Tesla Steering Wheel Controls - Decoded

by Jeff Cooke 27 November 2016

The goal is to use the Tesla steering wheel in the TesLorean (in place of the stock DeLorean wheel). The Tesla wheel is much nicer! But it would look pretty silly to have the Tesla wheel, but be unable to use the steering wheel buttons. The Tesla has 4 buttons, 2 scroll wheels, and a horn. The DeLorean stock wheel has no controls.

Steering Pad and LIN BUS

First task was to figure out how to interface with the steering wheel controls. The Tesla (actually a Mercedes Benz steering system) uses the LIN network for the steering controls to steering column. The LIN network is similar to a CAN network, but less well known in the hacker/marker community. With an Arduino Mega a LIN breakout board and some modified software from GitHub, I was able to prompt the steering pad for button and wheel status information.

Next up is to physically interface the Tesla steering wheel to the DeLorean column. This won't be an easy task, but there are some examples of steering wheel swaps on the DeLorean.