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Adding Rev Lights And Gear Selector To Ms Wheel?


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#1 mikesnowdon

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 12:20 AM

Hi all.

I found a thread on BehHeck forums regarding adding RPM and gear indicator lights to a custom xbox 360 wheel and its something I'm very interested in doing myself.

The thread is here: http://forums.benhec...hp?f=23&t=43894

Its been dead since the last reply in September last year so I'm re-posting here as I think this forum is more appropriate since its related to modding.

The user Morrolan is responsible for the only mod of this kind I have found so far and suggests the rev indicator might be possible using the in game audio. He also mentions on his blog (link below) that he was working on a board for the PIC so I have registered my interest but no response yet.

http://xboxwheeldeve...blogspot.co.uk/

If I don't get any response from him I will have a go myself but first I'll need to learn about PIC's etc.

On the mechanical side of things I'm planning a custom CF wheel with CF paddle shifters, lots of buttons and rotarys, all functional, and as mentioned hopefully REV and gear LED's.

Internally I'll be doing the bearing mod and looking into increasing the Force feedback by either upping the motor voltage or possibly adding a second motor. More elaborate ideas include encasing the gears in a watertight casing filled with oil to eliminate as much internal friction as possible. I have a mate with a small engineering workshop in his garage including a few lathes and a full size mill.

I also want to do some custom pedals loosely based on the Logitech G25/27 pedals and incorporating the http://www.apelectrix.com/ Load cell braking mod.

I dont have my wheel yet as the postie hasnt delivered it. When It arrives I'll be tearing it down and having a good look at what can be done to it.

One more thing which would be cool is to have a quick release so I can pop the F1 wheel on for F12010/11 and change it over to a GT styled wheel for Forza 3/4 smile.gif

#2 mikesnowdon

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 01:25 AM

My wheel arrived today!

Straight away I modded to brake to make it stiffer and more progressive. I also re-greased the internal gears which made the wheel feel alot better. Bearing mod to be done next.

Found some more good info on the load cell braking so I'm happy to give it a go now. Will be ordering parts soon.

Really want to find out more about using PIC's to control LED rev and gear displays and custom button mapping etc. Can anyone point me in the right direction where I can find out?


#3 justathief

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 03:43 PM

Nice project!
I had a similar idea earlier, grabbing a cheap MS steering wheel and just tune it with better bearings and try to improve the quality in general, but the cars, bikes, house & yard is sucking up all my spare time (as well as my money & life)
Might give it a go in the winter if yours turn out as awesome as it's shaping up... smile.gif

Edited by justathief, 01 July 2012 - 03:43 PM.


#4 mikesnowdon

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:04 PM

Hi mate.

Yeah I hope so. To be honest I'll probably need some help on the electronic side of things.

Had a bit of an idea on making the FFB a touch stronger. The motor has a (about) 13/14 tooth pinion gear on it. So we can change it to a 9 tooth and mod the bracket to move the motor closer so the gears match up. I dont think it will make that much difference though.

There is a company in Italy who make a full-on mod kit for the Logitech G25/27 including a new power supply and electronics to increase the Force feedback. They are very receptive on exactly how they do it but its basically upping the motor voltage and adding fans to keep the motor/s cool.

http://www.f1driving.it/en/

Also there's a couple of bearing mods on the net to make the wheel feel more solid and get rid of the play on the shaft.

This is the most popular one:



And another way of doing it:



I want to try and incorporate both with a additional small bearing on the wheel end so the whole steering shaft rotates on a bearing and the load is taken care of at 'both' ends. This should make it rock solid.




#5 justathief

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:14 PM

A strong FFB is exactly what I've been wanting in a wheel, when you're used to driving real race-cars, even with quick-ratio PS it's kind of a disappointment with the (weak) force-feedback from most wheels...

Would love one of those Fanatec Porsche set-ups, but I think I might end up shot if my GF catches wind of their price sad.gif

If only 2-3 hours of sleep a night was enough, maybe it's time to start doing crank tongue.gif (again)

Anyways, keep taking pics, it's always nice to see a project from the start...

#6 mikesnowdon

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:26 PM

QUOTE(justathief @ Jul 1 2012, 04:43 PM) View Post

Nice project!
I had a similar idea earlier, grabbing a cheap MS steering wheel and just tune it with better bearings and try to improve the quality in general, but the cars, bikes, house & yard is sucking up all my spare time (as well as my money & life)
Might give it a go in the winter if yours turn out as awesome as it's shaping up... smile.gif


OH yeah, just wanted to say I don't think its worth modding any of the other 'cheaper' MS wheels. The original one has great FFB and apart from the sloppy bearing is otherwise a great piece of kit. Its discontinued now and sometimes fetching more than the original RRP because its still the best budget 360 wheel. The only thing better is the Fanatec CSR wheel at about 3 times the price.

Games like Forza and F12010/11 were developed on the Ms wireless racing wheel also so it happens to work really well on those games.


QUOTE(justathief @ Jul 1 2012, 10:14 PM) View Post

A strong FFB is exactly what I've been wanting in a wheel, when you're used to driving real race-cars, even with quick-ratio PS it's kind of a disappointment with the (weak) force-feedback from most wheels...

Would love one of those Fanatec Porsche set-ups, but I think I might end up shot if my GF catches wind of their price sad.gif

If only 2-3 hours of sleep a night was enough, maybe it's time to start doing crank tongue.gif (again)

Anyways, keep taking pics, it's always nice to see a project from the start...


Yeah the Fanatecs are the benchmark in my opinion. Look at the new CSR model.

I'll get some pics as soon as I do my first major mod with the bearings etc. All I've done at the moment is mod the brake for a better more progressive feel.

#7 mikesnowdon

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:08 PM

Just waiting for my bearing to arrive. Hopefully tomorrow!

Also doing well on the research side regarding making DIY pedals with a load cell brake. I'm basically at a point where I can order the parts and start making them.

I have a friend who is involved in robotics who is going to give me some help/advice on replacing the internal gearing with pulleys and belts so the action of the force feedback is smoother. Its great as-is but a little clunky due to the gear slop in the cogs which is an inherent problem with straight cut gears.

He also knows a thing or 2 about motor controllers so I'm hoping to pick his brains about adding a second motor and tweaking to driver circuit to accommodate the extra amps that the second motor will demand.

Can anyone give me any help on the PLC controller so I can see how to go about adding rotary switches to the wheel for tyre selection and changing engine modes?

Edited by mikesnowdon, 06 July 2012 - 09:11 PM.


#8 RDC

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 03:17 AM

Unless your wheel is different from the few that I've seen and the one I have here torn apart, then it's in a Matrix setup, so you'll need to use switch ICs to handle the actual button presses. The 4066 is a good SPST switch IC to use for something like this. It has 4 SPST switches in a 14 pin package, just drive the control line Hi (voltage) and the switch closes, drive it Lo (ground) and it opens. It also will not change how the original button works, as it's the same as a duplicate button, just electronic is all.

If you're planning to use a PIC and code up some Macros for the mode selecting and haven't done any of that kind of thing before, then you might have a good bit of work to do to get that going.

You'll want to take small steps so you know what's going on with all that, and start at the very beginning which is to get an LED blinking first. Then get an LED to turn on/off when you press a button. Then put a delay in there so the LED turns on X amount of time after the button is pressed. There are loads upon loads of tutorials for how to do all of these, as well as whatever language and hardware platform you decide to code in. If 10 different people on here told you how they'd do it, you'd probably get at least 5 different ways to code it on both PIC and Arduino that would all do the exact same thing in the end, so you'll need to look around and see what looks easiest for you there, and there will probably be forums abound on that language and hardware and how to go about those things in it.

After you've done that, you have the building blocks to make up your Macros since that's all they really are. Press your button, LED1 turns on and off, wait a sec, LED2 turns on and off, wait a sec, LED3 turns on and off and there's your Macro. Rotary switch moved to position 1 and then A, DU, then Y are pressed in order. That's just an example, as I've no clue what the actual combo of buttons you'll need are, but if you can get an LED to blink, then turn on/off with a button, you're on you're way.

You'll also need to decide on the MCU you want to use, and for that you'll need to know how many I/O (Input/Output) pins you need. For every button you plan to press that's an Output pin, then for however many positions the Rotary switch has or any other buttons you want to do something then those are Inputs, and add a few extra in there because ya never know what could turn up. It's also good to have the programming pins free when Developing so you're not constantly having to remove this or that from those lines or pulling the PIC out of a socket to reprogram it over and over and wearing the pins out.

Edited by RDC, 07 July 2012 - 03:18 AM.


#9 mikesnowdon

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:54 AM

Thanks RDC that really helpful. I'll have a look around and see what I can find. The button presses I want to duplicate are all on the D-pad for F2010 and F2011 nd change things like engine modes, tyre selection and front wing angle. To change these things in game requires a little button combo on the d-pad which is sometimes difficult while trying to handle a F1 car!

This is a video of the one the other guy did, unfortunately I have still had no luck getting in contact with him:



And I just came across this one also:

http://www.youtube.c...o...&playnext=1

#10 RDC

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 03:48 PM

Taking a hand off the wheel to turn a Rotary switch doesn't seem too much better by comparison.

The worst part about setting up the Macros will be the timing and order of the different ones. Since there's no feedback from the game to the controller on what selection you've made or are currently in, you need to code it to deal with that also. Taking care of 'skipping' input selections, like going from 1 to 3 on a Rotary switch and making sure when it's first turned on it knows what setting it's on to start from will probably need to be done as well.

No matter how it's done, I can see it getting 'out of step' if selections are made at the wrong time or the game resets them between races, but that mainly depends on how the D-pad presses work in game, though it'll work perfect as long as it's used right.


#11 mikesnowdon

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:52 PM

Its simpler than pushing the crappy xbox d-pad right, right, up just to move the front wing to the up position for example. The idea is to replicate what real F1 drivers have to do during a race by having simple buttons and rotary's to change car settings 'on the fly'. To be honest though its not a big deal. I just like the idea of it because I think a custom F1 style wheel would be cool.

Edited by mikesnowdon, 10 July 2012 - 10:54 PM.


#12 mikesnowdon

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:25 PM

Bearing mod is done! Much better. I can feel the FFB more and the wheel just feels alot better. Also added a heatsink the PCB due to a very hot runnign chip and added a motor heatsink and fan to keep it cool.

IPB Image

IPB Image

#13 mikesnowdon

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:26 PM

Hi RDC.

I must say I love reading through your posts and projects. What you do is so cool and a massive help to the community.

I want to ask a slightly off topic question if you dont mind:

The large XB08717 ic in my Wireless Racing wheel started getting extremely hot. I have the v1 version of the wheel which was prone to faliure and the reason for the revised v2 version. I got it second hand and its worked fine in the couple of weeks since I had it. However, the other day I was probing around with my DVM looking for a 12v source for a fan. I shorted something as there was a little spark. After that the wheel would power up and shut down after a few seconds. After much head scratching I accidentally found out my XB08717 ic was getting EXTREMELY hot, as it burnt my finger! I thought I must have blown it or done something to send it into oscilation. I decided to try adding a heatsink to it to test if the chip had some kind of thermal protection built in causing it to shut down. The heatsink worked and the wheel powered up and stayed on. I have been using the wheel like this for a while now and it works absolutely fine. The heatsink gets quite warm though and so does the back side of the PCB so I may need to add a better heatsink or larger fan. Anyhow, the question is; Do these chips tend to run quite hot anyway? Also, can they be replaced or are they a OEM part?

Its the chip here above the RF chip:

http://www.electroni...el-r0012874.jpg

Edited by mikesnowdon, 19 July 2012 - 11:28 PM.


#14 RDC

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 04:34 AM

Thanks.

That IC isn't what they changed in the v2 though, it had to do with the power for the FFB motor. That IC there is the MCU, the 'brains' of the wheel.

I haven't checked to see how warm that IC runs in the wheel, but it's pretty much the exact same setup as the Matrix controllers, and they don't get anywhere near warm, let alone hot, and I'm actually surprised it's working with a heatsink on there.

It's a proprietary M$ chip, or something they've re-branded, so you'd most likely have to get one form another wheel I'd imagine to replace it.

Since it's the same basic layout as the Matrix controller though, I'm actually keen to see what effect swapping an MCU from one of the controllers would have on the wheel. When I get some free time I'll do some tracing on it and see if some pins match up, and if they do I'll give the one I have here a swap and see if I kill it, nothing happens or it works the same. It's been in pieces for awhile now waiting for me to do something with it, may as well be that.


#15 RDC

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 05:59 AM

Nope. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to see now instead of later. You can't swap the MCU from a wireless Matrix controller to an M$ wheel, well you technically can, but it's not going to do a thing. One might assume that from the start just because, though the layouts are too similar and there's no fact behind just saying that, now there is, it doesn't work. I replaced the original MCU afterward and it fired back up again, so at least I didn't nuke it.

I did learn that everything that's done on the steering wheel is transmitted over the serial comm lines to the MCU, hence the other IC on the steering wheel board. Those lines are used for just the PnC pack in the Matrix controllers. I imagine they did that to keep the wires down to 6 for all of the buttons, power and LEDs, instead of the 20+ that would normally take to do. It also jives with the blank pins on the MCU in the wheel that are used for the buttons and LEDs in the controller.





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