Should you buy a load cell brake?

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Going fast is important, but having complete control over your speed is crucial. Can a load cell brake improve your performance on the track?
Photo credit: OverTake

Race, brake, break lap records and repeat. Braking and controlling your speed is crucial when it comes to racing, in real-life and in the world of esports and gaming as well. You might have stumbled across the term load cell brakes, as many advanced sim racers rave about this part of their equipment. But is it worth investing in a load cell brake? What are the advantages and how do they even work? We have the answers for you in the following video.



What is a load cell brake?



A load cell brake measures how hard someone steps on the pedal, unlike traditional brakes which measure how far back it is pushed. This is the same system as real-life cars use. When you're driving in your own car, you never push the pedal completely to the floor. You don't have to, as the system recognizes an emergency stop if you suddenly stomp hard with a lot of force.

What's the problem with cheaper pedals?



The brake system that measures how far back you push the pedal is called 'potentiometer-based'. This technique is used for cheaper and entry-level sim racing equipment. It does the job and is easy to control. The only issue is that it lacks accuracy – which is crucial at a high competition level.

Potentiometer-based pedals struggle with having a resistance when pushed. This means that it's easy to apply a bit more or less braking than intended. Braking 100% as you intended is quite difficult.

Should you buy a load cell brake?



For load cell brakes on the other hand, the amount of maximum force can be measured much more precisely. They are also built more durably and sturdily, as they are made out of metal rather than plastic. This also means you can only go for load cell brakes if you have a sim rig to screw them on to!

There is a down-side to their greater accuracy and higher durability: high quality comes with a higher price. If you're still new to sim racing, a cheap potentiometer-based brake is completely fine. But if you plan on investing in your passion and want to further improve, a load cell brake is the better choice to upgrade your equipment.

What type of brake are you using? Tell us on Twitter at @overtake_gg or in the comments down below!
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