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Hardware Engineering Console Project

posted Jul 06, 2013 01:46:37 by megamark16
I posted this as a reply to a discussion over in the Development forum, but I figured it belongs here as well. So, ever since the first time I played the Engineering station, I always thought it would be awesome to have a physical board with sliders and buttons to control the different power and coolant levels. I started doing some research and figured out that this is totally doable, and I've been working on a prototype of this ever since.

I started out just seeing if I could write a (python, for those that care) script to control the mouse cursor, then I moved up to using the joysticks on a cheap gamepad to see if I could get the power sliders to exactly the positions I want them based on hardware input.

So now I've moved up to using some small hardware buttons and 8 slide potentiometers, along with an Arduino and some Python code to read the values of the buttons and sliders and move the mouse cursor to the correct positions on the screen to control the power sliders and coolant up/down buttons. I made a somewhat rough video showing my progress so far:

My end goal involves wiring up a USB Joystick Controller board that supports 8 axis and 32 buttons to run the whole thing through as a standard HID joystick device, which my python script would read from, but for now the Arduino is a good start. I'll post some pictures when I get things wired up a little more and when my controller board arrives (it's in the mail).
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4 replies
JamesDunnem said Jul 10, 2013 15:18:21
Almost makes me want to delve into learning to use an Arduino myself, but not quite.
I can see a niche market for wired boards within the Artemis community though, should you be so inclined.
"There is an old Celtic saying: "Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde."
-Beware of the anger of a patient man.
CaptainFelix said Jul 17, 2013 20:07:24
Great work!
This is way better than my MIDI/Keyboard-Control thing.
Are you buying the BU0836 controller from Leo Bodnar? Would you mind sharing your construction plans/ code?
I would love to build a device like this.

Kind regards,

[Last edited Jul 17, 2013 20:07:45]
ethan.dicks said Jul 26, 2013 15:37:11
This sounds great. Can't wait to see the full rig. I've built a lot of Arduino projects (I teach electronics, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi workshops at the Columbus Idea Foundry) and it's definitely a great way to add a lot of lights, switches, and sliders.
davr said Jul 30, 2013 22:51:27
@megamark16: Any chance you could upload your code so far to something like github? I'm interested in building a similar setup, the electronics side is no problem for me, but having someone already working on the PC side would save a bunch of work. I'd make all my contributions open as well.


PS: there's a new forum at if you haven't seen it yet.
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