The Pro Shift Board

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This is Pro Shift
by SymProjects

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What it does…

You can connect LEDS to it, any size and shape, and it will make them flash when a car is revving, when a car is out of fuel or when damage is present. There are lots of possibilities here

It can command up to 16 leds and 8 push buttons. The dimensions are 66mm x 33mm, it powers itself by USB so it doesn’t require any external power supply.


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Connecting LEDs and Push Buttons

In the picture can be seen the numbers “1” – “3” – “5”…”15″ : That´s the positive row for Leds and where the longer pin/ leg of the leds are connected.

The numbers “2” – “4” -“6″…”16” are the negative pins, where the short leg from the LED connects.

The “B1” to “B8” are the inputs for the push buttons.

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 LEDs and their Types

Type 5050 LEDS below, RGB ones

 

Some common LED sizes and types are; 3mm, 5mm, 10mm, hat type and rounds. The characteristic for all of these to work properly with this board is that they should be up to 4V.

There is the possibility this board can work with other voltages but with the one´s i have tested with 3,2V everything worked as it should/ as expected.

Options for the use of the leds

For Traction Control, Pit request, Hand brake, Turn lights or Fuel level,  Engine temperature, Neutral gear, Rev. Counter, Water temperature or Oil pressure.

Also, through the software the LEDs when connected to this board can be used as blue, red and yellow flags.

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The Software

http://www.symprojects.com/downloads

 

 

Software is easy to set up. The device is automatically detected by Windows as an USB Game Controller, so no extra steps needed.

This is the Pro Shift available at www.SymProjects.com

If you want to connect 8 push buttons the firmware of the board should be updated. Please read.

Bits of handy information: When the brightness is set to 100% the LEDs receive a 15mA current. Each LED can be configured to blink at three different speeds when switched on. More than one Pro Shift controllers can be connected at the same time. This board works on a large number of titles, here is a list of games and available functions: Docs

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Brass Optical Encoder for Logitech G27

xin chào?” (“Hello” in Vietnamese)

This gadget is an optical encoder, a upgrade feature for the Logitech G27 wheel. They are also known as code wheels.

It helps in the centering of the wheel; Logitech G25, G27 and Driving Force GT have them.

The configuration of this item is different on each model but they do the same function.

This particular optical encoder model, with 60 slot, is for old Logitech G27´s, the one´s with the Green Box.

The 60 slot fits all  G25´s and old Driving Force GT.

30 slot fit the new Logitech G27, blue box package, and the new Driving Force Gt.

Let´s dive in…

My video on how to change the optical encoder on a Logitech G27.

(As soon as i post the video on the CM Laser optical encoder i will delete this line. The video is being prepared and will take a few weeks).

Go to the agent´s website fot this optical encoder.

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These are laser cut. They are custom made and available from CM Laser.


 The provider has sent me one optical encoder, that i am in the process of testing, and my initial thought was that it made me use my Logitech G27 more. I have less the feeling of being worried about breaking something when turning the wheel  very fast from one side to the other, when to catch a slide and so on.

 It is very possible. you know, to crack a optical encoder from turning the wheel constantly from one side to the other very quickly.


There are a few mods for repairing and upgrading them.

Below is a common one.

Thin and small washer in the inside of a default optical encoder from a Logitech G27.

A crack can be seen on this optical encoder. It comes from the center to the outer edge.

This is one option..


Plastic Optical encoder (default one)

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washer + glued + optical encoder.


Another option is to use a brass optical encoder

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There are steps that should be followed to ensure a correct installation. The first rule should be that this brass optical encode should always stay closer to the black receiver than the default one.

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It will have to stay even closer of the black receiver of the wheel than the default optical encoder does.

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“Even closer than the default optical encoder on the picture”

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Red cross marks the “black receiver”

Matters about this brass Optical encoder…

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Sometimes this brass optical encoders do not fit the metal shaft exactly. In this case use  sand paper on the internal part to sand off a bit of material.  Check my YouTube channel for a video on that.

The provider´s website has the information needed to this procedure.

In a few steps it´s something like the following:

If it is too tight, use a little high-grit sandpaper on a toothpick to gently remove a little bit of metal inside the encoder, and try to fit it on.  It must be a tight fit, but shouldn’t require a jack-hammer to get it on.  Gentle push with your finger should do the trick.  Patience, Grasshopper, patience!”

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Thoughts on the subject:

It seems to me that the wheel recenters more precisely after turning or catching the wheel from a spin: Let me give you an example; if your going flat out on a  RwD (rear wheel drive) road car…, and there´s an “S” ahead ,  with a right curve and a thigh left curve: when going from the right curve to the left the tail of the car is already loose, let´s assume, and when you start the left curve you will probably use all the road on the exit with the rear of the car already sideways. It is in that moment that i feel the re-centering of the Logitech Wheel more precise! After catching the slide and control it.

What happens is that my left hand always knows where the wheel is going to be, after a spin or a tail loss. Usually i have to readjust the hand position after catching the wheel. In this case, with the new optical encoder, i tend to think the wheel is more times in the right place for me to grab it after a spin.


On Gaming

I have been testing the wheel on and on on Project Cars.  I have tested Assetto Corsa, Rfactor 2 and Race 07. By default, Project Cars is the most “setting friendly” in my experience. I plug the wheel and overall the force feedback is decent, with the settings at a friendly rate not requiring a lot of tweaking. The other 3 games are more demanding regarding tweaking, when a wheel is connected for the first time.

CM Laser Codewheel


Closing…

This is one of those items where there is no wrong to go ahead with it, to implement it. It´s a win-win situation. I would personally want to have all the internals of my G27 upgraded!

Good Things to Expect

  • Gets the job done,
  • Never again will there be a need for a new optical encoder.
  • Average price of the piece: 38$.
  • Good Customer Support.

Logitech G27 3rd Version

 

Trust – Force Feedback Race Master

Hello, hello. How are we today?

Today´s post will start with the fun facts:

The Minimum Requirements for this wheel:

  • Pentium 166 MHz CPU
  • Serial 9/25 pin port
  • 10 MB free HDD space
  • 16 MB of system memory
  • 4 speed CD-ROM drive
  • Soundcard (preferred)
  • Floppy drive
  • Windows 95 with DirectX 5.0 or Windows 98

Wheel Spin

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The maximum rotation is more or less 90º to one of the sides. It claims force feedback but with no usb cable  available on this wheel it can take a while for a full test.

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According to the manufacturer the hardware will not work with recent versions of windows.

It will have to  be used a windows 95/98 based computer with a RS232 port. Not something laying around here…., windows 95! A Pentium at 75-166 Mhz!

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The steering wheel has 6 buttons and a directional pad ( 4 way ).

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The clicks are precise, with a robust construction. It is a solid wheel, with little to no flex where any two different parts join. Nice quality plastic all around.

The white strip on the front of the wheel is a rubber material. It helps when turning or with sudden movements.

A little shifter for the sequential gearbox, on the right side. The feeling is not a good one.

It is not precise probably due to the years of use but this wheel shows that it was spared from intensive usage so: “Just click the handle one way or the other and it will shift anyhow.”

To sum up: This is a heavy duty wheel! Well built.


The video game in the monitor, Good Memories….

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4D Sports Driving (4Ds), known as “Stunts“.

The picture is just illustrative. The wheel was not used with this game.


“Pedals”

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These are of good construction. Decent weight. They feature a black rectangular piece of steel. Otherwise all plastic, but really nice, solid!

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Pedals don´t slip easily. 4 rubber points. No default hard mounting.

The wheel has some years now. Back then hard mounting solutions were not very common due to low force feedback systems, reduced number of playseat style rigs/ dedicate a specific place to game, amongst other things.


“Hands On?”

 I am waiting on the hardware to check if this wheel can be tested. The prime requisite is windows 95 but it will work with 98 too. Patience!


 An oldie in good shape!

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Suckers take care of holding the base to a surface. No hard mounting.

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“Nice touch”

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Let´s recap:

Why analyzing this wheel?

  • Almost a collectible
  • Nice construction set
  • Quality elements
  • Robust ( Wheel and pedals)

and it´s a funny steering wheel!

Looks like a space shuttle/ airplane wheel.

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What do you think of this wheel?

  • Beautiful?

The Shift Lights Indicator (SLI-M)

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Reference photo by Leo Bodnar´s website

These units (SLIs) are prepared to control LEDs in game, almost any game (racing related).

This particular model has been discontinued.

What is this?

This gives you the optimal point to change gears in racing games. The leds start turning on and when they reach a certain limit, by flashing, that is the best time for shifting!

LED Displays;

  •  13 bright RPM LEDs across the top (4 green, 5 red and 4 blue)
  • 6 bright warning LEDs  (clusters of 3, below main array of Leds)
  •  Central gear indicator
  •  5 additional LEDS can also be connected.

Inputs;

  • 16 button / 8 rotary encoder inputs

Dimensions;

  • Length – 4″ / 102mm
  • Width – 1.2″ / 30mm
  • Height(with USB and pin headers) – 0.84″ / 21.3mm
  • Height(without USB and pin headers) – 0.48″ / 12.2mm

Mounting Screw Hole Size;

  • M2.5 or #3-56

SLI- M will NOT work on PlayStation or Xbox.

Recommended Wire Size;

  • 24AWG to 20AWG

Powered by USB  (+5V – 500mA) so no external power supply is needed.

It will be recognized as a generic game device named – SLI-M. No drivers are required.


Software:

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Fanaleds & SimSLI

You might find more software applications that work with this unit.

Fanaleds:

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You cannot assign any functions to the main LED array; the 13 across the top.

11 of them can be changed: the cluster of 3, on each side of the gear display and the 5 extra leds that can be connected to the board; these can be assigned for flags, KERS, etc.

For the 13 main leds, you can select the revled style, with 8 available options on Fanaleds.

Global brightness can be adjusted for all the LEDs. Global, not independent LED brightness.

SimSLI

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SimSLI is not as detailed as Fanaleds because it seems that its development is stationary,  but either one will work fine.


Hardware / Connections;

  • Pushbuttons / Rotary encoders
  • LEDs
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Push button

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Push button (NKK)

  •  Push buttons up to 16 of them.

or

  • Rotary encoders up to 8 of them.
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Rotary Encoder (Leo Bodnar´s reference photo)


SLI-M Works on: See the list here, on “more details”!


Now that the unit specs are done, let´s address functionality:

Just plug and play!¹

¹ you need a program being run, ex. Fanaleds or SimSLI. It is quite probable that if you are using Fanaleds or alike program it boots with windows so it´s always ready to play. There is no need to launch other programs just for a specific item. That is nice.

SLI-MWiringDiagram

Photo by eksimracing.com

Five (5) extra LEDs can be connected to this unit; any size as long they are up to 4v.

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10MM Leds

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RGB 5050 Leds

 Above 2 pictures serve as an example of types of leds used.


Enclosures;

The most difficult part of this item is the not so abundant enclosures for this unit.

There was one from Sim Racing Hardware for the Fanatec Porsche GT3 Rs V2 and GT2 racing wheels. Watch a review here.

Remember, you can connect up to 16 push buttons and 5 extra LEDs: What kind of enclosure will you be using in front of you, or on the wheel? 

It might get big, the enclosure, if you intend to make use of all inputs. It is also a pity to leave those inputs unused!


On summing;

Good quality board (shift light array and display). It features ultra bright leds, a good chip, compatibility with most games and easy to use software for controlling the leds. It costed 50 pounds (shipping not included).

Bringing it it all together:

  • Additional inputs available (16 button / 8 rotary encoder inputs) + (5 extra Leds)
  • Free, good software available for controlling Leds and other functions (Fanaleds/ SimSLI)
  • High quality components
  • No external power supply needed
  • No drivers required
  • Small dimensions of the unit

  • No decent enclosures available

Shift Light Indicator (SLI-M) from Leo Bodnar´s website.

The Logitech G27 Base

Hello!

The review year for this wheel it´s long gone but my input regarding Logitech G27´s is not!

My experience with Logitech wheels has not been the best. These wheels exist by their own right; they look good, it´s a complete package with steering wheel, pedals and a gear shifter, all decent quality; lots of metal, a clutch, 900 degrees ¹, rev lights on the wheel.. .

I have a problem with G27´s. They have always failed me one way or the other. Force feedback fatigue and the constant need for dead zone corrections, the optical encoder…,they have always felt to me with less force, less mechanical and not fun to enjoy.

A friend once lent me his G27 and i tested it on a Ps3. Force feedback was there but it felt too electrical, like the steering on a road car when it´s electric instead of hydraulic. It seems not as satisfying. After that, the 3 ones i used felt more awake but, not satisfied, i tested a friend´s G25 and this one felt a lot better, more mechanical, more energized. Was this particular shipment of G25´s? G25´s are known to be more “metal- on – metal” when it comes to steering. Maybe me?

I have had three G27´s. I´ll focus on the wheel base itself for this review.

Peoples Choices

I can´t seem to understand the number of people that have cool and costly setups (rigs) with neon lights and stuff and uses a stock G25 or G27, with G25/27 pedals!

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My argument is that Logitech G27 is a “fantastic wheel”…, for the bundle price, only!

It´s a good package: “good package” is not the same as a good wheel.

Now, let´s imagine;

i see a Logitech G sale, with pedals, gear shifter and wheel, for 349€ (new, release day); I´ll take it, it is a good deal, no one can say the contrary, but let´s assume these parts are sold separately: Would i buy the wheel base alone for 150€?

Or the pedals, 150€(?)

The shifter, 49€ ?

Meh, probably.

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With this in mind i know people know by now some things the Logitech G´s  (the wheels) are good for: Modding and Intensive usage.

 – Not in Favor

Now, to me there is a greater setback than the mods available or the usage this wheel can stand: It is Dead zone and Force feedback.

Dead zone will translate in failure related to driving precision and lack of force will lead to nonexistent road feedback. These two failure points are mostly hardware related, by the relation and disposition of the internal physical components; design of the materials, materials used, the chosen electrical components, dispositions of components with attention to performance, etc.

 ¹ I have experienced that my G27´s do not have exactly 900º. To reach this mark the wheel has to be forced to turn more. I have watched numbers in the order of +860º – 875º.

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From my blog post Logitech G27 with MoMo Prototipo – Custom Built

“you can game on a 300$ computer, but is not the same as gaming on a 1000$ computer… . The same with the wheels: you can drive in a game with a 300$ wheel, but it is not the same as driving the same game with a 1000$ wheel… .”

This quote is to make the point that the wheel is decent taking into account other variables, like price tag, targeted users and the view on what´s included in the package. You see, there are some wheels that no matter the cost or if are sold alone or in bundle they are always good wheels.


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The Optical Encoder

As pointed in the intro, the optical encoder is a fundamental piece of the wheel dynamic.

It “reports” where the wheel is and where is going to, to it´s electric components.

img_20160727_160535With the two G27´s i opened, the optical encoder wobbled when turning the entire cycle of the wheel. Careful, It can break easily and it does in some cases. Anyhow there are people reporting success in this area too.

A replacement to this problem should be changing the plastic encoder for a brass one.

Durability is the key feature here. This provider is a trusted source according to users ;

http://www.cmlaserservice.com/brass-optical-encoder-info.html


Force feedback,

One option to force feedback increase and maintaining it is a mod by ARC Team, where  the electric current on the wheel is boosted making it a beast of force. Measures to prevent overheating or exploding components are taken into account with this mod. Reports regarding this particular mod state it as a worthwhile mod for the G25´s and G27´s. Check the internet for various descriptive reports (Logitech G27 ARC Team Mod).

img_20161021_175509The Logitech G27´s in General:

There are a lot of mod providers for the wheel: custom shift paddles, wheel adapters for custom wheels just to name a few; there are also mods for the G series pedals; springs, load cells, inversion kits and so on. Mods for the gear shifter can be found online too.

I am almost arriving my destination: Can i point some factors regarding G27 wheel base only?

Manufacturer related; +

  • Overall the Hardware is built to last
  • Features a good hard mounting solution

Community Related; +

  • Availability of mods (on wheels, pedals and shifters)
  • Help and tutorials

Overall setbacks;

  • Wheel center Dead zone
  • Force feedback a bit shy (my opinion, not to be regarded as factoid)
  • Optical encoder susceptible to break (there is no official replacement)

Closing the post,

I don´t believe a brand deliberately want´s to make a 2nd generation of something worst than the previous version. The question here could be: “Was the G27 polished enough on the flaws G25 had?”

The same for the Logitech G wheels from 2015. There are some fundamental problems that have not been resolved regarding wheel center dead zone.

Please, opinions closed!

Have a nice week!