Review of HPP Pedals

Written by Simon Maltby
Date 24th October 2014
Manufactured by HPP Simulation


Today we take a look at the pedals from HPP Simulation.

Our second review takes a look at the set of pedals which represent the closest competition to the Heusinkveld Engineering pedal set we reviewed earlier. HPP Simulation has developed their pedals using a hydraulic brake mechanism.

The company is based in California and is run by Mark Hargett.

The HPP pedals can be ordered as either a two or three pedal set, the two pedal set consisting of just the brake and throttle so missing the clutch. Both sets are offered with either an upright or slanted setup although the slanting option is an adjustment so actually both sets are the same in construction.

HPP also offer an adjustable foot plate and an extra wide brake pedal plate as optional extras.

We are reviewing the three pedal set which came in the slanted configuration and with the optional foot plate and wider brake pedal plate.

The pedals come fully assembled and fixed into a frame making initial installation fairly simple. Just like the Fanatec Club Sport's the pedals are connected to a series of rods and pivot from that rod. The whole frame is attached to your rig via eight mounting bolts. The three pedal set is significantly wider than the Club Sports. We were unable to use them on our GT Omega wheel stand as they were too wide. The two pedal set would have fitted and we are told that the two pedal mounting holes match the T500, so should be very easy to mount.

As with any pedal set of this caliber mounting to a secure and flex free base is essential because the forces needed on the brake pedal are extreme.

The set we have reviewed did not come direct from HPP, we purchased them second hand in the UK. They were not supplied with any tools or mounting bolts. The box contained a very basic set of instructions and a bag containing two spare brake rubbers and a metal washer. Mark at HPP told us that no tools are supplied with the pedals or accessories and therefore you need to have some of your own allen keys and spanners to make any adjustments and fit the foot plate.


Physical description

The HPP pedals are constructed from aluminium throughout with key functional parts made from stainless steel. Even the pedal arms are made from aluminium. We did wonder if this material would be strong enough for the forces applied in a set of pedals, but the way the metal is shaped added strength and we detected no flex in any part of the design.

The pedals look stunning. A clever use of silver and black metal produces an extremely high quality look and feel. Every part is finished beautifully and the attention to detail is superb.

The pedal foot plates are very high quality aluminium and have treaded holes on the reverse side so that you can adjust their position both horizontally and vertically. HPP has used a textured plastic on the pedal faces. The faces themselves are curved. The textured plastic coating provides only moderate grip, which means sliding your feet across the face is easy. Using the pedals in socks is quite achievable although we found that racing boots were better, as socks tend to slide on the pedal faces a little too much and there is a lot of force required to depress the brake pedal fully.

Each pedal arm is 23cm high with the pedal foot plate fixed to the arm using two screws. The pedal foot plates are adjustable both vertically and horizontally by changing the threaded mounting holes used when joining to the pedal arm. From the base of the pedal arm to the bottom of the foot plate the height can be adjusted from 154mm to 205mm in 3 steps. Each pedal arm is 100mm apart. this cannot be altered but the foot plates horizontal position can be altered by one step left or one step right.

Throttle


The throttle pedal uses a linear potentiometer to send it's position to the computer. This is achieved by converting the pushing action of the pedal into a horizontal movement for the potentiometer. There is a lot of debate about which method of recording the pedal position is best. The Fanatec Club Sport pedals use a rotary potentiometer for the Throttle and Clutch, Heusinkveld Engineering use Load Cell's throughout. Although we don't plan to comment on the debate in this review the quality of the parts used will have the biggest effect and the HPP linear potentiometer looks and feels of the highest quality.

The following adjustments can be made to the throttle pedal.

The throttle and clutch have basically the same adjustments.

The pedal angle can be altered by changing the length of the rod that connects the arm to the potentiometer. Firstly you have to remove the rod from the arm. HPP has made this really easy, you simply unclip a clasp and slide out the pivot to release the rod. Once this pivot is removed the rod can be rotated and its length adjusted and then locked in place with nuts.



The next simple adjustment is the length of pedal travel. This is altered using a metal stopper bolt on the rear of the throttle assembly. Tightening the stopper will shorten the pedal travel.

We did find that if this stopper is loosened too far the pedal does not hit it at all and only stops when the potentiometer reaches its maximum, we are concerned that this may damage the potentiometer so recommend the stopped is always used.


Using DIView to measure the amount of steps the potentiometer passes to the USB controller, we were delighted to see that the full range of 4095 steps are available. It should be noted that when the pedal travel is reduced using the stopper the number of available steps is also reduced slightly.

We found the throttle pedal to be a little on the light side, which made it difficult to moderate accurately. Pedal movement is very smooth and the result appeared to be linear. The stopper at the end of travel is metal on metal and can be rather noisy. Also, as the pedal returns to rest it hits a metal return bar with a clunk.

Clutch


The clutch pedal feel is the best we have ever experienced in a sim setup. HPP has clearly worked really hard to simulate a real clutch and has created a beautifully constructed mechanism on the underside of the pedals to achieve this. Pressing the clutch pedal you really feel that heavy plates are being drawn apart.

The following adjustments can be made to the clutch pedal.

Like the Throttle, the clutch pedal uses a linear potentiometer to return it's position to the computer and it uses the full 4095 step range while setup at full travel. The pedal travel can be adjusted and like the throttle uses a metal stopper. The stopper makes a loud clucking sound which is especially noticeable because a clutch is normally operated using a sharp, aggressive, movement.

Brake


The HPP brake pedal uses a combination of Hydraulic and rubber to give an extremely realistic feel.

The Hydraulic system is sealed and should not require any bleeding or attention. At the back of the pedal assembly are two large rubber washers which can be interchanged between black and red to vary the force required when pressing the pedal. This combination gives a superb brake feel very much like a real car although maybe not quite as harsh as a real racing car. Pedal travel is beautifully smooth and progressive. There is a consistent feel throughout the pedal travel making it easy to modulate.

Clearly most of the development and expense of the HPP pedals has gone into the braking system and the result is superb. It takes quite some force to depress the pedal fully. Unfortunately no actual force measurements are documented.

The brake pedal is adjustable in several ways

The pedals come with four rubbers, two are black and two are red. The brake requires that two of these are installed at the rear of the hydraulics and are separated by metal washers. Using different colours or a mixture of each colour, will alter the brake pedal force requirements.

The brake pedal foot plate can be adjusted by altering its connection to the arm both vertically and horizontally. This gives the ability to set the brake and throttle closer together for techniques like heal and toe. While the adjustments are more than adequate, they are not as good as the modular design of the Heusinkveld Engineering Pro Pedals.

HPP offer a wider brake pedal as an option. Both pedals are 102mm high. The standard pedal is 50mm wide while the optional one is 63mm wide an additional 13mm. The wider pedal does not offer an increase in adjust-ability, there are the same number of threaded mounting holes but they are slightly more spread out.

Using DIView we were able to see that the HPP brake pedal was able to use nearly all of the 4095 available steps. We had a slight gap at the start of 370 steps rising to the maximum 4095 when the pedal was fully depressed. The USB brake position is passed to the controller from a sensor integrated into the Hydraulic system but we could not work out what kind of sensor it was, regardless, HPP has done a great job with it. As more pressure is applied to the pedal the reported position increases smoothly and in a linear fashion.

The brake pedal is certainly one of the best we have used.

Mounting and using the pedals

The HPP three pedal set is somewhat wider than the Fanatic Club Sport pedals and come in at 14.5 inches by 10 inches deep. The two pedal version is only 10.75 inches wide. We were unable to try installing the pedal set into our GT Omega wheel stand as they were too wide but they fitted nicely in our custom aluminium rig. The pedals have eight mounting points. We used M8 bolts to fix them to our aluminium rig and they felt very robust. We tried only using the outer four mounting points and found this was quite sufficient so if you need to drill new holes to affix them, you may be able to get away with four.

As with everything else the USB connection is beautifully designed. The control box sits under the throttle and is housed in an aluminium case. The USB cable connects at the back under the throttle stopper.

When connected to our PC everything was recognized correctly and we were able to use the pedals without having to mess around. Calibration was quick and easy, most games having their own built-in calibration tools. A few older games like rFactor required us to use DIView to calibrate. Our set of pedals did not come with a USB cable, but as we did not buy them new from HPP we can't confirm if one is supplied or not.

The optional heel rest fits in with the pedal set beautifully and is of the same high quality build and construction. Made from Aluminium and in a contrasting silver the heel rest adds a great finishing touch to the pedals as well as offering enhanced practicality. Four bolts are used to connect the heel rest side bars to the pedal set. These allow the angle to be altered, which ultimately adjusts the height of the heel rest. The heel rest plate is then connected to the side bars using another two bolts. These allow the angle and horizontal position of the plate to be altered. the heel rest is an excellent additional product.

Summary

HPP Simulation has produced an exceptionally fine set of pedals. There are only a select few in the market that can compete with them. The quality of materials and the finish is easily the best we have seen and really can't be faulted. Using a Hydraulic brake pedal system gives an incredibly realistic car feel and HPP has implemented the function beautifully.

We were also very impressed with the realism of the clutch pedal. It feels just like two plates are separating as you depress the pedal.

Is the use of linear potentiometers a mistake, are Load Cells better? Well, we could not fault the accuracy of the potentiometers used here and because they offer the full range of available USB steps it is very hard to offer any criticism.

The throttle feel and weight could be better.

The only real change we would like to see relates to noise. Where the pedal hits a metal stopper it generates quite a loud clunking sound. We did try adding some small rubber parts to both the throttle and clutch stoppers together with the return arm and the difference was astounding. Maybe HPP could look into this as a future enhancement.

Pros – things we really liked

Cons

Here at simracingmachines.com we have no hesitation in recommending the HPP pedals.