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Fanatec wheel problem - FFB has become lumpy/jerky, wheel turning in steps, not smoothly

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by TheBloke, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. Hi guys,

    I have a Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S wheel. I've had it for five years, since beginning 2010, but it was barely used for most of that time. Mostly it was in storage, until Jan 2015 when I started using it heavily. In the last 6 weeks I've driven nearly every day, and would say I've done at least 100, maybe 150 hours on the Fanatec wheel.

    They don't make the Porsche 911 Turbo S wheel any more, because it was a special edition. But judging by the specs of the wheels they make now (Forza CSR, Porsche GT3, etc), my wheel is basically identical internally - it definitely uses the same RC "Mabuchi RS 550 Motor" internally.

    The problem suddenly started last night, in the middle of a lap. The best way I can describe it is that turning the wheel feels 'lumpy' or 'jerky'. When I try and turn it during a lap, it doesn't move smoothly round, but rather feels like it's moving in notches or steps.

    It's like it's resisting me turning the wheel, not rotating at all, then suddenly it turns a bit - a step - then again it resists me moving it, until it again it moves in one step/jerk.

    This only seems to happen when I'm in-game, and FFB effects are being applied.

    If I turn the wheel off and move it, it seems to move fine. When I then turn it on, it spins round as part of its initialisation, and this too seems fine. Then if I rotate the wheel while it's turned on - but not in a game - it again seems fine; there's more resistance to turning it than when it's switched off, but it moves smoothly.

    So the problem seems to happen exclusively when I'm in a car in-game. So in other words, the problem only shows when the game is putting FFB effects on the wheel to make it harder to turn.

    To summarise:
    1. Wheel turned off : turns smoothly, no noticeable problems
    2. Wheel turned on, not in-game : turns smoothly with more resistance, no noticeable problems
    3. In game, car not moving : turns smoothly with more resistance, no noticeable problems
    4. In game, car moving, FFB resisting the wheel : problem; wheel turns jerkily, like it's moving in steps.

    I'm going to try and take the wheel apart and see what I can see. But I'd be most grateful for any advice - does anyone recognise the symptoms? Does it sound like a particular component?

    Naturally I'm hoping it's something simple, like the belt has slipped partially off or something like that. But I have no idea, maybe the motor itself is on the way out :( (Which would mean it's probably cheaper to replace the whole wheel than fix it, I guess.)

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. PS. Hehe, I just googled the motor Fanatec uses: "Mabuchi RS 550 Motor". It's worth about $7, and I can find several RC threads where people are asking "is this ancient motor good for anything..?"

    So much for the use of this RC motor being a selling point for the wheel! I guess maybe I could replace the motor if that's what's broken - though I know nothing about motors, wheel gearing, or anything else, so I'm rather worried that might be a complicated job. Especially in this consumer-quality wheel, where they probably don't expect any user servicing.
  3. OK looks like I'm making dupe threads.. done a bit of searching looking for the motor my wheel uses, and found this thread: http://www.racedepartment.com/threads/replace-fanatec-ffb-motor.36148/page-2

    Looks like that's describing the exact same issue, so I'll probably go bump that. It also references a huge GTPlanet thread which might also help.

    The bad news is it looks certain that it is the motor that's gone :(

    Anyway, apologies for the dupe thread!