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Thread: FAQ: Hacking Your Steering Wheel Buttons to Control Your PC

  1. #21
    lez
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    FLAC lez's Avatar
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    Am I missing something here, why _buy_ ipac when you can take an hammer to an old keyboard...........

    remove the little circuit board, and solder wires to the chips keyscan pins etc.

    May be a little trial and error and a few hours work, but I bet it would take a few hours to set something else up.

  2. #22
    Constant Bitrate ncamara's Avatar
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    Or you could do de same with a USB joystick. It would probably save a little bit more space instead of using a keyboard. There are many programs out there that will let you use a joystick to perform different functions.
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  3. #23
    Maximum Bitrate Jarrod's Avatar
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    The circuit board in a keyboard is probably smaller than the one in a gamepad. They are quite small

    I intend to use the keyboard method to make use of the steering wheel controls in my Holden VX. Just need to find out how to take the covers off the steering wheel case without wrecking it! (time to search some holden forums...or perhaps go look to see if its just a few screws!)
    Jarrod - Holden VX S!

  4. #24
    FLAC
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    I've got a Trans Am with the radio buttons and it uses a single wire "voltage divider" type of connection. I'm also using a PAC SW1 (?) controller to let me control my aftermarket headunit. Now the way they work is you aim your wireless remote into the controller and press the button on the wheel and then press the button on the remote and the controller blinks to let you know that button is now programmed.

    The key is that you have to already have a wireless remote that can control your radio or computer. Without a remote, you can't teach the controller.

    I haven't looked into Girder or had experience with a computer IR port, but it seems you would need a wireless remote to get the wheel buttons working. Are there any wireless computer remotes out there?
    Anyone know about this?

  5. #25
    Constant Bitrate Lando's Avatar
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    My question is which Front ends (Media Engine, Frodo PLayer, Centrafuge ...) accept key command that would make the Ipac useful? If there are any , where can I find a list of the key commands?
    Aut cum scuto, aut in scuto

  6. #26
    Constant Bitrate Lando's Avatar
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    Anyone, anyone
    Aut cum scuto, aut in scuto

  7. #27
    Newbie
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    have you already use yung steering control with your mac mini?
    Quote Originally Posted by TxMazda3
    bugbyte, have you tried to use this with your mac mini install? if so how'd it turn out?

  8. #28
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    No. I have an additional problem - I don't have steering wheel controls! So I tend to use a Griffin Powermate to operate my Mini.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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  9. #29
    FLAC
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    Well time has pased and I just wanted to update all you guys about getting your steering wheel buttons working. My car is a 99 Pontiac Trans Am and it used the single wire variable resistance design. The basics of operation should be same on any car that uses the single wire variable resistance buttons in the steering wheel.

    So far I only use my carPC to play MP3's - GPS and XM will come later. So I mainly use the MP3 screen in Roadrunner. RR is what I use, but I'm sure other frontends will have Girder files available.

    First the hardware. I recommend this little serial IR reciever:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1
    It cost me about $15 total shipped from Germany. Took about 2 weeks to get, but that's no big deal.

    Second is the PAC SWI-X steering wheel remote control. (edit, I found found out that my own device is the older SWI-2. I'm looking into the newer SWI-X to make sure it will work as well)

    They run about $40-$60 and be found several places.

    That's about all you need, besides any IR remote you happen to have. Credit card size is a good choice.

    The SWI-2 (SWI-X should be similar) is a simple 3 wire hookup on our cars. You can program all 8 steering wheel buttons to do anything the remote can do. And the remote can do just about anything as you are going to use Girder 3.3 to control the PC.

    If your already using Girder (not 4.0) to control your PC by remote, your already ahead of the game. Programming the SWI-X consists of pushing the learn button on the unit, pushing the remote button (aimed at the internal IR reciever in the SWI-2) and then hitting the steering wheel button you want it to match up to. Once all 8 are stored, they stay stored even with no battery power.

    Once you have the steering wheel buttons ready to go you need to download Girder 3.3. It can be found on the web for free if you know where to look. You plug in the serial IR reciever I mentioned above into a serial port (you have one, right?). You add a certain plugin called IGORPLUG.DLL - SFH-56 to the girder plugin folder. Then go into the Girder settings and load that plugin and set the COM port. Then you load the RR command list which has all the button commands that RR uses. You choose one like (vol+) you hit the learn button and hit the volume up button on either of your remotes and the code will be saved. You can program whatever button you want. It's pretty quick, but there are lots of options such as adding a delay to certain buttons so that it doesn't get pressed twice by mistake, etc... I'm not on the advanced stuff yet, I'm just getting the hang of it. Girder is a big and complex program, but once you get the basics understood you can come back later and fine tune it.

    Whatever IR reciever your using, serial or USB, you will need to get the Girder plugin in order for Girder to communicate with the device.

    There is a pic below of how I have my buttons currently programmed. I like having the volume and mute/play/pause button on the left so that's one of my quirks. The 4 right side buttons are all about finding the songs. I can move one song or one page at a time up or down. Once I found what I'm looking for I hit the play button on the other side and the new song will start. It's pretty sweet. Since the remote will have more than 8 buttons you can program them to do all kinds of stuff, but the steering wheel buttons should be programed for the most commonly used controls.

    If anyone needs details, let me know and I'll help you figure it out.

    Jason
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  10. #30
    Maximum Bitrate
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    what about all those who don't want an IR receiver going on... I should think that a phidget or a vellemen interface through analog would let you program it to respond to voltage input differences. If this has been said allready then I apologize as I admit I skimmed and didn't see the idea...

    Anybody tried this?

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