T500 RS F1 Rim Guide -Part 3 (update 29/12/12)

Continued from PART 2

PART 3 – Internal Structures and Positions (THE HARD YARD)

Please read carefully and take as much time as needed to do this part – do it carefully

Disclaimer : Please be aware!! , That by following this guide, you are voiding your warranty of the F1 Wheel rim from Thrustmaster™ – IF you decide to do this, I will not take any responsibility for any damage this guide may cause to you, your body and/or your surroundings, you do this at your own risk., Thrustmaster will void the warranty of the rim (not the base) as soon as you open this wheel and/or made any modification to it. Kids /adults If you are under the age of 15 please close this page NOW! unless you have your parent’s supervision while doing this.- I will not take any responsibility for any damage you may caused (in case you burn down the place or have lead (chemistry code: Pb- read: plumbum) poisoning from using the solder iron and/or cut your self from having flying dremmel cutter bits fly in to your eyeballs) I am seriously thinking hard about not putting this guide online for these reasons. SO if you never use any electrical tools before, please DO NOT do this mod.

At this point, you need to drill from the front of the wheel in order to install rotary switches and encoders where they should be.
the holes are 7mm – I’ve marked the positions in red .
WEAR YOUR EYE PROTECTION NOW !!! – Drill where it is marked with red circles.

Where I marked “FLATTEN THESE: That is the area that represents “pseudo” knob, they need to be flatten out, the faceplate material of these bulging pseudo knobs are made from aluminium. the inside is hollow- so it should be fairly easy to do –
MAKE SURE YOU TAKE OUT THE ALUMUNIUM ROTARY COLOURFUL STICKERS FIRST before doing this as you’ll need it to cover the dremel/flatten out area.
again – be careful and go very slow – required a set of steady hands– make sure each one is clean and use your dremel sander drill bit to refine the edges – no protruding and sharp edges, etc.

If you want to have external LEDs you need to drill an extra hole(s) maximum of 5 supported by SLI-PRO – I am having 2 on each side and 1 next to the DRS button, drill carefully.


There is an easier method to do this, by taking out the aluminium face plate completely you don’t need to flatten the surface of those pseudo knobs, however you’ll loose the middle sticker and all the writings.

Once done, flip it around and you should face the inside of the rim like picture below.
I’ve marked the area that is required in order to fit rotary switches where the holes are

Carefully flatten out those marked from A to F with the dremel- this is where it gets difficult – DO NOT CUT OUT TOO MUCH -use the red markings as guide
as structurally it will still be very strong while the internal have more space for your switches.

PS: see the button already installed on the right (top right of “C”) that hole is from the stock buttons and the waterproof button fits perfectly

The picture below is where the shifter block are, this also needs to be flatten out to create space for your rotary switch.

so it looks like this BEFORE AND AFTER (below)

If you notice the picture above the elevation from “down” to “top” is now totally gone in the AFTER picture. also the 2 round cylindrical is now also gone. there are 2 springs inside , don’t worry ,that springs is only to create tension for the shifter, without it, the shifters feels exactly the same. it’s either taking these out or you can’t have any rotary switch(es)

Now after this, you can start drilling holes for the SLI-RPO spot and where the rotary goes.

It may looks very ugly at this point, but don’t give up – you are on the right path. Place your SLI-PRO in the area above and see if everything matches up. If they do leave it for now, if you have problem “pushing” or placing the SLI-PRO in to the front of the face. – skim more of the structural plastic until there is enough space, BE PATIENCE – GO SLOW when you skimming it with dremel.

!!! NOTE: This section is the hardest part to do as you need to be precise of where you want the SLI-PRO to go. if you choose to just cut the outer area of the SLI-PRO in Bottom of PART 2  then you need a screen/face plate to hold them in space. I suggest making one from black tinted perspex ( as I will be making one soon to replace my current one)

Place your rotary switches and button like so and make sure that the face of the rotary switches are flat on the inside of the wheel rim like picture above. (I’ll tell you how to do the middle one later)
once you place the rotaries flat – grab the shifter block that you have trimmed down and sit /install it back to where it was before. see if you can reach the flushed point where it closes/sits properly with the 4 screws (bigger ones) installed to the end.

you see on the picture above, the glue is touching the shifter block, that means 2 things, I melt the glue so it has more space and/or trim a little more.
So I did. Never try to force them if they don’t fit – they don’t fit!.

Once those holes are drilled , place your rotaries where it should go ( notice I put 2 rotary encoders on top) instead of switches – the reason being is there are 2 very important structural “bones” that holds the shifter block and Thrustmaster “Quick-ish” release – If you want to install rotary switches on that position (where marked “REV” and BOOST” from the front) those 2 “bones” must be taken out and it will affect the rigidity of this rim.

The middle rotaries gets a little trickier as the holes are already in place from the FERRARI knob that we took out earlier (you’ll need the knobs as well if you want this to look authentic) what you can use is put a washer in between the face of the rim and the locking nut, that way the Rotary switch is secured – another lazier method is using hot glue (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Once installed try turning the rotaries and make sure they are secured tight and not moving around. all the buttons are in place and secured.

Time for you to wire them up. Grab your ribbon cable from bodnar and have the wiring diagram handy (it’s the coloured ones I post on the second part) or if you can’t find it . go here (http://www.leobodnar.com/products/SLI-PRO/SLI-PRO%20User%20Manual.pdf)

The Cables needs to be tidy and make sure you split the ribbon cable properly in order to save space later on.
I solder the wires from the ribbon cables directly on to the buttons and rotaries. – don’t’ forget to solder the wire coming from shifter block to the ribbon cable also.

Same with the rotary switches like picture above. – be careful not to touch the solder-iron tip with the solder point of the rotary switches. as it may damage the internal circuitry.

TIP: Try to Flatten each wire after you solder them and secure it temporarily with a masking tape or gaffer tape, before you went to the next button/rotaries to get the cable out of your way

After you finish, it’s time to connect the ribbons to the SLI-Pro and test all the buttons out.
make sure you configure the rotary encoders using the software provided in leobodnar’s website and then go to control panel -> SLI-PRO -> properties and press each button/rotation, see each one lit up as you press. and Christmas should be near 🙂

as an addition I’ve installed a 5mm LED housings next to the DRS button for… well DRS signal

Right click on the SLI Max Manager and test the device.

Install your rotary knobs – your face plate – put the round stock aluminium colourful stickers back .

To install the middle Ferrari knob, – carefully remove the yellow Ferrari cap, leaving just the black part (jagged), drill the centre to fit the rotary switch “D” shape shaft.
place it flat on the face and hot glue the shaft (small amount) to the black jagged rotary cap , and put the yellow ferrari cap back on.

close the wheel rim and time for you to take it for a spin.

If it all seem too hard – I would recommend someone else do it for you. couple of places that I am aware of at the time of writing this.
Zelko Roso www.Zroso.com – waiting time might be a while – but you get a complete custom wheel – not a Thrustmaster ™ mod

Feel free to throw me a question / post a comment below if you decide to go the DIY route and need any tips / guide. I’ll try my best to answer them.

It has been a challenge for me as I wasn’t expecting it to be this complicated- however during the process I have learnt so much that I think every sim racers/ DIY enthusiast must go through once to see how wonderfully complicated – how much precision and attention to details required in order to appreciate the process in making an F1 wheel rim.

I am certain this one will never be “complete/ finished”, there are always things to be done, it is one of those things that can go as far as your will and as high as you dream.
Dream big and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way.
Have a Merry Christmas 2012 and I wish for you to have a wonderful New Year of 2013.

Thank you all for the support for the past 12 months- hope to see you all very very soon.


UPDATE 29th Dec 2012

In addition to Roso’s wheel from the link above http://www.zroso.com – I have just came across a company that is also manufacturing high quality formula 1 wheel – Meet : SalaMotorsport, Their new website is still under construction at the time of this post- however , the information was that,  website will begin to launch in early 2013, and that the wheel using  full Carbon Fibre body with the options  of SLI-PRO and upcoming SLI-F1, which means only one thing, that THIS is or will be the closest thing you can get to actually touching the real thing and it is apparently made in the exact process that the real Formula 1 Wheel ($45,000) is made . There is no price at the time this is post. however with this much photo to convince us the reader, I will be keeping an eye on the news when this is released.

Information provided and quoted directly from the source:

  • SalaMotorsport are 80% complete on the new F1 Sim steering wheel and it will be available in the new year.
  • This wheel is pre-preg carbon fibre construction and will use the new Leo Bodnar SLI-F1 unit and has 28 control buttons,switches and dials, all fully programmable.
  • Made in the exact process that the real formula one (£45,000) wheels are made and only the best materials and top quality switches from Leo Bodnar are used in its construction.
  • Production wheels will have Alcantara grips, clear extra led’s and Electrical Lifeline quick release bosses with adapters for all types of wheel base.
  • It will be come in its own flightcase for protection.
  • More updates to follow.
  • The Salamotorsport website will be up and running at the start of 2013.

Here are couple of pictures to entice our taste buds before the website launch , one for SLI-PRO ,…


another for SLI-F1


Back panel with shifters and clutches


Someof WIP Rotaries and and  different options grip


I would like to thank Scott from SALA motorsport for allowing me to use the pictures in this blog.

I hope you all have a great New Year 2013. See you very very soon. I will cover this topic in a new post when more information is received.



7 comments on “T500 RS F1 Rim Guide -Part 3 (update 29/12/12)

  1. r0gu3 says:

    Reblogged this on Marcushwang's web log and commented:

    Additional information regarding SALA Motorsport Wheel replica

  2. paris says:

    buenas qui siera saber como conectaste el led extra gracias

  3. Eoin Moore says:

    Hi, would you be able to sell me a cover for a sli pro, please, I’m really in need of one, thanks

  4. wilko musch says:

    Nice job,I’m about to mod my f1 wheel, but i have a question.
    What about the two thumbsticks?

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi wilko,
      thanks, because of the limitation of number of inputs the SLI-PRO have. the 2 directional pad and 3 toggle switches at the bottom is not wired and therefore unused.
      good luck with the project.

  5. wilko musch says:

    Marcus, thanks for the fast reply.
    I am using a DLX which has 26 buttons and 2 analog inputs.
    Are the thumbsticks analog or can they just be treated like an ordinary button?
    I really appreciate the effort for helping me out.

    • r0gu3 says:

      No Problem, those thumbsticks are not analogue, they are 4 directional d-pad, so they have 4 wires and a ground comming out of the back of that button (4 inputs and a ground from your pcb is required)

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