that the clutch pedal had no hard point, despite a different geometry than the gas pedal. You’re going to tell me if I’m right: if they don’t offer a hard point, they might as well use the same parts as the gas pedal and therefore offer a cheaper product? Tell me what you think in comments.
On the other hand, no particular problem for the clutch. The resistance is well calculated, and the height of the pedal did not bother me. Then the hard point in real life: who cares.
Many of you have asked me if this pedals are PS/XBOX compatible. Unfortunately not, and I have to admit that compatible pedals on the market are rare. I’ve made SimJack aware of the problem and proposed the following solution: adapt their control box to connect it directly to the steering wheel bases (Logitech, Thrustmaster, Fanatec, Simucube etc…). In this case the pedals would be compatible with everything, and in addition we reduce the number of USB ports used! They thought it was a great idea and started to develop the so-called control boxes!
This pedalset is very good. You can find minor defects, but in use it is particularly efficient! As far as I’m concerned, its small size is its only flaw. The manufacturer is particularly attentive to the comments which we can make to him and should progress very quickly with products better and better adapted to our needs!
The Mini is regularly found in the Simjack store around 320€.
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3 thoughts on “SimJack mini : This is not a review !”
For no name pedals this is really expensive!
Your pedals are much better I think!
it is a good alternative for people with no DIY skills 🙂