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Forte™ – How Does the M.L.C.P.C.™ Brake System Function

The Asetek SimSports™ M.L.C.P.C (Mechanical Load Cell Powered Cylinder) brake cylinder gives you, shy of a full hydraulic system, an authentic race car driving experience. The brake cylinder features a load cell sensor (up to 180 kg of pedal force) detecting actual changes in force on the pedal plate, which makes it the closest you will come to a realistic brake experience.

The load-cell ensures accurate and precise measurement in kilos, and measures force rather than travel. This allows you to train your muscle memory and subsequently making you faster on the track. With a hard load cell system, using your muscle memory is much more reliable than relying on a long travel. Training your muscle memory will take time, but with training you will improve, and trust your muscle memory rather than focusing on the travel in the pedal.

In our effort to achieve a feeling, which gives you the race car feeling, we have designed a load cell brake cylinder that is inspired by our hydraulic T.H.O.R.P.™ cylinder. A hard and short brake pedal is faster because you can brake later, and it is required to proper trail brake and use your muscle memory to do so, as explained later. You can consider a race car braking system as 2 stages:

The “soft stage”: When you apply pressure on the pedal, it will move 10-20 mm (measured on the pedal plate), while you build up hydraulic pressure, while the caliper pistons are traveling to and pushing the brake pads against the brake disc, and to com-pensate for the small amount of play in all the mechanical parts on the pedal system that is required for them not to seize up. At this stage the car is slowing down but it is soft braking.

The “hard stage”: When hydraulic pressure is built up, the brake pads are squeezing the discs hard, and all mechanical play is compensated. In this stage, your foot is basically “pressing against a wall”, because now your muscles are pressing directly against the hydraulic forces (the brake fluid). Since the fluid cannot be compressed, you will feel the pedal is hard. When a race car driver complains about a “long” or a “soft” pedal, it is typically because there is air in the system, and since air CAN be compressed, the pedal will feel soft and long. The mechanics then bleed the brakes for air, meaning there is only fluid left in the system, and the pedal is once again hard after passing the “soft stage”.

 

Most mechanical sim racing pedals on the market, have an “unlimited” travel, as it is essentially a question about how hard you squeeze the elastomer. Oftentimes, the elastomer is overworked (compressed more than designed for) and it provides a spongy and inconsistent brake feel and eventually the elastomer will brake because of being overworked out of spec. But worst of all: with the long brake pedal travel, you will have to brake earlier to build up full brake pressure!

In our quest to mimic the perfect race car feel, we have implemented a mechanical stop in our M.L.C.P.C.™ brake system. You can adjust the hardness of the “soft stage”, by changing elastomers, but the travel will be limited to 15-25mm on the pedal plate, to simulate the “hard stage” where the pressure has built up, and the feeling is like “pressing a wall”. In the transition between the soft and hard stage (when hitting the mechanical stop) we have implemented a rubber damper, which will simulate the fully engaged brake caliper but still enable the load cell sensor to measure additional pedal pressure, which again allows for a perfect trail braking. This is the same feeling you get in a real race car.

And THAT is the Asetek SimSports™ Forte™ M.L.C.P.C.™ difference!

By adjusting the piston and thumb lock nut in front of the mechanical brake cylinder, you can adjust the preload of the system to closely mimic the gap you will experience in a real car (between disc and brake pad). We have made this adjustable, so you can have the feeling just the way you like it – and just like your favorite car. Using the RaceHub™, you can also adjust your deadzone on the brake pedal. This allows you to rest your foot on the pedal without getting inputs to the game.

It may surprise you, but as described above, having a hard brake pedal will help you get around the track faster. It has to do with muscle memory and efficient trail braking.

Having a hard brake pedal will allow your muscle memory to be trained to perfection. Muscle memory is the subconscious telling your muscles just the right amount of pressure, leaving your conscious mind to take care of more important things at that moment – like watching traffic or hitting apex. Your muscle memory is not wired to remember a position. Try to lift your hand with your eyes closed and reach the same spot within 0.5 mm 10 times in a row, and you will get the point. But your muscle memory can memorize a pressure extremely accurately, meaning going around a track, your muscle memory can make you brake the same way again and again. This cannot be achieved with a soft pedal – especially when trail braking.

Furthermore, a hard and short travel brake pedal will allow you to brake later. Imagine having a brake pedal with 50 mm (common for many sim racers) of travel versus a brake pedal with almost zero travel. Imagine this scenario: You are going 300 km/h down a straight. With the long travel brake, it will physically take you perhaps 1/10 of a second more to reach full braking power. On the hard and short brake pedal, you will reach maximum braking power instantly. If you have three hard braking zones on a track, you will lose 3/10 of a second each lap.

The Top 10 in F1 or GT3 is frequently determined in way less than 3/10 of a second. The conclusion is that we at Asetek SimSports™ have developed the Forte™ pedals to replicate a real race car. Why? Because it is the fastest but may not be what feels the most comfortable. It is your choice whether to be the quickest or have a brake pedal that feels soft and comfortable. The Forte™ will allow both a softer and a longer brake pedal.

 

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