In this review series, we take a look at Chinese brand Immsource’s lineup of Direct Drive Wheel Bases and the FD1 330mm round wheel.

With 17Nm of peak torque for the ET5 and 10Nm for the ET3, these compact wheelbases could be an attractive rival to the likes of Fanatec, Simagic, VRS, Moza and Simucube.  So we put them through their paces to see if you should consider the Immsource range for your sim rig!

You are not alone in thinking the ET5 and ET3 wheelbases bear a striking resemblance to the Simucube and Simagic Direct Drive bases.  The Immsource bases have a very tidy and solid construction which holds up to the quality of their look-alike competitors.

A call out feature of the Immsource wheelbases is their NRG style quick release system.  Essentially the same as the Simagic and Moza Quick release and equally as strong and easy to use, the Immsource quick release features a dual inductive coupler creating true wireless power from the wheelbase to the wheel.  This means there are no pins or wires which can be bent, broken or snagged when removing and installing a wheel.  It’s a tidy solution which doesn’t bring a huge amount more to the table in terms of user experience, but it is nonetheless good to see a progression in the design of the simagic and Moza quick releases.

The Immplatform software is a complete package of driver/firmware updates as well as configuration for all your Immsource products.  It is a well-presented piece of software with a simple to use layout and appropriate tooltips to help you understand what each parameter should be doing for your driving experience.

A live readout of torque values being sent to the wheelbase is well displayed, which is quite helpful to detect peaking while setting up your force feedback.

The software includes auto loaded presets if you require a different set of values to be loaded for each different sim title you use and setup files are easily shared between users with a simple file saving structure.

Throughout our testing, we experienced a number of lockups while making changes in the software.  There was never an issue of the wheelbase dropping out while driving, however, Immplatform did have a tendency to lock up if you are making a lot of changes to your setup.

The all-important driving experience with the Immsource ET5 was at first a little disappointing, with a significant amount of graininess in details and a robotic feel, which gave an overall non-convincing force feedback feel.  After a lot of fine-tuning we were able to dial out a lot of the problematic sensations but were first to make some compromising on detail that we would rather not need to do.  The fact we could remove the graininess suggests that the software is not quite up to the standard of the hardware and that future software updates could have a significant impact on the performance you can get from the Immsource wheelbases.

For the 17Nm ET5, we ended up hitting a maximum torque of around 13Nm in order to maintain the amount of smoothness we were comfortable with.  This had us wondering if the ET3 could be a better choice if you are able to run it to the full potential of 10Nm.

Unfortunately, this was not the case.  We experienced the same issues of graininess with the ET3, leaving us operating at a maximum torque level of around 7Nm before too much graininess was introduced.

So in our experience, we were fairly happy with the feel of the ET5, as there is plenty of “headroom” available to be able to make some compromises.  But with the version of software we used in this review, we couldn’t get the ET3 to a place we felt comfortable.

If you cast your mind back to the original release of the Fanatec DD1 and DD2, you may remember there was a lot of criticism around the overall feel of the FFB.  This was dramatically changed over time through driver and firmware updates and we don’t see why that wouldn’t be the case with the Immsource ET5 and ET3.  The hardware is clearly very high quality, and we were able to experience the individual elements of force feedback that make for a great wheelbase, but with the current software, we just couldn’t get it all working together at the time of this review.