Last updated: February 5th, 2024
Featured Image: Grid Engineering DDU5
For such a small box, this DDU really packs a punch. Grid Engineering got this lovely little display unit to me within a day or two via UPS. As soon as I installed it, I was smitten. It boasts a beautifully vibrant full-colour Vocore display, it’s easy to install and set up in Simhub. Here’s how I got on.
The Grid Engineering DDU5 dash display presents a sophisticated and immersive upgrade with its high-resolution 5-inch Vocore display.
The screen boasts a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, providing a crisp and clear presentation of crucial in-game data. It’s bright and very colourful, especially with TWF dash installed. You may notice from the positioning and the steering wheel I currently have mounted that it’s exceptionally visible and very easy, at a glance, to get key lap info.
The DDU5 features “silkscreen printed” scratchproof glass, intended, obviously, to keep the unit looking good over time. The CNC aluminium enclosure, finished in a black anodized coat gives a robust and rugged look to the design. In the hands, it feels very solid and it’s clearly a high-end sim racing item.
The DDU5 is really easy to install. It comes equipped with 2 carbon fibre brackets, mounting bolts and a USB cable. These carbon fibre brackets not only provide robust support but also add to the unit’s sleek aesthetic.
Finally, the unit features 20 telemetry controllable RGB LEDs. There are 10 positioned along the top of the unit (RPM lights) and 5 LEDs either side of the main display (spotter LEDs). These LEDs allow for a high degree of customization and can provide real-time feedback based on in-game events, adding another layer of realism to your sim racing experience. The RGB LEDs can be programmed to represent various game variables, such as RPM levels or proximity alerts, offering a visual guide to help you navigate your way through the traffic. I found Grid Engineering’s own LED profile ideal from the start, as the RPM lights are pre-configured (via Simhub) and the side LED lights act as a spotter by indicating another car’s proximity to your left and right.
As I mentioned earlier, the DDU5 comes boxed with a choice of two brackets. As it happens, my Simucube mount was pre-drilled for my SLI Dash display, so I had the choice of using either bracket.
In the end, I settled for the bracket that matches the top two mounts for my Simucube, as that positioned the display precisely where I wanted it:
Software installation is very easy. Start by installing the Vocore Screen driver (which is featured in the manual). The Vocore driver is a standalone executable – to be safe I did close down SimHub while this installation took place. Then, it was time to configure Simhub.
Start by heading to Devices > Add Device:
When you click add device, look for the “Generic Vocore Screen” device:
Select this and the full settings options will appear for the screen:
The only setting I changed was selecting my “Displayed Dashboard” under “Main Dashboard” – which, as you can see I chose the TWF dash LITE:
After the main installation is done, it’s wise to make use of Grid Engineering’s own LED profile. You can download the file from a link provided in the mainual. Save the LED profile somewhere and follow these instructions:
Head to “Arduino” and select “RGB LEDS” from the top tabs. Click “Profiles manager” (highlighted below)
In profile manager I created a new profile, called DDU5. This then appears as an available profile – open it, and use the “Import profile” button (highlighted below).
Once you upload the LED profile file, you should see an active LED profile just like this.
And that is installation complete! It’s a few steps but they’re very easy and anyone with any experience of Simhub would find it simple. If you’re new to Simhub, you’ll be impressed!
As soon as you jump into an iRacing session, the screen springs to life and your session can begin.
I think the DDU5 is a “must-have” dash display unit. It’s reasonably priced and dispatched quickly, with really good support available (as you’d expect from the Official e-sports supplier for the Mercedes F1 team) and a well-written manual.
- Perfect Dash Size and Resolution: The DDU5’s 5-inch TFT display with a resolution of 854×480 is considered ideal for its purpose, offering clear visibility even for small fonts.
- Vibrant Display: The screen is noted for its brightness and vibrant colours, enhancing the readability of the displayed information.
- Adjustable LEDs: Surrounding the screen are 20 fully adjustable LEDs that can be used for various indicators such as rev lights, low fuel, flags, and on-track spotting.
- Software Compatibility: The DDU5 is compatible with a wide range of software including SimHub, JRT, Z1, etc., making it versatile for different setups.
- High Build Quality: The dash is praised for its motorsports-grade enclosure and overall excellent build quality.
- Mount Adjustability: It can be difficult to adjust the height of the dash easily, especially when switching between different types of steering wheels. The bolts had to be left slightly loose to allow for height adjustments, which is not ideal.
- Mount Compatibility: The design of the mount makes it challenging to get the dash fully flush with monitors, due to the cable protrusion at the back.
- Price: While not explicitly listed as a con in this review, the price point of the DDU5 ($303 or €326) might be considered high compared to other dashes on the market, despite its high quality and features.
Issues Other Reviewers Found:
- Power Supply for Steering Wheel: The need for a dedicated power supply for the steering wheel (when used in conjunction with the DDU5) (this applies to the MPX and the 911 wheels from Grid Engineering was noted as unusual and something that could be improved upon.
- Software Interface: Simhub has a learning curve
- Cable Management: The cable for the DDU5 was mentioned to fit a bit loosely into the housing, indicating a desire for a neater USB cable solution.
The colours really “pop” and the refresh rate of the display is fast enough that everything stays crisp with no stutter or blurring. My gaming PC didn’t notice the additional peripheral, so there’s clearly no load and naturally, with Simhub (a tried and tested bit of software) I encountered no issues during installation at all. At 349.00 EUR this little DDU is a joy to work with. One of those items I’ll be sad to send back. Thanks Brandon and the team at Grid and Sim-Lab!