I came into work one morning and found two large boxes sitting at my desk. Like a rich kid on Christmas morning, I took to tearing the things to pieces. After pulling out the wheels and pedals I dug through the box for the manual and drivers. I found a little pamphlet, presumed it was the manual and continued my search. After turning over every packaging peanut, I sat back and wondered: did they forget to include the driver disks?
After flipping through the manual, I found out why there was no disk or CD. There are no drivers! I guess this fact helps to explain how three guys out of Iowa can make a computer peripheral. The wheel uses Microsoft default wheel drivers. Installation is pretty basic, if you follow the instructions. After plugging the wheel in, I went to the joystick control panel and installed the default wheel driver. For a while I couldn't get the wheel to work at all. And no, it was not the power cord. Neither of the wheels has one of those.
After some muddling, interspersed with periodic glances at the manual, I stumbled on the answer. During the driver setup I kept checking the box that asked if there were pedals or rudders involved. I usually checked the box and went on my way to see the same result, not connected. On my last time around, I was lazy and didn't check the box. The wheel worked. The manual mentioned nothing of this, but I doubt they would bother to tell me the things I shouldn't do. Aside from that, there were no other troubles.
Most wheel setups have some way of staying put on a desk. This setup was no different. What usually differs is the manner in which these things are attached. Some setups have elaborate locks; some have great big twisty turney things. What it comes down to is whether the lock is easy to use. Both of the wheels that were sent had exceedingly simple locks. And I mean simple. The front of the setup has a flattened tube, into which a L-shaped locking mechanism is inserted. The other end of this "L" has a screw like device. Tighten this till it is secure against the desk and you are done.
Having a simple locking mechanism is extremely important. These things are not going to sit on your desk, day in, day out. Unless you have a computer that is dedicated for racing games, the setup will have to come off once you quit the game. The TSW wheels come on and off in a matter of seconds. That gets a nod in our book.
Wiring is a very important issue. Most of the wheels we have seen don't do this as well as we would like. For example, the Guillemot racing wheel has the power, computer, and pedal cords all sticking out of it. Why can't everything just plug into the pedal housing? That way there is only one wire going up. Most current setups have two or three wires snaking up and down between my legs.
While the TSW wheels have easy locks, their cords still ramble around. Fortunately there aren't too many of them. One wire from the wheel goes down to the computer; another comes up to it from the pedals. For me, the computer cord just barely covered the distance from the wheel to the computer. Extensions are available, though.