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Starting a Console

posted Dec 10, 2012 02:34:29 by Auto_Pilot
After the Success of using the I-PAC for the missile firing, I decided I want to have a full Weapons Console with lighted push buttons. Currently I am just trying to work out some lay outs for the main board.

This is a first idea. The monitor on the left would be about a 15" Over all width would be around 32." All buttons would light up. The large, blue, round thing in the lower right had corner would be a track ball because i think the look of a mouse kills the future spaceship feel. I'm not sure if a track ball is better, but at least it sorta fits in. The big red button would be a fire all tubes button. I'm also toying with the idea of making the main screen a touch screen for targeting ships. I split up the weapons tubes because most all ships only have two tubes. The only thing you would use 3 and 4 on is the missile ship. I rigged my original test console to have four buttons top down and 3 and 4 just got in the way.

The measurements are guestamets, and the console feels a little jumbled yet. I'll probably try a mock up and a number of different graphics before I settle on an end style. I'm also not sure how many, if any "atmosphere" lights or switches should be added. Buttons and indicators that really wouldn't do anything but add to the board. I guess if it feels jumbled already, probably not the best idea.
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21 replies
martinvsamuelsson said Jan 08, 2013 18:49:40
Long time lurker, I love the build and I'm planing something similar myself.
Where the google did you find the screen? are you using a laptop?
Auto_Pilot said Jan 08, 2013 19:04:56
Currently I'm just using a regular flat panel monitor for the screen. My plan for the upgrade is to just buy a larger, cheap monitor, remove the stand on it, and mount it behind plexiglass.

Another option is to use one of these designed for video game cabinets. They are a bit pricey, but they come designed to be mounted so that might be worth it.
martinvsamuelsson said Jan 08, 2013 19:31:29
I guess I'm out of luck, cant find any that small, I'm thinking that you could probably use one of those digital photo frames or even a backseat entertainment system.

Would love to do a build completely without monitor tho, all analog gauges and switches.

Been thinking that a plexiglass with a light sunscreen applied would look nice, you know the kind you put on car windows. Something that simulates that smoked glass feeling that some arcades have.

Keep it up, would love to see your progress
Auto_Pilot said Jan 08, 2013 19:44:22
"that small" ? The mock up I did is a 15" monitor. 11" by 13". The entire set up is 16" tall and 30" wide.

If you look at or they have small 7" monitors and the like such as this one.

One thing I would strongly suggest from my experience with using a flat panel monitor is do not mount it flush and in place. Mount it on something that can rock or pop up so that whoever is using it can adjust the screen angle so they can see it. If you take your PC monitor and tilt it back just a little, it instantly becomes impossible to view. With different people sitting at different heights, you will need to move the monitor to see it right. I have to lean over the mock up in order to see anything.

The type of console with a lot of toggle switches and stuff does sound fun. It has already been suggested that I do a steampunk one with lots of analog gauges and knobs and levers.
martinvsamuelsson said Jan 09, 2013 09:05:20
Thanks for the advise regarding view angle, I've been looking for screens around 12", not sure what the shipping rate is from overseas but that looks like the only solution.

On another note I saw this kit presented on CES, could be a nice addition to a console build:
It appears to make any screen touch enabled, with a pen
LairdNickPark said Apr 03, 2013 18:02:50
very nice indeed!
I've got a few bits together to do something similar.
The interface with the computer is an old keyboard with all the matrix and keys ripped out.
This leaves me with a small circuit of 2cm by 8cm and a usb lead :)
just put switches on the pins you want and you're ready.
or indeed any pins in any order... Then run bloc notes and see what letters or N°s you get, then do the ini bit. keyboards are sometimes free, found mine in a bin! lol
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