Adding buttons to an OSW with the MCP23S17 serial chip

Adding buttons to an OSW with the MCP23S17 serial chip

I replaced my g27 pedals with a custom setup, and I also use a custom sequential shifter and handbrake.  I’m running a direct drive OpenSimWheel, which is brilliant, and the G27 shifter is currently connected to it for shifting/button purposes.  I wanted to remove the G27 shifter, which contains a serial interface chip which converts approximately 16 buttons into just 5 wires connected to the Disco USB controller.  On the OpenSimWheel with MMOS firmware, you can connect buttons directly to the STM32F4-Discovery controller board, but you would need one wire for each button which isn’t practical.  A serial converter board connected to the Discovery controller would allow me to remove the G27 shifter, and still connect the sequential shifter and e-brake.  Of course, you could have a separate USB controller, but I like having it all run through the Discovery in my OSW.

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Custom Hydraulic + Load Cell Sim Racing Pedals

Custom Hydraulic + Load Cell Sim Racing Pedals

The OpenSimWheel direct drive steering wheel I built recently has completely outclassed the Logitech G27 pedals and shifter, so I’ve decided to upgrade my pedals.  I’m after hydraulic pedal feel, smooth action, long pedal arms, and a more realistic progressive brake pedal.  I’d like some Heusinkveld Ultimate pedals, but they’re out of my price range.  So I built some pedals with similar features and layout, out of recycled timber.

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Dirt Rally 0.6 Update unofficially supports Direct Drive (OSW) Wheels

Dirt Rally 0.6 Update unofficially supports Direct Drive (OSW) Wheels

Dirt Rally is shaping up to being a solid rally sim, which is pretty exciting considering there haven’t been any good rally sims released in about 10 years.  I was enjoying it with my old G27, but when I moved to an OSW I soon discovered that the game only supported a fixed list of popular steering wheels.  Almost every other driving game allows any direct input compliant steering wheel to be used, except Codemasters titles.  Perhaps they could rewrite their controller setup UI to be something versatile like the menus in iRacing or Assetto Corsa.

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Logitech G27 Load Cell Brake Mod

Logitech G27 Load Cell Brake Mod

Logitech G27 pedals are well constructed, but the pedal feel and the brake response leave a lot to be desired.  The lack of a pressure based brake made it difficult to consistently apply the same amount of braking.  The first upgrade I installed was a GTEye progressive spring, which made the brake firmer, and a bit more progressive feeling.  I think it would actually be better if it was more progressive, it still didn’t feel realistic.  Keep in mind that firmer pedals require a more sturdy rig to mount your setup on.

I figured the braking accuracy would be better with a load cell.  A potentiometer has limited resolution at the point when the brake gets progressively firmer, because the potentiometer reads movement rather than pressure.  So I looked at the load cell options available for the G27/G25.  The APElectrix mod uses a button load cell, which sits inside the red spring housing and limits spring length and pedal travel, which didn’t seem ideal.  You could buy your own button load cell, and work out a spring combination that you like.  I had seen a load cell mod for T500 pedals that used a beam load cell and looked more durable.  I set out to make something similar for the G27.

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70mm adaptor for Logitech G27 wheel

I picked up a leather Momo steering wheel, and made a quick wooden adaptor so that I could mount it on the Logitech G27. The top part is narrower to allow the G27 shift indicator to sit above it, not that it ever shows anything.  It works fine and didn’t cost me anything to make.  The 350mm Momo wheel is great, but it highlights the lack of torque in the g27.

wood g27 standard 70mm wheel adaptor

Connect Logitech G27 Shifter and Pedals to STM32F4 Discovery board with MMOS firmware

Connect Logitech G27 Shifter and Pedals to STM32F4 Discovery board with MMOS firmware

After reading how good the new direct drive wheels are for sim racing, I decided to build one.  I planned to use my existing Logitech G25/G27 pedals and shifter.  Martin Ascher has written a tutorial for the open sim wheel, and there is also Beano’s guide for an idea of how to setup a Granite Devices Ioni as the servo drive.  It’s very exciting, and I’m building a timber enclosure for the servo drive unit.  I’m using an STElectronics STM32F4-Discovery board as the USB HID controller, loaded with the MMOS firmware.  I’m coming from a G27 setup, and I plan to keep using the same pedals and shifter.

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