Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate This Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
#2367911 - 11/01/07 04:52 AM Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel *****  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada
Hi Guys,

Here is a quick tutorial on creating a simple, inexpensive USB panel.




UPDATE: I've moved this tutorial to my website, so I can keep it up to date easier.
(for example, the APAC controller website does not seem to work any more, so I've provided some alternative easy controller board alternatives)

Easy SIM Panel Tutorial



Last edited by LazerPotatoe; 02/28/13 01:48 AM.
Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#2367948 - 11/01/07 08:15 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 557
GrizzlyT Offline
Member
GrizzlyT  Offline
Member

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 557
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Our little Lazer's not a virgin anymore.......Oh, they grow up so fast.

Seriously, nicely done.
Very clever using the CD drive enclosure, too. I just love that kinda stuff!
Your sitting around thinking, "How the hell am I going to do that?", then the lightbulb in your head lights up...."What if I try this?"......
In the end, 0% cost and 100% ingenuity.

Keep up the good work. You're well on your way to a complete lack of disposable income. \:D


Grizzly's Comanche Simulator
"Fear is the mind killer. - Frank Herbert"
#2368337 - 11/01/07 07:13 PM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: GrizzlyT]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,334
HitchHikingFlatlander Offline
Senior Member
HitchHikingFlatlander  Offline
Senior Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,334
California
Very cool, I need the extra inspiration right now, trying to get back to my control box project. Does that board support rotary encoders?

EDIT: NVM I checked the link! \:D

Last edited by HitchHikingFlatlander; 11/01/07 07:13 PM.

I've got a bad feeling about this.....
#2369639 - 11/03/07 07:25 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: HitchHikingFlatlander]  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 557
GrizzlyT Offline
Member
GrizzlyT  Offline
Member

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 557
Sterling Heights, Michigan
There are plenty of encoder boards out there (Opencockpits, Hagstrom, etc.) but most are kinda pricey, for what you get.
Unless you need it to control an axis (or to respond to acceleration) and you're just mapping key presses, you can get away with using a simple pulse switch.
(Sometimes referred to as a "knitter" switch, too.)

A pulse switch is dual-pole, momentary contact, rotary switch that sends out a different stream of switch pulses, as it's rotated CW or CCW. Your controller sees it as two momentary switches and it doesn't require a control voltage either. The key feature being that unlike a standard dual-pole rotary switch, when you rotate CW, it sends out only CW pulses. The same for the CCW rotation.

I get mine here: @ Mouser

A very easy way to get rotaries, into the cockpit!




Grizzly's Comanche Simulator
"Fear is the mind killer. - Frank Herbert"
#2370686 - 11/05/07 12:37 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: GrizzlyT]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
Coot Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Coot  Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Veteran

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
!!USA!!
That is great looking! I love seeing folks make stuff like that and being creative. So does this guy have a usb wire and plug that comes out of it now? And now it can be programmed? Neat stuff.

#2373095 - 11/07/07 07:13 PM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: Coot]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada

Yes, there is a 6-foot USB cable coming out the bottom of the panel.

You just plug it in to your PC, and it shows up like a joystick. (in Control Panel->Game Controllers)

Then you run the SVMapper program that I mentioned above and setup your mappings.

So for example, I flip the top-left switch up. SVMapper sends an 'f' key to the Sim, which turns the flaps on. I flip the top-left switch down and SVMapper sends another 'f' key to the Sim, which turns the flaps off.

Thanks for the questions.

I think I will add more detail about wiring to the tutorial, and maybe make a video of the panel in action.

Cheers,

#2373513 - 11/08/07 04:57 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
Coot Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Coot  Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Veteran

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
!!USA!!
I'd love to try something like this out. I've never done any electronic soldering before but maybe with some patience and taking my time I could do something like this. I've never done anything with electronics before but I do small wood working projects and other things and love working with my hands and tools. Do you have to have electronics know how for something like this?

I wonder if I could find some pre-fabricated electrical boxes or something to that affect at home depot for the actuall houseing. That's what's neat about this though, I'm sure there are several things you could come up with.

#2373543 - 11/08/07 06:29 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: Coot]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada
I really don't know much about electronics, and I didn't use any electronics knowledge to build this.

All you need to know is:
how a basic single-pole, single throw switch works
how to use a drill
how to solder


Here's a good video intro to soldering:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=BLfXXRfRIzY

For enclosures, also consider Radio Shack -- they have different sized metal and plastic enclosures specifically for electronics projects.
http://www.radioshack.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=2032276&cp=2032058.2032230

Or just use a tupperware type container. Paint it black -- no-one will know ;\)


If you DO want to learn more about electronics, I recommend "Getting Started with Electronics" by Forrest Mims.
http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Started-El...94503283&sr=8-1
(no affiliate crap)

Also, this guy also has some good introductory videos on electronics:
http://youtube.com/user/electroninstructor

You can do it. Just do some research, and take it one step at a time.

Cheers,

#2373629 - 11/08/07 12:38 PM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 391
GlynD Offline
Member
GlynD  Offline
Member

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 391
Shropshire UK
Cheers for this excellent tutorial. I do have a couple of questions regarding switches...

If the switch is not "momentary" (i.e only sends a single pulse when switched to the on or off positions)can the SV Mapper just send a single keypress command instead of a stream (i.e. like if you were holding down a particular key)?

Also am I right in my understanding of switches that there are 2 basic types i.e. momentary and not?

Cheers

#2373962 - 11/08/07 05:46 PM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: GlynD]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada

 Originally Posted By: GlynD
If the switch is not "momentary" (i.e only sends a single pulse when switched to the on or off positions)can the SV Mapper just send a single keypress command instead of a stream (i.e. like if you were holding down a particular key)?

Exactly -- that's the beauty of it. You use software to change from "always on/always off" into momentary keypresses.

Otherwise we would be stuck with only using momentary switches with this board.


#2374114 - 11/08/07 08:11 PM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
Coot Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Coot  Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Veteran

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
!!USA!!
Because the electronic board has screw-sets on the poles, does that mean the only soldering is done at the switches? Also, do you place anything under the chip inside the cd drive case or is it just sitting loose on the inside? Is it ok for it to be touching the metal on the inside of the case?

#2374461 - 11/09/07 04:44 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: Coot]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: Coot
Because the electronic board has screw-sets on the poles, does that mean the only soldering is done at the switches?
That is correct.

 Originally Posted By: Coot
Also, do you place anything under the chip inside the cd drive case or is it just sitting loose on the inside? Is it ok for it to be touching the metal on the inside of the case?
Forgot to mention that. I just used a piece of cardboard between the card and the case.

#2375854 - 11/11/07 01:18 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
Coot Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Coot  Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Veteran

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
!!USA!!
How would those rotary knobs you bought work? Does it have to be wired to several of the chip's polls or just one and then the software takes care of it?

#2375905 - 11/11/07 02:26 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: Coot]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada

It is possible to use potentiometers(pots) with the board, which can give you an analog range of motion. So, in theory, you could even create custom joysticks/pedals with these. If you use pots, you also may need to use resistors as well.

Or you could use a multi-position switch, but it would take multiple poles/terminals.

Or you could use one of the pulse switches that GrizzlyT mentioned above, and it would take 2 poles. But it would take some crazy custom programming with AutoHotKey, and would only tell you if you were turning it up or down. (is that right Grizz?)

I've never done any of these things, so maybe someone else could pipe in.

Cheers,

#2375946 - 11/11/07 03:46 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
Coot Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Coot  Offline
Moody Pilgrim
Veteran

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 10,330
!!USA!!
So toggle switches and push buttons are the way to go without getting too techy? It will be a challenge enough as it is for me just to figure out the wiring and soldering. I look forward to trying out and building the actuall case.(That's more within my means) I think I'm more worried about figuring out the wiring and then the programming software.

#2376690 - 11/12/07 09:29 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 557
GrizzlyT Offline
Member
GrizzlyT  Offline
Member

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 557
Sterling Heights, Michigan
 Originally Posted By: LazerPotatoe
...Or you could use one of the pulse switches that GrizzlyT mentioned above, and it would take 2 poles. But it would take some crazy custom programming with AutoHotKey, and would only tell you if you were turning it up or down. (is that right Grizz?)...

Well, I'm not sure it would take any crazy programming. (Not any more than any other switch.)
It's basically just 2 momentary switches. It has very light detents that, as you rotate it, triggers the momentary switches. I think there is aprox 12-15 detents per revolution. So, if you rotate the knob CW, then one switch will "pulse" out momentary switch closures for every detent and the other switch will do nothing. Rotate it CCW and it's reversed, with the second switch sending out "pulses" and the other one does nothing.

The three type of rotaries you have mentioned have different applications and limitations. You need to ask yourself what it will be controlling?

A. A potentiometer (pot) can be wired up to the A-Pac and other controllers. However, doing so usually assigns it to an axis (X,Y,Z,Xrot, etc.) If you want your rotary to control an axis, for example to control a rudder, then a pot would be what you want. It also depends on your software. Because some apps (like TM Cougar software) allow you to re-map the axis to keypresses. So, in a round about way, a pot can control keypresses....just not natively.

B. A rotary switch (Multi-position) is best used when each detent position has a different function, or uses a different keypress. (For example, a radar mode switch. Position 1 is ground radar, position 2 is air radar, position 3 is FLIR, etc.) Each position is a fairly stiff detent and it's own seperate switch, so depending on how many positions it has, that's how many switches you will need to assign/wire-up.

C. A pulse switch is best for natively controlling keypresses, or when your software doesn't allow for an axis pot to be re-mapped. A regular rotary switch (Even a dual-pole one) will send out switch closures for each pole, regardless of the direction of rotation and they will all be toggle switch closures. Whereas, a pulse switch sends out momentary closures and only triggers one switch (pole) at a time, depending on the rotation. It would be for something like a range knob. Let's say the sim uses R for radar range increase and Shift+R for decrease. You map the CW switch to the R key and the CCW switch, to the Shift+R key.

Then, there is the limitations of your hardware and it's software. An A-Pac allows pots to be assigned axes and allow toggles....A Cougar allows pots to control axes and to be re-mapped to keypresses.....a USBKeys does not allow either pots or toggle switches.
So as you can see, it does really depends on the limitations of your controller and what you are trying to control.


Grizzly's Comanche Simulator
"Fear is the mind killer. - Frank Herbert"
#2385807 - 11/24/07 09:39 PM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: GrizzlyT]  
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 7
DD-Sloan Offline
Junior Member
DD-Sloan  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 7
Charlottesville, VA
Thanks for the details Grizzly. I went out to radioshack and got a bunch of project boxes and switches. I started thinking about it and I think I may have a little problem.

Let's say I want an "on/off" switch to activate and deactivate a plane's wing strobe lights. Upon switching it from off to on, the keyboard encoder will send the "L" key turning them on. The problem is, if I'm correct, when you turn the switch from the "on" position to the "off" position, the switch won't send a signal. Theoretically I need it to send the "L" key again. Is this possible, either from a wiring standpoint or a software standpoint?

Also, I'd rather not use the switches which are momentary (and which automatically default to a netural state) if I can help it. I'd like, for instance, for the wing strobes to be on when the switch is in the "on" position and off when it's "off".

Sorry if this isn't worded in the clearest manner, it's sort of confusing in my head as well. \:\)

Any help is GREATLY appreciated. I can't wait to get started.

#2385875 - 11/24/07 11:49 PM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: DD-Sloan]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: DD-Sloan
Is this possible, either from a wiring standpoint or a software standpoint?

Yes, from a software standpoint -- it works.

 Originally Posted By: DD-Sloan
The problem is, if I'm correct, when you turn the switch from the "on" position to the "off" position, the switch won't send a signal.

You are correct that the encoder does not send a signal at that time. But the SVMapper software (mentioned above) can detect the change from a steady "on" signal to no-signal, and will send a keypress at that time.

 Originally Posted By: DD-Sloan
Also, I'd rather not use the switches which are momentary (and which automatically default to a netural state) if I can help it. I'd like, for instance, for the wing strobes to be on when the switch is in the "on" position and off when it's "off".
Yes, I am using on/off toggle switches(with no neutral position) to do similar tasks to what you have mentioned.

I will try to post a video soon which may help to clear things up.

Good luck with your project -- let us know how it goes.

Cheers,

#2385892 - 11/25/07 12:14 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: LazerPotatoe]  
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 11,231
531 Ghost Offline
USMC
531 Ghost  Offline
USMC
Veteran

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 11,231
Elizabeth City NC
Nicely done LazerPotatoe!


Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.


#2386088 - 11/25/07 09:42 AM Re: Tutorial - Easy and Inexpensive Panel [Re: 531 Ghost]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
LazerPotatoe Offline
Member
LazerPotatoe  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Toronto, Canada

Thanks Ghost!

BTW, I'm a little concerned that the cost of shipping for the A-PAC may be high for people outside North America. ( see related post )

Anyone know of similar cards that are built on other continents, which could be used as an alternative?

The criteria for the controller must be:
  • show-up as a joystick or game controller in Windows;
  • be inexpensive;
  • use screw-in terminals (break-out board)

I'll do some research too. Thanks in advance.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  RacerGT 

Quick Search
Recent Articles
Support SimHQ

If you shop on Amazon use this Amazon link to support SimHQ
.
Social


Recent Topics
Japanese girls firing a Barrett
by Mark Aisthorpe. 03/23/19 12:35 PM
Building an airplane > WW1
by KraziKanuK. 03/23/19 12:46 AM
Man japan really has a stric drug law
by Blade_RJ. 03/22/19 10:04 PM
Cat Sees Her Recently Deceased Owner On a Video
by Haggart. 03/22/19 02:11 PM
Spacewalk Live
by rwatson. 03/22/19 01:30 PM
Deadwood - the movie
by EAF331 MadDog. 03/21/19 07:15 PM
spam email using my email address as sender
by coasty. 03/21/19 05:10 PM
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
by Chaz. 03/21/19 12:59 PM
Offut AFB today
by Tom_Weiss. 03/21/19 01:27 AM
Copyright 1997-2016, SimHQ Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0