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Old 01-25-2011, 04:06 PM   #1
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radio controls at steering wheel

I went to the New Jersey show this weekend and I noticed the rvs on the Freightliner chassis that they have radio controls on the stering wheel and there are no wires going to the control and there is batteries in the remote control, for those of you that have the control on the freightliner stering wheel do you guys know if that control can be used for other radios? I would like to had that control to my stering wheel and I'm looking to replace my radio any way, I'm wondering if those controls would work on a after market radio, or what kind of radios are in this newer rvs they are nice as well, Thanks Joe.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:50 AM   #2
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I doubt if the buttons on the steering wheel control the radio by anything but wires. Perhaps I'm behind the times and they have actually installed radio frequency (RF) controls somehow. If the dash radios are wire controlled, you would need to find a new radio with the same wiring inputs.

Another alternative is to by a dash radio with a remote control. I found an inexpensive JVC with one. I really bought it because of the front panel iPod input but having the remote is nice. It isn't as convenient as the wheel mounted switches but once you get the feel of the remote, you can use it without taking your eyes of the road - and that is much better than trying to fiddle with the actual knobs or buttons on the dash.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:19 PM   #3
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The Freightliner Smart Wheel has a number of controls, e.g. wipers, cruise, etc. As do many late model cars. The wheel has signal wires inside that connect to a controller, which in turn operates the individual devices as needed.

I suppose somebody with enough knowledge & tools could re-program the Smart Wheel controller to operate other devices, but it would be expensive. I think the practical answer is "No - it won't work with aftermarket gear".
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninos View Post
I went to the New Jersey show this weekend and I noticed the rvs on the Freightliner chassis that they have radio controls on the stering wheel and there are no wires going to the control and there is batteries in the remote control, for those of you that have the control on the freightliner stering wheel do you guys know if that control can be used for other radios? I would like to had that control to my stering wheel and I'm looking to replace my radio any way, I'm wondering if those controls would work on a after market radio, or what kind of radios are in this newer rvs they are nice as well, Thanks Joe.
We have a 2010 Itasca with the Freightliner Smart Wheel. I wasn't aware that the radio controls were RF not wired. I don't really know. Mine has a Jensen radio that is not bad at all (and I'm a bit of an audio snob - recording engineer for a living). The sound is pretty balanced. The addition of a $25.00 cable from Jensen allowed me to hook up an iPod that can be controlled from the radio, steering wheel or the remote. The wheel controls are a must. You can't be leaning down adjusting the radio when driving a rig this big.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:38 PM   #5
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My Winnebago has two controllers with it for the indash AM/FM and Weather Band radio. Totally portable and battery operated. It's a far reach to the knobs from the passenger seat for sure. Glad to have them.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:44 PM   #6
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don't need any fancy radio controls because i already have a radio controller ..she is sitting in the passenger seat ..DW

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Old 01-29-2011, 11:20 AM   #7
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I would think that you can order the radio and remote controls from any rv dealership that sells rvs with that type of radio setup. You may also be able to contact the rv manufacturers directly and be able to purchase the setup. Another place to check would be an automotive stereo specialty shop that might be able to order it for you. I think you will find you will have to order the setup and not just the remote. The remote is not wired to the radio by the way and works off rf.
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Old 01-29-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
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The Smart Wheel is manufactured by Vehicle Improvement Products and is used on many Freightliner and Spartan chassis. The Smart Wheel consists of a pair of keypads that can easily be reached by the driver's thumbs when driving. These keypads control the cruise control and windshield wiper functions as well as the ICC marker and headlamp flash buttons. The Smart Wheel isn't just a bunch of remote switches that are connected by a bunch of wires to the various devices though. Because of the impossibility of routing that many wires through a rotating steering wheel the Smart Wheel utilizes a clock spring in the head end of the steering wheel column that only contains 4 small diameter wires. Two of these wires are for providing backlighting for the various buttons while the other two wires are used to send the commands down to a central control module. Each button will "squawk" a unique code, which is then interpreted by the logic controller in the base module, which is generally mounted on the inside of the firewall above the driver's foot. The module then makes the relay contacts to actuate the various 12 volt circuits.
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Old 01-29-2011, 03:53 PM   #9
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ninos, here is some information on Smart Wheels that may help give it a try.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:36 PM   #10
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I believe this is what the Orig Poster was talking about. See the attached photo of the steering wheel on my 2010 Winnebago. My coach is on the a Freightliner Chassis but it does not have the optional Smart Wheel. Instead, this remote permanently attaches to the space between the steering wheel "spokes" and makes an infrared connection to the Jensen stereo. I'm not sure who makes the remote but it has many of the same features as the stereo which makes me think it is a Jensen product. It is a very well made unit and feels like it is part of the steering wheel.

My Jensen VR-209B dash radio has a rear panel connection for a IR extender. In my coach, that attaches to a remote sensor that mounts under the steering wheel. I found out how important this feature is when the wire to the remote sensor came loose and the steering wheel remote wouldn't work most of the time. The problem was the remote didn't have a direct line of sight to the dash radio unless I was in a right turn and my knee wasn't in the way. Once I fixed the remote sensor connection the remote worked perfectly again and has since. Since the remote sensor is mounted directly below the transmitter, it almost always has a clear line of sight.

My Jensen radio also came with a couple of credit card remotes but, while they have a few more features than the steering wheel remote, I find using one while driving to be difficult and distracting. The buttons are small and you can't easily identify them by feel. They work well for passenger use though and are my control of choice when parked.

I don't think the OP will find an aftermarket smart wheel (at least the freightliner product) to be a viable option. I considered putting one in my coach after purchase but you have to replace the entire steering wheel column, add all the wiring and modules, etc. The price was prohibitive.

I also know that other radio manufacturers make remotes that attach to the steering wheel with velcro or some other temporary mounting technique. These might work but I would definitely recommend making sure you have a clear line of sight to the radio if it is an infrared remote.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:28 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=f14av8r;780254]I believe this is what the Orig Poster was talking about. See the attached photo of the steering wheel on my 2010 Winnebago. My coach is on the a Freightliner Chassis but it does not have the optional Smart Wheel. Instead, this remote permanently attaches to the space between the steering wheel "spokes" and makes an infrared connection to the Jensen stereo. I'm not sure who makes the remote but it has many of the same features as the stereo which makes me think it is a Jensen product. It is a very well made unit and feels like it is part of the steering wheel.

My Jensen VR-209B dash radio has a rear panel connection for a IR extender. In my coach, that attaches to a remote sensor that mounts under the steering wheel. I found out how important this feature is when the wire to the remote sensor came loose and the steering wheel remote wouldn't work most of the time. The problem was the remote didn't have a direct line of sight to the dash radio unless I was in a right turn and my knee wasn't in the way. Once I fixed the remote sensor connection the remote worked perfectly again and has since. Since the remote sensor is mounted directly below the transmitter, it almost always has a clear line of sight.

My Jensen radio also came with a couple of credit card remotes but, while they have a few more features than the steering wheel remote, I find using one while driving to be difficult and distracting. The buttons are small and you can't easily identify them by feel. They work well for passenger use though and are my control of choice when parked.

I don't think the OP will find an aftermarket smart wheel (at least the freightliner product) to be a viable option. I considered putting one in my coach after purchase but you have to replace the entire steering wheel column, add all the wiring and modules, etc. The price was prohibitive.

I also know that other radio manufacturers make remotes that attach to the steering wheel with velcro or some other temporary mounting technique. These might work but I would definitely recommend making sure you have a clear line of sight to the radio if it is an infrared remote. Hey thanks a lot that is the exact control that I'm talking about, I wich that i could put that one on my stering wheel. thanks again Joe.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:26 AM   #12
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I have the same cotrol. It is indeed wireless and is made by Magnadyne. The Magnadyne people say they don't make it anymore, but you can find it on e-bay.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offthewall View Post
...... The addition of a $25.00 cable from Jensen allowed me to hook up an iPod that can be controlled from the radio, steering wheel or the remote.....
hi off

can you tell me more about the cable you purchase?
i would like to make this connection so we can listen to downloaded audio books

thanks!
pdq
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:15 AM   #14
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Check the manufacturer of your radio for remote controls. I have a Pioneer AVIC D-1 AM/FM/XM/CD/GPS (older model) system that has a steering wheel mounted remote. It works great. It can change stations and functions on the GPS. CD-SR11 - Steering Remote for Pioneer Navigation Systems | Pioneer Electronics USA
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