Realsimulator F-18CGRH is available for preorder - Page 9 - ED Forums
 


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Old 07-10-2020, 07:22 PM   #81
RogueSqdn
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The pricing difference from the F16SGRH CE makes sense now when I remember the promo price bit for the F18CGRH.

I had heard the same thing also but forgotten about it.


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Old 07-10-2020, 08:40 PM   #82
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Realsimulator F-18CGRH First Impressions and General Info

Disclosure:
This is a loaned preproduction unit via the courtesy of Realsimulator’s CEO. I do not have any ties to the company. I’m not a professional reviewer or Youtuber looking for followers, not even a licensed pilot (interventional cardiologist IRL). I, however, do get to try out new things once in a while because Realsim loves receiving meaningful and constructive feedbacks from customers. The objective of this write up is to help clarify the functionality of this soon to be release device as well as my very own impressions of it during initial usage. My primary purpose is also to provide feedbacks to Realsim, rather than you guys. I do have my own unit coming in later this month or next month.

What is the F-18CGRH?
It is a replica of the F/A-18E grip with additional functionality. This is a step-down model of Realsim’s military version which is specifically designed for home use with more affordable pricing. CGRH stands for center grip right handed, they also provide side grip as well as left handed versions. Extra functionality includes BLE (Bluetooth low energy) which provides button as well as axis inputs, including extra switches (the buttons are 5-way switches). In short, the F-18CGRH is a modernized electronic joystick that is made for customers who demand a little more from their flightsim peripherals.

Look and feel:
The grip is made from high density resin with grainy painted texture. It is like a typical quality product that can be felt upon the very first moment you grab it, exuding sensation of sturdiness and durability. It also feels very comfortable in my hand, and shows no signs of slippage during aggressive manipulations. There are no sharp edges that can cause a cut or skin abrasions.

The bottom fixture is made from aeronautic-grade aluminum, which is light but durable enough to be used on Realsim’s force sensing base (FSSB R3L) which allows as much as 13 lbs of force input at maximum setting (but please don't use this setting if you want your device to last). There is a hole for M4 setscrew to help secure fixation on a base or rod. At the bottom, there is a PS/2 connector which is used to connect with other compatible bases (Thustmaster, Virpil, Brunner, and soon Winwing via adapter).

Of noted, there is no paddle switch as it is not attached to the grip in the real stick. There might be an add-on paddle in the future that would mimic the real thing, but detail is N/A at this time.

The grip has the exact same ergonomics but feels a lot lighter than my Thrustmaster F-18 grip, closer to my F-16SGRH grip. I do not have the exact weight but was told that it is very close to the real grip, a tad lighter due to aluminum fixation instead of steel.

Operations:
If you are familiar with the F-16SGRH grip, you’ll feel right at home with this one as it is basically a sibling version of it. But the ideal comparison would be vs the Thrustmaster F-18 grip, as it is more of a direct competition.

The buttons are slightly elongated compared to the Thrustmaster version, due to the use of 5-way switches. Resistance is less which makes it easier to operate. I have a harder time with the thumb buttons on my Thrustmaster, the center switch has to be depressed in a certain way or it would not register. Not so with this grip, everything registers easily and with less resistance, even the thumb switch left is a breeze to activate from neutral position. Trim, Weapon Release, and NWS switches are also equally a joy to operate with zero misclick during my own use. I use NWS Up switch as my makeshift paddle and it has been working quite well.

Button axis is also rotated according to the real device. Trim hat axis is rotated slightly to the right, while sensor control switch is to the left. The same rotation goes for the RECCE sideway switches which are not present in the real grip, for ease of use.

The trigger button has strong detention if you are not used to an F-18 grip, to prevent misfire. The 2nd trigger detention on this grip feels similar in strength compared to the Thrustmaster version which I am used to, but I was told that the released version will be twice as strong which will require the same operating force as the real military version.

There is a special dial underneath the Trim hat which allows access to 8 memory slots. These memory slots can be switched in real-time during gameplay, and it is instantaneous. Each slot stores behavioral changes to the grip, such as various inputs, macros, but also input sensitivities/tuning if you use FSSB R3L base or Bluetooth axis input. There is also voice and text overlay option which will notify you of changes when you flip the memory slot dial. There are 3 LED indicator lights on the top part of the grip which also serve the same purpose.

Since it has BLE, it can be used wirelessly provided that you have the means to power the device itself—either from a USB port via PC or battery pack, or via PS/2 connection from compatible bases.

Bluetooth axis input for pitch/roll/yaw works, however, not as precise as axis input from a good joystick base. This is apparent in maneuvers that require extreme precision, and the best stress test for this is AAR. People who are very skilled can probably get by, but for an average person such as myself it is better to rely on inputs from conventional bases from Realsim, Thrustmaster, Virpil, etc. for that particular maneuver.

For non-Realsim bases, only the TM Warthog is fully supported (in wired mode) with exact matching of DX button layout and you are limited to the reduced button input of a Thrustmaster’s grip (19 DX + POV hat switch). With the Bluetooth mode, however, you can take advantage of your base of choice for pitch/roll/yaw control while having a full access to 56 DX inputs per memory slot (a total of 448 DX inputs--This is fewer than the F-16SGRH grip due to an extra side button on that grip).

Due to numerous button inputs, it is listed as two separate devices (with the same name) in Windows Game Controller Settings as well as DCS settings. There is one potential issue that may arise from this. Due to limitations of Windows OS when it comes to assigning DX Input devices, the input settings for device 1 may sometimes be swapped with that of device 2 in DCS if you disconnect the device and reconnect. The solution is to swap the bindings between the two devices, or disconnect/reconnect until you get the correct input response.

Real World Usage:
I find it to be a better match for my setup than the Thrustmaster grip (my main base for this grip for now will be the Virpil WarBRD), due to lighter weight and extra buttons. I set up memory slot 2 for comm operation (Function key inputs). This can be activated by flipping memory slot dial or via a shift switch (I use Trigger 1). For my FSSB base, slot 2 is also used for 1:2 input sensitivity setting to help minimize overcorrections during AAR, formation flight, etc. I enjoy using voice overlay which speaks out the name of the current memory slot to remind me during gameplay every time the memory dial is changed.

I have come across no serious issues so far. But for Virpil fans, the button bindings of the Virpil base in DCS setting will need to be removed if you plan to use Bluetooth mode (due to conflicts in DX button number assignments).

Trim vs POV mode for the Trim switch. In Trim mode if you press diagonally both vertical and horizontal inputs get activated (for example, pressing the switch northwest will activate both trim down and left), so not ideal for DCS. In POV mode, nothing gets activated if you press diagonally and if you leave the diagonal switch input blank in DCS--This is ideal for DCS World so you don't accidentally trim in two directions at once.

I do plan to utilize some macros to quickly set up the aircraft during specific operations. For example, prepping DDIs for a certain TPOD zoom level, FOV, LMAV or LGB settings with one click; or prepping the aircraft for carrier vs ground landing, etc.

Conclusions:
This is a really good stick, it is very comfortable to operate, packed with so much functionality, and can be as complex as you want it to be. Am I blown away? Not really, but this is just about what I expect from a Realsimulator’s product. As a flighsim enthusiast I do, however, highly recommend this product especially at the current introductory price.

***
Addendum:
Made some changes and additions after conversing with Realsim's CEO about this device.
Added Trim VS POV mode.
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Last edited by Supmua; 07-30-2020 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:32 PM   #83
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Thank you very much for that detailed review, this is very promising. Although my TM Hornet grip works perfect and does not suffer any of the issues you named, i can't wait to lay my hands on it. Unlike you, i'm sure that i'll be blown away as this is my fist Realsim product. On your posted pictures it looks like as if the upper part has a slightly different shape than the TM grip. Just a few questions.. Did you try the different locking positions for side/center mounted use and how do they work out? Is it solid? And i wonder about the number of the DX buttons per slot, you and the Realsim homepage mentioned. 2 stage Trigger, NWS (5x), Weapon selector switch (5x), Pickle/Release (5x), SCS (5X), Recce (5x) and Trim hat (5x). That is 32 DX buttons to me, not 56. What am i missing?

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Old 07-10-2020, 09:39 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VpR81 View Post
Thank you very much for that detailed review, this is very promising. Although my TM Hornet grip works perfect and does not suffer any of the issues you named, i can't wait to lay my hands on it. Unlike you, i'm sure that i'll be blown away as this is my fist Realsim product. On your posted pictures it looks like as if the upper part has a slightly different shape than the TM grip. Just a few questions.. Did you try the different locking positions for side/center mounted use and how do they work out? Is it solid? And i wonder about the number of the DX buttons per slot, you and the Realsim homepage mentioned. 2 stage Trigger, NWS (5x), Weapon selector switch (5x), Pickle/Release (5x), SCS (5X), Recce (5x) and Trim hat (5x). That is 32 DX buttons to me, not 56. What am i missing?

Cheers
In the software you can turn on extra DX input. This can then be accessed by holding down the center switch and push out in 4 different directions, so add 4 extra DX button inputs to those 5 way switches. These are real DX inputs, and will show up in joy.cpl or DCS setting as separate DX buttons.

I will try various positionings and combinations this weekend. For now I'm just going through my typical usage to see if I can find any faults or glaring omissions that would require immediate attention.
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Last edited by Supmua; 07-11-2020 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:03 PM   #85
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This test grip comes with a side mounted position, and I do not want to mess around with the test unit since it is not mine so I did not try to unscrew the M4 locks and switch things around. My understanding is that this just affects the orientation of the grip since most bases have a locked orientation upon mounting. So in the center mounted position the grip would be rotated more to the left, compared to the side mounted position.

Now this is not a problem on my Virpil base since I unscrewed the PS/2 connector's fixation to the base so it can move freely, this way I can rotate my grip after fixation however I want without changing anything on the grip. On the FSSB R3L and Warthog bases the fixation cannot be rotated (well it can if you use an extension tube), so grip orientation can be important.

The grip has no issue locking on to the Virpil WarBRD. I can get tight connection, no side to side twisting when moving it around aggressively.

I have no problem with AAR on FSSB R3L base with a little curve of 10% on pitch and roll, deadzone 2. I've been doing a ton of AAR to evaluate stability with various axis tune settings and combinations of center vs side mount, wired vs wireless, FSSB vs Warthog vs WarBRD bases, TM vs RS grips, etc--enough that I don't want to do another AAR for awhile. I have to say that I prefer this grip's ergonomics to my F-16SGRH the more I use it even though it has one less button, it just feels sturdier--perhaps because of the thickness in the midshaft area.

This grip has pronounced detention between trigger 1 and 2, a tad stronger than the Thrustmater one and the release version is even supposed to be twice as strong to replicate real thing. The F-16SGRH grip has near zero detention. Something to keep in mind.
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Joystick bases: TMWx2, VPC WarBRD, VKB GFII, FSSB R3L
Joystick grips: TMW, TM F/A-18, F-16SGRH, Kosmosima LH, MCG, MCG Pro, MongoosT50-CM2
Throttles: TMWx2, Winwing Super Taurus, Logitech Throttle Quadrant
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Last edited by Supmua; 07-13-2020 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:04 PM   #86
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Thank You Supmua
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:04 AM   #87
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Guys, for the FSSB R3 Warthog Lightning model being used for DCS, are you uploading the MJF_FW_2 or the BMS_FW_2 software?
I am having issues with the stick freezing while in a bank turn on occasion which is very inconvenient while flying in tight formation.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:40 AM   #88
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F18 stick sounds awesome. I just hope for a paddle solution
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:37 AM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowbird2 View Post
Guys, for the FSSB R3 Warthog Lightning model being used for DCS, are you uploading the MJF_FW_2 or the BMS_FW_2 software?
I am having issues with the stick freezing while in a bank turn on occasion which is very inconvenient while flying in tight formation.

The BMS firmware is for Falcon BMS. We use MJF (modern jet fighter) for DCS. Make sure you flash and use the latest firmware (from June 30th 2020), if I remember correctly it should be version 4.0.0.1 for the R3L and 4.0.0.0 for the R3.
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Joystick grips: TMW, TM F/A-18, F-16SGRH, Kosmosima LH, MCG, MCG Pro, MongoosT50-CM2
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:50 AM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supmua View Post
This test grip comes with a side mounted position, and I do not want to mess around with the test unit since it is not mine so I did not try to unscrew the M4 locks and switch things around. My understanding is that this just affects the orientation of the grip since most bases have a locked orientation upon mounting. So in the center mounted position the grip would be rotated more to the left, compared to the side mounted position.

Now this is not a problem on my Virpil base since I unscrewed the PS/2 connector's fixation to the base so it can move freely, this way I can rotate my grip after fixation however I want without changing anything on the grip. On the FSSB R3L and Warthog bases the fixation cannot be rotated (well it can if you use an extension tube), so grip orientation can be important.

The grip has no issue locking on to the Virpil WarBRD. I can get tight connection, no side to side twisting when moving it around aggressively.

I have no problem with AAR on FSSB R3L base with a little curve of 10% on pitch and roll, deadzone 2. I've been doing a ton of AAR to evaluate stability with various axis tune settings and combinations of center vs side mount, wired vs wireless, FSSB vs Warthog vs WarBRD bases, TM vs RS grips, etc--enough that I don't want to do another AAR for awhile. I have to say that I prefer this grip's ergonomics to my F-16SGRH the more I use it even though it has one less button, it just feels sturdier--perhaps because of the thickness in the midshaft area.

This grip has pronounced detention between trigger 1 and 2, a tad stronger than the Thrustmater one and the release version is even supposed to be twice as strong to replicate real thing. The F-16SGRH grip has near zero detention. Something to keep in mind.
That all sounds very good. A big thanks again for your time and effort. And for pushing me over the edge to get this grip. Now hopefully the 22nd of July comes fast
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