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Custom Button Box for iRacing

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LOL Razor, I believe you want to make more than 1! I've got a lot of spares too, mostly because I'd order one switch and decide I didn't like it. I have 4 different knobs coming today, just because I wasn't sure which one's I'd want to use. :) I "stole" the one's pictured here off of my original DSD box.

 

Jarvis, no software is needed for button boxes. The software I (and razor) will use is merely to allow the PC to see the Rotary's as Rotary's. If you were to make a box with nothing but pushbuttons you wouldn't even need to run the calibration software. So it's not software to make the box work, it's a configuration utility to allow the PC to see the rotary's correctly. Once you've used it, you're done, you can delete it and never think of it again.

 

Bailey

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Hi Bailey.

I have decided to build my own (Bailey`s Button Box) lol lol. And I think I have a rather unique solution for lighting. I will start this project as soon as I finish the latest additions to my rig.

Pictures will be posted as the work progresses

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Hey Dave, Glad I could inspire. I too have some cool lighting ideas, just not sure I want to build yet another box yet as ideas keep piling up. lol

 

I did get some pretty new knobs in the mail this weekend. :) Had to order a variety so I had some to pick from.

 

button_box.jpg

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Thanks Paul, Yeah, backlit is not a problem. I was emailing a race buddy of mine about how I was going to do that. Lot's of room for creativity. 

BTW, I mean backlit labels not merely using lite up buttons.

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I thought about back lit buttons and decided against them.

 

What I am thinking about is coming up with a way of changing the button labels with LED's from behind... driven by a switch on the side.  The idea being to switch between say rFactor and iRacing.

 

Not sure if I can pull the idea off in terms of having the printed design transparent enough where the labels are.

 

All my bits have now arrived except the control board, which will be another week.

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Razor, I think part of the fun is exploring all your options and doing research. I can tell you when I started looking at illuminating the words, for every idea I had, I came up with a reason it would not work the way I intended. Gonna have to literally test my last two ideas and see if it will work in reality.

 

Some of the guys playing Flight Sims have gone to great lengths to make illuminated panels but that is far more effort than I would put into a box, dash -maybe, a b box, no thanks.

 

I don't want to list all the ideas I poo poo'd but I can shoot 'em down as fast as I can come up with them. lol

 

You could make the faceplate replaceable by cutting holes that the knobs and buttons fit thru but, I kinda think that would look, well... I didn't do it for a reason. 

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Maybe one day we will offer a box with OLED buttons which interface with your sim of choice to have labels, animations, etc. displayed by title:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7mRUWiPnxg

My eye is on this technology, but so far it's way too much money to implement now.  Possibly the 2024 DSD Track Boss will have this technology in it.  If you're using DSD Circuits in your project, you've chosen wisely :)  Thank you!

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At 60 a piece for 100 at a time, it's a safe bet that these would only be used on the "DSD Million Dollar Box". ;)  Seriously, however, my intention is to see one day where OLED switches are used with each button having a sim-specific label on them with animations, etc...that's far into the future, though.

 

Happy racing!

 

d

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I was going to do an illuminated button plate on my dash. The plan was to use 1/4 inch plexiglass. paint the backside black. Using leds under clever cap covers would light up the plexi, (like a bar or restaurant indoor menu sign) and have my buddy diecut me some vinyl labels.  But sheet metal became more practical. and I never drive in the dark so it would have been unused. But with your printed vinyls you could just put them on a thick piece of plexiglass and light it easily from the backside.. that would be pretty cool. A soft glow from your button plate.

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At 60 a piece for 100 at a time, it's a safe bet that these would only be used on the "DSD Million Dollar Box". ;)  Seriously, however, my intention is to see one day where OLED switches are used with each button having a sim-specific label on them with animations, etc...that's far into the future, though.

 

Happy racing!

 

d

So... Where can I get it from? :P

>Cheers!< J.A.R.V.I.S.

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My project is getting there. 

 

My control board arrived today... super service from Derek Speare in less than a week my board has arrived in the UK from the US Top class :)

 

So far I have messed up a few things... I ordered two lots of Rotary Encoders by mistake (meaning I have 20 all with push as well as rotate) and my Knobs have the wrong type of fitting doh - I needed D-Shaft and ordered ribbed round.  So I have wasted about £10 so far and have so many more switches than I need.

 

Ordered some more knobs and some different switches that caught my eye... but I can start building the box now :)

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Outstanding button box, I'm really impressed!

Really great explanation, full of great hints and tips.

Thank you...

Thank you sgspenceley, it was a fun project, hopefully it inspired some, you never know where you're next idea will come from. :) There are many different ways to skin a cat as they say, but I kept this fun and easy. Unless one can't solder I think it's doable for pretty much everyone.

 

Razor, Well I think I mentioned I wasted a few bucks too. I ordered 3 styles of buttons that I didn't like, one set was too long to be used with my shallow box.. even though I thought I'd checked the measurements. And the knobs, I ordered 4 different kinds so I could pick what I liked... always hard to tell until you see them in place. Of course that's what girls do, try to make things pretty. lol  :) Not that you boys don't know how to make 'em pretty too. I mean I have already mentioned a half dozen times how bad I want a Sam Maxwell wheel. :)

 

I got a special cutter the other day, (borrowed from my artist sister) and that thing gave me some new ideas for a illuminated front. But I don't think I want to make another button box just for the heck of it. (Woman's prerogative to change my mind though) lol

I have always wanted a "dash" of sorts that I could "embed" my tablet into, just never seen or imagined anything in my head that really struck my fancy. 

Plus, I'm still stuck in that tiny corner. :( The more I add the harder it is to contend with because getting behind my screens, amp, pedals etc. all requires me to disconnect everything and slide the rig out. If I put the whole thing on a rolling platform then I wouldn't be able to finesse the rig in and out of the corner. What to do, what to do? lol Good thing I love my bunnies so much as they have an entire bedroom all to themselves, otherwise they'd be getting an eviction notice. Alas, bunnies and wires do not go well together, neither does bunny dander and computers.

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After reading this I started the process of finding buttons I like. It also made me think about what should be mapped to a button box.

As an industrial designer, I also like to make things look good... This is why I really enjoyed reading this post, a great explanation, the thought process, design challenges, technical tips, human factors, and something that looks truly professional.

When you look at the price of all the parts, they mount up quickly, add to that personal time it really lets you see that Derek speare button boxes are worth the money if they meet your personal requirements. I love the little finishing touches on Bailey's overlay, the little icons and attention to detail... Custom and personal design statement.

An excellent link below is worth reviewing from a design perspective, for anyone else who might be inspired to take up the design challenge. What should I map to a button box in IRacing?

http://members.shaw.ca/dabuzard/irkeys/

Thanks goes to jack "catapult" for this information...

Steve

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Well having just joined iRacing last night, I now understand why a button box is so useful.

Even after 3 races I'm starting to get a picture in my mind of the buttons and layout that I want.

 

I was at a loss to understand why Bailey had Chat and volume on her box... now I understand and must have the same, its one of the most impressive parts of iRacing the way people communicate is so realistic.  I don't understand the need for channel switching yet, but talk and volume make perfect sense.

 

I would like to say a huge thank you to Bailey for giving me the inspiration over the button box and as a result joining iRacing.

4th place in my first Oval race was rather a result - It was incident free as well, unlike my first couple of Road races where I keep pushing too hard and eventually having a spin.

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The switching of channels can be handy, let's say you and a buddy get in a practice or race together, you want to chat a lot without bothering others on the server, you both go to another channel. Same thing if a buddy "Spots" for you, you go to his spotter channel, otherwise, you'll be able to hear him, he won't be able to hear you.

Take care

 

Regards:  >>>> Jack <<<<

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Not only can you switch channels but you can make your own private channel. You can then give the name to your friends and if you meet on a server you can both be on a private channel together, talking trash about everyone who dive bombs you. lol Simply text @add mychannelname

 

Figuring out what button functions I want/need/can do without has always been a little maddening for me. My other boxes were labeled and permitted me to change my mind repeatedly, which I did.  :???: Eventually though it comes to you.

 

Being that I am a newbie to iRacing I had to take a good look at what mappings are available and decide which I felt I wanted on the box. I'd recommend you do some pit stops as well, just to get a feel for what you might find helpful.

Since I can actually control nearly all essential functions on my wheel I had the opportunity to use my button box to simply make things easier, particularly pit stops.

 

On my GTE rim I have a swivel switch that permits me to cycle thru the Black boxes (next & previous) as well as a D-Pad that lets me go to each control and change it's value. 

However, I would prefer to push a single button to pull up the Black Box that I want to see instead of cycling thru them all when I'm racing as it is distracting.

 

While the pitting in iRacing is different from what I'm accustomed to, I like to be able to hit one button that chooses all 4 tires or no tires, fills my tank or gives me a splash. This way, if I make a mistake or need a sudden change I don't have to go to each tire and tick/un-tick it using my D-pad. I've fumbled the ball in the pits before! lol

 

The all important Volume knobs... yup, you will more than likely get in a race where you just don't want to hear what is being said. Two guys debating who hit who, repeated hourly for your listening pleasure! Snore... I can do without that.

 

It's probably a good thing you don't have all the parts yet. I think you need to use the sim a little while before you can come to terms with what you feel is a true necessity. Having a bunch of car settings that you don't use would just be wasted real estate... things like Throttle Shaping, Engine Power etc..... obviously these are not options on every kind of car but are they on the car you think you'll drive? Are you the kind of racer who likes to change them "in race"? I think that's a good way to look at it. I don't know yet, hence the two rotaries labeled AUX. lol

 

Bailey

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Really nicely done Bailey. Even though I'm a ways out you inspire my to build something unique rather than buy. Nothing against buying but I like building "custom" things.

So when I get all the other components in place And start my build I'll be referencing your build notes. So thank you for the great inspiration and all the notes you made here

Have a great race

MM out

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This is an example to all diy'ers, wow! Really really nice work (and a red hot pitchfork aiming at my behind to fix my own stuff) ;)

I might steal some ideas here, thanks for inspiring us.

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Razor, Man that looks great! :) To me it looks like the kind of small panel you'd see in a race car, just for specific adjustments, I like it. :)

Obviously button boxes don't have to be loaded down with buttons, if you find there are just a few buttons you need quick access to during racing why not make a smaller box with just those buttons in mind? Keeps it organized and less chaotic, well to those of us challenged by our aging memories anyway. lol

 

Johan, Thanks for the kind words. Glad it gave you some ideas.

 

Bailey

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Don't worry Bailey there will be plenty of switches on the top.

I'm currently working on the layout in Photoshop.

 

My method of planning and deploying the buttons is by using Photoshop.  I have created layers for each type of button which I then place on screen, moving them about until i'm happy.  Then I print that out and lay it on the box to check.  Then I hide the button layers after adding a dot at the centre of each.  This I then print out and tape it to the box.  Then I use drill through the template and through the box using pointed end drill bits for accuracy.

 

Once the holes are cut I then go back to photoshop and remove all layers except the carbon background and the labels.  Print it out on Photo paper and then stick to the box with double sided tape.

 

The only awkward bit that i could do with a solution for is cutting out the holes in the paper... You can't drill because it would snag and rip.  Currently I do a time consuming cut with a sharp knife.

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