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I am working on a project where I used a hollow pipe whose one end has a circuit board so that the wires will go through the pipe to the other end completing the connections. That pipe has to be rotatable, too. Rotation speed will not be too high, it will be minimal as in a steering wheel and it won't be rotated in only single direction. The problem is that it will result in wires being twisted and broken.

In short : I have an old gaming controller and I am turning into a steering wheel. I have other things designed and was thinking of integratimg afew buttons in the middle of the steering wheel.

I googled and found about slip rings, but I will appreciate if I get other alternative methods and if possible some DIYs.

Circuit brief:

Gamepad used: Quantum QHMPL QHM7468 USB game pad.

When opened, this gamepad has one main circuit board, two triggers (extendable by wires,) one joystick (two integrated) (extendable by wires.)

I have used the triggers as pedals, left the joystick for future use, used a spare mouse (optical sensor) at the end of steering wheel to get signals and convert input signals of mouse to joystick signals using a software.

Now I have the main circuit board left which I want to add on top of the steering wheel for more controls.

Edit :

Main circuit board has four connecting wires, and from that, there originates 10 wires , 4 for joystick, 3 each for a trigger.

You can also tell a way to stop rotation of wheel after some specific angle, example - consider the wheel in initial position so that it can rotate about 480 degrees in both the direction after that it restricts motion (like some barrier inside the arrangement), as wire twisting problem will be only if the user rotates the wheel too much. If the motion will be restricted the wire will be experience much stress.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please state how many wires and what currents they carry along with which wires might carry data connections and, are those data connections differential? \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ install a battery operated RF or IR transmitter in the steering wheel ... power could also come through slip rings \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dont know much about wiring(input only), as it is a gamepad and its worrk is to give inputs so i guess, out of four wires two are used to get power from usb, and other two send signals to computer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ To restrict the amount of rotation, you could have a rack-and-pinion gear that runs out of rack teeth at the appropriate position, if that is what you're asking about in the final paragraph. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Googled it, maybe it is the thing that i may need, but it will be hard to make one at home or to get one nearby, are there any alternative options to this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 20:47

6 Answers 6

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You can also tell a way to stop rotation of wheel after some specific angle,

You could connect the wheel to the steering mechanism take from an old car

Or you can build your own rotation limiter - you can get more than 360 degrees by stacking limiter sections.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3airCg2Xd-4

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The solution used in real steering wheels is called a "clockspring" - a flexible ribbon cable wound in a loose spiral around the steering shaft = as the wheel turns, the spiral will tighten or loosen without stressing the end connections.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ clockspring is a good option but in real vehicles, the wheel rotation is limited, whereas in my model it can rotate many time, \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ or you can provide a way to restrict its motion till some extent as i mentioned in edit in my post. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 18:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VinayakRastogi Your question title states limited range, not an unlimited range. Solution for a limited vs unlimited range are different \$\endgroup\$
    – Ferrybig
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 8:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VinayakRastogi - Hi, Re: "Any moderator may have changed the question title to limited range," It wasn't a moderator but another site member who changed the title. For some reason, it seems they thought the range of motion was limited and edited that into the title. You can see the edit history of the question here. More info about editing here. || You can (and please do, if it is currently wrong) edit your question & title to clarify that point. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 13:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VinayakRastogi I apologize for misunderstanding your question. From your statement that "it won't be rotated in only single direction" and the fact that you're making a steering wheel, I thought it seemed clear that you had a limited range of motion in mind. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 11:29
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The easiest option may be to coil the cable (or at least a section of it). A helical coil, like the one below, can be twisted quite a lot without any problems. The only question is whether or not you can coil the cable tightly enough without damaging it. You may want to use a loose coil (imagine, say, one with a diameter of 1 inch that only makes one turn every 6 inches).

A section of a black coiled phone cord.

(image source)

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    \$\begingroup\$ For hobby projects needing only a few cores and no current, (very) old PC keyboard cables are a good source of coiled cable. Industrial suppliers have a decent selection but for non-business use in single quantities it's not always as easy \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 9:30
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Without using sliprings, you can't. Things like "curly cables" (from a keyboard or 'phone handset) tend to be fairly bulky so rely on having a lot of space, you'd probably be best using silicone-insulated stranded hookup wire which tends to be fairly flexible and making sure that there's enough free to absorb the twist- and that it doesn't get snagged on anything once the case is closed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Now i am also thinking to use slip ring because the main circuit board itself consist of 14 wires, a split ring containing those much wire is not easy to find and can be expensive, now i will using two wires(for horn button) and displace main circuit to other place outside the wheel, can you suggest some way to DIY a slip ring or an alternative or where i can found one in household items \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I doubt you will be able to find or make anything reliable. I'd suggest instead looking carefully at the signals and identifying any common ones, e.g. you might find that all the buttons have signal ground on one side. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 8:31
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USB data does not like funky wires, it will not work well through slip rings.

Use a bluetooth gamepad instead of USB (or use a different wireless USB method) and only put the charging current through the slip rings.

charging current will work fine through slightly dodgy slip rings.

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Have the pipe connected to the steering wheel, but have the circuit board on a small metal rod, so when the steering wheel turns it turns the rod and the circuit board stays in place, sort of like a wheel on a toy car, attaché the small metal rod to the steering wheel and pipe, and the circuit board can have a plastic stopper that rotates with rod in between to keep it in place.

🛞🦯🧩💈

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