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Author Topic: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint  (Read 3578 times)

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Spacedueler

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This is my first contribution to the group and I hope it helps out someone. The photos won't be the best you've seen documenting a hack, partly because I finished the hack first and then back-tracked to take the photos. I admit it's a chop-job, but it worked for me and was a low cost way to get a wheel for Pole Position and a 2nd for 2 players in CS Sprint.

I came across two Logitech Wingman wheels and pedals at the local thrift store for $6.96 each. Notice they have no force or feedback. The first one I hacked with a MS PS/2 mouse since I already had one. The mouse I used in this attempt was a Compaq USB ball mouse I found later at the same thrift store for $1.91. I wish they were both usb mice, but it works as long as I boot with a ps/2 mouse plugged in so the drivers get loaded.

My system is a P4 2.26, XP Home, and I'm using Mameui32 v123. With this setup I was able to get multiple mouse support and we're having great head to head racing on CS Sprint. (Both wheels also worked with Mame32).

So for starters, find a good price on a Logitech Wingman:

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 02:51:43 am »
I have to admit I got the idea to do this from the info I've already read on mouse hack spinners. Before you get started you should do a search and read up on that subject. You'll need a bit of knowledge and creativity to do this yourself. There will be a lot of gaps to fill in as I'm sure this won't be an indepth tutorial, just a quick review of what I've done for myself. Obviously there is a risk of destroying every component involved in this hack.

You'll have to remove the board from the mouse. On both my racing wheels it was tricky getting the mouse board to fit into the racing wheel housing and line up with the mouse encoder wheeL (more on that later). There is some cutting involve inside the race wheel. Here is the Compaq mouse I used with the crayon price tag of $1.91.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 02:52:36 am »
Here is the encoder wheel that comes out of this mouse. It worked great because the shaft is enlarged at the end. This made it easier to attach to the inside end of the steering wheel.

On my first racing wheel hack the encoder wheel shaft from the PS/2 mouse stayed narrow the entire length and I had to find some tubing to use as bushings to get it to basically look like this one. 

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 02:53:40 am »
Simple hints - remove the hex screws on the top of the racing wheel.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 02:54:34 am »
You can pry off this cover with your fingernails to remove the two screws underneath. Then flip the wheel upside-down. I think there was a total of 4 screws to remove from the bottom.

Again, this is not a step by step. You will have to fill in a few gaps as we move along.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 02:55:30 am »
I wish I took a few more photos before I got to this point. The photo shows the mouse encoder wheel already hot glued into the end of the racing wheel shaft.

After you open up the housing, there are 2 more screws that clamp the wheel shaft down.  Remove them first, then the wheel can come out of the housing. The very end of the wheel shaft slides onto a small potentiometer. The pot has a small plug with two wires attached to it. The wheel moves this pot and sends the turning signal to your computer. For our hack we won't be using this pot. Remove the plug. The potentiometer slides off the wheel shaft and out of housing.

On the wide part of the wheel shaft there's some white stuff - it's silicone grease. I added this just before putting everything back together (remember I said I after I finished). When you take every thing apart you'll see some clear silicone grease in a couple of places. It's easier and cleaner to wipe it all off first, then re-grease before reassembly. The stuff I used has a whitish tint to it, but it is silicone based grease.

Also to point out, in the same location as the grease in the photo, your wheel will have a plastic tab that projects from the shaft. This is one of the two restrictors that limits the wheel rotation to 270 degrees. Our hacked wheel will spin 360 degrees freely. I removed this tab by first cutting it off with dikes, then filed it down, then sanded with 100 grit, then 220, then 400. Keep it as smooth and round as possible. On my first wheel I used a dremel to grind it off, but this method worked better.

Last to point out in this photo - your wheel will have the wires coming out through the hollow shaft that connects the buttons on the wheel to the circuit board. We cant keep the buttons plugged in anymore since our wheel will be spinning 360's. I unplugged the connector from the circuit board and just stuffed it into the hollow shaft.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 02:56:41 am »
Remove the potentiometer:

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2008, 02:57:35 am »
On the housing there was the second restrictor tab to limit rotation. This photo was taken after I cut and sanded it off.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2008, 02:58:21 am »
This photo shows the location of the wheel's circuit board. There are about 4 screws that need to be removed to lift it out. With the mouse board I used in this hack, there wasn't enough room to put the wheel's board back in the same spot. Later I will post some options on where to locate the circuit board.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2008, 02:59:26 am »
A closer look at the encoder wheel mounted to the steering wheel shaft.

When the potentiometer comes out you are left with a "D" indexed hole. I ground this hole round to match the diameter of the encoder wheel shaft. This is a trick part of the hack - getting the encoder wheel centered. There was a bit of trial and error. At one point I didn't think I'd ever get it. I ended up cutting the hole a little larger with an x-actor blade. Then I glued in the wheel with some "Shoe Goo." Shoe Goo is very thick and holds well while drying. I then set the wheel back into the housing so I could spin it a little to get it centered.

On the end of the encoder wheel you can see a small extension of the shaft (left side of the photo) that has a bit of white grease on it. My next step was to make a support to hold this part of the shaft (I think the term would be a RACE to hold the shaft?) The Wingman was never engineered to spin as accurately as we need it to.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2008, 03:00:24 am »
So we need to get really sophisticated and manufacture a precision part... A sharpy pen cap!

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2008, 03:01:12 am »
I drilled a #52 hole toward the open end of the cap. Then I lined it up to where I need it for support inside the wheel housing and cut it at about 2" long.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008, 03:02:07 am »
Here's the first picture of everything lining up...

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2008, 03:02:48 am »
A closer look..

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2008, 03:03:31 am »
Nice and close you can see the Sharpy cap above and to the left of the encoder wheel. My first task was to get the encoder wheel centered. At this time the Shoe Goo was still setting up and had some flex to it. I locked down the steering wheel with it's holder and two phillips screws you can see at the bottom of the photo. Then I slid the hole I drilled in the cap over the end of the encoder wheel and held everything loosely while spinning the steering wheel. When I thought I had everything lined up the best I could get it, I locked down the cap with a generous amount of hot glue. When that dried I securely glued the encoder wheel to the end of the steering wheel shaft with the right amount of hot glue.

Next was to get the mouse board lined up and glued down. First was to plug the mouse board into the computer with the attached usb cable. Then it was just trial and error to get things lined up. By holding things in place by hand and at the same time spinning the steering wheel I could see the results on the computer screen with the mouse cursor moving side to side. When I had it positioned just right I locked the board down with hot glue.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2008, 03:04:09 am »
A nice and close look.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2008, 03:05:02 am »
A different angle

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2008, 03:06:00 am »
This is a photo of the pedals base from the bottom with the cover removed. One option is to locate the wheels circuit board down here. Plug the pedals into the  circuit board, protect the board with something like a full wrap of electrical tape, and stuff it and the extra cord into the hollow compartment of the pedal base. Then run the usb cable out through the same path of the pedal's original cord. Now you have two separate usb units - a joypad for pedals and a mouse for steering (The Wingman registers as a joypad in Mame settings).

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2008, 03:06:50 am »
On my first wheel hack, the mouse board was different and I was able to fit the wheel's board back in it's original spot. Here you can see the usb and ps/2 cords exiting from the wheel housing. You can see the female connector for the pedal's plug is still in place.

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2008, 03:07:40 am »
Another option would be to just relocate the wheel's board withing the housing as there is plenty of room. Hot glue works pretty well for securing...

Spacedueler

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2008, 03:09:23 am »
I really have to get my cab and modular panel built!! What a mess... At least I can play a few more games in the garage...

Fozzy The Bear

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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2008, 06:13:35 pm »
WOW! thanks for the thourough tutorial..... It should really be typed up and assembled with the and go into a WIKI article.

Good use of dirt cheap thrift store components.  :applaud: :applaud: That's my kind of hack! Nothing new in the use of the parts or the techniques but a very creative budget solution.

Best Regards,
Julian (Fozzy The Bear)
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Re: $10 Steering wheel with a mouse hack for Pole Position / CS Sprint
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2015, 02:43:39 pm »
Very nice project. I am looking to do something similar pretty soon, but am building a cabinet first. I have a base done already, sitting next to my other 3 cabs., but the control has always been an issue (to design). Youve given me some inspiration to carry on with the projects asap, and some ideas ! Thanks!
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