Author Topic: Logitech Wingman Formula Force  (Read 669 times)

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Offline FireStriker

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Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« on: September 14, 2019, 01:44:33 pm »
Hello, don't quite know where this fits so i hope this is the right place.

I picked up a Logitech Wingman Formula Force joystick today for a few bucks, serial interface.
Not too sure what kind of adapter is required to connect it via USB.

Everything i have found online is either talk about the drives or this question on the Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange
https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/264713/serial-usb-game-controler-reverse-engineer

Any idea what i would need to do to convert this from Serial to USB

Thanks
Chris
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 01:47:23 pm by FireStriker »
 

Offline themadhippy

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2019, 08:33:57 pm »
Are you certain its serial? older pc joysticks used a dedicated  port,a 15 pin, often yellow, d sub .
 

Online janoc

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2019, 10:25:17 pm »
Are you certain its serial? older pc joysticks used a dedicated  port,a 15 pin, often yellow, d sub .

That's an old force feedback steering wheel, those were commonly connected via serial port (and some through parallel port hacks) because the good old PC gameport didn't have any output pins, only inputs - 4 analog (for potentiometers) and 4 digital (buttons).

Hello, don't quite know where this fits so i hope this is the right place.

I picked up a Logitech Wingman Formula Force joystick today for a few bucks, serial interface.
Not too sure what kind of adapter is required to connect it via USB.
...
Any idea what i would need to do to convert this from Serial to USB

Thanks
Chris

It is possible that the wheel could work using some cheap USB to RS232 adapter, however without a corresponding driver for modern Windows (and corresponding game support) it won't do much. It is not a standard HID device, so it won't work as a regular joystick/gamepad in Windows.

Actually Linux seems to have support for this (the iForce driver):
https://github.com/torvalds/linux/blob/master/Documentation/input/joydev/joystick.rst

So you could try to get a regular USB to RS232 dongle and test it with Linux to see whether it will talk to it. If yes, one could use the source code of the Linux driver to figure out the protocol and maybe make a dedicated converter emulating a HID device or a more modern wheel with a known protocol (and game support).

However, that's a pretty non-trivial project, I am afraid.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2019, 10:59:31 pm »
That's an old force feedback steering wheel, those were commonly connected via serial port (and some through parallel port hacks) because the good old PC gameport didn't have any output pins, only inputs - 4 analog (for potentiometers) and 4 digital (buttons).
I recall the joystick port did get its own UART sometime in the mid 90s, breaking compatibility with some old analog joysticks since it repurposed two pins that used to be power and ground.
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Offline themadhippy

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2019, 11:30:56 pm »
Quote
the good old PC gameport didn't have any output pins, only inputs
Ah but it did,pin 12 was used for midi out,15 being midi in.
 

Offline FireStriker

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2019, 10:21:03 am »
Just tried a cheap Serial to USB adapter and it works but i'm hitting a brick wall, drivers wont load.

I went back to the drawing board and though about it again, everything online refers to this wheel as a USB wheel and doesn't mention serial and sure enough this wheel would have came with an adapter cable.

Once i get my hands on sacrificial db9 Serial Cable im going to make the cable as per this pinout that keeps being mentioned
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Online janoc

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2019, 03:32:25 pm »
Quote
the good old PC gameport didn't have any output pins, only inputs
Ah but it did,pin 12 was used for midi out,15 being midi in.

That was a Soundblaster extension, if you had a gameport on the motherboard you didn't have this.
 

Online janoc

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2019, 03:42:15 pm »
Just tried a cheap Serial to USB adapter and it works but i'm hitting a brick wall, drivers wont load.

Of course they won't. What you have is still a serial device, even if you connect it to the PC using USB to serial adapter. That generic adapter won't magically translate the protocol to HID or whatever the USB version of that joystick uses.

Quote from: FireStriker
I went back to the drawing board and though about it again, everything online refers to this wheel as a USB wheel and doesn't mention serial and sure enough this wheel would have came with an adapter cable.

Be very careful, it is very common that the same product existed in two versions.

Quote from: FireStriker
Once i get my hands on sacrificial db9 Serial Cable im going to make the cable as per this pinout that keeps being mentioned
(Attachment Link)

Uh beware! Better check voltages on those pins before you connect anything to the USB port of your computer. If the wheel has only regular RS232 connection, some of those pins may have +12V or -12V on them (they are normally used for flow control and various auxiliary signals) - that will reliably destroy your USB port and/or motherboard if you connect that passive adapter there.

If you want to try this at least use a sacrificial USB hub and don't connect things directly to your PC - it is better to blow a cheap hub than destroy the motherboard should anything go wrong.

BTW, you don't need to get any "sacrificial cable" (the cable will likely have wrong pinout anyway, many cables don't have all those extra pins connected), just buy a DB9 connector and solder those 4 wires in place.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 03:55:47 pm by janoc »
 

Online janoc

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2019, 03:46:31 pm »
I recall the joystick port did get its own UART sometime in the mid 90s, breaking compatibility with some old analog joysticks since it repurposed two pins that used to be power and ground.

You mean MIDI UART that was present on some early SoundBlaster soundcards which had a gameport. That wasn't standard even though those 'Blasters were fairly prevalent.
 

Offline FireStriker

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2019, 01:40:01 am »
Be very careful, it is very common that the same product existed in two versions.

This is a possibility but unlikely. I have read reviews that mention that this adapter came in the box, found pictures of the box and the adapter cable. The model numbers even match.

Quote from: janoc
Uh beware! Better check voltages on those pins before you connect anything to the USB port of your computer. If the wheel has only regular RS232 connection, some of those pins may have +12V or -12V on them (they are normally used for flow control and various auxiliary signals) - that will reliably destroy your USB port and/or motherboard if you connect that passive adapter there.

Your warning is noted, I will be checking out the voltages before connecting anything. 

Quote from: janoc
If you want to try this at least use a sacrificial USB hub and don't connect things directly to your PC - it is better to blow a cheap hub than destroy the motherboard should anything go wrong.

Agreed, I was actually thinking of ways to safe guard my PC and a USB hub never crossed my mind. Didn't want to burn out a USB port or worse blow the mobo when something goes wrong.  :scared:

I have a USB Hub that is a bit iffy that i can and will use as the sacrificial USB hub for testing.

Quote from: janoc
BTW, you don't need to get any "sacrificial cable" (the cable will likely have wrong pinout anyway, many cables don't have all those extra pins connected), just buy a DB9 connector and solder those 4 wires in place.
Ok i will head down to Jaycar after TAFE to pick up a connector and start work on this cable.
 

Online janoc

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2019, 09:13:17 am »

Agreed, I was actually thinking of ways to safe guard my PC and a USB hub never crossed my mind. Didn't want to burn out a USB port or worse blow the mobo when something goes wrong.  :scared:

I have a USB Hub that is a bit iffy that i can and will use as the sacrificial USB hub for testing.

Well, a hub isn't a foolproof solution (a sufficiently large voltage could "jump" across it and cause problems upstream) but it is better than nothing. Ideally one would use a proper USB isolator but those are a bit boutique devices and quite expensive.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2019, 09:20:42 am »
Ah, the old game/midi port which was part of old audio cards.
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Offline FireStriker

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2019, 06:13:48 am »
What pins do i want to be checking?
 

Online janoc

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2019, 06:35:45 pm »
What pins do i want to be checking?

One probe on the ground pin and the other on the pins you intend to connect to the USB connector. With the wheel powered up, of course (I assume it has external power).
 
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Offline FireStriker

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2019, 05:50:06 am »
What pins do i want to be checking?

One probe on the ground pin and the other on the pins you intend to connect to the USB connector. With the wheel powered up, of course (I assume it has external power).

Pin 1 was reading in the 200m range,
Pin 9 was also reading in the 200m range.
Pin 8 was reading 3.23v in the 20 range.
Pin 5 is ground.

This will be safe right?

Pin 1 will go to Pin 1 VUSB
Pin 9 will go to Pin 2 Data-
Pin 8 will go to Pin 3 Data+
Pin 5 will go to Pin 4 Ground
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 05:55:03 am by FireStriker »
 

Online janoc

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Re: Logitech Wingman Formula Force
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2019, 02:10:47 pm »
Yeah, that looks good. Pins 1 and 9 are likely floating/high impedance and that 3.3V on the pin 8 is an USB pull-up resistor identifying the peripheral as a full speed USB device.
 


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