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Thread: total newbie question, how tough is making a "knob" work.

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    Maximum Bitrate kbyrd's Avatar
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    total newbie question, how tough is making a "knob" work.

    I pretty sure I'm going to want a "knob" of some sort in my carpc. I've spent some time looking at the options presented in the input forum threads (powermate, shuttle express, phidget rotary decoder, etc). The simple solution seems like a shuttle express or a powermate, but those are big. This led me to think about wiring up my own combination of a knob and maybe another button if I need it.

    Basically, I'm a pretty experienced computer geek but I have little "raw" electronics experience. I have never done any building electronics from scratch. I've soldered a couple of times in my life and it was at the direction of someone with experience. However, I'm very handy, generally figure things out on my own. The carputer itself is no problem, I'm comfortable with computer components and the issues I'll face in a wierd environment like a car (I'm sure I'll be surprised though). I write software for a living and for a hobby. I have no problem with writing software, scripts, whatever. I'm familiar with girder from a home theater PC I did a while back.

    From the threads on this forum, I've gathered the basics of how a rotary knob would work, I'll need an encoder from phidgets or a torn-apart powermate or such, a knob, and a connetion to my carPC. Is it much harder than that?

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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Nope. It's not much harder than that. Phidgets has an interface you can access with your code. The BASIC STAMP circuits can also accept various inputs but require some knowledge of electronics. They do come with lots of educational materials to help you out. Phidgets is pricier, but for that you get the ease of use and integration via USB.

    Also, do a search on "rotary" and I think you'll find a thread on some folks talking about how to do something similar to what you're asking.
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    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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    Don't forget even cheap mice have an extra rotary encoder you can hijack... and a lot of software supports mouse-wheel use for volume control.

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    2 cheapest ways:

    1. old mouse (non-optical) with wheel + hacked up + girder

    2. Any keyboard with extra volume knob + girder

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate kbyrd's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the answers.

    A less newbie question. Is there a "girder" for Linux? I know about lirc, but I don't need the IR remote capabilities, I need the automation (pushing buttons on windows identified by ID, etc), capabilites in X

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