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Help Me Find an Easily Hackable Multi-Button USB Input Device Please

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  • Help Me Find an Easily Hackable Multi-Button USB Input Device Please

    While in the process of making a new touchscreen monitor bezel, I decided upon the idea of putting a certain amount of buttons around it.
    See the pic below:
    Click image for larger version

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    The buttons could range from the most basic Vol+, Vol-, Play/Pause, Previous, Next, to some complex interface with a custom made skin. To be honest, I am not sure yet. But the key is that they will be programmable.

    What I need help with then, is if anyone could point me to an existing USB device that could be easily hacked to have its buttons replaced with mine (simple SPST pushbutton) via a way of soldering wires and running them to that device.

    The difficult part is having the device itself be programmable so that its original input buttons could be custom-mapped.

    In the past I was able to create an analog input device that connects directly to the COM1 port of a given computer and could be mapped with Girder v3. There were two drawbacks to that device:
    1. It would work 97% of the time. The missing three percent would come up quite often and were noticeable. (Imaging if three strokes out of one hundred would not work when you're trying to type something on the keyboard).
    2. It's analog. It feels counter-productive to use analog devices in a digital environment, especially since USB has been in existence for what seems like forever.

    To make a long story short, what do you suggest I buy and take apart?
    - Keypad?
    - Gamepad?
    - Joystick?
    - Anything else?

    I want to stay away from PS/2 and pseudo PS/2 devices such as standard keyboards, mice, and USB keyboards, and mice since they interfere the real functionality of my CarPC. That happened to me in the past.
    For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
    Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
    Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

  • #2
    Isn't this wthe Fusion Brain is designed for? Should look into that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Biznatch View Post
      Isn't this wthe Fusion Brain is designed for? Should look into that.
      I did.

      It says that FB has four digital on/off inputs and 10 analog sensor inputs (I assume as in temperature, acceleration, light intensity, etc.).
      If somebody thinks otherwise, I'm open to corrections...
      I am looking into something that has around 8 to ideally 16 on/off inputs.

      For example, the keyboard right under your nose most likely has 104 on/off inputs.
      For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
      Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
      Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DJiK View Post
        I did.

        It says that FB has four digital on/off inputs and 10 analog sensor inputs (I assume as in temperature, acceleration, light intensity, etc.).
        If somebody thinks otherwise, I'm open to corrections...
        I am looking into something that has around 8 to ideally 16 on/off inputs.

        For example, the keyboard right under your nose most likely has 104 on/off inputs.
        You are right it has only 4 digital inputs, but it has 10 analogue inputs.

        You can use an analogue input for a digital signal, but you cant use a digital input for an analogue signal. So since you have buttons, you can connect it to any of the ports. If you do 1 button per port, you can get 14 inputs that way. Also with the same type of ladder you had before you can make 1 analogue input host all your buttons.

        This way will work 100% of the time if done correctly. We can help you out there, it is really simple, and might be getting a small add-on board just for this in the future if there is interest. User h3rk has expressed interest here, you may want to as well so we get an idea of what you guys want.

        But what you want is very doable, and easy with the FB.
        Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
        1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
        30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
        15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
        Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
          This way will work 100% of the time if done correctly. We can help you out there, it is really simple, and might be getting a small add-on board just for this in the future if there is interest. User h3rk has expressed interest here, you may want to as well so we get an idea of what you guys want.
          Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
          Well FB accuracy is 10bit, (0.005mV steps). Then there is error associated with the readings too. 8bit I think is ok, but anything more than 256 buttons would be error prone.
          But what you want is very doable, and easy with the FB.
          Fair enough, here's what I want:

          You said that an analog input could vary by 0.005V (I'm sure the mV was a typo). This means that between 0V and 5V there are 1,000 potential steps. As you've said we're likely to encounter errors at anything above 256 buttons.

          So let's get real -- make an interface with full of screw-terminal connectors or with five IDE-40 connectors (5 x 40 = 200 = 100 pairs = 100 pushbuttons) that connects directly to a single analog input and works with FB 100% of the time.

          If you succeed in doing this, your FB would potentially have up to 1,004 digital on/off inputs! That's more buttons than in an airliner's cockpit.
          For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
          Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
          Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

          Comment


          • #6
            Or, how about making a new product based on the original FB and calling it Fusion Brain Mini or Fusion Brain Digi:

            In it, there would be a given amount of digital connectors (IMO 32 would be plenty), and maybe a couple of analog sensor inputs just in case.

            I am sure that it's easier to program on/off gates for a USB chip than it is to convert analog steps derived from a scale of zero to five volts and package them together on a newer and smaller PCB.
            For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
            Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
            Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

            Comment


            • #7
              yes the mV was a typo.

              And we arent big enough to sustain 2 semi-identical products right now, but the digital inputs to analogue inputs seems like a good idea. I would think 32 would be a good cost/performance/size number, and of course you can use up to 10 of the little boards on each input. And 320 is more than I can imagine using for the car. And then there is always the possibility of adding another up to 255 Fusion Brains, so 32 x 10 x 255 inputs.
              Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
              1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
              30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
              15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
              Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

              Comment


              • #8
                http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/i...fa24eda46f6a91

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
                  yes the mV was a typo.

                  And we arent big enough to sustain 2 semi-identical products right now, but the digital inputs to analogue inputs seems like a good idea. I would think 32 would be a good cost/performance/size number, and of course you can use up to 10 of the little boards on each input. And 320 is more than I can imagine using for the car. And then there is always the possibility of adding another up to 255 Fusion Brains, so 32 x 10 x 255 inputs.
                  OK, so let's say we're going with 32 digital inputs on one analog input, what is the schematic for the "ladder?" An array of resistors that are set to provide different currents at predetermined intervals (say 0.15V)?

                  In my analog attempt, I didn't use a ladder. Instead, I've used binary gates on four digital inputs. Hmm... I wonder why there are four digital inputs on the FB... That's the way I had wired up 15 buttons (1111 in binary) and the schematic was very straightforward.
                  For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
                  Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
                  Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You can make it like that if you want, but analogues are just the same and you can get more. The digital inputs are meant for 1 button each, but there is no reason why you cant but a demux on it.
                    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
                      You can make it like that if you want, but analogues are just the same and you can get more. The digital inputs are meant for 1 button each, but there is no reason why you cant but a demux on it.
                      I was actually more curious to know how would you go about making 32 buttons on a single analog input...
                      For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
                      Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
                      Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Any DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) will work.

                        You can use a R2/R ladder or you can use a full blown dac converter IC. Up to you.

                        I think the easiest is the R2/R ladder. Just make sure you use 1% or 0.1% tolerance resistors or else the error between the resistors could offset the output voltage enough to count as a different button. And you will need a buffer on the end of the ladder as well.
                        Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                        1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                        30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                        15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                        Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You could also scan a matrix like a PC keyboard does. 12x4 is 48 buttons directly.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have only started to read about the fusion brain, so I don't know everything it is capable of. But I have been looking for a long time on the best way for me to create inputs and translate those inputs to keyboard signals for my computer. I have been working on a way to use some of the same ideas that come from building custom MAME cabinets to play arcade games.

                            http://www.hagstromelectronics.com/index.html

                            They have LOTs of different size keyboard encoders to do exactly what it should like your trying to do. They are usb and can be wired to just about anything so it seems.

                            Granted it sounds like you guys are GREAT at electonics... I am just begining, so I have to find ways to make it really easy on myself.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Okay, I used to have a strong interest in the homemade arcade industry. The have TONS of applications for stuff thats useful in cars too.

                              Look into the iPac or the miniPac. I personally own the miniPac and its gorgeous. Maps each pushbutton input into a keyboard press or you can customize the hell out of it. Also has a jumper and programmable setting so that you can change what each button does on the fly -- aka programmable.

                              For example, you set keypress of "A" to do one thing and "B" to do another. Then, if you want your button to do the first thing, map it to the key "A", if you want it to do the second thing, map it to the key "B".

                              Thats what I would do. Hopefully you could use keys that aren't on a standard keyboard but you might have to look into that. That way if you're typing, it wont come up strange. They have other interfaces too, look up Ultimarc.
                              2001 Mustang Convertible Worklog
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