After watching the latest episode of 2012 in review. Darin and Shaun you guys have inspired me back to contribute more here thank you. now after I finished the DIY here about 5 minutes ago. I accidentally slide my magic mouse left and the page went back and I lost everything (yes after I posted the last word of this tutorial). so this is my second attempts.
Please also note this mod does not work with PS3 and that you will loose warranty of your F1 rim(not the base) if you do this.
Wheel rim will still function in PS3 just not the buttons or paddle shifters since it's connected to the SLI-PRO.
you might need a cup of coffee/ wine or beer or milk and sit down as this might be a long read.
hope you guys have a nice weekend.
PART 1 – Equipment and Materials
Disclaimer : Please be aware!! , That by following this guide, you are voiding your warranty of the F1 Wheel rim from Thrustmaster™ – IF you decide to do this, I will not take any responsibility for any damage this guide may cause to you, your body and/or your surroundings, you do this at your own risk., Thrustmaster will void the warranty of the rim (not the base) as soon as you open this wheel and/or made any modification to it. Kids /adults If you are under the age of 15 please close this page NOW! unless you have your parent’s supervision while doing this.- I will not take any responsibility for any damage you may caused (in case you burn down the place or have lead (chemistry code: Pb- read: plumbum) poisoning from using the solder iron and/or cut your self from having flying dremmel cutter bits fly in to your eyeballs) I am seriously thinking hard about not putting this guide online for these reasons. SO if you never use any electrical tools before, please DO NOT do this mod.
Some of the method(s) used in making modifying this rim could be un-orthodox to some, rough on the edges at first even – however the end result if you do this right , is guaranteed pure satisfaction. Nothing beats the wheel that you make yourself. it is one of those things that you can keep forever and never grow tired of.
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, Let us begin.
The Materials needed to do this are as follows:
1. 1 x Thrustmaster F150 italia replica wheel rim ( and of course a T500RS wheel if you are planning to use this wheel)
2. 1 x Sli Pro with the optional ribbon cable from www.leobodnar.com (SLI-F1 will be better if/when they are released)
plus these ribbon cables- now this is available from bodnar's site but they currently have specials that you get these cables. SLIpro 2 rotary switches and 2 NKKs for 110 pound, whilst normally the SLI-PRO alone is 100 pound.
Keep the guide open here’s link (http://www.leobodnar.com/products/SLI-PRO/SLI-PRO%20User%20Manual.pdf)
3. 4 x 12 position rotary switches from www.leobodnar.com (Get them from Bodnar as these will work with SLI as you only required to solder 3 wires per switch)
4. 2 x rotary encoders (ebay or leobodnar) either will work – only required 2 way ( I’ve always bought ones with push-in function, but in this case, I did not use/wire the “push-in”)
5. 5 x Chicken knobs /rotary knob caps.
6. 1 x SLI-Pro cover (make one yourself from dark Perspex to cover the entire SLI-PRo’s face)0- I would recommend this strongly as I purchased one from some modder online and the quality is shocking, The mounting holes does not fit the Thrustmaster rim’s hole and faceplate already crack/brittle when the carbon-fibre vinyl is taken off completely. I will update this with new picture once this is fixed.
7. 8 x waterproof momentary buttons (ebay) I found out that once you remove the stock buttons, the 13mm diameter holes of the original Thrustmaster™F1 rim fits these waterproof buttons without doing any modification to it (the face of the rim). (now this bit is optional – as you may use the stock buttons that was on the rim, however , it requires you to cut the molex connector of the button in order to wire them to the SLI-PRO’s ribbon cable) – I use fresh buttons to reduce error and for contingency of needing the stock button in future) – see picture below ” stock buttons” have white connector).
ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION TO AVOID FLYING DEBRIS !!!!!
Tools that you’ll need are:
ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION TO AVOID FLYING DEBRIS !!!!! (have I said this enough?)
1. Eye protection- Glasses- swimming goggles or a welding face mask – (It is not fun pulling hot melting hard plastic out of your eye socket)- not that it happened to me.
2. A Philip/Pozi head screwdriver
3. wire cutter and wire-strip pliers + stanley cutter
5. Solder Iron with the 60/40 resin core (better if you have multi-voltage solder iron) in case you over cooked the resin and damage a button.
6 . Dremel and Dremel drill bit Kit with circular cutter and grinder drill-bits.
These ^^ things scares the bejesus out of me
4. a 6mm drill bit (for the External LEDs )and SLI-Pro LED
5. Hole Puncher
6. Oh ..and a vacuum cleaner – unless you are working outdoor. you are going to make a lot of mess like these.
in case I forgot – ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION TO AVOID FLYING DEBRIS !!!!!
7. Some common sense. i.e.. don’t leave your soldering iron plugged in un-attended. etc.
PART 2 – Electronics and Buttons
OK – Now you have all the tools (that includes the eye protection) Lets do this.
First you need to open ALL of the screws using the Philip head screwdriver – all of them. on the back
and 4 screws on the face plate.
Lay the wheel rim face down on a piece of cloth and carefully remove the back plate – there should be 3 sets of wires still attached to the main PCB – These are the paddle shifters wire and the PS/2 connectors that goes to the T500 RS base, remove them from the main PCB on the rim.(the two in red and black wires )
and one with coloured wires – It should connect to the molex socket as depict below in purple markers. -carefully remove them.
Once you remove the paddle shifters’ wire from the socket, you can easily remove the rest of the molex from the main PCB and the 4 screws holding the PCB to the rim (marked in RED)
Now this is the point of for you to decide whether or not you want to keep the stock buttons, these buttons are hot glued inside the rim and is a bit tricky to get out, either way if you manage to get them out – the waterproof buttons should fit perfecty in the place , if you decide to use the stock ones, you need to cut the white molex connector and strip the tips of those red and black wires.
I choose to to take the stock buttons off.
This is where you need the Manual here -> http://www.leobodnar.com/products/SLI-PRO/SLI-PRO%20User%20Manual.pdf
oh heck you only need these diagram for this purpose- here it is. (photos are fromLeobodnar.com) I do not take any credit in creating these diagrams.
The colours represent the actual colours on the ribbon cables itself.
You need to figure out how many functions/button you are going to assign on the SLI-PRO
The Maximum you may currently assign is 16 Buttons + 6 rotary switch
-The Wheel rim have 8 buttons in total – please see numbers marked in red from 1 – 8 ;
- 2 thumb encoders that comes originally with the wheel (marked button 9-10 /LEFT and 11-12/Right)
- on the one I did I use the 2 spots on top (marked Rotary encoders #3 (button 13-14) and encoders #4 (button 15-16 )
IT has taken all maximum 16 functions/ buttons, but what about the paddle shifters you say? – well you see the PDF guide – each 12 position rotary encoders Switches also provide/take up a functions.
So if you only use 4 ROTARY SWITCHES instead of maximum 6 – you are left with another 2 unused buttons. so I use the 2 functions as button 31 and 31 for the paddle sifters.
Once you figured these out. It’s time to create some space for the SLI-PRO
This next step of cutting and drilling require you to wear EYE-Protection, so go on, put them on now,( hmm maybe not while you reading this. but when you are actually doing the cutting)
I use my SLI-PRO as a guide to where it should go.
Once you figure this out.- there are couple of ways that you can do start your preparation.
You need to take out the “Thrustmaster™” face plate after you remove the 2 screws holding it. ( at the back of my SLI-pro on the picture above)
First you draw the area around the outside of the SLI pro where you are cutting – and cut the shape later on.
second method is creating a stencil first using a masking tape.
1 place your masking tape (with the sticky side on the led of the SLI -Pro) gently and try to get it as straight flat as possible. (probably the easiest way is put the masking tape face up on a flat surface – and then put your SLI-PRO face down at the sticky area leaving the marks)
2 peel it off gently – do not yank it as it may damage the connection
3. you should see a mark of where the LED goes. – This is where you get your hole puncher and – start punching holes on the masking tape where those marks are.
(Sorry I did not took any picture while doing this . but I have a picture of when I did the Carbon vinyl face sticker) the hole puncher’s holes are perfect for the SLI-PRO
4. Check to see if the holes match exactly to the actually SLI-PRO.
5. If it doesn’t match, repeat this process. its should be quite easy the first time – be patience with the hole-punching.
6 .If everything matched- apply the hole-punched masking tape on face of the rim – where you want the SLI-PRO to go – and start drawing with the pencils where you need to drill.
See above ^^ where the pencil markers are ( I forgot to take out the Thrustmaster ™ plate) – I used these as a guide for the holes.
Take out all the buttons and these rotary knobs – I should be fairly easy to do so from the inside.
Once all the button and electronics are out – The next part is determining areas to be cut out and “flatten” for rotary placements.
PART 3 – Internal Structures and Positions (THE HARD YARD)
At this point, you need to drill from the front of the wheel in order to install rotary switches and encoders where they should be.
the holes are 7mm – I’ve marked the positions in red .
WEAR YOUR EYE PROTECTION NOW !!! – Drill where it is marked with red circles.
Where I marked “FLATTEN THESE: That is the area that represents “pseudo” knob, they need to be flatten out with dremel sander bit, the faceplate material of these bulging pseudo knobs are made from aluminium. the inside is hollow- so it should be fairly easy to do -
MAKE SURE YOU TAKE OUT THE ALUMUNIUM ROTARY COLOURFUL STICKERS FIRST before doing this as you’ll need it to cover the dremel/flatten out area.
Again – be careful and go very slow – required a set of steady hands- make sure each one is clean and use your dremel sander drill bit to refine the edges – no protruding and sharp edges, etc.
If you want to have external LEDs you need to drill an extra hole(s) maximum of 5 supported by SLI-PRO – I am having 2 on each side and 1 next to the DRS button, drill carefully.
THIS WORKS TAKES A LOT OF TIME AND PATIENCE, YOU MAY NEED TO TAKE BRAKES IN BETWEEN JUST BE VERY CAREFUL OR YOU’LL END UP WITH A “SCAR FACED RIM”
There is an easier method to do this, by taking out the aluminium face plate completely you don’t need to flatten the surface of those pseudo knobs, however you’ll loose the middle sticker and all the writings.
Once done, flip it around and you should face the inside of the rim like picture below.
I’ve marked the area that is required in order to fit rotary switches where the holes are:
Carefully flatten out those marked from A to F with the dremel- this is where it gets difficult – DO NOT CUT OUT TOO MUCH -use the red markings as guide
as structurally it will still be very strong while the internal have more space for your switches.
PS: see the button already installed on the right (top right of “C”) that hole is from the stock buttons and the waterproof button fits perfectly
The picture below is where the shifter block are, this also needs to be flatten out to create space for your rotary switch.
If you notice the picture above the elevation from “down” to “top” is now totally gone in the AFTER picture. also the 2 round cylindrical is now also gone. there are 2 springs inside , don’t worry ,that springs is only to create tension for the shifter, without it, the shifters feels exactly the same. it’s either taking these out or you can’t have any rotary switch(es)
Now after this, you can start drilling holes for the SLI-RPO spot and where the rotary goes.
It may looks very ugly at this point, but don’t give up – you are on the right path. Place your SLI-PRO in the area above and see if everything matches up. If they do leave it for now, if you have problem “pushing” or placing the SLI-PRO in to the front of the face. – skim more of the structural plastic until there is enough space, BE PATIENCE – GO SLOW when you skimming it with dremel.
!!! NOTE: This section is the hardest part to do as you need to be precise of where you want the SLI-PRO to go. if you choose to just cut the outer area of the SLI-PRO in Bottom of PART 2 then you need a screen/face plate to hold them in space. I suggest making one from black tinted perspex ( as I will be making one soon to replace my current one)
Place your rotary switches and button like so and make sure that the face of the rotary switches are flat on the inside of the wheel rim like picture above. (I’ll tell you how to do the middle one later)
once you place the rotaries flat – grab the shifter block that you have trimmed down and sit /install it back to where it was before. see if you can reach the flushed point where it closes/sits properly with the 4 screws (bigger ones) installed to the end.
On the picture above, the glue is touching the shifter block on the rotary switch, that means 2 things, I melt the glue so it has more space and/or trim a little more.
So I did. Never try to force them if they don’t fit – they don’t fit!.
Once those holes are drilled , place your rotaries where it should go ( notice I put 2 rotary encoders on top) instead of switches – the reason being is there are 2 very important structural “bones” that holds the shifter block and Thrustmaster “Quick-ish” release – If you want to install rotary switches on that position (where marked “REV” and BOOST” from the front) those 2 “bones” must be taken out and it will affect the rigidity of this rim.
The middle rotaries gets a little trickier as the holes are already in place from the FERRARI knob that we took out earlier (you’ll need the knobs as well if you want this to look authentic) what you can use is put a washer in between the face of the rim and the locking nut, that way the Rotary switch is secured – another lazier method is using hot glue (NOT RECOMMENDED)
Once installed try turning the rotaries and make sure they are secured tight and not moving around. all the buttons are in place and secured.
Test the button and rotary switches after you secure them.
Time for you to wire them up. Grab your ribbon cable from bodnar and have the wiring diagram handy (it’s the coloured ones I post on the second part) or if you can’t find it . go here (http://www.leobodnar.com/products/SLI-PRO/SLI-PRO%20User%20Manual.pdf)
It may look messy at times- it's actually very easy and simple to flatten all these connections and wire- just make sure you split them up fully from one another.
The Cables needs to be tidy and make sure you split the ribbon cable properly in order to save space later on.
I solder the wires from the ribbon cables directly on to the buttons and rotaries. – don’t’ forget to solder the wire coming from shifter block to the ribbon cable also.
Similar to the rotary switches like picture above. – be careful not to touch the solder-iron tip with the solder point of the rotary switches. as it may damage the internal circuitry.
TIP: Try to Flatten each wire after you solder them and secure it temporarily with a masking tape or gaffer tape, before you went to the next button/rotaries to get the cable out of your way.
After you finish this , it’s time to connect the ribbons to the socket on the SLI-Pro and test all the buttons out.
make sure you configure the rotary encoders using the software provided in leobodnar’s website and then go to control panel -> SLI-PRO -> properties and press each button/rotation, see each one lit up as you press. and Christmas should be near
as an addition I’ve installed a 5mm LED housings next to the DRS button for… well DRS signal, and 4 more LEDS on top left and right of the rim for other functions.
Right click on the SLI Max Manager and test the device.
AND WE HAVE LIGHTS !!!
now with 4 more external LEDS
Sorry about this ^^ Size, I don't know how to resize this, as it's direct from link.
It doesnt' say replica unless it has an official Ferrari Product seal - with installed bezel for 3mm LED.
I found these 3mm led bezel from my local electronic store "Jaycar" - to install (next to the red button) is drill 4mm hole for your 3mm leds - clip the already wired LED and the bezel clip on to those 4mm holes that you drilled.
Install your rotary knobs – your face plate – put the round stock aluminium colourful stickers back .
To install the middle Ferrari knob, – carefully remove the yellow Ferrari cap, leaving just the black part (jagged), drill the centre to fit the rotary switch “D” shape shaft.
place it flat on the face and hot glue the shaft (small amount) to the black jagged rotary cap , and put the yellow ferrari cap back on.
close the wheel rim and time for you to take it for a spin.
a little picture with GSC Formula and Z1 Sim screen on my iPhone.(the picture was taken before I installed the bezel for 3mm LED)- so you see the holes for the 3mm LED is still not that "pretty"
If it all seem too hard – I would recommend someone else do it for you. couple of places that I am aware of at the time of writing this.
Zelko Roso www.Zroso.com – waiting time might be a while – but you get a complete custom wheel – not a Thrustmaster ™ mod
Feel free to throw me a question / post a comment below if you decide to go the DIY route and need any tips / guide. I’ll try my best to answer them.
In addition to Roso’s wheel from the link above http://www.zroso.com – I have just came across a company that is also manufacturing high quality formula 1 wheel – Meet : SalaMotorsport, Their new website is still under construction at the time of this post- however , the information was that, website will begin to launch in early 2013, and that the wheel using full Carbon Fibre body with the options of SLI-PRO and upcoming SLI-F1, which means only one thing, that THIS is or will be the closest thing you can get to actually touching the real thing and it is apparently made in the exact process that the real Formula 1 Wheel ($45,000) is made . There is no price at the time this is post. however with this much photo to convince us the reader, I will be keeping an eye on the news when this is released.
Information provided and quoted directly from the source:
SalaMotorsport are 80% complete on the new F1 Sim steering wheel and it will be available in the new year.
This wheel is pre-preg carbon fibre construction and will use the new Leo Bodnar SLI-F1 unit and has 28 control buttons,switches and dials, all fully programmable.
Made in the exact process that the real formula one (£45,000) wheels are made and only the best materials and top quality switches from Leo Bodnar are used in its construction.
Production wheels will have Alcantara grips, clear extra led’s and Electrical Lifeline quick release bosses with adapters for all types of wheel base.
It will be come in its own flightcase for protection.
More updates to follow.
The Salamotorsport website will be up and running at the start of 2013.
Here are couple of pictures to entice our taste buds before the website launch , one for SLI-PRO ,…
These 4 photos below is courtesy of Scott from Salamotorsport- I asked his permission before using these.
It has been a challenge for me as I wasn’t expecting it to be this complicated- however during the process I have learnt so much that I think every sim racers/ DIY enthusiast must go through once to see how wonderfully complicated – how much precision and attention to details required in order to appreciate the process in making an F1 wheel rim.
Enjoy the video during my first initial test drive.