Author Options:

PC USB steering wheel 180 degrees 1080? Answered

I've got a GEMBIRD STR-SHOCKFORCE-M Multi Interface steering wheel which I bought new about a month ago. It is pretty much "you get what you pay for" as far as it goes, and its not nearly as good (nor did I expect it to be) as, lets say a G27. Now, I have never used a G27 but I saw some videos, and it seems that it can do a full turn, while this one only does 90 degrees to each side - 180 in total.
I'd like to modify it somehow so it can be rotated 1080 degrees like in a real car, or atleast somewhat more than 180.
I found it useful in some racing games where turning needed to be quick and sharp, but in some simulation games it just jerked the ingame steering wheel like it were out of cardboard and ultimately I end up parked inside a wall or on top of a tree.(adjusting the steering wheel AND ingame sensitivity setting to lowest didn't help)
If anyone needs pictures I'll post them later today.


Hmm, it seems the steering wheel uses a potentiometer. I might look into a finer POT with more rotation to it and see how that works, and if it does, its going to be my first instructable!

I am not expecting it to be easy, and I understand electronics to a certain length, but I am willing to try. Wish me luck guys!

Good luck on that!
Tried it and gave up on it as it is next to impossible to find a matching pot.
Either the centre is nowhere the real centre position or the movement is not linear enough.
Do yourself a favour and think first of any options to add a gearing or pulley system to your wheel so the original parts can be used.
For example a 2:1 ratio already gives you a full rotation while the center is still at the 12'o clock position.
But it might require a lot of mechanical work....


2 years ago

It does sound like a POT-based system (I've taken a part a couple old-school wheels, and they used pots). Certainly the older game systems included an ADC to convert resistance to some other value, so POT-based systems were simple and cheap.

Most digital rotary encoders rotate without stops in either direction--they encode the direction with each "tick" and it's up to additional hardware/software to make sense of that. I'd guess that's what the fancy modern controllers use. You'd need to research the game system to see if raw encoder data /connections would work, or if you'd need additional electronics...

You already said it: You get what you pay for!
If you want a proper steering wheel then buy one.
There is little to no point at all in modifying you cheapo as in the end it will cost you more than a good one - at least if you count in hours and frustration as well.

Limited to 180 degrees means that you either need to find a suitable encoder that does more turns but has the same values for center and full tilt.
Or the other way around to include some sort of gear mechanism between wheel and encoder - which usually ends in disaster anyway....

It is what it is. To increase rotation you would have to see what it's using to measure the rotation of the wheel. Chances are it's a potentiometer. You might be able to replace it with a nicer multi turn pot of the same value. But the controller inside the wheel probably won't be able to keep up. So you'll have to turn the wheel a lot more to get any kind of response. Meaning a lot of slop in the wheel without much change in movement on screen.

It may even be a rotary encoder in there with physical stops on the wheel. In which case you can remove the stops and see how it performs rotating past 90 degrees. Again the controller in there will be your limitation. It may not be able to read past a certain number of turns on the encoder.

You'll need to open it up and see whats inside. It may be that you'll have to gut the whole thing and rebuild it with new parts. Leading to a mod that will likely cost as much as a quality wheel. There is a good reason wheels with full range of rotation cost so much. And it's not just the force feedback option.