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FAQs

Here you will find Frequently Asked Questions  to the most common issues

How should I ship the controller in for upgrade or warranty service?

When shipping a controller to us for upgrade or warranty work, you should always include a note in the box with the following information:

Name
Phone Number (day and evening)
Email Address
Return Shipping address
Description of service being requested

It is important that you package the controller carefully with a focus on separating the wheel and pedal controllers from one another and packing the box tight so that the controllers do not move around inside.  Failure to use adequate packaging material typically results in damaged covers and in the case of TSW2 models, sometimes a broken wood base.  Damage incurred in shipping due to poor packaging that requires replacement parts or labor to repair is not covered by warranty.  Packing peanuts are not a good option because they do not prevent the controllers from moving around.  The best method is to wrap each controller separately in large bubble-wrap, then fill the box with wadded paper.

Payment for non-warranty service can be handled in a number of ways.  For USB upgrade, the best way is to use the website to order the appropriate service by credit card, when placing the order there is a place where you can make notes if you wish to tell us anything in particular about your controller, or ask any questions.  Your credit card will not be processed until the controller is ready to be worked on, and we will contact you if needed for clarification.

If we haven't received payment info in advance of your service work, assuming you included the requested phone number in the note with your controller, we will call you to get your credit card information when we are ready for it.

The address to ship the controller to is:
Thomas Enterprises Inc.
13859 Buffalo Road
Anamosa, IA  52205

Can I order by phone?

Even though our website is now set up to handle online ordering, we're still here to take your calls and will happily take your order by telephone if you prefer.  We know that buying a high-end racing controller can be a big decision, and we will certainly answer any questions you may have, or provide suggestions to point you in the right direction.  You can find the phone number by clicking on the Contact link at the very top of the website.

What additional charges can I expect when shipping outside the U.S.?

During the checkout process, you will have a few shipping options.  It's important to be aware when shipping outside the U.S., that there are additional fees besides what we charge, which will not be shown during checkout.  In most cases you can arrive at a pretty close estimate for these fees by taking 20% of the value of the product you are ordering.  These fees are taxes, import duties, and in the case of Canadian shipping, Customs Brokerage fees.  These are not charged until the controller is delivered to you.  It is our understanding that Customs Brokerage fees are included when shipping to Canada using UPS Worldwide Express, and Expedited options, but typically the total cost will end up being less if you choose UPS Standard and pay the fees.

How do I determine what model controller I have?

Over the years since we began building TSW controllers there have been a number of changes both mechanically and electronically.  When ordering from our site, it's important that you be able to identify the specifics of your controller so that we can be sure of getting you the right parts for your exact model.  If you are the original owner, we should have the records from any purchases you've made, or upgrades you or we have performed, but it is still important that you provide us with all the info you can when you place the order on our site.  This guide is intended to help you identify your controller so that you can make the correct choice from the list of options when specifying the controller type while ordering parts.

Read more: How do I determine what model controller I have?

What are the Controller SPECS

Steering Controller Dimensions: 15.5" wide x 7.5" deep x 6" tall
Steering Controller Weight: Approx 15 lbs.

Evolution CS Steering Controller Dimensions: 8" wide x 7.5" deep x 6" tall

Pedal Controller Dimensions: 11" wide x 11" long x 6" tall
Pedal Controller Weight: Approx 12 lbs.

TSW Speed Shifter Dimensions: 5 1/2" wide x 5 1/2" long x 13" tall
TSW Speed Shifter Weight: Approx 10 lbs.

Full Controller Shipping Box Dimensions: 18" x 18" x 12"
Shipping Weight: Approx 27-29 lbs

Standard Sport Steering Wheel Dimensions: 10.5" Diameter, 3" dish
GT Steering Wheel Dimensions: 10" Diameter, 0" dish
MOMO Mod 27c Dimensions: 10.5" Diameter, 0" dish
MOMO Mod 12c Dimensions: 9.75" Diameter, 0" dish
MOMO Mod 12 Dimensions: 9.75" Diameter, 0" dish
MOMO Mod 26 Dimensions: 10" Diameter, 0" dish

~270 degree steering rotation lock-to-lock
~800 to 1000 points of raw input in the steering controller (Evolution Analog)
~1500 points of raw input in the steering controller (Evolution Digital)
~300 points of raw input in the pedals

What is your Warranty Information?

Steering and Pedal Controllers:
  • 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee: 
    Return the controller within 30 days and we refund you all but the shipping and handling cost
  • Potentiometers, Optical Encoders and Cosmetics: 
    90 days (cosmetics includes plastic covers, steering wheel coating, paint finish, etc..)
  • All other components: 
    Lifetime
  • For the first 30 days: 
    We cover shipping costs if a controller has to be returned for warranty work (continental US only)
  • Within 90 days: 
    We cover the shipping cost of returning the controller to you if the controller needs to be returned for warranty work
    (continental US only)

  • After 90 days: 
    The customer is responsible for all shipping costs if a controller is sent in for warranty work
TSW Speedshifter:
  • 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee:
    Return the shifter within 30 days and we refund you all but the shipping and handling cost
  • Cosmetics: 
    30 days (cosmetics includes shift knob, shifter boot, paint finish, etc..)
  • Detent Mechanism: 
    1 year (detent mechanism includes parts involved in holding the shifter in neutral or in gear)
  • All other components: 
    3 years (shifter can still be serviced/repaired after 3 years, just not under warranty)
  • For the first 30 days: 
    We cover shipping costs if a shifter has to be returned for warranty work (continental US only)
  • Within 90 days: 
    We cover the shipping cost of returning the shifter to you if the shifter needs to be returned for warranty work
    (continental US only)
  • After 90 days: 
    The customer is responsible for all shipping costs if a shifter is sent in for warranty work or service

How does the controller clamp to the desk?

The wheel clamps to the desk with a single removable L-shaped metal clamp which requires 3 1/2" inches of clearance below the underside of the desk.

The TSW Speedshifter has a clamp with 2 tightening bolts to hold tight to your desk.  The clamp itself bolts to the top of the shifter with 4 nuts.

Why does the TSW Speedshifter use an offset shift pattern instead of the traditional H-pattern?

When we designed the Speedshifter, we wanted a gated shifter that would not sacrifice performance for realism. An H-pattern shifter requires that you move the lever up, then over, then up again to go from 2nd to 3rd, or from 4th to 5th. That extra movement means you have to be pretty deliberate with the lever to avoid accidentally dropping it in the wrong gear, and that sacrifices precious tenths of seconds with each trip through the gears. Downshifting quickly through all the gears is a tricky task with that type of shift pattern. By offsetting the gears slightly as we have done, every gate position takes the same motion, a slight diagonal movement of the lever. At first it may seem odd, and the first time you shift with it, it may seem hard to get the desired gear without feeling the notch in the gate, however, I can assure you that with a bit of practice, the offset gate works amazingly, and you don't feel the notches in the gate at all. You are able to downshift from high gear all the way to low gear as quickly as you can with buttons/paddles, or with a sequential shift lever, and you never worry about missing gears. Some people have questioned the layout as being unrealistic, but with such a close shift pattern, it feels very natural to find each gear, just as it would in a real car. If this shift pattern were in any way inferior to a traditional H-pattern, we certainly would have gone that route, but it's so much better that we are willing to trade the element of "realism" for a better product.

Do your controllers have force feedback?

No. We use a spring return mechanism in the wheel and pedals which provides a smoother, more consistant and predictable feel than force feedback does. In our opinion force feedback is not the best choice for serious competative racing; the tradeoff of cost, reliabilty, and driveability has deterred us from developing a force feedback controller. The questionable benefits that force feedback provides, such as the slackening feel when a car gets loose, or the tighter feel you get when the car is pushing, are outweighed by the downsides. Who wants their steering wheel to go slack or turn abruptly just at the point when they need to make a quick correction? Who wants the wheel to jerk and jolt in their hand for no reason? Who wants to feel the notchiness of an electric motor resisting your steering input? It's our opinion that force feedback is much more likely to hinder you than help. As to arguments that it's more realistic, that only goes so far, some aspects of it may add to the realism, but most are artificially trying to replicate G-forces through the steering wheel, and that isn't realistic. If you're willing to tradeoff competativeness and reliability for those minimal aspects, then our controller may not be for you. We find that the audible and visual cues provided by the sim are just as easy to pick up on to get a feel for how your car is behaving. We've had many customers who have owned force feedback wheels tell us that they end up turning off the force effects or turning them down so much that they might as well not be using it.

How long after I place my order can I expect to get my controller?

Most of the time we can ship controllers within 1 to 3 business days of your order.  Time in transit is typically 3 to 5 business days by UPS Ground.  Some items do have a more limited availability: the TSW Evolution Digital models, Digital Upgrade Service, and the TSW Speedshifter can sometimes take longer if we are out of parts or in the middle of a build cycle.  During peak sales periods, such as the holidays, the turn-around can be a bit longer as well.  If you want to get an estimate, you can call or email.

Do the controllers come with any software that I need to install?

No, our controllers use standard Human Interface Device (HID) drivers that are built into the operating system, so no software needs to be installed. Just plug the controller in, and you're ready to calibrate it. There is a free application called Joy To Key, that you may want to use with your controller. It allows you to program the controller's buttons to function as keyboard keys. You can download Joy To Key HERE.

Are your controllers USB?

All our controllers, including the TSW Speedshifter, have USB connectivity. They are compatible with the older USB 1.1 standard as well as USB 2.0.

Can I pick and choose the features I want on my TSW Evolution controller?

Absolutely! We will build a controller with the exact features you request. That way you only have to pay for the features you'll use, and you don't have to settle for less than you might want. We've set up our products with many different selectable options which add or subtract from the base price.  You can add any number of custom configurations to your shopping cart for price comparison, and simply remove those that you don't want when it comes time to check out.

What is the difference between the TSW Evolution and a TSW or a TSW2?

The TSW Evolution is the 3rd major revision of our steering and pedal controller design. The original TSW that we first introduced in 1993 was an all-steel tubular-frame controller, which was labor intensive to weld and assemble. We came out with the TSW2 as a lower priced alternative around 1998 which utilized a particle board base for both pedals and wheel, but used steel parts where necessary. The TSW2 was quicker and less costly to make, but still required a lot of assembly time to go from raw materials to finished product. In 2006 we introduced the TSW Evolution, a hybrid of our controllers, utilizing a laser cut steel base reinforced with welded steel tubing. This new approach to the controller construction is used in both the pedals and the wheel and it allows us to significantly cut down the labor both in making the controller base, and in assembly, so that we can provide an all-steel controller for significantly less cost than the original TSW, and we can make it faster which means less wait time for the customer.

What's the difference between the TSW Evolution Analog and the TSW Evolution Digital?

In terms of on-track performance the Analog and Digital controllers would be hard to distinguish. Both provide a high resolution, stable (jitter-free) signal to your sim, which means very accurate precise detection of your wheel and pedal input. The analog controllers use potentiometers for position sensing, they work by reading the resistance change when you turn a shaft. A metal wiper with either a carbon or conductive plastic conductor is actually rubbing against a disk inside the potentiometer. With this kind of friction, over time a potentiometer will degrade and go bad, which you will see in your game as erratic behavior in calibration or in your control input. To combat this, we offer replacement potentiometers, and make changing them out very easy (instructions are provided in the user's guide). We offer two different grades of potentiometer, the DK pot is a carbon element pot with an approximate life span of 6 months to 1 year, the ETI pot uses a conductive plastic element, and it has a life expectancy of 1 to 3 years.

By contrast, the digital controllers use an entirely different method for position sensing, called an optical encoder. These devices look similar to a potentiometer, but they detect movement in a different manner. Essentially a wheel with tiny pinholes in it is being turned when you move your wheel or pedal, a light beam inside the encoder passes through those pinholes and the encoder reads how often the beam gets broken. Because of this, there is no friction, and thus no wear potential. An optical encoder should last you for as long as you own your controller. Also, being a digital device, there is no analog to digital conversion needing to be done to translate the rotation to the computer. With the analog controller, we need to use an antialiasing algorithm to clean up the signal of the potentiometers which would otherwise show up in your game as jittery behavior.

Lastly, though it's not a huge factor, the digital controller does provide a higher degree of accuracy vs. the analog controller. In the steering, the analog controller provides approximately 800 to 1000 steps of movement from lock to lock, while the digital controller provides approximately 1500 steps.

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