Steering Wheel – Electronics Prototyping

The steering wheel electronics were the first part of the steering wheel and electronic dash design to be researched and prototyped. The selected electronic components were assembled on a breadboard to allow for alterations to be made easily during the research and development stage of this project. As we didn’t have access to a running engine, the electronic dash was tested using car telemetry provided by the racing game rFactor.


The Arduino Uno is an open-source microcontroller and simple I/O board. Due to its simplicity and low-cost it is a popular development environment for stand-alone and computer connected projects. Arduino is programmed using a Wiring-based language which is similar to C++.

RPM indicator

Located on either the top of the steering wheel or on the dash, a row of LEDs will represent the RPM range. The range will consist of a number of green, yellow and red LEDs and will light up from the outside inwards. Optional is the addition of a shift light.

Selected Gear Indicator

A 7 segment led display will be located in the middle of the steering wheel and be used to indicate the current gear. When no gear is selected (neutral) then “n.” will be displayed.

LCD Display

A small LCD display may be used to display important temperatures and current car states. This would be useful to the driver and car mechanics to monitor conditions without having to plug in a laptop. It will display a number of screen or menus that can be changed by directional buttons.

List of Steering Wheel Components

  • RPM indication LED array (6 x Green, 6 x Yellow, 3 x Red)
  • Selected gear indicator (0.8” Character size)
  • LCD display (20 x 2)
  • Warning LED (High Power Blue)
  • Push Button

Steering Wheel and Electronic Dash

Over the past year I have been involved in designing, manufacturing and building a bespoke steering wheel and electronic dash display for a formula student car along with other members of the UWE Racing team. After taking the majority of our designs and manufactured components to this year’s Formula Student event at Silverstone to be judged. Although we achieved an 8th place finish, we were surprised with some of the feedback from the judges regardling simple principles and major oversights.

Work has now begun using the information gained from the event to modify, refine and improve our designs for the car that will be built over this coming year. I will be recovering all of the decision making and design work for the steering wheel and display from the last year, in order to design and build a much improved version.

The start of the design process started with making a comparision of steering wheels available on the market and a feasible product that could be manufactured and assembled within University. The design of our steering wheel evolved in shape, size and complexity from the standard Momo design (1) to the final design we used for the prototype (9). This was due to tailoring to our needs in terms of; available cockpit space, driver ergonomics, loading requirements, material selection and positioning of the electronic display components.

Steering Wheel Collage
Collage of the steering wheel design progression. From standard Momo design to our final wheel.

First Post

Now that I’ve finished University for the year, I have finally had time to create a WordPress blog/website where I can present all of my thoughts and progress on current engineering projects and other design work.

I will be posting about University projects I’m currently involved with, such as Formula Student, on here and the UWE Racing website.

Look out for progress updates on the Mk2 Golf Gti that Dreamtec Racing are currently race preparing, this will certainly be a busy month where the majority of the build will be undertaken. Also over the next month I will be posting updates about the Formula Ford that we restored for Speed Factor over the last year. The engine cover is stil waiting for some final sanding down and preparation for paint but should be finished within the next two weeks. There have been rumors that a track day will be booked to test the Formula Ford after its long absence from racing!

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