R3Volution as a Flight Cockpit
Not a whole lot is required to switch from one configuration to another.
To go into “flight mode”, I leave the wheel in place, as there is no interference with the center stick. Then I move the racing pedals and replace them with the CH Pro pedals. My Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog throttle is already in place on the throttle mount on the left side of the seat. I just swing the arm forward into position and secure it with the knob. Then it is off to the wide blue yonder.
Yes, I’m planning to remove the stick base and remount it. The throttle mounting arm and base is at the top of the image.
My number one gripe with the oZone was the very small width in the rudder/pedal well. Without major modifications to the oZone, large rudder pedals like the SIMPEDS were a no go. With the R3Volution, a wider rudder well is a huge advancement and fits the SIMPEDS with no issues.
No more problem with pedal width!
R3Volution as a Racing Cockpit
After I had everything assembled and I was done taking in the new car smell, I installed my wheel and racing pedals. Both the wheel mount and tray features provide adjustability. This is where you should take some extra time and get things just right. What I used for settings may only work for me, and quite honestly since assembling everything, I’ve made a few additional adjustments to suit my needs, and I’ll make a few more along the way. Like the oZone, you’ll find yourself tweaking and adjusting again and again. Not because of any deficiency in the product, but because of the seemingly infinite adjustment capabilities.
When I first assembled the R3Volution, I was still using the FANTEC PWTS and Clubsport Pedals version 1 (shown at right). Although the PWTS had holes to line-up and mount the wheel to the supplied mount on the R3Volution, I elected to use only the clamp that came with the wheel. I was soon going to be receiving my Clubsport Wheel (CSW) and knew I would need to remove the PWTS, so there was no need to bolt it down.
Once I received the CSW, mounting it up to the plate was very simple. The mount bolts were supplied by FANATEC and they thread into the lower angled bracket that is installed on the CSW. With the FANATEC CSW being larger wheel housing than other wheels on the market (excepting custom made wheels), I do not believe there is any wheel housing that will not fit the R3Volution wheel mount.
As for my Clubsport Pedal version 1 and 2 racing pedals, they also have the capability to be bolted down to the pedal tray. I do not bolt mine down, as I need to swap out the racing pedals for rudder pedals on some nights and that would require too much work to be removing bolts before each flight. I have not had any issues where the pedals have slipped under heavy use.
My Thrustmaster TH8 Shifter is installed on the right side of the seat rails with the supplied shifter mount plate.
Good, Not So Good, and “That’s Cool”
I already hit on my favorite things about the R3Volution — the wider pedal area and the articulating table tops.
Benefits include the wider and sturdy base, the pre-drilled holes in the mounts, the articulating arms for the keyboard, tabletops, and the monitor.
With the oZone, it would shift across my carpeted floor. I constantly had to re-center the pit on the LCD screen. The R3Volution has not moved since placing it in my office.
In addition, another issue with the oZone was that it had a tediously to feel like it wanted to tip over. With the R3Volution, it is very sturdy with no feel of it tipping.
One other small issue with the oZone that I did not notice until after using the R3Volution was the seat height. The oZone sits lower to the floor than the R3volution, so it was a minor challenge getting in and out with achy knees. The R3Volution sits a little higher off the floor and is easier to get in and out of the seat.
After a month in the R3Volution, the seat feels so much better than the oZone seat (which isn’t bad at all!) and it has improved back support. Could it be that my original seat had fatigued from continuous use? I am not 100% certain, but I can definitely feel some difference in the two seats.
The oZone wheel mount did not have a whole lot of options in the adjustability department. With the R3Volution, the center mount telescopes out of the center spline and the wheel mount plate tilts as well. With the new design, I am able to pull the wheel in close. It is a personal preference. I am more a racer who prefers the Mark Martin style (wheel in close to the body, not a fan of having to extend the arms out for a long race).
Although the center spline closely replicates a steering column, it has endless possibilities from mounting yokes, a monitor, or other sim accessories.
I mentioned earlier that the center mount plates have pre-drilled holes for off the shelf controllers and a VESA pattern. Therefore, if you are not a racer and you do not use a Flight Yoke, you can mount a small monitor for an additional monitor. The options on this center mount plate have endless possibilities.
The acrylic table tops add-on pack is a nice welcome addition. There is so much one can do with these articulating arms from mounting the table tops, to mounting additional monitors, mount controllers (button boxes), and mount other tools and accessories too. In my setup, on the left arm I use it for a button box and I have mounted an iPad3 using RAM mounts (non-Obutto accessory) that are secured to the articulating arm. On the right arm, I use the pre-drilled acrylic table top to have a place for my networked PC’s keyboard and mouse. A minor complaint is the rather small size of the acrylic table tops. If I wanted to use those tabletops for a large keyboard like the Logitech G15, I would have no place for the mouse placement if I wanted to group them together. For my use, I am utilizing a micro keyboard and trackball mouse for my networked PC.
The matting that is provided to cover the keyboard tray, the center wheel mounting plate, and the rudder tray gets a small complaint from me. It does not stick well to the cockpit. I preferred the pre-installed matting on the oZone keyboard tray to the user installed matting on the R3Volution. Chris from Obutto says that this is by design, as these mats do tend to wear out from repeated use over time. He is correct. The keyboard tray mat on my oZone has some wear marks from the mouse movement. Obutto intends to sell replacement mats as an accessory, and there is a possibility they will have different designs.
A “that’s cool!” idea is the cup holder. I am sure most gamers at some point have spilled a drink around or maybe even on their computer. I have been lucky by only spilling it around the computer (touch wood). The R3Volution has solved this problem with a cup holder. You can mount the holder anywhere along the seat rails, just like the keyboard, HOTAS mounts, and the shifter mounts. Once again, the modularity in the Obutto products shines.
Another “that’s cool!” addition is the center spline feature providing internal wire management for your wheel, yoke, or monitor. I would have loved to seen wire management throughout the entire pit, not just on the center spline. It is a welcomed addition in my house, as I have a cat who loves to chew on cables and tie wraps.