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Modding the MS Wireless Racing Wheel. A Blog by BrEaKnDiSh

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by mikesnowdon, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Hello and welcome to my first post on Race Department!

    For quite some time I have been thinking, planning, and researching various ways to improve the MS Wireless Racing Wheel.

    One well known mod is to replace the plastic bushing on the main shaft with a sealed cartridge bearing. I did this and it made a big difference to the feel of the wheel by reducing play and allowing the main shaft to rotate more freely.

    That was a long time ago now and Im searching for more improvements in feel and response.

    These are the areas I feel need to be improved on:

    - Weak FFB. The FFB is very weak and in order to improve car control by having a decent feedback through the wheel it needs to be quite a bit stronger.

    - Dead zone in FFB at center. The FFB is delivered from the motor via cogs. There are 2 contact points where teeth mesh so gear slop is coming into play. The Logitech G27 uses cogs with angled teeth to reduce this, and the other major wheels on the market use belts to virtually eliminate it entirely.

    - Only 270 degrees rotation....

    - Gear noise. Just a minor annoyance really but reducing gear noise would be nice.

    - Small wheel rim. The wheel rim on the MS is just too small and looks like a kids toy. I want to get more realism so this is a definite area I will improve on.

    - Structural rigidity. With the bearing in place there is no play on the main shaft. However, the flex in the plastic housing and main shaft is now noticeable.

    - Pedals. Not a lot we can do with these. So I basically made some better ones but they still need improving and I have a mk2 version planned for the future with a clutch and load cell brake.

    On the FFB side of things I have managed to work out a fairly simple way to get more power to the motor. I looked up the motor driver chip on the main PCB and found something interesting while reading the datasheet for it. This chip can be paralleled so basically you can run 2 identical chips side by side and get more than double the amps at the output. I even found a company that sells small PCB's designed to carry two of these chips. To get the max current delivery from these chips requires more power than the standard PSU can produce. So a beefier PSU (around 30-35v, I think. Need to go back to my notes and check on that) is required with a 20 - 24v feed coming off it to power the main PCB.

    In doing this the motor is going get hotter and gain that heat more quickly so some cooling is required. I have already mounted a RC motor heatsink and with a bit of ducting and a fan that should do the trick. However, Im currently looking into bigger more powerfull motors to replace the stock one.

    To reduce the dead zone in the FFB we need to reduce or eliminate the gear slop in the cogs driving the main shaft. I would absolutely love to replace all the cogs with belts but this would require a brand new main shaft with integrated toothed pulley, Basically too much work and not really worthwhile as I don't want to get into huge things like that on this wheel. So what I have in mind is to replace only the spur gear with a belt reducing the gear slop by 50%. I have experimented with this and found it to be very successful and it has the added benefit of reducing the gear noise (whine) considerably.

    Here's a video:



    In addition to reducing the FFB deadzone another mod that I think will help is to move the steering position sensor (currently a potentiometer) over to the spur gear or motor. Why do this? Because currently the position sensor is on the main shaft so we have this FFB dead zone around the middle but still get steering input within that dead zone. It feels really weird going in a straight line and anyone who has driven this wheel will know exactly what I mean. By moving the sensor over to the motor any dead zone will be truly 'dead' meaning no steering input in that zone. This would feel much more natural as most real cars have a little dead zone. Im also curious to see what having the steering position in game directly related to the FFB at the motor feels like. All the major wheels do it this way (exept the Fanatec CSW/CSR elite). I may even have a play with rotary encoders instead of a pot.....


    Ive done a little experiment to see what a proper wheel rim feels like on the MS base - using 350mm Momo. It makes a really nice difference so here's what I plan to do: Make a simple adapter that accepts a standard PCD steering wheel. In doing this there is greater leverage on the plastic main shaft so some reinforcement is required. I'm thinking along the lines of filling the cavities inside the shaft with resin, and drilling out the main screw holes to accept long bolts that run the entire length of the shaft. Internally the union between the front and back plates (that carry the gearing) needs beefing up. Plan there is to drill trough the screw holes and replace with full length bolts. I may even add a secondary strengthening plate to the front plate as its plastic.

    Doing the above leaves a problem. What to do with the buttons and D-pad? What Im hoping to do here is make a carbon wheel pate with holes that align with wheel PCB. That way the PCB and buttons can simply be secured on the wheel plate with stand offs and I'll have a nice racy looking wheel.

    Having pondered over ways to increase rotation for a quite while now I have decided that the most I can hope for without major reworking of the internals is about 340 deg. I know its not much compared to Logitech, Thrustmaster, and Fanatec but I'm sure that little bit of gain over the stock 270 deg will make a nice improvement.

    My pedals:



    So that's in essence what I have been working on so far. I would love to try and get everything in my head out into this post but that would require technical drawings and tons of writing and probably bore the hell out of anyone who read it hehe! So what Im doing is putting this thread here as a running blog to show my progress and maybe help anyone else who wants to do similar things to their MS wheel.

    If anyone has a questions feel free.

    Thanks for reading : )