The Clubsport steering wheel and Xbox One Universal hub ships with a micro-switch only mechanical paddle shift. They’re basically sprung levers on hinges and they’ll feel very familiar indeed to all of us. As time move forward of course, things improve so, I thought it might be nice to remove those and upgrade them to Fanatec’s *new ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module.
I say these magnetic paddles are new, they’re the same neodymium magnetic units that come fitted on the CSL Elite Racing Wheel F1 2020 ltd edition wheel:
The magnets are so strong that they’ll attract your tools while you’re building them!
Having had my hands on the F1 wheel for a while, I found myself enjoying their clacky, sprung only brethren somewhat less. Thankfully Fanatec have packaged these magnetic upgrades into their own little box. You can order them from Fanatec here!
Firstly, the conclusion
Let’s just get the review out of the way. Are magnetic paddles worth the money? Yes, I think they are. You immediately gain a sense of quality and weight from using them. Inputs are much smoother and positive than their micro-switched predecessors, and they’re far quieter in use. There are aftermarket magnetic upgrades available for the existing paddle switches, but for the money and convenience, this is a nice and simple upgrade. You could, for example, justify an upgrade on an older Formula wheel to make it much closer to the current F1 Podium range.
How to upgrade to the Magnetic Paddle Module
Installation is really pretty easy. As with all things sim racing, a bit of patience, prep and the right tools means you can do a nice job.
Start by removing the wheel from the hub by removing the 6 Allen screws from around the centre of the wheel. Then, turn the hub so it’s sat with the hub end pointing upwards:
Remove the four locking bolts with a 3mm Allen key. This will loosen the front cover (the one sat facing your worktop with all the buttons on it). Lift the entire unit carefully and gently pull the cover away. Some of the connector cables will come with the cover. Separate the two gently.
Don’t worry if a wire or two pops through the rubber gaiters, they’re deliberately able to open – you can put all of the cables back later if a few fall away.
Disconnect the existing shifter wires. Then, using a 4mm Allen key, remove the mounting bolts holding each switch module in place:
My mounting bolts were very tight. I used a pair of pliers to help me unscrew the bolt, holding the hub with my left hand to keep it steady. Put the old modules and mounting bolts in a safe place.
Assembly of the shift paddle to the shift module is a little bit fiddly but very simple. Depending on the wheel and hub combination you’re using, you might choose a longer paddle or a short one:
Mount the module to the Universal hub using the 4mm bolts, then attach the connectors into the PCB. Note that the new connectors use a different socket, also labelled “shift L” or “shift R”.
Once you’ve relocated all of the wires, replace the cover and reassemble your wheel.
Here’s the finished item, I gave the paddles a good shake down in Assetto Corsa in the Ferrari F138. Incidentally, I set a pb lap time at Silverstone, but that’s just a coincidence…