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18-10-2003, 19:29     View Warnings    #1
Giovanni Tifosi
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: United States
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Auto-calibrating wheels that lose center

"My (insert brand here) wheel loses center after just a few laps, or if I spin"

How many times have I seen this post in 5 years..............


Point of note: Most wheels on the market today are "auto-calibrating" (in fact it's an advertising feature in modern equiptment)

This however does NOT mean they are auto-ranging. (in fact none of the potentiometer types are, only the strictly optical to digital device with the actual parameters saved into some form of macro memory file type, and even they are iffy)


Definition, auto-calibrating:

The device creates a center point automatically based on whatever travel it is put through, with the net result being a variable centerpoint due to fluctuations in whatever outside parameters are used. (turn wheel on, hold full right, start game. The wheel will center somewhere around 2-3 o'clock, because that's the range it has to work with)


Definition, auto-ranging:

The device already "knows" by default how far it can travel in either direction without having any input from the user. (macro for an optical type wheel may be capable of this, analog wheels are not)


How they relate:

If the wheel auto calibrates, and you give it no range parameters to work with, then it will fix center wherever center is for the amount of travel it's had since the wheel was powered up, but not neccisarily where you think center should be. (a small amount of centering when the wheel get powered, (because the device does have a vauge idea where "middle" is), toward the left if you do a lot of circle track racing, mabe to the right if you countersteer a spin....... random and variable due to driving conditions resulting in a centerpoint that can end up hung one direction or the other, or outright floating all over after just a few trips around the track depending on how consistant a driver you are)

BUT, if you take 5 seconds before rushing off to the the track and cycle your wheel FULLY left and right several times on the desktop BEFORE starting a game, this problem will be all but eliminated. (this gives the wheel it's full limit of travel #'s to work with, so there can be no variance in what center will be) Great idea to do your pedals at the same time, BTW.


This is particularly true with wheel using Immersion Corporation drivers, (Act Labs, Momo, Logitec to name a few of the more popular brands). This is NOT the Wingman profiler system that keeps button commands and keystroke stuff in a file! Immersion is the actual driverset used to run the wheel proper, including calibration routines, gain/damping/strength values and FF effects played through the device. (all the stuff you see in the control panel, not a program file you pick off the start menu or from the system tray that runs in the background)

Also note that trying this while in game will fail about 85% of the time, (pits, options screen, on the grass......), due to the games controller stuff over-riding the device driver, (the signal never actually gets to the wheel program, because the game is sucking up that resource). This also means that even though the games options screen is seeing a full range, the wheel will do what it wants centerpoint wise because it's not being communicated with through it's (seperate from game) calibration data anymore. Basically the game is sending over-riding signals to the wheel.

Using DXTweak to try and compensate for this effect is fruitless. If there are no known parameters for the wheel to work with, (because you didn't range it in on the desktop), then DXTweak will do nothing more than apply the data you input to a wheel that has no fixed points to work with. (you may have reduced that deadzone, or increased/decreased sensitivity around center, but center can still float all over the place)

DXTweak still has it's uses, but they are primarily limited to center sensitivity, (it can't really change the deadzone on a wheel with a potentiometer. most of them have a built in deadzone that's almost mechanical in nature. You may want to look for a new potentiometer if the deadzone starts seeming extreme and you've had the wheel more than a month or so) along a few other odd items that may be desireable for dialing in feel and control.


Take that few extra seconds to push them pedals and sweep that wheel on the desktop, (control panel calibration screen is un-neccisary, because, well, it IS auto-calibrating and you've just given it a range to calibrate from), before you head off onto the cyber track. You'll be happier in the long run for it................
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Last edited by Giovanni Tifosi : 18-10-2003 at 19:35.
 
07-11-2003, 03:55     View Warnings    #2
Gary Hoorn
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Giovanni,

Great post.

When I had my Act Labs first thing before heading for the Track was a couple of slow full swings on the wheel and depress each pedal at least twice. Failing to do that procedure made driving a question mark as you never knew what was going to happen.
Gary
 
02-12-2003, 14:40     View Warnings    #3
Bob Simpson
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Great explanation. I was wondering if the wheel (Act-Labs) had a problem. If I don't run the wheel through its range, it's like having about a 5:1 steering ratio.
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18-12-2003, 15:49     View Warnings    #4
Roger W
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I kind of miss my old LWFF which truely was autocalibrating and autoranging: as most of you guys remember, it used the FF to turn full left and full right at initialisation when starting up the computer.

It was a bit spooky at times, but still a neat idea I think
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02-01-2004, 10:57     View Warnings    #5
Janezki
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Logitech MOMO Racing suffers from this "center-travelling", which occurs usually when you crash/hit barrier, etc.
It can be fixed by turning the wheel from lock to lock, but imagine doing this when driving at full speed?

There is a fix/patch for this made by the Wingmanteam, downloadable from here.
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28-02-2004, 17:32     View Warnings    #6
Szeek
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Want to say thanks so much for the info guys, really helped me out. My wheel has be floating for a week had no clue what was going on the centering patch worked perfect.stay cool!!!
 
04-04-2004, 21:12     View Warnings    #7
syaitann
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this is prolly a noob question, my act lab rs force is off center 5-10deg clockwise from 12 o clock from day one ( just had it over a month ).. got a reply from tech support bout tweaking the potentiometer.. only affect the force strength on either side of the axis (ie. either stronger force turning left or right/ mostly turning left) ,, ive tried dxtweak .. helps with centering but leaves a ackward feeling regarding the force feedback.. theres slack when turning right before u can feel the force .. now i just simply hold the steering a bit slant, ignoring that the wheel is off center visually, and driving is great.. theres even balance on the force on both side .. meaning i can get into the game, feeling the turn ..drive a straight straightaway.. but sadly when i glance at my wheel its not centered while driving straight .. so is there any way IF i can just pop/dismantle the wheel turn it 5-10deg counter clockwise and pop it back in .. unfortunately i dont even know how to do that .. so if anyone can help pls
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06-04-2004, 20:05     View Warnings    #8
Giovanni Tifosi
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If all are convinced it's the pot alignment, then getting at it isn't to bad.

Remove the 6 screws from around the cartridge slot, and the 10 screws from the base. The outer shroud will come off, but you'll have to pull it out a bit at the sides to clear the clamping wheels.

Once inside, the pot is right at the end of the steering column, and has either a 7/16" or 1/2", (or nearest metric equivalent), fixing nut. Loosen the nut, adjust, tighten. (there is a photographic teardown procedure on the Act Labs site in the tech support section)

When re-assembling, make sure you start at least 2 screws in the cartridge slot area before putting the shroud back on, (otherwise you'll be at it a while trying to get it lined up and started using only 2 hands for what has become a 3 hand job in an area designed for one hand), and ensure that the pedal DIN at the right rear is aligned properly. Start the bottom screws at the points nearest the dash first, then at least one in the back center near the pedal DIN, (to keep it from moving while you do the rest of the screws).
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11-04-2004, 16:37     View Warnings    #9
syaitann
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thnx a mil bro ... now all i got to do is extremely fine tune it ... thnx again



edit/update 2hrs later : wheel is totally centered to perfection but after over an hour of gameplay i noticed the force/damping/strength of the wheel turning right is stronger ( ie. u can feel more force turining right then turning left ) this is after playing race driver 2 demo and cmr04 both single n multiplayer demo. i'll try tweaking the potentiometer in the rs force cartridge .. ill get back if it still fails.. in the meanwhile anyone with ideas pls contribute

ps: still waiting for both codemaster titles to hit the shelves in singapore, hard to find a singaporean desktop racer .. all other games (action,fps etc) arrives on schedule .. but never racing game.. bahhhh ... singapore gaming community is too mainstream pop game culture ... weakkkk
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Last edited by syaitann : 11-04-2004 at 18:14.
 
22-04-2004, 22:12     View Warnings    #10
RJ O'Connell
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Gee, perfect timing, my Logitech Wingman Formula GP totally f----- up on me two days ago. It's not just steering either, which I might add is thrown over to the left-brakes are being applied even if I'm doing absolutely nothing, and the throttle is non-functional.

Could any of this advice apply to throttle/brake pedals too? Thanks...
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29-04-2004, 20:58     View Warnings    #11
tenman
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I dont really get any of the stated problems but thought id post this anyway.

I use a MS non FF. Alot of the time in most games (GPL, LFS , N2k3) even after calibrating, the in game steering will center at about 5 degrees clockwise.

Through trial and error ive found just unplugging the wheel and pluggind it back in again (got usb on front of pc so no hassle) sorts it out everytime.

Is the reason for this one already mentioned? (self rangin/calibrating?)

Thought this might be a time saver for some people.
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30-04-2004, 21:08     View Warnings    #12
syaitann
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had the same problem with my act lab .. giovanni told me its prolly the pot alignment .. and its rectified now .. i have dxtweak from logitech and used that to keep the pot centered while i disengage the wheel from the pot, then recenter the wheel and pop it back .. that's in simple term .. but u get the idea
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11-05-2004, 10:58     View Warnings    #13
zdravkoskeledzic
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Fine tuning???

I have Logitech WMFF GP and I dont have center loosing problem, but I wonder if there is a utility to fine tune it somehow. Lets say I would rather have it less sensitive near center position and more as I turn it to endpoints. When I drive faster, it shouldn't be so easy to turn the wheel. I tried increasing "centering spring" strength, but then it feels too unnatural. Does anyone know about software that can do this?
BTW, someone asked about brake being activated when you do nothing. I noticed a checkbox: "detect both pedals at single axis.." or something like that. Deactivating this should deactivate this.
 
11-05-2004, 16:25     View Warnings    #14
Giovanni Tifosi
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DXTweak from here, (direct download link. Page is here), may help your issue.
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14-05-2004, 00:32     View Warnings    #15
v2ooo
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Anyone have a problem with the driving force PRO, GT4?

Because when i turn it on, it automatically turns 2.5 turns left and 2.5 turns right or whatever the 900 degrees. That should do it right?
 
14-05-2004, 21:11     View Warnings    #16
Giovanni Tifosi
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Mabe it's capable of something simular to this from up above? (2.5 turns lock to lock would be 900 degrees)
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27-06-2004, 07:12     View Warnings    #17
isamu
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Gio...do you have experience writing drivers for wheels? Can you say, copy drivers from another Logi wheel and out them into another FF wheel?
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08-07-2004, 16:03     View Warnings    #18
Giovanni Tifosi
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Sorry for the delay, (I've been under a car for a couple weeks now)

No, I've not any qualification nor experience in such matters.

However, most of the wheels out there today are driven by Immersion code, and they may be able to offer some advise on the matter. It does seem that someone has used alternate driversets from wheel to wheel, as long as it was the same make/brand with a modicum of success. (mabe somewhere in the GPL section? I know I've heard of it being done at least once)

At one time, Immersion offered a developer pack for free, or with the purchase of certain wheels, (Act Labs used to have a version on the driver disc with their orginal FRS), which allowed you to create custom effects and feedbacks for any Immersion driven wheel. The downside was that the custom file would only work with a specific type of in game controller file, (whatever Ubi-Soft F1RS had for it's configuration was one of them)

A simple enough system which allowed you to test right there on the screen without even starting a game, but limited to the aforementioned filetype which was not common with all game producers code. (ie, all the customization in the world wasn't going to let you use it in a Papy game)
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07-06-2005, 16:44     View Warnings    #19
black3sr
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I have lost center on my old LWFF red wheel

After over 5 yrs of use. Any suggestions as to what the problem is?

I now have a FFGP and do not like the pedals or the paddles on the wheel. I want my old one back.
 
21-07-2005, 13:49     View Warnings    #20
Sofaracer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v2ooo
Anyone have a problem with the driving force PRO, GT4?

Because when i turn it on, it automatically turns 2.5 turns left and 2.5 turns right or whatever the 900 degrees. That should do it right?



I have centering problems with my DFP wheel. After attaching a Frex wheel and
sequential shifter (Shift+) to it, it has become a little off center. It goes through its routines when i start the computer and center itself. It looks good in the Wingman menu, in GTR and
F1c menu to. But when i start driving its slightly off center to the right. And after
driving some laps it gets worse, and then it goes back to normal again.
Sometimes its straight and perfect, but it doesnt stay that way. It changes while driving, and thats a little annoying. I had to operate it a little bit to attach the Frex stuff, maybe i touched something inside, i dont know.
 


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