Last updated: February 19th, 2024
I recently started having weird problems with the gear shift in my race simulator. It’s a Fanatec Clubsport SQ 1.5 Shifter, the one with the magnetic “Hall Effect” sensor.
My race simulator
I’m a religiously manual gears kind of person; having bought the sim to learn how to drive manual better (by heel/toe on the downshift). It’s really useful for my real-life Mazda MX5 racing.
Anyway, all was well with the gear unit until I noticed that downshifts were becoming less reliable. Occasionally; shifting down to 3rd gear from 4th, I’d find myself mis-shifting into 1st. Or worse, reverse!
Re-calibrating in Assetto Corsa and iRacing did nothing and gradually the problem made the gear unit unreliable. There was a fault.
I’ve since learned some simple steps you can follow that seem to resolve the problem.
- Some electrical insulation tape
- A cigarette lighter and a metal skewer
- A 3mm and a 2mm Allen (hex) key
Firstly, remove the unit from your sim and find a nice space on a bench somewhere. I found having a cardboard box on the bench was useful when I needed to support the electronic circuit boards (we’ll come to why in a moment).
Using a 3mm Allen (hex) key, remove the gear gator cover (the top cover, 4x bolts). Put the bolts somewhere safe, these things are very easy to lose!
Top view of the Fanatec SQ 1.5 gear shifter
The lid can be a little difficult to pull away from the base. Do so carefully as there’s a short ribbon cable connecting the components mounted in the lid to the base.
Remove the ribbon cable by loosening and pulling out the ribbon cable (it connects the micro switch in the base to the electronics above). In my unit, there was a little bit of rubber glue, presumably to stop the connector from coming loose in regular use. With a sympathetic wiggle and pull, the connector should come free. Be careful, the plastic body can’t handle much force from a pair of long-nosed pliers!
You’ll end up with the shifter body:
You can see a little board in front of you and a board mounted on the left-hand side? Note the board on the left has insulating tape on the back of the board. The smaller board does not! We’re going to remove this, check the magnet underneath and apply tape to the board before replacing it.
Firstly remove the small board with a 2mm Allen (hex) key.
Underneath the board, you should see a circular pivot with a cylindrical-shaped magnet mounted in the middle. It should look like this:
This image was taken from this thread where the owner found his magnet was offset:
Carefully correct this if you have that problem. You’ll need to recalibrate the SQ in Fanatec’s settings and your sim package if you touch this magnet. For what it’s worth my shifter did not have this problem; the seat where the magnet sits was full of grease. If yours seems dry and can move around, I’d put some grease in there to keep things from moving around.
Drawing your attention back to the little board you’ve removed, cut yourself some insulating tape and stick it to the back of the board:
This is where the skewer and cigarette lighters become useful.
Heat the tip of the skewer with the cigarette lighter and carefully poke it through the mounting holes in the PCB:
Then, carefully mount the PCB back onto the body like so:
If you want to, you can add more insulating tape to the other PCB. Although I didn’t feel that was necessary.
Put the unit back together, keeping the gearshift in neutral so as to find its way into the correct position for the sensor at the base of the unit.
Remount the device back in your sim and (hopefully) have an excellent time with a “like new” shifter. Don’t forget to re-calibrate!