Logitech Wingman Formula Force

  • Review
  • Tweaking the Settings
  • Driving Impressions
  • Hardware Configuration
  • Configuration and Updates
  • Update: Ball Bearing Conversion Rocks!
  • My Logitech Settings
  • Eric Cote's Logitech Pages
  • Update: New Logitech Wingman Formula Force
  • Pedal Springs
  • Spit Axis Pedals
  • Wingman Shift Button Function
  • Windows ME and Wingman Formula Force
  • Update on Profiles
  • Problems with Fast Computers
  • Links
  • Jens Schumi: Ball Bearing Kit for Logitech; pressure sensitive Logitech brake pedals; also replacing the pedals
  • LogiCorner Yahoo Group mailing list
  • Brad DuTemple's Logitech Pedal Modifications
  • Mauritz Lindqvist: Putting Ball Bearings in your Logitech Wheel
  • Ricardo Nunnini: Tips and Settings for Logitech and Act Labs FF Wheels
  • Sources
  • All of the above retail sources are probably out of Logitech FF wheels, since they were discontinued sometime in 2000. The best source now is probably eBay. Beware the inferior gear-driven Logitech Wingman FF GP.


    8/31/99 - I got a Logitech Force Feedback wheel the other day. I am finding it to be quite a fascinating device. After 4 days with the Logitech FF wheel, I am finding the experience of driving GPL with FF to be no less than terrific.

    I was concerned that FF might prove to be a competitive handicap, but I'm very close to my best time ever at Silverstone now.

    I love the sensations the wheel gives. Now the car really feels like it has mass, and it reacts to my steering, throttle, and brake inputs in a tactile way that is very realistic and very satisfying.

    With Logitech FF and GPL, the racing experience is fantastic!

    Tweaking the Settings

    I spent a couple of hours tweaking the various settings. I started by following Eric Cote's ecommendations, but I wound up with settings which are really quite different.

    I used DXTweaker as Eric recommends to reduce the dead zone, and I think he's right that this is an important thing to do. The default dead zone in Windows is much too wide.

    I've included details about my configuration below.

    You can set forces and damping in both the Logitech driver, which gets installed in Game Controllers, and in GPL's core.ini. Using the latency setting in core.ini, you can also set the amount of prediction which GPL will do.

    Damping turns out to be critical. The damping setting in the Logitech Wingman driver control the amount of damping force applied, while GPL's core.ini controls how much GPL damps the effects of its prediction.

    Eric uses very high forces, along with fairly high damping, and he has GPL predicting 225 milliseconds out. I found the car really difficult to drive with these settings. The wheel felt very notchy, and I had very little feel about what was going on at the front tires. Almost all the feedback was being damped out.

    After a lot of experimenting, I wound up with much lower forces, almost zero damping, and almost no prediction. This makes the wheel much more responsive and it feels much more realistic to me.

    Lower forces and damping also reduced, but did not eliminate, the "stiction" which I encountered with my Logitech wheel when I first got it. This stiction issue is now resolved.

    Driving Impressions

    Overall, the Logitech wheel has a quality feel, with a nice thick sticky rim and effective clamps for holding it to the desktop. The shifting paddles are well placed and just the right size, and the four buttons on the front are also well placed. My only complaints with the wheel's configuration are that it doesn't provide a place to rest the keyboard, and that the clamping units are too long, so that they interfere wiht the keyboard drawer under my desktop. Also I'd really like one more set of buttons on the wheel's face.

    Modifying the Logitech Pedals

    Brad DuTemple says, "I decided to persuade some more travel out of my LWMFF pedals with a keyhole saw.

    "The results are very significant, and have negated replacing these pedals with a CH unit."

    Read Brad's suggestions here. Also see my notes on pedal springs here.

    Other Mods

    Several other interesting modifications are proposed by Kevin Caldwell and Peter Prochazka on my Force Feedback Reader Suggestions page.

    "Stiction" in the Logitech Wheel

    When I first got my Logitech wheel, I found that it had very high breakout forces when it was generating force. This made turn-in very difficult when forces were high, such as at high speeds or on banking.

    I removed the wheel and cover, hoping I could lubricate the bearings or find some other way to resolve this problem. While I had the cover off, I replaced the nylon bump stop bushings with thin plastic tubing, which permits about another 10 degrees of travel (thanks to Kevin Caldwell for this suggestion).

    The bearings were already well lubricated, so I couldn't do much there. However, I loosened all of the screws on the bottom of the unit, allowing the various bits to realign themselves, and then tightened them up and reassembled everything.

    The stiction is now pretty much gone. I don't know if it was loosening the screws, or removing the bump stop bushings, which might have been deflecting the front mounting plate.

    The wheel is even better now; with very little stiction, it's fantastic and I can now be more aggressive, more like the way I drove with a passive wheel.

    Update: I've bought another Logitech FF wheel, from a more recent production run, which entirely lacks the stiction problem. Details here.

    The stiction I mentioned above was the second worst feature of the Logitech unit. This issue is now resolved.

    The Logitech's worst feature is the pedals. Their throw is too short, their springs are too light, and their pads are too small. I gave up on them after about 5 minutes and went back to my CH Pedals, which was a huge relief. (See Brad DuTemple's suggestions for modifying the Logitech pedals.)

    I also have a problem with the left paddle on my unit; I have to press it much harder than the right paddle to make it work. Because of this, I frequently miss downshifts. However, this is probably a problem peculiar to my particular unit. (This seems to be the case; see here.)

    By "stiction" I mean the frictional force that has to be overcome to move the wheel. My Logitech unit originally had a very high breakout force; in other words, it took a lot more force to get it moving than to keep it moving.

    This was most noticeable under braking and corner entry, where it's necessary to make small, rapid, precise steering inputs to keep the car straight. At high speeds, where gyroscopic forces increase the force being applied by the wheel, it's even more noticeable. It's like someone jammed a stick between your steering column and the monocoque; you have to really yank on the wheel to get it moving, which plays havoc with your desire to make a small, precise correction.

    The stiction was a real disadvantage, but I've now pretty much eliminated it from my wheel. {Other wheels may not have it anyway. See here.)

    The high torque and damping force settings I used initially caused the wheel to produce so much force that it exhibited the same kind of notchiness that I disliked so much in the MS FF wheel. It feels like someone put gravel in your steering rack. But with the force dialed back, the notchiness disappeared completely.

    With high damping forces, it's like you're using a Koni racing shock as your steering damper. The wheel is very reluctant to move, and the feedback from the front tires is strongly masked. (It also aggravated the stiction, which I've since eliminated.) Eliminating the damping makes the feedback forces coming from the wheel much more noticeable and easier to interpret.

    Note: Read another view about adjusting damping forces here.

    I've changed the force value in GPL's core.ini so I get lower forces, which nearly eliminates the stiction except at very high speeds, and makes driving easier. Doing that and cutting the damping force to zero in the Wingman Game Controller config seem to be keys to getting good feel and precise control during turn in at high speeds.

    Once you're leaned into the corner, things get really interesting, and I like it a lot. When you're turning, the stiction is much reduced. You can feel the effects of going over (large) bumps, traversing the crown, touching a curb, ticking the wall. You are very aware of the increased force when the car loads up on banking or in the bottom of a dip, and you can feel the steering go light when you crest a rise, or you shove the wheel over too hard and break the front tires loose. You can also feel the caster helping you to feed in opposite lock when you get sideways.

    You also find the car lashing back at you when you get rough with it. Treat the car violently, so that it whips from side to side or starts fishtailing, and you find yourself fighting the wheel as the castering forces from the front tires try to make the wheel follow the car's direction of travel. When you spin, you can feel the grip go away, and you can feel it come back again when the car gets straight and the tires hook up gain.

    It's really quite amazing.

    See Is FF Better? for more of my impressions of Force Feedback.

    Hardware Configuration

    In 1999, when I first started using a FF wheel, my existing custom wheel and CH Pedals were connected to a PDPI L4 digital game controller. The Logitech wheel and pedals were connected to a USB port. I downloaded and installed the latest version, 3.25, of the Logitech Wingman software, as Eric recommended.

    Initially, had my custom wheel and CH Pedals on the L4's port 1. In this configuration, I found that Windows and GPL would only recognize the custom wheel and CH pedals when they were the first controller in Game Controllers. I had to use the Change button on the Advanced tab in Game Controllers to switch the custom wheel and pedals to ID 1, and the Logitech to ID 2. I had to do this any time I change a profile for the Logitech wheel, which was a nuisance.

    Later, I moved the custom wheel and CH pedals to the L4's port 2. In this configuration, the custom wheel and CH pedals automatically became ID 2 in Game Controllers, allowing the Logitech wheel to default to its preferred ID 1. This also affected the forces the Logitech wheel produced and I had to adjust my core.ini setting (see below).

    Now I use CH Pro USB Pedals along with my Logitech Wingman FF. This combination works great, and it eliminates the need to use the game port, which is a big performance boost.

    On another computer, where I have non-USB Pro Pedals, I use a Radio Shack game port to USB adapter. More info here.

    Configuration and Updates

    Update: Ball Bearing Conversion Rocks!

    In 2001, I converted one of my Made in China Logitech FF wheels to ball bearings using a kit I got from Jens Schumacher. It was a lot of work, but this combination is fantastic! The wheel is beautifully supple, and the detail of the forces that come through is amazing.

    Jens still has a few kits left, so if you're handy with a screwdriver, I strongly recommend you get one! I don't think there's any way to come close to the experience you get with a Ball Bearing-equipped Old Red.

    My Logitech Settings

    I have GPL's steering linearity slider almost all the way to the left, only about the width of the slider knob from being fully linear.

    Update: a number of people have reported that the force settings I suggest here result in almost no force effect on the Logitech wheel. Other people report that these settings provide excellent forces on their Logitech wheel. I suspect that there may be two different versions of the Logitech wheel, one producing much higher forces, or that the later Logitech drivers cause the wheel to produce more force.

    Andrew S. reports that "The 3.20 and higher drivers do increase the amount of force. Logitech stated that the original drivers were only using between 60% to 75% of the possible torque of the motor. So if you're driver revision is pre 3.20, you may want to upgrade."

    If the settings below produce too little force, try a max_steering_torque value of around 200, or increase the Spring Effect Strength.

    Or try downloading and installing the latest Logitech drivers. I'm currently using 3.62 on Win98, and 4.20 on Windows XP Pro. To check your version of the Wingman driver, go to Game Controllers, and click on the Wingman Formula Force's Properties, then Settings, then About.

    GPL core.ini:

    Update: You can now use GEM+ to set your force feedback settings in GPL. You no longer need to mess with the core.ini file.

    Special note: A number of people have written that they got a Force Feedback wheel and enabled Force Feedback in core.ini but don't get any force feedback in GPL. The problem is that they've used the sample file, core.ini.sample, which comes with GPL 1.2, instead of core.ini. The fix is easy. Go here.

    [Joy ]
    allow_force_feedback = 1          ; Use FF
    force_feedback_damping = 0.000000 ; damping coefficient
    force_feedback_latency = 0.000000 ; latency (secs)
    max_steering_torque = 330.000000  ; torque = max force

    Update February 2003: I now set latency and damping to zero. I find these settings give the fewest artifacts and the most feel. At any rate, I recommend damping no higher than 5, and latency (really prediction) of no greater than 0.02 seconds.

    Note: At first, I had max_steering_torque set to 330, but that was when I had the CH Pedals on the PDPI's port 1, which made the CH Pedals work only on ID 1 in Game Controllers. I had to manually reassign the Logitech wheel to ID 2 in Game Controllers to be able to use the CH Pedals in GPL.

    When I moved the CH Pedals to the PDPI's port 2, so that I could allow the Logitech wheel to be ID 1 in Game Controllers, the wheel started making a lot less force, so I reduced the value of max_steering_torque to 270.

    My next tweak was to increase the Overall Effects Strength and Spring Effect Strength in the Wingman FF Properties, which resulted in a need to lower overall forces from GPL by increasing max_steering_torque to 350. Now, I'm back to 330!

    Logitech Driver:

    These are found in Game Controllers/Wingman FF Properties/Settings.

    Since I'm not using the Logitech pedals, the Combined Axis setting is irrelevant. If I were using the Logitech pedals for a game that doesn't support split axis pedals, I'd set this to On.

    Note: my latest tweak was to increase the Overall Effects Strength and Spring Effect Strength in the Wingman FF Properties to 150%. This causes the Logitech driver to make the wheel generate its full force. At 100%, it only generates 66% of the force of which the wheel is capable, due to a bug in the earlier Logitech driver.

    This change resulted in a need to lower overall forces from GPL by increasing max_steering_torque in core.ini to 330.

    I also increased Damper Effect Strength from 0 to 25%. This helps make the car more stable without too much masking of the forces coming back from the car.

    Update February 2003: I currently run Damper Effect Strength at 0. With faster CPU's (anything above 700 MHz or so) I run zero prediction (latency) and damping in core.ini. These settings give minimal artifacts and best feel.

    Logitech Wingman Profiler:

    Update February 2003: I don't use profiles any more because these can introduce an invisible damping setting of 100% without giving you any way to reduce it. This kills all feel.

    Controller profiles are found in the Wingman Profiler. I followed Eric Cote's instructions for setting up a second profile for GPLLaunch, which becomes active when I launch GPL through GPL Spy Boy (see MSConfig for an update).

    I used Eric Cote's suggestions for setting the sensitivity and dead zone for each controller axis in the Wingman Profiler for my GPL and GPLLaunch profiles. These are:

    Axis Sensitivity

    Dead Zone


    Medium Low


    Medium-Low Low


    Low Low

    Since I'm not using the Logitech pedals, only the Wheel settings are relevant for GPL. However, with other racing games which don't support the use of CH Pedals with the Logitech wheel, these settings do have an effect.


    I also downloaded DXTweak from the Logitech Wingman page, following links and instructions in Eric's Logitech pages (here and here). On Eric's recommendation, I changed only the following:

    Read another opinion about DXTweak here.


    In the VROC chat one evening, Eric explained to me that he had figured out how to avoid the need for the additional GPLLaunch profile. Using Windows Start/Run, he ran MSConfig, and turned off the Logitech Profiler (Lwinst Run Profiler). Then whenever he starts his computer, he simply executes the Logitech Profiler once to load his GPL profile, and then exits the Profiler. This profile then stays in memory until he reboots the machine.

    Eric Cote's Logitech Pages

    Even though I wound up with different values for force, damping, and prediction, I found Eric Cote's site to be extremely helpful for getting the Logitech FF wheel set up and running. Eric also explains how to wire the CH Pedals right into the Logitech unit, eliminating the Logitech pedals and allowing you to use the CH Pedals with racing games and simulations which don't provide the controller configuration flexibility of GPL.

    Eric's Logitech pages are at:



    Thank you, Eric!

    Update: New Logitech Wingman Formula Force

    In November 1999, Logitech began shipping a slightly updated version of the Wingman Formula Force wheel. This new version has stiffer springs in the pedal unit, which address one of the problems with the Logitech pedals. The unit I purchased also lacked some glitches which plagued my original wheel.

    Pedals. I found the pedals to be improved by the stiffer springs, but still not as good for GPL as my CH Pedals. The primary problem is the geometry of the brake pedal.

    The throttle pedal works reasonably well, because its pivot point is about four inches behind the center of the pedal. This places the pivot point fairly close to my heel. Therefore, when I depress the throttle pedal, my foot doesn't slide on the pedal, so I can accurately position the throttle pedal. It works almost as well as the CH pedal, which uses a platform-type pedal which permits very precise positioning of the pedals.

    The Logitech brake pedal, however, has a much shorter arm. The pivot is only about two and one-half inches behind the center of the brake pedal. This is well forward of my heel, and it means that when I depress the brake pedal, the pedal pivots away from my heel and slides toward the front of my foot. The resulting friction makes it much more difficult to accurately position the pedal, because it tends to move in little jumps instead of smoothly. Even in stocking feet, this problem is still present.

    Wheel Stiction and Balky Shifters. Interestingly, the friction which I complained about in the wheel unit of my original Logitech FF wheel was entirely absent in the new wheel. The new wheel has worked quite well right from the start.

    The same is true of the problems I had with one of the shift levers in the original wheel; the new wheel's shifters are perfect.

    The only change I've made in the new wheel is to replace the fat plastic steering stop rings with bits of thin plastic tubing to allow the wheel greater travel.

    Identifying the Newer Units. You can identify the new version of the Formula Force in several ways:

    Also, my original version has a charcoal gray pedal base unit, while the new version has a black pedal base unit.

    The Made in China version was last listed at Insight for $140 plus shipping, but this wheel has been discontinued and is no longer generally available from retail sources. Try eBay.

    Pedal Springs

    I found some springs at the hardware store which are almost identical in dimension to the ones used in the newer Logitech pedals. They need to be shortened a bit, but then can be used to make the original Logitech pedals feel just about like the newer ones.

    These springs were in a Midwest Fasteners spring supply box. This is a large blue cabinet with drawers which is found in many hardware stores in the seacoast area of New Hampshire, and probably many other areas of the US. The cabinet is usually accompanied by a board displaying all the springs available.

    I used spring numbers 13 and 52 and cut them to the same length as the original springs.

    Split Axis Pedals

    Version 3.30 of the Wingman software (you can download this from the Logitech site) allows you to configure each game seperately for dual axes or single axis pedals. This can be useful if you are using the Logitech pedals for GPL and also want to run other racing games and sims which don't support dual axis pedals.

    Wingman Shift Button Function

    Note: Due to problems with insidious unintended overdamping by the Wingman Profiler, I've stopped using Wingman profiles. See my update below.

    The more recent Wingman software (I'm currently using version 3.30, available from the Logitech site) allows you to assign any of the buttons on the wheel a Shift function. When this Shift button is held down, it changes the functions of all the other buttons. This in effect gives you ten buttons instead of six.

    I've mapped the lower right button to be the Shift button, and mapped some of the shifted buttons to transmit character strings like, "Sorry", "No problem", and "Pit out". This makes it possible to transmit commonly used phrases without taking my hands off the wheel to type (which usually leads to a crash).

    You can download the profiles I'm using here. Simply import them into the Wingman Profiler, replacing the existing GPL profile. You may want to export the original GPL profile first, just in case you want to go back to it.

    There are two profiles, one for GPL and one for GPLLaunch. You'll need the latter if you race on VROC using WinVROC, since for some reason the Profiler sees GPLLaunch.exe instead of GPL.exe when you launch GPL through WinVROC. Simply assign the appropriate path to each profile as you import them.

    Windows ME and Wingman Formula Force

    A few days ago, I quoted a posting on rec.autos.simulators which indicated that Windows ME is not compatible with the drivers for the Logitech Wingman Formula Force wheel and pedals. However, this is not correct.

    Logitech has released a driver which is compatible with Windows ME. Neil Canning and Art Bromage both corrected me; they have been using their Wingman FF wheels on Windows ME with excellent results.

    Here are two places to get the driver:

    Update on Profiles and Drivers

    12/00 - Recently I began having problems with the Wingman Profiler on my Celeron 366@550 racing computer. I found that loading of the profiles for GPL and WinVROC was erratic; sometimes I'd have an active Shift button and sometimes not, which meant the profile hadn't loaded.

    Also, at one point the steering seemed to get much heavier, and lost all its subtle feel. After investigating, I discovered that the Profiler was defaulting to 150% damping for GPL, possibly because I had tried turning on the Specific Game Settings for GPL while experimenting with something. It appears that when you do that, the Profiler defaults to 150% damping for that profile forever after. Unfortunately the software gives you no way to control the level of damping for individual profiles, even if you turn off Specific Game Settings for that profile.

    This is such a major defect that I've stopped using Profiles at all.

    To generate chat messages while racing online, I'm experimenting with Game Commander. I'm not yet ready to report on this, so please don't ask me about it yet. I plan to publish a report once I've tried it with Game Commander's noise-canceling microphone.

    Problems with Fast Computers

    12/00 - The Wingman software can have problems with very fast CPU's. The symptom is that the computer locks up when you try to get it to access the Logitech controller.

    There are two fixes you can try. See Getting the Force on my Thunderbird page for details.