How The Simucube ActivePedal Works

Learn how the impressive Simucube ActivePedal works, what it does differently from traditional sim racing pedals, and whether it is a good sim racing pedal.

Simucube ActivePedal Hero Shot

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There is no denying that the Simucube ActivePedal is one of the most innovative sim racing pedals of recent years. It does away with the traditional parts of a pedal, including the spring, elastomers and dampers. Instead, it uses an electronically controlled motor to handle these aspects and the force feedback effects.

But just how does the Simucube ActivePedal work, and does it do a good job of replacing a more traditional sim racing pedal? In this guide, I’ll run through what the ActivePedal is, what it does differently and how it works.

What is the Simucube ActivePedal?

The Simucube ActivePedal is a new breed of sim racing pedal. It takes all of the elements of a sim racing pedal that we have grown to become used to and pretty much removes each element. You won’t find a pedal arm hinged to the base plate; you won’t find any springs, elastomers, or physical components.

Instead, the ActivePedal is a huge box consisting of an internal motor, electronics and incredibly well-built components. The exterior design of the ActivePedal is incredibly robust but extremely large, and this is because of the internal architecture.

The internal motor replaces all other passive elements from a traditional sim racing pedal. It controls the pedal arm’s movement and the resistance you’d normally feel. In addition to these normal processes, the motor can also generate force feedback effects, much like a sim racing wheel.

Adjustability

The unique design also allows for an incredible amount of adjustability. For example, the normal process of adjusting a sim racing pedal’s resistance or travel involves manually making physical adjustments. That process is gone, bar a few comfort adjustments.

You can use the Simucube Tuner software to control most areas of how the ActivePedal feels and behaves. Because these adjustments are software-related, you can save multiple profiles. Then, you can load a profile with just a click of a button.

This means you can have a pedal that feels vastly different with just a single click. The real value of this comes if you often switch between different sim racing games or cars. You can set up a GT3 profile for the pedals to behave in a certain way, then another profile for Formula 1 cars that feels much different. This is also helpful if multiple people use the same sim racing setup.

Simucube Tuner ActivePedal force curve

How does the ActivePedal work?

By removing the traditional parts of a sim racing pedal, all of the emphasis goes onto the internal motor. Inside the ActivePedal is a motor that utilises a ball screw design. This rotates a shaft, translating the rotational movement to directional movement.

This directional movement then controls the pedal’s position by moving the pedal arm. A positional sensor is part of this movement process, which lets your sim racing game and the Simcube Tuner software know exactly where the pedal is positioned.

Simucube ActivePedal rotational motor

Moving up to the pedal arm itself, there is a load cell sensor positioned around halfway up. This works normally, as a load cell does, by measuring the force applied to the pedal. An electric current is generated, which is then sent back into the pedal via a thin cable.


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Putting these elements together creates a system that can measure the force applied to the pedal and its position. Things get really clever when you learn that the motor responsible for the forward and back movement also controls the resistance of the pedal.

Typically, a set of springs and elastomers would do this job. Stiffer springs and stiffer rubbers will firm up a brake pedal, making it stiffer. However, none of that is present with the ActivePedal; instead, the motor is allowed to handle it.

How is force feedback generated?

So far, we have a pedal that controls all normal functions of a mechanical pedal via the motor and electronics. However, the motor’s job isn’t done there. It is also responsible for generating the force feedback and the various effects of the ActivePedal.

Because the motor directly controls the pedal position, it can make lightning-quick movements to generate force feedback that is felt via your foot. These effects aren’t too dissimilar to how a direct drive racing wheel works, with the motor making constant adjustments and movements to generate force.

The internal motor’s effects can be used to simulate everything from ABS to traction control and more. Gradually moving the position of the pedal in relation to your car’s speed can generate g-force effects, and it can rumble to represent your car’s engine.

The Simucube Tuner software allows you to individually configure and adjust each effect. By combining various effects and adjusting the settings, your pedal can become as involved as a racing wheel, providing just as much information.

As a sim racer, you can use force feedback to adjust your inputs. For example, when the ABS effect starts to trigger, you can release the brake pressure slightly to avoid locking a wheel. The same applies to the traction control, which lets you adjust your throttle pressure to avoid breaking traction under acceleration.

Read our settings guide where I run through all Simucube Tuner settings in more detail to show you how to configure and adjust an ActivePedal.


How much does it cost and is it worth the price tag?

When we talk about the ActivePedal, there is a huge elephant in the room: its price tag. A single Simucube ActivePedal costs €2398/ $2299. That is more than many sim racers’ entire setup, including mine up until recently. In fact, when I added the ActivePedal to my rig, my entire sim racing setup value easily doubled, the pedal is just that expensive!

Sim racers may be used to spending close to and over €/$1000 on a racing wheel, or an entire sim racing bundle. After all, the racing wheel and steering wheel are the part of a sim racing setup that you interact with the most.

Spending over €/$2000 on a single sim racing pedal is a lot to comprehend. If you want a complete pedal bundle, you’ll be spending close to €/$3000. Below is a price breakdown of the Simucube throttle, ActivePedal and complete two-pedal bundle.

PedalsInfoPrice
Simucube ThrottleSimucube ThrottleLoad cell throttle€337 / $369
Simucube ActivePedalSimucube ActivePedalFFB brake pedal€2398/ $2299
Simucube PedalsSimucube PedalsComplete Pedal bundle€2928 / $2889

Is the high price tag worth it?

The ActivePedal is undoubtedly incredible. Read our in-depth Simucube ActivePedal review for our thoughts. The real question is its value and how much it will improve your sim racing setup and overall experience.

Whenever I speak to other sim racers, I recommend upgrading to a good set of load cell pedals as one of the first upgrades. The jump in performance and immersion from a set of potentiometer pedals to a good load cell pedal set is huge and can make a difference.

The jump up from a set of load cell pedals to the ActivePedal is also a huge jump in performance. However, the price increase can negate the value you’ll receive from the pedal. For most sim racers, the ActivePedal will be too big of an investment for a single piece of hardware.

As much as I love this premium pedal and have improved my lap time by using the ActivePedals, I do question the value proposition.

Read our comparison between the Simucube ActivePedal, Asetek Invicta and Heusinkveld Invicta pedals to see which premium sim racing pedal is best.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use multiple ActivePedals together?

You can connect up to three ActivePedals together, daisy-chaining them from one another. This lets you use an ActivePedal as a throttle, brake and clutch.

How does the traction control effect work when using the ActivePedal as a brake pedal?

If you only have a single ActivePedal, you can still use the traction control effects. The brake pedal will rumble when you are about to break traction. This can feel strange at first, but as it doesn’t coincide with any other effects, it is a useful way of learning the limits of your car’s grip.

Does the Simucube ActivePedal use True Drive?

The ActivePedal uses its own software separate from the Simucube True Drive software. Tuner is the name given to the software used to control and adjust the ActivePedal. You can also use it to adjust connected Heusinkveld pedals.

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Article written by Mjolnir

Mjolnir is one of the main setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. He has had years of experience in sim racing, both competitively and casually. After a decade of sim racing experience, he co-founded SimRacingSetup.com to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.
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