Thrustmaster F1 wheel mod with SIMR-F1 display, switches and encoders
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Perfect, a true work of art. I have a friend VEOS F1 With all the accessories but I can not install my add on F1 wheel could help me with pictures and videos? I will be very grateful to you, help me to be happy and also see my wheel ready. thank you

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In the following posts I will explain all the steps required to mod a Thrusmaster F1 wheel with a SIMR-F1 display, 12 way switches and encoders. My mod has been split over time into 3 stages:

  • Stage 1: The main PCB of the wheel is kept. Additional controls are wired on the SIMR-F1 display (2 12-way switches, 3 encoders, 2 stock thumb encoders)
  • Stage 2: The main PCB is removed. All the controls are wired on the SIMR-F1 display
  • Stage 3: Same as stage 2 with an additional 12-way switch for a fully functional Ferrari knob

This writeup is split into 7 chapters, each chapter being one post:

Edited by pascalh

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Chapter 1: Hardware and tools required

1. Hardware

  • 1 Thrustmaster F1 wheel addon (obviously ;))

2dugun7.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/Thrustmaster-Ferrari-Wheel-PC-Xbox-6304300/dp/B005PPOBQE/

  • 1 SIMR-F1 display

16m2kbq.jpg

http://www.simdisplay.net/sim-race-f1

  • 1 SIMR-F1 enclosure

2qa3ev7.jpg

http://www.simdisplay.net/SIMR-F1-Enclosure

  • 1 set of SIMR-F1 cables

6zlx11.jpg

http://www.simdisplay.net/SIMR-F1-Colored-Cable-Set

  • 3 SIMR-F1 12 position switches

mw7gq9.jpg

http://www.simdisplay.net/rotary-switches

  • 2 knobs with indicator

14uvneo.jpg

http://www.simdisplay.net/White-Knob-Multicomp-157D

or SRW-S1 knobs (this is what I used)

2rr9w6e.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/SteelSeries-Simraceway-SRW-S1-Gaming-Steering/dp/B006IR6NH8

  • 3 quadrature encoders and knobs

2yyo083.jpg

http://www.symprojects.com/shop/rotary-encoder/

  • 1 coiled USB cable

2cr7hxi.jpg

http://www.simdisplay.net/coiled-mini-usb-cable

  • 1 piece of plastic (40mm x 30mm x 1.5mm plexiglas)

r2szzl.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CLEAR-ACRYLIC-PLEXIGLASS-PLASTIC-SHEET-040-X-12-X-24-/161258837114?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item258bc6947a

  • 1 sheet of adhesive paper for laser printers

2enxdo5.jpg

http://www.ac-concept.de/pvc-folien-c-4_40_41.html

  • 59 pin male/female 2.54mm header connector

6fxsi1.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-pair-10pcs-2x40-Pins-2-54mm-0-1-double-row-straight-male-female-pin-header-/191127086701?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c800fe66d

  • black, red, green, blue wires

29y35o8.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ten-Colors-UL-1007-26AWG-Wires-Kit-200PCS-150mm-6-/130737318635?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item1e708d2aeb

  • 177 3mm heat shrinks, 1 8mm heat shrink

21cs7iq.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/itm/280Pcs-2-1-Heat-Shrink-Tubing-Tube-Sleeving-Wrap-Cable-Wire-5-Color-8-Size-TN2F-/281161166759?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item417682efa7

2. Tools

  • Set of Philips screwdrivers
  • Set of flat head screwdrivers
  • Set of files
  • Small needle nose pliers
  • Small cutting pliers
  • Cutter knife
  • Dremel with cut-off wheels, 3mm milling tool and 3mm drilling bit
  • Drill with 6mm and 10mm drilling bit (drilling bits for wood work best for plastic)
  • 8mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm open wrenches
  • Soldering station
  • Hot air gun or lighter

Back to Table of Content

Edited by pascalh

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Chapter 2: Disassembly of the Thrustmaster F1 wheel

1. Opening the wheel

  • Remove 2 small long screws on the front side (red circles)
    10f5hk8.jpg
  • Remove 8 small short screws on the rear side (red circles)
  • Remove 4 large screws on the rear side (blue circles)

xckex1.jpg

  • Open the wheel with caution because the front and rear sides are still connected together with wires from the paddle shifters and from the connector to the wheel base

2. Disconnecting the wires connecting the rear side to the PCB

  • First disconnect the lower connector linking the PS2 connector inside the quick release to the main PCB. The easiest way is to gently pry the connector with a small flat head screwdriver while gently pulling the wires (red circle)
  • Disconnect both upper connectors linking both paddle switches to the main PCB (red circle)

alopbk.jpg

3. Removing the PCB

  • Disconnect the remaining connectors:
    • 2 x 1 top buttons
    • 2 x 1 top encoders
    • 2 x 3 lateral buttons
    • 2 x 1 d-pads
  • Remove 4 screws (blue circles)

5xtueg.jpg

  • Take out the PCB

4. Removing the buttons and the d-pads

  • Remove the glue from all 8 buttons and 2 d-pads. Don't remove the silicone from the wires: the glue to remove is usually located inside the clearance between the button/d-pad and the wheel (red circles). The easiest way to remove the glue is to use a small flat head screw driver and to gently pry the glue out of the clearance

33ze25u.jpg

  • Remove 8 buttons and 2 d-pads from the wheel by pushing in 2 tabs for each button/d-pad. These tabs are located on the side of each button/d-pads inside of the clearance between button/d-pad and wheel. The easiest way is again to use a small flat head screwdriver to push the tabs in

ixtbap.jpg

  • There is no need to remove the encoders as they are not in the way. The encoders are also quite difficult to remove as a special wrench is needed

5. Removing the Ferrari knob

  • Remove 2 screws (blue circles)
  • Take out the Ferrari knob

2jg87yx.jpg

6. Removing the 3-way switches

  • Remove 3 nuts and locking washers (red circles) with a 8mm wrench

10f8itj.jpg

  • Take out the PCB with the 3 3-way switches soldered on it

10rtzcz.jpg

Back to Table of Content

Edited by pascalh

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Chapter 3: Integration of the SIMR-F1 display

1. Integration decisions

  • There are several ways to integrate a display into a wheel:
    • The bare display is fastened inside the wheel with openings to see the display through
      mjmrtz.jpg

    • The display with its enclosure is simply  fastened on top of the wheel
      okx2qw.jpg

    • The wheel is cut and walls are reconstructed to fasten the display and its enclosure on top of it like on a real F138 wheel
      350tlqh.jpg

    • The display and its enclosure is integrated into the wheel without fully cutting it
      newap1.jpg
  • The first option was rejected because I wanted to keep the look as close as possible to the real thing
  • The second option was rejected because despite the easy integration it was looking really weird. The SIMR-F1 enclosure being 21mm tall, it was really standing out much too much
  • The third option imposes to cut the rear wall of the wheel. This rear wall being part of the structure of the wheel, I was worried by the potential loss of structural rigidity of the wheel. So I rejected this option too
  • This is why I decided to take the 4th option: partial integration of the display and its enclosure into the wheel without cutting the rear wall

2. Drawing the location of the SIMR-F1 display

  • First, download the template files of the SIMR-F1 display from the SimDisplay website: http://www.simdisplay.net/downloads/SIMRF1_Enclosure_Drawing.zip
  • Print the PDF template file at a 1:1 scale
  • Cut out the template, but remove the red tabs, as those areas should not be cut out of the wheel. These tabs will be used to fasten the display to the wheel.

9apycl.jpg

  • Put the template on the wheel aligning the top of the template to the top of the aluminium insert, as we want to keep the upper wall of the wheel. Both screw holes should be just touching the template
  • Draw the outline on the wheel

2ithd82.jpg

3. Machining of the wheel front

  • Cut open the wheel front with a cut-off wheel. Don't cut into the rear wall as we want to keep it. Don't cut too deep: to keep the wheel as strong as possible, the rib below should be kept. 4mm of residual height for this rib is enough to clear the display

sx0my0.jpg

  • Then use a milling tool to enlarge the opening up to the outline previously drawn. To ensure a precise milling process, I found that the best is to hold the Dremel firmly in one hand and to use the other hand to guide the Dremel. This is best done by putting the fingers of the second hand on the wheel as a reference position and to use the thumb against the Dremel to guide it.

2mfykar.jpg

  • Use a flat file to finish the top of the opening: it should be flush to the rear wall. Use a round file to finish the corners. In the picture below, the upper part of the opening is completed: the shape of the opening is perfectly matching the shape of the display enclosure. It can be seen how the tabs of the enclosure will fit below the wheel, near the holes

21j38fr.jpg

  • The lower part of the opening should be milled flush with the flat surface of the wheel. The aluminium face has to be removed using a flat head screwdriver. It is only held with double-sided tape. The template is used to adjust the shape of the lower part of the opening. The thumb encoder enclosures have to be milled quite a lot

2cyjsk0.jpg

4. Drilling holes for the bolts and fastening the display enclosure to the wheel

  • Put the SIMR-F1 enclosure upside down into the milled opening and use it as a template to drill both 3mm holes in the wheel
  • Slide the display into the opening with fastening tabs of the display enclosure below the wheel face
  • The 3mm hex bolts can then be fitted: they should pass through the wheel face, then a 3mm washer and a 3mm nut used as spacers, then fastening tabs of the display enclosure, then a 3mm washer and a 3mm nut

21o4oyp.jpg

  • The 3mm nuts can be seen on the picture below. They should be moderately tightened. A small screw has been added (just below the PCB) to pull the display enclosure against the wheel for a better fit

kds7k9.jpg

  • The fit is almost perfect. The small voids as well as the small screw holes could be filled with black putty or sugru

hsvnm1.jpg

Back to Table of Content

Edited by pascalh

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Chapter 4: Integration of additional switches and encoders

1. Integration decisions

  • The real Ferrari F138 wheel has 5 knobs in addition to the multifunction Ferrari knob

qpm2xz.jpg

  • On the Thrustmaster F1 wheel these 5 knobs are not functional, they are just represented by embossings on the aluminium face. The Ferrari knob is not functional either: it is simply fastened to the wheel with 2 screws

xqjlms.jpg

  • To get the most out of the SIMR-F1 display, 2 SimDisplay 12-way switches should be used to cycle through the variables displayed on the left and right 14 segment displays. The best is to use both upper locations
  • For stage 1 and 2 of my mod I didn't implement a functional Ferrari knob because I thought it wasn't very useful in-race as it is quite far from your fingers so you must take one hand off the wheel to manipulate it. I finally implemented a fully functional Ferrari knob in stage 3 of my mod, but I don't use it much while driving
  • In the 3 lower knob locations, 3 CTS-288 16 steps/revolution encoders from SymProject have been mounted

2. Drilling the wheel face

  • The base idea was to keep the same location as the F138 wheel for every additional encoder/switch. But the location for each additional encoder/switch has to be planned carefully as there are several constraints:
    • If the main PCB has to be kept, the 3 lower controls and the Ferrari control can only be encoders. 12-way switches are too tall and would not fit
    • If both upper controls are 12-way switches and the main PCB has to be kept, the main PCB has to be cut. The minimum remaining width of the PCB is 24mm
    • If both upper controls are 12-way switches, the positions of the F138 wheel can't be used because the large diameter of the switches (27mm) won't clear major structural pillars of the wheel
  • The following locations for the controls have been chosen: F138 position for the 3 lower encoders and a slightly lower placement of both upper 12-way switches. The following picture summarizes the control placement:

2hovkmg.jpg

  • The base radius for the addtional controls is 41mm. The distance between both upper 12-way switches is 29mm (56mm - 27mm) which clears a machined main PCB. The Geogebra geometry file as well as the picture file can be found in this file:
    Drilling template.zip
    I would recommend printing the geometry file or the corresponding picture at a 1:1 scale to use it as a template on your wheel. Cut out the center 21mm hole from the template to easily align the template on the wheel.
  • Start by drilling 3mm holes at points B, D, E, H, J to get a precise positioning. Then enlarge the holes to 10mm

3. Milling of front and rear cover ribs

  • Use the Dremel with a 3mm milling tool to mill off the ribs of the front cover for all 5 additional controls as displayed in the picture below. The 12-way switches being quite large (diameter 27mm) a large part of the reinforcement rib has to be removed. To keep the best possible structural strength of the wheel, the amount of reinforcement rib removed has to be kept to the minimum

2hpkln9.jpg

  • Test-fit with all controls in place to check if enough rib has been removed. The soldering pads of the encoders should be oriented towards the top of the wheel. The soldering pads of the 12-way switches should be oriented towards the top or towards the bottom of the wheel, but not towards the side of the wheel as it is a very tight fit. The 12-way switches have a stop to ensure a precise angular positionning. These stops can safely be removed as the switch won't move with a well tightened nut

2iaty4m.jpg

  • If the main PCB has to be kept, test the fitting of the cut PCB now. On the following picture, you can see that the 12-way switches just clear the upper stuctural pillars as well as the cut main PCB

axzpch.jpg

  • With these tall 12-way switches, the rear cover of the wheel won't clear because reinforcement ribs are located just in front of the switches. Two ribs have to be removed to clear both upper 12-way switches (2 lower red ellipses). One rib has to be removed to clear the Ferrari knob 12-way switch (upper red ellipse). On the picture, the last rib hasn't been milled out yet as the picture was taken during stage 2 mod

vepy6e.jpg

4. Cutting encoder shafts

  • The CTS-288 encoder shaft is much too long for our purpose. To keep the knobs almost flush mounted on the wheel, they have to be cut to a length of 7mm. This is best performed with a Dremel cut-off wheel. It should be done in several short steps to let the shaft cool down. Overheating of the shaft could lead to failure of the encoder 

zlaxcz.jpg

5. Cutting and milling of 12 way switches shafts

  • As for the encoders, the shafts of the 12-way switches are much too long. The shafts of the switches should be cut to a length of 8mm
  • A flat is then milled or filed on each shaft to fit the selected knob. The milling or filing depth is approximately 2mm. Be aware that the orientation of the flat is important as it determines the orientation of the knob. The orientation of the switch can't be changed much as it is a very tight fit: the wiring pads should be oriented towards the top or towards the bottom of the wheel, but not towards the side 

5w9gtt.jpg

6. Machining of encoder and switch knobs

  • The CTS-288 encoder is sold with a knob that has an opening that almost fits the encoder nut. To be able to lower the knob as much as possible to get a flush mount on the wheel, the knob has to be milled to give some room to the nut. This is best achieved by using a Dremel 3mm milling tool. The knobs should be milled up to the middle of the 3 small cercles

2vkjf4g.jpg

  • The SRW-S1 knob has also to be milled for a better fit: 2mm of plastic should be removed on the inside (see picture below)

2a0nlo0.jpg

7. Fabricating a fully functional Ferrari knob

  • For my stage 3 mod, I decided to make the multifunction Ferrari knob fully functional. This is not as easy as it seems as there is a 21mm hole in the wheel where the 12-way switch should be put. Therefore an adapter piece has to be built: the switch will be mounted on this adapter piece which will in turn  be mounted onto the front wheel cover. To fasten the adapter piece on the wheel cover the holes designed to fasten the Ferrari knob will be used
  • The hole in the wheel front cover having a diameter of 21mm, the distance between both screw holes being 28mm and the width around the screw mounting holes being 7mm, the shape of the adapter piece has to be the following:

rr43go.jpg

  • I used a small piece of 1,5mm thick plexiglas, as it is strong and easy to machine. I traced the shape on the plexiglas with a scriber, drilled the 3 holes and then cut the outer shape with a Dremel cut-off wheel. On the following picture it looks worse than it is because you can see all the small defects through the plexiglas

23w9zcx.jpg

  • The adapter piece is then test-fitted on the 12-way switch. The stop of the switch is cut to avoid weakening the adapter piece with another hole. Even without the stop the switch will not budge if the nut is well tightened  

ddidf4.jpg

  • The adaptation part is then test-fitted on the front cover of the wheel. It must be noticed on the picture that the fastening screws have been cut to length to avoid damaging the switch because it is a really tight fit. Countersunk 3mm screws must be used for a flush mount on the outside

2vwfe3d.jpg

  • The Ferrari knob must now be opened. Push the 4 tabs of the yellow cover to the inside while pulling it from the black knob. The center of the knob is easily found and traced with a compass. The black knob is then drilled with a 6mm drilling bit. Be aware that the flat inside of the knob is slightly slanted. The knob can then be test fitted. Check the centering of the hole by rotating the knob around the switch shaft

2duxsg0.jpg

  • The shaft of the 12-way switch is then cut to length to be flush with the knob surface. For a good fit, 1mm shims can be used to space the knob at the right distance from the wheel. The knob should rotate without touching the wheel cover. 1.2mm holes are then drilled vertically between the knob and the shaft. 2mm screws are screwed into these holes to fasten the knob to the switch shaft. It should be tight. The angular position of the knob has to be set carefully taking into account the position of the Ferrari logo on the yellow cover

33pdopz.jpg

  • The final fit can be seen in the following picture. Please notice the gap between the knob and the wheel cover. The yellow Ferrari cover can then be put back on the knob. I would suggest to cut the four fitting tabs in half to ease a subsequent removal. If you keep the small hooks at the end of the fitting tabs removing the yellow cover can turn into a nightmare 

5e6g5h.jpg

  • To improve readability, an indicator can be added to the Ferrari knob. I did it by filing a notch with a triangular file. The notch is then filled with white paint for a very good readability:

312enn9.jpg

8. Decals

  • I started working on a set of decals when I came across an excellent post by Krzysiek on Marcus Hwang's Blog  (http://https://marcushwang.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/t500-rs-f1-rim-replica-guide-part-1/). He shared a file containing all the decals needed for a F138 steering wheel. 
    16iwa41.jpg
  • When I first tested these decals, they seemed a little bit too small, with my knobs covering the text. I then printed the decals at size 120%, which gave me a perfect fit with the text size matching the text size of the wheel cover and the knobs not hiding any text
  • For printing, I used adhesive PVC sheets from http://www.ac-concept.de. At first, with standard settings of the laser printer the ink wouldn't hold well on the PVC surface leading to a very poor result. On my laser printer, I had to select printing on photographic paper to get a slower paper speed inside of the printer for a higher temperature on the PVC and a perfect printing. As can be seen below, the result is really nice
  • For an even better finish, I cut tracing paper to the shape of the 3 lenses and added them between the enclosure and the lenses. The glow of the leds is then much more homogeneous and somewhat dimmed for a much better feel

2cd8uab.jpg

9. Choosing knobs

  • The click locking of the CTS-288 encoders not being too strong, the encoders can be operated with one finger which is what is needed
  • The click locking of the 12-way switches is really firm, but with the large diameter of the Ferrari knob it works very well
  • Both top 12-way switches having a firm click locking, using them with small knobs requires you to apply a high torque to overcome a click: this can be distracting or even annoying. This is why I chose the largest knobs I could find that made the feel acceptable, as those controls won't be operated very often during a race

Back to Table of Content

th_500rs_f1mod_stickers.pdf

Edited by pascalh

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Chapter 5: Wiring

1. SIMR-F1 display wiring diagram

  • Despite its small size, the SIMR-F1 display can be connected to many input and output devices:
    • 32 buttons or 16 quadrature encoders (1 quadrature encoder takes 2 inputs)
    • 9 12-way switches
    • 2 analog inputs
    • 7 LEDs
  • All these inputs and outputs have to be connected to the SIMR-F1 display using connector 1 and connector 2. I would recommend buying the SIMR-F1 cable set from SimDisplay (http://www.simdisplay.net/SIMR-F1-Colored-Cable-Set) as wiring directly to the connectors on the SIMR-F1 connectors won't be practical. All the wiring information displayed below can be found in the SIMR-F1 manual that can be downloaded at http://www.simdisplay.net/downloads/SRF1_Manual.pdf

2udxc7r.jpg

  • Input/output connectors wiring diagram

Connector 1

16h9gco.jpg

Connector 2

28jz2ba.jpg

  • Wiring buttons to the SIMR-F1 display

Buttons are very easy to connect to SIMR-F1 display as a button input is considered 1 when not connected and 0 when connected to ground. Therefore one terminal of the button is connected to the input, the other one to ground:

 

5d1f8i.jpg

 

Connector pins

-  Ground: connector 1 pin 1

-  Button input: connector 1 pins 2-25 and connector 2 pins 1-8

  • Wiring quadrature encoders to the SIMR-F1 display

Quadrature encoders are connected as 2 buttons: 2 digital inputs tied or not to ground depending on angular position of the encoder. Be aware both digital input used for an encoder have to be consecutive as displayed on the connector 1 wiring diagram above. Decoding the quadrature digital signals is performed by the SIMR-F1 internal software as explained in chapter 6. The USB HID signals generated are pulses on the first button for forward rotation of the encoder and pulses on the second button for reverse rotation of the encoder

When using connectors to connect the encoders to the wiring loom, the best option is to connect ground to the center pin. It make it easy to exchange forward and reverse buttons just by reversing the connectors. 

24qi7op.jpg

Connector pins

-  Ground: connector 1 pin 1

-  Encoder inputs: connector 1 pins 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23, 24-25
   and connector 2 pins 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

  • Wiring 12-way switches to the SIMR-F1

The SIMR-F1 12-way switch is an active component that generates a digital signal depending on the angular position of the switch. Being a active component, it needs a  ground and a +5V connection. This switch is not compatible with Leo Bodnar's 12-way switch which uses a fully analog technology. Be careful to not reverse +5V and ground connection as it could detroy the switch 

ixqs1k.jpg

Connector pins

-  Ground: connector 1 pin 1

-  +5V: connector 1 pin 26

-  switch input: connector 2 pins 11-19

2. Cutting the main PCB of the Thrustmaster F1 wheel

  • When using the upper additional input device spots to fit 12-way switches, the main PCB of the wheel won't fit as the switches are too tall. The easiest way to keep the stock operation of the wheel (to keep compatibility with the T500RS/PS3 or TX/OneBox combo) is to cut out unused parts of the main PCB
  • Using the following template, only 8 straight cut with a Dremel cut-off wheel are needed. The existing holes are used as guides and so the cuts are really straightforward. Be careful not to cut any PCB track between both vertical cuts

2r2aki0.jpg

  • The cut Thrustmaster F1 wheel main PCB should look like this:

winh2b.jpg

3. Input devices connectors

  • To be able to remove the back cover of the wheel from the front cover, to be able to remove a single button/encoder/switch without desoldering, to be able to perform tests easily, every button/encoder/switch has to be connected to the display through a connector
  • Standard connectors can't be used as they are much too large given the limited space inside the wheel. I tried 2 types of miniature connectors that take little space: 1.27mm pitch headers and 2.54mm pitch headers. The 1.27 pitch header connectors I found, although they were really tiny, could not be cut to length and were not tight enough. I finally used 2.54mm pitch headers: they are larger but easier to solder, very tight and easy to cut to length

1zocncm.jpg

4. Stage 1 wiring

  • For stage 1, the idea was to keep the main PCB and keep as much as possible stock inputs connected to the main PCB. Among the stock inputs, only the following have been connected to the SIMR-F1 display:
    • Both stock thumb encoders. When the wheel was used on a Thrustmaster TX wheel base, under high FFB conditions the stock encoder inputs on the main PCB triggered randomly which was very annoying. By moving the encoders to the display, the problem disappeared
    • All 3 lower switches. Although these are 3-way switches, the upper and lower positions being connected together on the daughter PCB, only 2-way operation is available: open or closed. The daughter PCB has been removed and 6 digital inputs of the display have been used for 3-way operation of the switches: open, closed 1 or closed 2
  •  Additional inputs connected to the display:
    • 2 12-way switches
    • 3 quadrature encoders
  • Stage 1 wiring diagram

i4r28x.jpg

  • Stage 1 wiring loom: the stage 1 wiring loom as pictured below has been wired according to the stage 1 wiring diagram. On the diagram, it is easily noticed that all inputs need a ground wire. This is the most difficult part of the wiring, because on a single pin there are often several ground wires that need to be connected together. I chose to not connect ground wires together in the wiring loom, but routed the ground wire to a connector pin and from there to the next one and so on. Every wire to a connector if fitted with its heat shrink (10mm length) to avoid any risk of electrical short circuit  

2co0xee.jpg

  • Inputs to be connected to the SIMR-F1 display are wired to male connectors. I chose to do so to avoid having dangling +5V wires in case a connector gets loose. There is no risk with a wrong connection except with the 12-way switches, because they are powered by the display. I used specific blue colored wire for all +5V connections to make it easy to check. Every wire to a connector if fitted with its heat shrink (10mm length) to avoid any risk of electrical short circuit

1z4vdso.jpg

  • Inputs are connected to the wiring loom. Wiring loom is connected to the SIMR-F1 display

m9bs3s.jpg

  • There is just enough space for the cut main PCB. Be careful not to pinch wires between the encoders and the PCB

vey7nq.jpg

5. Stage 2 wiring

  • The stage 1 wiring was working but there were 2 major problems:
    • To remove the 3-way switches from daughter PCB the switches had to be heated up too much, which led to random operation of the switches. Therefore I replaced all 3 of them
    • The SliMax Manager software package used to control the display doesn't recognize the Thrustmaster TX wheel base as a HID device. So the stock wheel inputs can't be used to operate SIM-F1 functions: for example the Quick Info button can't be a stock Thrustmaster TX button (EDIT: working from version 3.4.2)
  • As the wheel isn't used on a console, I decided to remove the main PCB and to wire all the inputs to the SIMR-F1 display, for a total of:
    • 8 buttons
    • 2 d-pads (on the same inputs)
    • 5 quadrature encoders
    • 3 3-way switches
    • 2 12-way switches
    • 2 shifter paddles
  • Stage 2 wiring diagram: it is based on the stage 1 wiring diagram. Buttons, D-pads and shifters connections are added to the wiring loom. Both D-pads (left and right) are connected together, as dual d-pad functionality is not useful: 4 digital inputs are saved by doing so. Be aware that on both D-pads the ground/common wire is the green wire not the black one! 

w2ob2p.jpg

  • Stage 2 wiring: it becomes tight. Connectors take up a lot of space

2zrkllc.jpg

6. Stage 3 wiring

  • For stage 3, I decided to add full functionality to the center multifunction Ferrari knob for several reasons:
    • The main PCB having been removed, there was now space to mount an additional 12-way switch below the Ferrari knob
    • I really didn't like the idea to have a fully functional wheel, except one knob: the most visible one, the Ferrari knob. When touching the wheel, most people try to operate that knob first
    • There were still many 12-way switch inputs available
  • Stage 3 wiring diagram: it is based on the stage 2 wiring diagram. Only 3 additional wires are linking the Ferrari knob 12-way switch to the SIMR-F1 display 

124zp1y.jpg

7. USB cable wiring

  • What kind of USB cable?

Using a standard USB cable to connect the wheel to the PC is not very practical as it is dangling down most of the time. It cannot be shortened as the cable must be long enough to wrap the wheel hub when reseting the wheel base. A coiled USB cable is a much better choice, being very extensible. I used the following 50cm cable, 3m streched

5fhqwh.jpg

  • USB cable wiring

The USB be cable must be cut and soldered to the SIMR-F1 ribbon cable connected to the alternative USB socket according to the following wiring diagram:

1pxoo1.jpg

Finished cable:

28byyx2.jpg

  • Wheel rear cover disassembly

The 4 screws fastening the spring cover are removed (center of the picture)

15gpgnl.jpg

Springs and rocker shifter are removed

21kkv7p.jpg

Wheel hub and rear cover are then disassembled

67o3l5.jpg

  • Cutting the hub and the rear cover

The wheel hub is then cut open using a Dremel 3mm milling tool as pictured below

1zbdnqx.jpg

A slot is cut on the lower side of the rear cover of the wheel in front of the hub opening using the Dremel milling tool

2an4ns.jpg

The USB cable is placed in the slot. The cable is routed through the hub opening. The hub can then be mounted back on the rear wheel cover

muk6y8.jpg

2itn6m1.jpg

For stage 2 and stage 3 mods, as the main PCB is removed, the PS2 connector linking the main PCB to the wheel base can be safely removed. To do so, simply remove the screws on each side of the PS2 connector (see picture above) and remove the connector

  • Alternative routing

Alternatively, the USB cable can be routed to the top of the wheel below the rocker paddle on the rear cover. This routing takes up less space inside of the wheel and eases the closing of the wheel

8. Closing the wheel

  • The wheel should close without applying any force. If it is not the case, then a wire is pinched between a switch and the rear cover or a wire is pinched between front and rear cover or a rib is touching a 12-way switch
  • If you experience a 12-way switch not switching or switching randomly when the wheel is closed, it is usually due to pressure applied to the PCB of the switch by a pinched wire or a rib 

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Edited by pascalh

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Chapter 6: Configuration and tests

1. Hardware configuration

  • Download the SIMR-F1-Manager.exe configuration software package from the following address: http://www.simdisplay.net/downloads/SIMR-F1-Manager.zip
  • Run the SIMR-F1-Manager.exe configuration program. If the following error message is displayed, check the USB connection between the SIMR-F1 display and the PC. USB connection problems can be debugged by first connecting the SIMR-F1 display to the PC using a standard USB cable connected to the USB socket on SIMR-F1 display. If it then works, your home made USB cable wiring is wrong. If not your SIMR-F1 display is broken ...

122kv1g.jpg

  • SIMR-F1-manager main window:

2h5i96p.jpg

  • Select the Options/Setup/Encoders submenu
  • Configure the quadrature encoders as displayed below

30jtyqc.jpg

  • 2 Stock Thrustmaster F1 wheel thumb quadrature encoders: those are connected to digital input 1-2 and 3-4. Therefore BTN 01 - 02 and BTN 03 - 04 are checked to treat these inputs as encoders. Frequency is set to 1:4 for both as these encoders generate 4 pulses for each click
  • 3 CTS-288 quadrature encoders:   those are connected to digital input 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10. Therefore BTN 05 - 06, BTN 07 - 08 and BTN 09 - 10 are checked. Frequency is set to 1:1 as these encoders generate 1 pulse for each click
  • The debouncing time is set to 60ms, which is adequate for a manually operated quadrature decoder
  • All the other checkboxes are left unchecked as digital input 11 to 32 are used as standard digital inputs

2. 12-way switches test

  • Run the SIMR-F1-Manager.exe configuration program
  • Select the Options/Test device/Switches submenu

30nis8j.jpg

  • Check every position of each switch available in the drop-down list (2 for stage 1-2 and 3 for stage 3)

3. Digital inputs test

  • Run the joystick control panel by typing "joy.cpl" in the search bar above the windows start button. You should see the following window:

3478xh0.jpg

  • Select SIM Race F1 if rhere are several game controllers installed. Then click the Property button. The following window should be displayed:

1zbv6fn.jpg

  • Quadrature encoders test
    • Right hand thumb encoder: button 1-2
    • Left hand thumb encoder: button 3-4
    • Lower center encoder: button 5-6
    • Lower left encoder: button 7-8
    • Lower right encoder: button 9-10

Quadrature encoders should generate 1 pulse per encoder click. Odd numbered buttons should be pulsed for forward rotation of encoders and the corresponding even numbered buttons should be pulsed for reverse rotation of encoders

  • Buttons, 3-way switches, d-pads and shifters test
    • Center 3-way switch: button 11-12
    • Left hand 3-way switch: button 13-14
    • Right hand 3-way switch: button 15-16
    • Right hand buttons: button 17-20
    • Both d-pads: button 21-24
    • Left hand buttons: button 25-28
    • Shifters: button 29-30

4. Configuration of SIMR-F1 internal use of controls

  • 12-way switches can't directly be used in-game, but they can be used to select variables displayed on the right and left 14 segments displays using SliMax Manager software package. Quadrature encoders and buttons can also be used to dynamically alter the way data is displayed on the SIMR-F1
  • To configure how the controls are used, run SliMax Manager

2pyaogz.jpg

  • From the Options menu, select Controls Mapping...
    • 12-way switches
      Configuration parameters that need 12-way switches inputs are prefixed with SW. I wanted the upper left switch to control the SIMR-F1 left display (SWLEFTDIGITSCTRL = S1 SIMRACE-F1) and the upper right switch to control the SIMR-F1 right display (SWRIGHTDIGITSCTRL = S3 SIMRACE-F1).
      The Ferrari knob is used as a multifonction switch: each position of the switch selects a configuration file, allowing each control to behave differently for each switch position (SWDRIVINGCTRL = S2 SIMRACE-F1). In this case, buttons and encoders can't be used directly in-game as a HID control but should generate keypresses according to the switch position
    • Quadrature encoders
      Configuration parameters that need quadrature encoder inputs are postfixed with CTRLUP and CTRLDOWN. I wanted the lower center quadrature encoder to adjust the SIMR-F1 brightness level. This encoder is generating button 9 pulses on forward rotation (BRIGHTNESSCTRLUP = B9 SIMRACE-F1) and button 10 pulses on reverse rotation (BRIGHTNESSCTRLDOWN = B10 SIMRACE-F1) 
    • Buttons
      Configuration parameters that need button inputs are postfixed with BTNCTRL. I wanted the quick info (QI) button to be the lower left button (QIBTNCTRL = B18 SIMRACE-F1)

zk4lk9.jpg

  • To select the variable displayed on the SIMR-F1 displays as a function of the 12-way switch position selected above, from the Options menu, select Advanced Options..., then expand the SIMRACEF1 tag in the settings list. Double-click F1LEFTDIGITSPANELS or F1RIGHTDIGITSPANELS to set the variable displayed for each switch position

2v11dtt.jpg

  • To select the variables displayed on the left and right 14 segments displays while the QI button is depressed, from the Options menu, select Advanced Options..., then expand the SIMRACEF1 tag in the settings list. Click F1QIFUNCTIONLEFT or F1QIFUNCTIONRIGHT to set the variable displayed

14xjr11.jpg

  • To set the brightness of the SIMR-F1 display,  from the Options menu, select Advanced Options..., then expand the BRIGHTNESS tag. There you can set the maximum brightness (MAXBRIGHTNESS), the initial brightness at startup (GLOBALBRIGHTNESS) and the brightness steps (BRIGHTSTEP) for each forward and reverse click of the above selected encoder

33u8gv7.jpg

  • To display a state variable on a given LED, being it one the 6 built-in LEDs or one of the 7 external LEDs, from the Options menu, select Advanced Options..., then expand the LED tag. For each of the state variables in the list (there are many), one LED to display the state can be chosen. One LED can therefore display several functions. I am using LEDSPEEDLIMITER on 4, LEDREVLIMIT on 2, LEDOPTIMALSHIFTPOINTRIGHT on 6 and LEDOPTIMALSHIFTPOINTLEFT on 1 and LEDLOWFUEL on 3 

10qgahk.jpg

5. Configuration of SIMR-F1 external (game) use of controls

  • The SIMR-F1 display is seen by the PC as a HID device. Some kind of joystick incorporating 2 axis (both analog inputs) and 32 buttons (quadrature encoders and buttons). All these inputs can be directly mapped in-game

1zbv6fn.jpg

  • Each action on each input connected to the SIMR-F1 display (or even other HID devices) can the be translated into key presses by the SliMax software package

To generate keypresses each time a given switch changes position, from the Options menu, select Advanced Options..., then expand the SIMRACEF1 tag and click SW1CHARSMAPPING for switch 1. Then click true/yes to activate the function

1zftmwg.jpg

To define the keypresses generated when a given switch changes position, click SW1CHARS. Then, in the following table fill out the keypress sequences including modifiers (shift/ctrl/alt) and delays for each switch position

1055fgx.jpg

To generate keypresses each time a given button is pressed or a given encoder is rotated, from the Options menu, select Advanced Options..., then expand the SIMRACEF1 tag and click BUTTONCHARSMAPPING. Then click true/yes to activate the function

rlhwnd.jpg

To define the keypresses generated when a given button is pressed or a given encoder is rotated, click BTNCHARLIST. Then, in the following table fill out the keypress sequences including modifierw (shift/ctrl/alt) and delays for each button/encoder

2chuzr9.jpg

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Edited by pascalh

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Chapter 7: Conclusion

1. Mass, inertia and feeling

  • Mass: When I started this mod, I was worried by the additional mass that would be added to the wheel. But in the end it wasn't that much: of course the display and its enclosure, encoders and switches as well as wires and connectors were added, but a lot of the hard plastic was cut-off, somewhat compensating the added mass.
    • Mass of stock F1 wheel: 950g
    • Mass of stage 3 modded F1 wheel: 1032g
  • Inertia: Mass is not that important for rotating parts, what matters is the moment of inertia. The moment of inertia is expressed as I=integral(r².dm), which means that mass located near the rotation axis has a much lower impact on the moment of inertia than mass located far away from the rotation axis. This is exactly what happened with this wheel mod: the mass added far from the rotation axis has been compensated by removing plastic from the shell and mass added (encoders, switches) is close to the rotation axis. Thus, the resulting moment of inertia should not be impacted much.
  • Feeling: The modded wheel feels heavier in your hands, but as soon as it is connected to the wheel base, no difference can be felt between the stock and modded wheel. Same response time an zippy reaction and no damping or filtered FFB at all
  • In the future, some measurements using the iRacing wheeltest utility will be performed with the modded wheel and displayed in this write-up. If anyone has results with a stock F1 rim on a Thrustmaster TX, I would be glad to show the comparison

2. Time spent

  • Planning, reading, documenting every component took quite a lot of time. Much more than modding the wheel
  • All in all the cutting, machining of the wheel and parts, wiring and mounting took around 30 hours. It took that long mainly because the work was performed very carefully, taking time for each step

3. Total cost

  • The following cost includes international shipping and handling:
Thrustmaster F1 wheel:            132.00 €
SIMR-F1 kit:                      198.85 €
Additional SIMR-F1 12-way switch:   9.00 €
CTS-288 encoders:                  23.67 €
Decals PVC sheets:                 15.06 €
Header connectors:                  4.00 €
Heat shrink tube:                   5.00 €
Coiled USB cable:                   3.76 €
                                  --------
                                  391.34 €
  • Expensive? yes, but for the kind of result there is no cheaper option

4. Final thoughts

  • Will this kind of mod make you faster? No!
  • What is the major benefit of this mod? Immersion
  • Do I use all the encoders, switches a lot? Less than I thought I would!
  • Would I do it again? Yes  ;)

Thanks for watching!

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Edited by pascalh

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congratulations for the work ...... I do not know if you've seen my mod 2013 (sli-pro) .... I'm preparing a second mod 2014 F1 display as your ... I hope to soon sverlarla :) 
 
congratulations again ....... 
 
how come you have not changed the keys?

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On 13/04/2014 at 2:49 AM, GiuseppeMBG said:

 

congratulations for the work ...... I do not know if you've seen my mod 2013 (sli-pro) .... I'm preparing a second mod 2014 F1 display as your ... I hope to soon sverlarla :)
 
congratulations again ....... 
 
how come you have not changed the keys?

 

Thanks Giuseppe, your work on your sli-pro mod was an inspiration for me, of course ;). The main differences are the kind of integration and the wiring with connectors. It took me quite some time to plan and some iterations before getting the final result. This is why I decided to publish this very detailed write-up covering everything from begin to end.

As for the buttons, I found the stock ones quite adequate with a positive and noticeable click. Did you find the Knitters or NKK to be much better ?

Edited by pascalh

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On 13/04/2014 at 6:54 AM, MattyK-USA said:

Good gravy.  

 

If all of the narrative detail on this thread is filled in, this is a must-sticky.  

 

Just sayin'.

Thanks  :)

Edited by pascalh

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On 11/04/2014 at 2:20 AM, Steve Spenceley said:

Wow, looks really excellent wheel mod and would really like more details.

Write-up is on the way  ;)

Edited by pascalh

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I'm doing a project similar to yours with the display of F1 simdisplay and I'm working on since January, I hope to finish soon because it is taking me way too long 
 
I'm taking care of all the details .. I hope it will be ready as soon as possible 
 
for the keys knitter and nkk are both excellent quality and good but the aesthetics nkk seem more real as compared to the knitter .... 
 
the enclosure but have you thought about painting it black?

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On 13/04/2014 at 0:33 PM, GiuseppeMBG said:

I'm doing a project similar to yours with the display of F1 simdisplay and I'm working on since January, I hope to finish soon because it is taking me way too long 

 
I'm taking care of all the details .. I hope it will be ready as soon as possible 
 
for the keys knitter and nkk are both excellent quality and good but the aesthetics nkk seem more real as compared to the knitter .... 
 
the enclosure but have you thought about painting it black?

I won't paint it because it just adds unnecessary weight. I prefer to put some more work to get a precise fit of all parts, so I don't have to hide anything behind some paint.

Edited by pascalh

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On 13/04/2014 at 4:15 PM, GiuseppeMBG said:

 

curiosity :)
 
how did you set the rotary switch to MANETTONE central MF? screw wheat? (I will do so)

 

Have a look at chapter 4: http://isrtv.com/forums/topic/12982-thrustmaster-f1-wheel-mod-with-simr-f1-display-switches-and-encoders/#entry125896

Pictures are already there, I'm writing the text at the moment

Edited by pascalh

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On 13/04/2014 at 5:22 PM, GiuseppeMBG said:

I wanted to know how you managed to fix the shaft of the rotary switch (A) to the knob (B )do not turn itself on when you finish the turn

Just finished to write about fastening the knob to the shaft at the end of chapter 4

I used 2 screws between knob and shaft

Edited by pascalh

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Pascalh Hello, I looked to the chapter 4 but I do not understand one thing ... 
 
look at the attached photo
 
i15iwscdsqi5ojmfg.jpg
 
you with the two screws that you put on you locked the sliding axis of the shaft of the rotary switch that is green arrows, what I was wondering is how you locked rotations same red and blue arrows on the shaft to prevent it from turning on if same, I'm using the new amendment to the screw that locks the whole grain ..... and I wanted to know if you had thought of something else ... 
 
again to lock the rotation of the red and blue arrows, spin the shaft itself

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On 14/04/2014 at 10:47 AM, GiuseppeMBG said:

Pascalh Hello, I looked to the chapter 4 but I do not understand one thing ... 

look at the attached photo
 
i15iwscdsqi5ojmfg.jpg
 
you with the two screws that you put on you locked the sliding axis of the shaft of the rotary switch that is green arrows, what I was wondering is how you locked rotations same red and blue arrows on the shaft to prevent it from turning on if same, I'm using the new amendment to the screw that locks the whole grain ..... and I wanted to know if you had thought of something else ... 
 
again to lock the rotation of the red and blue arrows, spin the shaft itself

Rotation is locked with the screws. If you look closely a the picture where the screws are removed, you will see that the the holes for these screws are drilled half on the shaft and half on the knob. The holes being intentionally slightly too small, the screws are pushing the knob against the shaft and completely locking both in rotation and translation

Edited by pascalh

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