T500 F1 Modding Service
Some time ago I stumbled upon the first pictures Kai had posted about his own wheel and planned service but I quickly forgot about what he actually said about the service, using the pictures as some sort of tutorial. I started looking for everything I’m going to need but ultimately had some problems to find a matching LED display and exact measurements. I bought an external display from SimRacing Hardware instead (review) and my precious plan went into hiatus.
Fast forward, 2 months later.
Back then Kai first posted about his service on RaceDepartment and I was still searching for tutorials and the necessary tools & hardware to mod my T500 F1 rim. We started talking about wheel modding just after he started his thread but it didn’t take long until I actually asked him to modify my wheel.
I could hardly fault the available modding options nor the assistance I was offered back then, while my wheel was with him, after I got it back and even after that. The website has changed a lot since I first visited it and it’s much more convenient to use now, nothing like it was months ago. That’s definitely a plus but in my case the website wasn’t even needed since everything was set up through e-mail and private messages on RaceDepartment.
I was clearly overwhelmed with the options available but Kai seems to be a patient guy even tho I kept asking (probably often stupid) questions until I was sure I’d get what I want. My choices were pretty straight forward but still a bit custom since I wanted the Ferrari logo in the middle to be removed.
I have to admit I was still a bit wary when I brought the parcel to the post office – especially if everything would be as awesome as it looked on the pictures. Then the (subjectively) long wait had begun. Even after the parcel had left the country, heading for Germany, we still talked about the available options and even then Kai agreed on making changes at no charge, even tho he had to order some parts he didn’t have in stock. In the end I opted to have the following installed:
- 8 NKK switches, replacing all the (horribly unreliable) stock switches
- 5 rotary encoders, replacing the fake ones near the center of the wheel
- SimDisplay LED display with 3 digits on each side and a big one in the middle
- carbon foil, to be applied to the center of the wheel
I decided to get rotary encoders despite the LED display not being able to control them back then because I planned on using an external controller board instead. Please keep in mind that SLI-PRO (Leo Bodnar) displays are available as well.
Fast forward, 10 days later.
When I got my wheel back it was pretty awesome and it felt exactly how I expected it to be. However, I soon noticed that one of the RPM LED in the display was broken and didn’t light up properly. I spoke to Kai about it and he was eager to get it fixed but sadly he’s been let down by the manufacturer of the display. Luckily a lot has changed ever since and the displays supplied by SimDisplay are of superior quality now – let alone the software which features a lot more options and gizmos now.
Well, back to how we fixed the issue. Since the display wasn’t working properly Kai offered to exchange it at no cost but that would’ve meant I’d have to send my wheel back again and lose out on precious track time. However, he suggested that I can get the newest display model at no charge (well, we agreed to share shipping costs) once it’s available. It took about 6 weeks until it was ready, keep in mind my wheel was the first one to be equipped with that particular display model, and I shipped my wheel back to Germany – no doubts involved this time.
Sadly the old panel didn’t fit the new display and the new panels didn’t arrive in time, so it took a while to get everything fixed. However, it was well worth the wait – not only does the new display perform a lot better but it can also control the rotary encoders and thus added a lot of immersion. Apart from that it’s obviously working perfectly fine, too. On top of that, like I said, I didn’t even pay a single cent for the new display (apart from shipping it to Germany) and got additional features aswell.
The high quality standards of modding combined with the excellent communication and support, both before & after the purchase, provided by Kai makes it easy to recommend this service to everyone interested in bringing their T500 F1 rim to the next level. For more information check the F1WheelMods website and the dedicated thread.
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