To my loyal and wonderful readers. I’ve been blogging about my interests in the simulation gaming hobby for over 10 years. Later this year will mark the 11th year of this blog. During this time, I’ve shared a lot of experiences (both good and bad) with my readers. While my blog postings can always be found here at GrizzlyBearSims.com, my individual blog postings are picked up and syndicated on several other websites including PC-SG. When I’m actively writing and posting new content, the website and blog postings are viewed by you (my readers) at a healthy rate. Now please understand that I’m not telling you these things to boast or gloat. I’m merely stating that GrizzlyBearSims.com and my blog postings are active on the interwebz and produce a considerable amount of traffic.
About two years ago, I began hearing about a small company called CSIO Tech who was in the process of launching a Kickstarter campaign to develop, build and bring to market an Eaton Fuller style USB shifter to enhance American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2. I watched their Kickstarter campaign video announcement and immediately became a backer. I wrote a few blog postings regarding this product including a full review which I titled CSIO’s SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter. Best that memory serves, from the time I initially heard about this shifter to the time I was installing it on my Logitech G27 was only about 4-6 weeks (perhaps slightly longer). The entire process was super easy and left me feeling 100% satisfied. I also personally know several others who also participated in the Kickstarter and all received their shifters and were equally as pleased in the product.
However, about 2 months ago I received a rather odd comment which was posted to the above linked article suggesting the entire Kickstarter and the product was a scam. As I had not had any issues and as previously mentioned knew of several others who also received their shifters right as promised, I figured this posting was meant to be SPAM and I deleted it and didn’t give it any additional thought.
Then right before the holidays I received an email from another reader who also commented on the fact he felt he had been scammed by the CSIO Tech company. I replied to the email requesting more details, but never heard back. As was the case with the first comment, I simply put the idea on the back burner and haven’t really thought much about it.
But things have changed….
Just recently, I received yet another comment on the blog post and this time the reader provided more information which I feel I must act on.
Let me state for the record…
I’m in no way affiliated with CSIO Tech. My only connection to CSIO Tech and the owners/employees of this company was simply as a Kickstarter backer. I paid the same amount of money to back the Kickstarter as anyone else would have done. I received no discount or no other compensation for writing the articles I did almost two years ago. In addition, I do not have any way of contacting CSIO Tech.
But being curious in what has been going on since the time I backed the program and received my shifter, I began to do a little research. After all, while I have no horse in this race….I have several blog articles floating around on the internet all stating what a wonderful product the shifter is and what a wonderful company CSIO Tech is. While I believe most will understand that I have no control over what a company does or does not do to support their customers, I still feel really bad that some appear to have really been treated poorly and perhaps….yes….I’ll say it….SCAMMED!
As stated, I have no connection to CSIO Tech or any of the employees/owners of this company. I could easily delete the blog postings from two years ago and just ignore the comments and emails. After all, this isn’t my fault. But everything posted on the internet is there for eternity. As previously discussed, my blog postings are read by thousands of people and are syndicated on numerous websites. I at the very least wanted to make an effort to see what was going on with CSIO Tech.
My first attempt to contact was to visit the CSIO Tech website. I was hoping to find a “Contact Us” email address, a web form or some other method of contacting. It appears the only way to contact CSIO Tech is to register for an account and log a support ticket. I attempted this process, but after clicking on Support > Submit a Ticket, it does not bring up any physical way of submitting a ticket for support. It’s as if they have deactivated the support ticket process.
Knowing many YouTube Content Creators either ordered or received a SKRS Shifter, I decided to see what folks might be saying on these “review videos”. I read through comments on three different well known YT channels and found comments from just a few weeks ago where folks had been waiting 6, 8 and even 10 months without hearing anything from CSIO Tech.
My next method of contacting CSIO Tech was to visit their Facebook page. One of the first things I noticed when visiting their Facebook page was the date of what appears to be their last post dated 11 May 2017. There are numerous comments from customers who have been waiting on orders. Many postings claiming fraud, scam etc.
Two Sides to Every Story
Yes, I fully subscribe to the theory that there are two sides to each story. I sent CSIO Tech a private Facebook message as this appears to be the only way of reaching them. In my message I explained who I was, I mentioned the email and comments I’ve had posted on my blog about their service (or lack of service in this case) and simply asking them to explain what is going on. I explained that I would wait until end of day Friday, 26 January before publishing this article. But I stressed the fact that while my experience in dealing with this Kickstarter was 100% successful, I feel bad that others have appeared to be scammed and cheated.
Well…it’s Saturday, 27 January and I received no reply to my Facebook message to CSIO Tech. All evidence I can gather points to something seriously going wrong with this company sometime after mid 2016 and the present day. It’s certainly hard to argue with those who have taken the time to contact myself, leave FB comments and YouTube comments for others and all with the same general theme of being scammed.
Again for the record, the experience I had with CSIO Tech almost two years ago was nothing but positive. But things can change and change quickly. I certainly do not recommend doing business with CSIO Tech and for those who have placed orders which have not been fulfilled, I suggest you contact your bank, credit card company or Paypal and file a complaint and request a refund. In addition, you might be interested in filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
While I have no direct experience with either of the two companies I’m going to mention next, it appears these two do offer an add-on replacement shifter (similar to the SKRS). Please do your own research and engage them at your own risk.
Tech Affliction Mega Shifter
AplusB Software Simu Shift Knob
I’m terribly sorry if someone read my blog posting and made a decision to purchase the SKRS Shifter from CSIO Tech and lost money as a result. I truly hope everyone understands that my only connection with CSIO Tech was merely as a customer.
Thank you for reading.
P.S. As you can tell I originally drafted this blog article in late January with the intention of publishing it then. I actually decided to wait in the hopes I would receive a response from the CSIO folks. It’s now mid-March and I know I’ll never get that response from them. I’m sorry to everyone who have been burned by this company.
The Eagle has landed…the good ole, and reliable United States Postal Service (USPS) “We Deliver” did their job just as the tracking number I received indicated and delivered my CSIO’s SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter on Saturday. You may remember from a piece I wrote in April that I backed their Kickstarter program and as part of being an official backer would receive a shifter sometime in May. I’ll admit, the wait has had elements of my childhood in the days leading up to Christmas and wondering what would be under the tree when I awoke on Christmas morning. Ahhhhhhh Ok…let me get back to reality now.
If you’ve had your head buried in the sand over the past several months AND not been paying attention to the recent ATS and ETS2 trucking news, then perhaps you’re completely out of the loop regarding what a CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter is, what it does, how you can get one and most importantly IF and WHY you should own one for yourself. Well…I’m going to break these things down for you in what I hope will be an easy to understand read. Here goes….
What is this thing?
The CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter started out as an idea (and a rather good one at that) by the CSIO Technologies team. These guys wanted to bring to market a piece of hardware which would truly place us behind the wheel, or better yet behind the gear shift of a semi truck. And remarkably they did just that! But trust in the fact they just didn’t crank out a replica shifter from a 3D printer. Oh heck no! These guys have used the genuine article. The shifter housing is 100% the real deal and what you would find if you crawled into the cab of a semi running an 18 speed Eaton Fuller transmission. Sounds easy right?
Unfortunately for us simmers, the real deal found in a semi truck uses pneumatic hoses and not electric cables. So the talented folks at CSIO Technologies designed a small USB interface which would be fully contained inside the shifter housing. Their goal was to provide us something we’d all be proud to own and use and they certainly got this right!
The CSIO SKRS shifter mounts snugly and securely onto a Logitech G25/G27/G29 or Thrustmaster TH8RS/TH8A shifter. One small USB cable (provided) then connects into an available USB port on your PC and after making a few changes in either ATS or ETS2, you’ll soon find yourself manually shifting gears in the big rig of your choice as you truck down the open highway.
My First Impressions
My style of simulation game play has always been to enhance it as much as possible. I have hundreds of dollars invested in hardware to enhance my flight simulation experience. When flying the PMDG 737 or 777, I almost rarely need to use the keyboard and mouse. I have hardware modules to control my NAV and COM radios, I have hardware modules to control the autopilot and flight navigation systems and of course I use a flight yoke and rudder pedals. Likewise, I have the Logitech G27 wheel, pedals and shifter to enhance my “Realism through Simulation” efforts with American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Farming Simulator 15. Driving or flying using only mouse and keyboard is just simply not an option for me. Each of the games I play are SIMULATORS. So having said that, it’s no wonder I would find the CSIO SKRS shifter a must have for my setup.
While it’s been a long time since I held a Class A CDL (issued in the Great State of Texas), the CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter felt comfortable in my hand. Of course it should. As previously stated…this is the real deal! But I must almost admit that I pretty much drove my ATS and ETS2 trucks with automatic transmissions. The reason for this was because I just found the process of shifting gears (especially simulating an 18 speed transmission) to be un-natural. I tried setting up buttons on my G27 shifter to emulate the high/low and splitter functionality. But it just didn’t feel right. So I gave up and returned my truck to an automatic transmission.
In the coming weeks (perhaps month or so) the initial setup will be much easier and actually almost plug and play. SCS has officially backed the shifter and have plans to add the necessary adaptions to make the setup easier. Until this happens, you will need to make a few edits to the profile controls.sii files. But everything is explained in the very well produced CSIO YouTube videos found here. The changes required on my system mirrored 100% of what was discussed in the video and everything functioned as described.
As you can see from the image below, I’ve installed the shifter onto my Logitech G27 shifter as described. I spent about two hours over the weekend driving in ATS multiplayer both learning the correct shifting methods and having a lot of fun. As those of us who already use a wheel, pedals and shifter setup know just how much these items immerse us into the simulation….this shifter knob takes it even higher. Yes absolutely, you can enjoy ATS or even ETS2 just using a mouse and keyboard. You can improve on that slightly by using a game controller such as an XBox type controller. But throw this CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter onto a Logitech shifter (with wheel and pedals) and just about the only thing missing is that sweet smell of diesel exhaust. In other words, this setup takes ATS from being a video game into a hard core American Truck SIMULATOR.
Unfortunately, I realized I would need to change my setup just slightly in time. I’ve got to get rid of the rolling chair I currently use or place a carpet under it. Trying to stay coordinated while using clutch, brake, accelerator (plus shifting gears) all while trying to keep my chair from rolling backwards is a real pain. Not to mention it seriously breaks my sense of realism. The other thing is I plan to mount the Logitech shifter on a lower table or platform of some kind so my shifter is a little lower than it currently is. Mounting this at the same height as the steering wheel makes the overall height of the knob much higher than the default shifter knob and I’d rather it be just a little lower.
Am I satisfied?
Do you need the CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter?
Heck yea…Especially if you already have either the Logitech or Thrustmaster hardware. This will allow you to take the simulation to the next level. This is truly an awesome hardware addition and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to back such an amazing product. I can’t wait to learn what other items the CSIO team will come up with next. As a matter of fact, the CSIO.tech team posted a new YouTube video showing an EasyJake addon for the SKRS. Yes Please!!!!!
Want to learn more about the CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter? Just visit the CSIO.Tech website.
As always thank you for reading my blog. You can follow me on Twitter and also check out my mature virtual trucking company, Grizzly Bear Trucking. We pride ourselves in realistic simulation operations on multiplayer and single player. We are a relaxed group of enthusiasts who enjoy following the rules of the open road and would welcome others who share this same desire.
Until next time…
What does 940551169900056091xxxx mean? No, it’s not an international telephone number. No, it’s not the winning lottery numbers (close) and no, it’s not my IQ. That number is the United States Parcel Service Priority Mail tracking number for my Eaton Fuller style USB shift knob which I backed in the CSIO Kickstarter campaign last month. The reason why this number is close to being a winning lottery number is the fact that the package is due to arrive at my residence tomorrow (Saturday, 21 May). Woohoo….
I received the shipping notice and the CSIO folks posted the above picture on Twitter with the tweet reading “Last of the @Kickstarter s going out right now!” Yep, one of those USPS Priority Mail packages will find its way to my home in Denver on Saturday (hopefully).
I’ve see a few of the famous (and some not so famous) YouTube folks demo and showcase their shifter knob in recent days. From what I’ve seen, the shifter will most certainly live up to my expectation. You can expect a full review of the shifter sometime next week right here on GrizzlyBearSims Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Farming Too!) Realism through Simulation blog.
Until next time…
If you can’t find it, grind it!