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

  1. #31
    FLAC
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    dmcdlrn, I think your the only one who actually "doesn't want" an IR receiver. Most folks don't care. Doesn't hurt anything. I like my setup because it's not too expensive, anyone can do it and the car can be returned to stock, plus you can use a wireless remote to control the PC from outside the car.

    You'll need to explain what a phidget or a vellemen interface is. I've never heard of them. Can they be interfaced with a PC to control a front end? Are they affordable? Have you seen anyone interface them with a steering wheel button? I'm interested because my setup is not perfect. Sometimes you have to hit the button more than once which means it's not 100% reliable. Volume up (for instance) means you have to hold it until the sound is where you want it, not hold it for 1.2 seconds. I'm getting used to it though. I think it's more in relation to the PAC SWI-2 I'm using, though. The wireless remote works very smoothly when the button is held down. If a phidget can work smoother and better, I'm all for it.

  2. #32
    Maximum Bitrate
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    ya, thats exactly why I don't want IR... IR can be blocked and that means I have to mount a visible IR transmitter and receiver... or mount them someplace inline not too close and not too far behind the dash or something.

    The phidget or vellemen I speak of are usb interface modules... the phidgets are alittle more costly around 100, and the velemen if you want to solder it up is 40 something or 60 something allready assembled. The biggest reason I would want to go with the I/O over infrared is that not only can I use 1 input of like 2 or 16 depending on the rig you get... you can use the other inputs and other outputs to do other things. Ultimately I can control the brightness of my backlight upgrade, my power antenna, open door warning, any other warning you can hook to a light on... steering wheel controls (maybe) hvac if I got creative, windows, alarm, trunk, sub turn on off....... endless posibilitys for less then the ir receiver and transmitter which I have heard nothing but trouble for.

  3. #33
    FLAC
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    I want to see it work. If it can.

  4. #34
    Maximum Bitrate
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    Well I think it can, I was just asking if anybody had done it. I am more of builder then a visionary... so if I come up with it on my own chances are somebody else has thought of it allready... so it helps cause I don't have to go through the painful testing processes...

    If nobody else has done it I will happily try it and let people know.. but it will be a while cause my screen backlight upgrade is top priority.

  5. #35
    FLAC
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    I found one example, but it's not related to the steering wheel. I'll keep looking.
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/input-devices/60468-app-for-usb-phidget-encoder-post633586.html

  6. #36
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    ya, thats close... that one is designed for that... I don't need the encoder... just the interface that deciphers the information from the encoder... cause all the encoder does is vary resistance... which is precisely what my resistive network does. Then all I have to do is find what the resistive values are... simple... and program the application to respond accordingly.. works everytime... in theory.

  7. #37
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    Built Into Dash - 7" Lilliput Touch screen and 24x DVD RW, Hidden - Multi Card Reader - USB connector - Keypad + Passanger Keyboard
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    Don't know if any one has already covered this but i have scanned sites all over the place and car't find anything on it.

    I have a Vauxhall (opel) Astra G and want to hook the streeing wheel controls up to my pc, has anyone ever done this and if so can they advise.
    I have had a spear set of controls apart and believe that it is variable resistance that they work on. I will be proforming various experiments with them when i get time, but if any one has already done this i would appreciate there input.

    Before anyone suggests it PAC SWI-X does not reconise Vauxhall or Opel cars

  8. #38
    FLAC
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    Have you contacted PAC? Resistance is resistance, it's not that it's a different brand of car. If you do have the variable resistance design, then Vauxhall may use a different range of resistance. You might need to add a certain size of resistor from the data line to ground to get the PAC to read it, but that is something only the PAC people would know for sure.

    You could also take the buttons apart and wire each one to an IPAC like in post #1. Or you take apart a small remote and wire the button directly to the remote buttons and mount the eye on the backside of the steering wheel.

    Does anybody make any kind of radio adapter for your car?

  9. #39
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    Unfortunately soldering to the buttons direct is not a plausible possibility as it would require hacking a hole in the middle of the steering wheel to run the extra wires through (the back of the wheel is a large alloy plate that the airbag attaches to). I have contacted PAC and as said before they do not recognise Vauxhall (Opel) cars.

  10. #40
    FLAC
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    So PAC said they don't have anything that works? Did you try any Vauxhall websites? I think you need to find more info on how they work or how the buttons can be taken apart.

    As a last resort, if there is room, you can mount the circuit board of a small remote inside the steering wheel and wire the buttons directly to it. Then drill a small hole to the rear of the steering wheel to run 2 small wires through. Then mount the IR eye to the back of the wheel aiming it at an IR reciever. I would try and find a better solution first, though.

    Try looking for aftermarket stereo installs in your model of car and see if anyone got the steering wheel buttons to work with an aftermarket radio. If so, that's step one.

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