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Old 26th Mar 2005, 18:45   #1
jpaturzo
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USB Knob

I'm pretty sure everyone has seen this thing

$40 for what is basically a mouse scroll wheel minus the functionality of a mouse. Being as poor as I am, I figured I could build my own. I mean I have 4000 songs in my Winamp playlist and scrolling from top to bottom quickly gets boring with a regular mouse. This is just a prototype so its a little messy, so no calling me out on throwing this thing together with hot glue.

So I found myself one of these:

What is it? It's a video head out of an old VHS VCR. My friend was throwing it out after it ate his favorite "dirty" video, and any cheap modder in the know realizes that VCR's are freaking goldmines of parts. I stripped about 20 microswitches, 3 linear pots, some motors, a power supply, and some big capacitors out of thing, and of course the video head.

Next step was to cannibalize an old optical mouse for its scroll wheel.

You can see the rotary encoder next to the microswitch in the upper right hand corner of the pic. An interesting note is that this doesn't look like any other encoder I've seen in a mouse. Usually it's a slotted encoder with an infrared LED and a photo transistor. This is a 3 pin self contained device. No idea about the electrical properties, but it will still work.

Now, here comes the fun. I removed the rubber wheel off the shaft that turns the encoder and trimmed off some plastic with an X-acto blade. That then got glued to the shaft of the video head.


I folded up a shoddy little bracket out of an old PCI slot cover, and attached the encoder to the new shaft.



At this point I was ready to test it. I had previously plugged the mouse in to see how my computer would respond with 2 mice plugged in, and it didnt seem to care. So I plugged it in and now I have a rather precise knob for scrolling through documents. I can now make it from the top of my Winamp playlist to the bottom in two good spins.

Next step is to clean up the installation a bit and add a piece of plexi on top of the knob to "spiffy" it up a bit. That and a few LEDS. I'd like to lathe my own knob, but since I got out of school I dont have a machine shop at my disposal any more, which blows.
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Old 26th Mar 2005, 19:01   #2
Cereal
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looks sweet, i definitly want to build one... *looks at dead vcr in corner of room*


unfortunatly, i can't figure it out from this psot... would you be willign to make a complete in-depth guide ?
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Old 26th Mar 2005, 19:09   #3
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I must posess it! (or at least build my own, I've been looking at buying a contour shuttle, #&@% that!)

Look here for knobs. Aluminum spinner knobs not cheap but Oscar stuff is all superb quality.

Much kudos on a simple and creative mod. Now all you need to do is mod it into your keyboard housing
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Old 26th Mar 2005, 19:13   #4
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heck, i own one! :P it's going in my HTPC, as inspired by the amazing folks at atechfabrication.com. it's really a well built product. i played hell trying to pry it apart and prep it for the case. the included software is what really makes it worthwhile though. it can recognize rotate, push, push+rotate, long push, long push+rotate, and any combinations of that i forgot. plus it works like girder where you can program it for specific "key sends" to specific applications. there's more accurate/detailed info on their site though.

i also plan on adding girder, so i'll only need the powermate to send signals to girder, instead of balancing the powermate, girder, a remote, and LCDC. oh, and your pics aren't showing up for me. could be the government filters here though...
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Old 26th Mar 2005, 20:22   #5
jpaturzo
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Cereal
I'll put together a guide later tonight / tomorrow morning and post it in the modding guides forum. I'm a little sparse on pictures since I made this thing on a whim at 2 am, but I think I can get the point across.

ehrnam45
Agreed, the Griffin software is badass, and has a level of functionality that can't compare with my knob. But for something that took 20 minutes to bodge together, I'm happy.

As for where this thing is going, im thinking about putting it on the side of my not-yet-built juke box pc. Though I like that idea of keyboard mounting a lot . . .
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Old 26th Mar 2005, 20:49   #6
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Nice project. Are you going to integrate an LCD in there and make it completely self-contained? Would be cool to have it all in one box. Take a look at this software. I use this in my arcade emulation cabinet: Arcade Jukebox No mousewheel support for selecting songs unfortunatley. I just shot an email to the author to ask him if it's a planned feature. If your mouse software supprts it you could always remap the mousewheel clicks to cursor up and cursor down.

Still the software is worth a look anyway. It's one of those things that's just brilliantly simple.
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Old 26th Mar 2005, 23:34   #7
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Got some good news if you decide to go the AJ route. Mark just emailed back to say mouse wheel support is now going to be included in Arcade Jukebox 9
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Old 28th Mar 2005, 20:29   #8
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So when will we see the guide?
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Old 28th Mar 2005, 23:55   #9
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I'll be impressed if you manage to use play/fastfoward/rewind to speed up scrolling even more and/or automate it
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Old 29th Mar 2005, 05:07   #10
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Looks nice Especially considering you spent basically nothing on it, and it took you under 1/2 hour!
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Old 30th Mar 2005, 06:40   #11
jpaturzo
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The Guide is Posted

The guide is finished and posted in the guide section. If it sucks, please tell me and I'll work on it, just keep in mind i'm a little thin on pictures.

Visionism, thanks for the lead on that software, I was looking for exactly that kind of product, but I could not find anything free. Arcade Jukebox works great and I plan to use it. The box will have a 4x20 LCD, which I already salvaged and wired up, and probaly a TV out. That, coupled with the 15 button serial winamp control I built, this thing should be nearly totally contained. The goal is to spend no more tan 50 bucks on it. So far I have the following:

AMD Duron 1400 on a ECS motherboard
1 gig pc133 ram
60 gig maxtor
1939 Philco radio
CD-rom with a custom window cut into it (about 3/4 done)
Enormous chrome knob
15 button serial control

Most of that stuff I had laying around, overall I spent about $20 so far.

Ahh, the joy of being an unemployed modder.
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Old 26th May 2005, 09:52   #12
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If i open winamp and scroll up or down, it moves the volume.

Does this do the same thing? because if so... I am so making one
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Old 26th May 2005, 23:00   #13
mobius9
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it moves the volume because you are clicked in the main window. just click in the playlist or library and it should work fine. just test with your current mouse's scroll wheel...
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Old 27th May 2005, 09:27   #14
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first mod i have seen in a long time with some practicle use rather than cooling! very nicely done, out of interest, how did u know how to do all that?
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