Button Boxes | Useful Or An Unnecessary Indulgence?

Button Boxes - Still Useful or an Indulgence?


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    778

Leynad777

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Completely pointless.

For older cars there aren't any in-car adjustments to even warrant a box.

For new cars, most of the settings in sims boil down to "set it and forget it." Have never felt the need during an AC SRS race to monkey around with TC or ABS settings. G29 often has more than enough buttons even for intricate stuff like KERS, DRS, or hybrid management. Half of our sims don't even have rain or night time racing so why TF do I need to map extra buttons for wipers or lights?

The like, extremely few instances I've needed to reach across for my keyboard, it doesn't trigger my OCD or whatever because "it doesn't look aesthetically pleasing enough."

It's just an old guy flex. "Check out my sim rig that Barb only lets me play an hour a night on, isn't it great?"
In AC many functions can't be mapped but must be adjusted with the sidebar-apps like seat adjustment, FFB, pitstop-strategy etc. In Raceroom for example there are 6 buttons (iirc) needed for the pitstops, the usual 6 for the seat-position and FOV, 2 for FFB etc. and ACC wants even more stuff mapped.

And you can't even switch the wheel if you would want. If using more than one wheel (the usual sizes have all their pros and cons) and you need to remap buttons for that, it comes in handy if essential stuff is mapped to a button box. My one is small, but always mapped to ignition/starter, brake-balance, ARB front/rear, ABS, TC, headlights/wipers, seat and FOV-adjustment, restart, camera and that sums up to 22 buttons already. The still missing boost, turbo, DRS, look left/right/back, pitstop-limiter, menu-navigation, HUD, Motec and other game-specific stuff are mapped to the wheel. I've tried JoyToKey to avoid remapping stuff, but doesn't seem to work with the Madness Engine...
 

Leck3000

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I couldnt live without mine now. I can bind so many more things than just on the wheel so I can run manual everything and I love the control over certain things but also gives maximum immersion.
EyTsEYJWQBEVO6B.jpg
 

TheBigO

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I couldnt live without mine now. I can bind so many more things than just on the wheel so I can run manual everything and I love the control over certain things but also gives maximum immersion.

Because you said, that you have so many assignments:

I've posted it two pages ago already. I have written a software, which can control multiple layers (called modes) of Button Box control assignments, which might be even aware of the concrete situation (for example, different assignments in the Game UI or on the Desktop, or when in a race).

Take a look here: Simulator Controller on GitHub
 

Gabyzen64

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May 10, 2017
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Being a simdriver who races in endurance, the button box is often essential for me, I can't do without it, an integral part of my virtual race, too many controls now to be limited to the best steering wheel on sale. Unfortunately, most of the steering wheels and button boxes do not have backlit buttons and therefore you have to use the room light or small LED flashlight. This is mine printed by me in 3D :D:D
s-l1600.jpg
 

Botmeister

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I have a Ignition Controls bbox that I can use with gloves on. It has a 4-way joystick which I find very useful to navigate through menu's and easily restart sessions together with assigned ok/cancel/back buttons. For ACC I -almost- don't need a mouse at all. Buttons have red LED light and build quality is really great. The streamdeck is an awesome device though, I might pick one up to use with other sims (I like myself some ETS for example).

Screenshot 2021-04-08 094247.png
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2017
Messages
48
It really depends on what kind of steering wheel you use the most, for example, the Ascher racing F64-USB users would probably not need any button box because of the number of buttons it provides.. it basically covers everything you might need. but others that run round rally or NASCAR style wheels where there aren't as much wealth of buttons a button box is essential for those extra functions like wipers, fuel, TC, or ABS.
 
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
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I'm using a Simucube and 16-Button-Wireless rim, so limited button capabilities. I need (or at least think I need:)) at least 28 button inputs (this BTW also keeps me from VR) which made me built my own BB.
Remark: I know that 28 inputs would be possible with SC2 wireless but that's already the maximum without any option for extension (except again BB) and 28-button-rims were quite limited regarding shapes at the time when I bought mine.

Being a person who has problems finding the correct side of the soldering iron to hold it, that was less fun than people always say. But it works perfectly.
Tried a Software-solution before but that never worked flawlessly in real-world-use (that was SimHub - every other aspect of SimHub works perfectly for me, so maybe it was the old phone and tablet hardware I tried).
 

FinFan

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I use SIMDashboard on a 10 inch tablet. Easy to configurate, lot's of options and great value for money. Only problem is, it's not working with racing gloves.
 

metalnwood

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I use SIMDashboard on a 10 inch tablet. Easy to configurate, lot's of options and great value for money. Only problem is, it's not working with racing gloves.

Sparco make some gloves that work with touch screens.. I use these, the karting version, the more expensive motorsport version is also touch compatible but the extra cost isnt really required for sim racing

 

GuitarTech

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I've had an SRH dashboard for years, it's on it's third wheel base, and I couldn't do without it. I drive exclusively in VR, which rules out touch screens, and it also enables me to do without the wheel buttons, as I have 3 wheel rims, and assigning the buttons for the different rims in the sim every time I change wheels is a ball ache.
I have 7 on/off switches, 9 buttons, and 3 rotary encoders altogether, which is enough for everything I
need.
IMG_3083.JPG
 
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Sparco make some gloves that work with touch screens.. I use these, the karting version, the more expensive motorsport version is also touch compatible but the extra cost isnt really required for sim racing


I'm using the Sparco Hypergrip gloves. Thumb and index finger have removeable tips of some "special" material. I'm not familiar with display technology but somebody told me that "newer" displays work in the way "X" for which this material works. Old touch-display technology needs skin to work (technology "Y"), so we guessed that's the reason why the tips are removeable.
If you buy some, order one size bigger than you would normally expect. At least mine are quite tight.
 

Botmeister

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I'm using the Sparco Hypergrip gloves. Thumb and index finger have removeable tips of some "special" material. I'm not familiar with display technology but somebody told me that "newer" displays work in the way "X" for which this material works. Old touch-display technology needs skin to work (technology "Y"), so we guessed that's the reason why the tips are removeable.
If you buy some, order one size bigger than you would normally expect. At least mine are quite tight.

I went from Hypergrip sim gloves to Arrow kart gloves. The Hypergrips were great at start, but unfortunately after a few months they were ready for the trash. The finger tips didn't close off very well at some point (at least, mine did) and that got pretty uncomfortable. I'm now using the Arrows kart version and 1) grip on my suede rim is way better, night and day 2) outer stiches and no open finger tips is way more conformtable...... but 3) they are much more warm. So I'm curious how my sim summer will be! Otherwise I'll probably have to give myself some bullshit argument like no pain no gain or something like that :rolleyes:
 

RCHeliguy

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I can see the value in them but I like to keep things simple and I don't use that many buttons.

What are the two black handles sticking up behind the wheel mount? They look like the handles on my rowing machine. Have you a rowing simulator?

A lot of those buttons are for purely for convenience. I have an entire binnacle just for replay. It has buttons for REW Play/Pause FF, Previous Lap, Next Lap, slow mo, Next camera position and exit. In iRacing that is pretty well available by mouse ( although the buttons are still faster). In other titles like Dirt Rally 2.0 the replay controls are all bound to the keyboard when you are in VR since they don't support a mouse in VR.

What the buttons do is make my interface consistent between titles.

The grab handles are something I only use in flight mode. The ProSim H pattern shifter pretty well blocks the right side of my rig. When I add the quick release flight throttle or a helicopter Collective stick that bolt on the left side I have to step over it to get into my rig and without a steering wheel there is nothing left to grab since I've completely covered the wheel support structure.

BTW those are grab handles for the back seat of a Jeep.

I also do own a Concept 2 Rowing machine which I use regularly.
 
Last edited:

BP

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Completely pointless.

For older cars there aren't any in-car adjustments to even warrant a box.

For new cars, most of the settings in sims boil down to "set it and forget it." Have never felt the need during an AC SRS race to monkey around with TC or ABS settings. G29 often has more than enough buttons even for intricate stuff like KERS, DRS, or hybrid management. Half of our sims don't even have rain or night time racing so why TF do I need to map extra buttons for wipers or lights?

The like, extremely few instances I've needed to reach across for my keyboard, it doesn't trigger my OCD or whatever because "it doesn't look aesthetically pleasing enough."

It's just an old guy flex. "Check out my sim rig that Barb only lets me play an hour a night on, isn't it great?"

No need to lump everyone in one basket with that last comment...I'm in my mid 30's and have no problem with them. Also, not because every sim doesn't have night and rain doesn't mean everyone plays those sims primarily (and there's at least 4 current sims with both of those features)...there's a varied and exciting simracing world beyond AC SRS races ;)

Best believe in ACC (for example) when rain strikes you'll be glad you mapped something for TC, ABS, wipers and (rain) lights.

Unfortunately, most of the steering wheels and button boxes do not have backlit buttons and therefore you have to use the room light or small LED flashlight. This is mine printed by me in 3D :D:D
View attachment 462658

Another reason why Stream Decks are awesome: backlit buttons :whistling: ;)
 

RCHeliguy

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I went from Hypergrip sim gloves to Arrow kart gloves. The Hypergrips were great at start, but unfortunately after a few months they were ready for the trash. The finger tips didn't close off very well at some point (at least, mine did) and that got pretty uncomfortable. I'm now using the Arrows kart version and 1) grip on my suede rim is way better, night and day 2) outer stiches and no open finger tips is way more conformtable...... but 3) they are much more warm. So I'm curious how my sim summer will be! Otherwise I'll probably have to give myself some bullshit argument like no pain no gain or something like that :rolleyes:

I started with Hypergrips as well. Then @Andrew_WOT mentioned how much easier it was to put on and take off Karting gloves, so I got a pair. In the end the convenience factor alone was worth the switch and they are comfortable. I haven't had an issue during the summer, but my rig is in the basement and air conditioned and I have a cooling fan and if for some reason that wasn't enough I have a powerful ceiling fan overhead.
 
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Rawbear

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Jan 27, 2018
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VR needs what its destined for - finger tracking for pressing buttons on the dash in game. But yeah, touchscreen in VR is pretty much useless :p
Take a look at VTOL VR: every button can be pressed IN VR! Every switch is active, etc. The best VR simulation ever and no external button box! Too bad it's a plane and not a car! But some big titles will get it someday...I hope.
 
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