CAMMUS DDWB Direct Drive Steering Wheel | Long Term Review
The biggest purchase for most high end sim racers other than their PC is usually their wheelbase. The High end market starts at around 15Nm of torque (in my opinion) but the costs are usually pretty high once you get to that level. CAMMUS aims to disrupt that market and claim their share with this incredible sub $700 package for a wheelbase AND steering wheel. That price tag is VERY tempting and without spoiling the review, the product is surprisingly good. I’ve been using it for the past few months and today I want to share every detail of my journey with you in this review. I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel!
Product Link: https://cammusracing.com/?ref=BpiMFTdiz8m7Ko
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CAMMUS is no stranger to creating products. They already produce products for the automotive industry and even built their own electric supercar which despite never making it into production, is a pretty impressive feat. As China strives to dominate the sim racing market on a global scale, lower prices are tempting people to invest in newer brands like MOZA, Simagic and CAMMUS. The main challenge for most is their distribution networks and the cost of shipping, as well as how effectively their after sales support functions. That’s before we even mention global chip shortages but let’s assume that that problem is going to go away soon.
This product was sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. During my review I had 2 electronic failures which CAMMUS rectified by sending me new versions of their hardware which also implemented some suggestions I made during my review process. I’ll cover those things in more detail later.
- First Impressions
This thing is huge. It kind of looks like the Simagic M10, but it’s even bigger. It’s a 15Nm wheelbase but even then, it’s a lot larger than its competitors in a similar category. I’m not too keen on the barn-like styling but I also don’t really dislike it. Honestly, I think the styling is overshadowed by the fact that this wheelbase has a built in button box. I’ll cover that in more detail later but I’m really going to miss this feature when I move on to my next wheelbase review.
When I give my first impressions of products, I try to view them from two angles. Firstly, I ignore the price. Is this a good quality product. Secondly, I take the price into account and make a final value judgement based off of that. With this wheelbase I have to say that I was impressed by the physical external quality and machining regardless of the price.
As mentioned at the start of this review, CAMMUS strives to make this wheelbase as affordable as possible. You get a 15Nm wheelbase for only $499. That’s a remarkable price! Your purchase will be subject to import charges and shipping but it’s still very good value. If you want a steering wheel rim with that, it’s gonna cost you an extra $200 and that package includes a quick release. That’s phenomenal pricing. I have steering wheel rims that cost twice that. If ordering, I recommend ordering directly from CAMMUS and using the promo code LDCAMMUS to get a further 5% discount, bringing this package down to $665. If you’d like to support this channel, please use the link in the description (https://shop.windbooster.com/?ref=B7xfMJX2xn6KqJ) when buying and I’ll receive a small gratuity.
There are various accessories available like side mount profile pieces, emergency stops, extra quick releases and pedals. They’re also working on more steering wheel rims which I hope to get my hands on in the near future.
- Installation – Hardware
Installation was… interesting… I had to drill holes to get this base mounted. It doesn’t use any standardised Fanatec or Thrustmaster bolt pattern which I feel alienates a lot of their potential customers. They do offer side mount brackets as previously mentioned. Ultimately, the size of this wheelbase comes with some drawbacks. It is significantly taller than many other DD wheelbases which, when mounting your wheelbase under your screens can make an impact on your experience.
There’s no front mount option either which can be justified by the super handy button box.
The fan is a little loud on this unit. At one point I had a unit which constantly fluctuated the speed of the fan and it was incredibly distracting. The latest version did fix this issue but instead, the fan is always on high speed which creates quite a lot of noise, not unlike a PC fan.
- Installation – Software
The software is functional but not very refined. I have no doubts about the firmware which instructs the wheelbase but the software could be a little better. For example, moving the window is cumbersome. You need to click the ‘move’ icon, then drag the window and then hit escape. That was pretty annoying, albeit a first world problem. The main page has 0 functionality on it and doesn’t give any useful information either. That being said, the few sliders that it has are effective and I was able to dial in this FFB intuitively in minimal time.
Opening the software, turning on the device or even unplugging other USB devices can cause incredible jolts through the steering wheel which you don’t want to have your head or hands near, so be careful.
When you turn on the unit, it does a full 360 degree rotation to calibrate. This is fine when using the CAMMUS wheel rim but if you’re using a USB steering wheel it is incredibly annoying.
- Shipping, RMA and returns
This is the biggest flaw in the current CAMMUS setup. Actually, it’s the second biggest flaw. I have serious concerns about quality. And if you need to return anything, it can be very expensive. Shipping happens mainly directly from China which can be expensive. There are some resellers now but nothing at scale.
I need to tell you about my experience with my CAMMUS DDWB setup to date. I am on my third wheelbase and steering wheel. I have had two electrical failures during this review and CAMMUS tried to help me to diagnose the issues after which they simply sent me a new set. It’s worrying that this happened twice. It’s worth noting that in both instances it was a steering wheel button plate issue and NOT a force feedback issue. But if everything is made in the same factories, serious questions need to be asked about quality control.
The first setup worked fine for about a few days and then all of a sudden, the buttons and shifters on the steering wheel stopped working. After diagnosing, the issue was that there was no power being transmitted to the steering wheel.
The second setup also worked fine for a few days and then two of the 4 buttons on the steering wheel button plate stopped working . This was very disappointing and again had me questioning the quality of this setup.
The third setup has had more use than the first two combined and is of satisfactory quality, but I worry about this whole situation. I DID have to tighten the shaft housing when I first received this third unit as there was a horrible knock when changing directions. Again, this is an issue which should be spotted during quality control. If I was a normal paying customer, would CAMMUS have replaced my setup twice? There’s no way they can make money on a situation like this. the shipping cost alone is colossal before you even take the product costs into account.
Luckily I haven’t heard about other situations like this and in ways, it’s good that it happened to me. In other ways, my experience may not be a fair reflection of the experiences of the thousands of CAMMUS owners out there. I’d appreciate your inputs, both bad AND good, in the comments below.
If you want to speak to someone from CAMMUS, they’re usually all based in China where most social platforms that we use here in Europe and the USA are blocked. This means that they need to hop on a VPN to stay on top of messages from many customers.
- Steering wheel
The wheel itself is quite good. It doesn’t feature a 7 way hat but at this price I wouldn’t expect it. This steering wheel comes in at half the price of the Simagic GT-1 steering wheel which is significant. The buttons and rotaries are basic, but functional. The buttons have backlighting but for some reason they only light up when pressed which is pretty useless. I’d prefer for them to be on all the time. I’d love to see less random colours on this wheel too. The buttons are a bit far away from your hands but this is not unusual for a round rim like this.
All in all though, I can’t complain about the price of this steering wheel. The shifters work well but they’re far too close to the steering wheel rim. They’re a little light but that’s easily fixed with some extra magnets. The rim is a relatively generic wheel rim, exactly like what you’d find on the Simagic, Immsource or MOZA units.
The quick release is very like the NRG style systems of the MOZA and Simagic, however they are not fully compatible. The CAMMUS QR does fit the MOZA and Simagic but the MOZA and Simagic don’t fit on the CAMMUS wheel side. This is because of a difference in the centre bore size. The CAMMUS has a wider bore.
- Built in button box
I love these buttons. Honestly, I can see many people who are on a budget buying this wheelbase without a steering wheel rim and just running a generic wheel on it. Having buttons and toggles and even rotaries on the wheelbase itself gives this product FAR more functionality than most other wheelbases, especially at this price point.
The Power button light is a little bit bright but If you’re running the standard CAMMUS steering wheel, you don’t really see this light while driving. You also wont accidentally end up hitting this power button and turning off the wheelbase while driving as you need to press and hold it for 2 seconds if you want to turn it off. pressing it briefly has no impact, which is well thought out. The shape of the power button is also completely different to the other buttons. From a usability point of view, they’ve really nailed this one. I hope that we also see button boxes like this on future wheelbases from competitors.
- Force Feedback
This is the part that people are most interested in and most likely the part that most people are expecting it to fail on. Well, plot twist… The force feedback is fantastic, especially for the price. I’m blown away that the force feedback is this good across multiple sims, at this price point. It’s not the best force feedback I have ever used but it is categorically the best force feedback value for money that I have ever used.
During my long term review I used iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione and Dirt Rally 2.0, all in competitive league racing environments. The force feedback never once let me down. I’m incredibly impressed, and I have lots of high end wheelbase experience to compare to. This is a high end force feedback experience.
- Final Thought
With many highs and lows, this product has me a little bit torn. I really want to see it succeed, but it seems that you get what you pay for. Here we have an affordable product which performs incredibly well based on its own merit. This is not a cheap copy of another product. This is a 15Nm wheelbase with button box and a wireless steering wheel with bulletproof quick release, for only $700. The force feedback is incredible and it punches far above its price tag.
The external build quality is good. The machining is nice, they even used carbon fiber on the steering wheel which gives it a more premium feel. The wheelbase itself looks a bit clunky. It is much much larger than its competitors. The beveled brushed aluminium accents are nice, but the colours on the cheap buttons let it down a bit. Although the buttons and rotaries are of average build quality, they’re very functional and even easy to use when wearing gloves. The built in button box is genius and will be a huge selling point for this product.
From a wheelbase and force feedback point of view, I was convinced about this product from day one. However, I had a bit of a tough time with the steering wheel button plate and its reliability. My first unit needed replacement after 2 weeks because of a power failure which didn’t send any power through the steering shaft. My second unit needed replacement because of two of the buttons on the steering wheel stopped working within a week. And my third unit then required some DIY to tighten up the shaft which was knocking during each direction change. I didn’t open up the wheelbase to inspect the solders or specs as that is not my area of expertise.
During all of this, all 3 of the wheelbases had excellent force feedback and 0 issues with the buttons on the wheelbase itself. The issues that I have experienced are a prime example of why I do long term reviews. If I had done a one or two day review, this would be a very different review.
Therein lies my dilemma here. While I recommend this product in ways, it comes with risks. One risk that I haven’t mentioned yet is the cost of shipping. CAMMUS doesn’t have many large scale resellers which means that you could end up paying a lot for shipping.
My major concern is the quality and longevity of this product. Given the electrical failures that I experienced, although they were relatively minor, I don’t know if I would spend my money on this setup.
If you are planning on buying one, CAMMUS have been kind enough to give us a 5% discount code for the viewers of this video. Simply use the code LDCAMMUS and your 5% discount will be applied before you pay. If you’d like to support the channel, please consider using my affiliate link in the description below (https://shop.windbooster.com/?ref=B7xfMJX2xn6KqJ)
I’ve enjoyed my time so far with CAMMUS and am looking forward to their future offerings. For now, I’m Laurence, I stream every Tuesday and Thursday at 9pm UK/Irish time. I use the hardware that I’m reviewing while live on stream. Feel free to ask any questions. I’m Laurence, I’ll chat to ye later