SLI-Button Box V2

I thought I’m going to re-write this from scratch since I have changed all the layout and added more than double the amount of buttons in the button box.

First the planning. there can be no mistake, each drill point is measured accordingly and spread out evenly.
marked with hole sizes and buttons parts was used as a layout.

Make sure all the wires are labelled correctly, I ran out of coloured wires so ended up using the multi strand Cat 5 Wire into the box.

Again it is crucial that you labelled and make a note which coloured connected to which end of the SLI-PRO, It will come in handy in a month time.

Once everything is labelled, start wiring up each end and make sure to test all connection is working correctly in the control panel.

Now after you wait a month since the rotary encoders that you ordered 1 month and 5 days ago only arrived , you want to go back to your note, to wire this puppy up, since its a rotary encoder with Push switch function as well. you will need 3 data + 2 Ground . total of 5 wires for each rotary encoders.

The person whom created this got the joy from torturing human finger and wants to SEE THEM DIE. The distance for each pin is less than 1 mm, and you need to make sure that none of the solder points got in contact of each other.

Honestly, I have finished the button box 1 month ago up to this point.

(see picture above no rotary encoders)

however because I want everything to be according as planned(..plus I have already drilled out 3 holes for them)
stubbornly waiting for 1 month until these arrived, and It took me another 2 hours, to solder 3 of these guys below and tested them out.

On my first go I finished soldering 2 that works both the rotary and push switch, however I just found out SLI-PRO configuration manager only allowed buttons 1-16 for rotary function and those button can be change to rotary by pair , ie, 1&2. -3&4, 5&6 etc , HOWEVER not 2 and 3, so if you wired button 1 to one side of the rotary, you can only use button 2 for the same rotary. I ended up using all the sequential points on both of the rotaries and left out button 31 and 30 for rotary 3, since it is only up to button 16, those 2 are useless and can’t be turned into rotary mode, so I start again.

Remember what I said about making note and reference as to which wire connected to which point in the SLI-PRO, at this point, it becomes crucial, unless you like tracing 39 wires plus 39 grounds up to the source.

in the end, I was really pushing my edge and this is how much solder point I had left , I was very lucky because at 2:25 am , no electronic shop is open, and 7/11 don’t sell these (…believe me I tried before)

after 3 rotaries are soldered , test them before even mounting them to the box, once everything works as it should,
carefully hot-glue the solder points, so that it resist tugging and squeezing inside the already very crammed box (see picture above this one to get the idea how much real estate left)

The End Result



There are literally too much sweat and blood goes in to this that I think no money can buy, it is worth it, all that bare hands wire twisting, measurements, drilling, scrapping and mounting it until all my 10 fingers are in pain for 3 straight days … I say it’s worth it.

The labelling is a bit rough on the edges, however this is the one thing I am very very happy about, this is one sim racing gear that I made from Scratch and can be proud of, one that I have not seen anyone attempted with so many rotaries and buttons cramped up in to one box. (Many have done on wheel however I want a button box with as many buttons (20 buttons, 3 toggle switches, 3 rotary encoders with push switch, 2 x 12 position rotary switch, 5 external LEDs)

I really hope these second part of the button box guide inspired you to do the same , or even better ones. please make sure you keep me posted if you do made one, I am more than happy to share and help if you need it.

Thank you for reading , it’s been a pleasure doing this.
Marcus

Here’s a little something to show what I used those rotaries for

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29 comments on “SLI-Button Box V2

  1. itrdc5 says:

    After all the suffering you described, you say it’s a pleasure doing it…hah, you’re a masochist! πŸ˜€
    For someone who can’t solder well, I’m glad I bought my boxes but I miss out on the sense of achievement. Well done!

    • r0gu3 says:

      I know right, lol, after all that torture, it’s a joy in the end.
      However IF they sell button box like how I wanted (with rotaries ) and buttons like and warning lights as this, I would’ve done the same ie just buy it.
      The purpose is to get people to DIY so it’s is custom, UNIQUE , and “only You” that own one of this special kind πŸ™‚

  2. Jason says:

    I am looking at the configuration program for the sli pro and see you must match them up in pairs 1-2, 3-4 etc. There is the option for 1:1 , 1:2, 1:4. I dont know what this means? I am using the cts288 which I have used in my own circuits as 2 bit grey encoding but I am not sure of the option I should set it for.

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Jason,

      The 1:1, 1:2 and 1:4 is not the button number., it is the pulse(s) (just a guess) as I found out 1:1 is actually 1 Notch on the rotary encoders to 1 pulse of the button
      1:2 = 1 notch(turn/click) to 2 pulses <- I found this one works the best for click-pulse ratio
      1:4 = 1 notch(turn/click) to 4 pulses

  3. Jason says:

    Thanks, once hooked up it worked well with 1:1 πŸ™‚

  4. roampt says:

    Hey impressive button box. Let me ask you something, how do you got the leds to work? Like when the engine overheats or something.

  5. roampt says:

    Thanks for the reply, I guess I’m buying the SLI-PRO then! Cheers.

  6. frapster says:

    First of all – this is a post to express my gratitude for this article as it did indeed inspire me to start on my own button box, even though I do own a small (15 buttons) DSD box, but wanted something cooler like yours or more expensive ones at DSD and others.
    Since I decided go get just the Leo’s joystick/load cell board and re-mod my old set of BRD Speed7 pedals with load cell brake and connect it via this button box.
    So I am planning 20 push buttons, 2 toggles and 4 encoders occupying all 32 pairs plus a HAT/POV switch, but without the additional ski pro and its LEDs πŸ˜‰
    Took me ages to figure out 6×6 wiring matrix (I’m a novice at this), but I got there in the end and all components are on order/arriving now and all planning and drawing is done plus breadboard/terminals/connectors and the rest of needed stuff (turning out a lot more expensive in the end than I’d hoped!) is nearly complete.
    Might post the end result here once finished, probably will complete in steps, as load cells will arrive later, but as I have 2 types on order will see if I can mod my frex handbrake with load cell, so loads of connected side projects and potential to fail πŸ™‚
    Cheers

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Frapster,
      Love to see the Completed product of your button box wired to the pedal.
      Good to hear that this topic sparks some inspiration, This topic was created on the same basis that, it is inspired by simracers such as yourself.
      so it’s like from a simracer to a simracer. πŸ™‚
      Good luck with the new box- please do post link to pictures if you want, once the box is completed.
      Regards,
      Marcus

  7. frapster says:

    Hiya

    Finally finished it. Took good 2 weeks of getting components planning and making stubborn things work, but after so much pain here it is in its initial version. Might get carbon fibre cover which I have, but I’m liking a rougher “race car” brushed aluminium look I achieved using sandpaper :D, will stick to it for awhile, until I get bored again, I still have to make load cell pedal mod now. You can see the pedal’#s D15 cable/plug there sticking out, is connected currently to analogue pedals

    Overall I got 16 push buttons (+2 on 2 of the encoders) = 18 inputs + 6 encoders = 30 inputs + 2 2-way toggles and 2 1 way toggles (same input up and down), total 36 with hat inputs, 3 pedal axis and connected load cell setup in preparation

    [IMG]http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/4868/bb02med.jpg[/IMG]

    Cheers

    • r0gu3 says:

      Frapster,
      That Button box is off the hook, I think you should leave it in brush metal as it is ,I would suggest some sort of decal, for the rotaries, makes it even better than it already is.
      Thank you for sharing that image.
      Love it man,
      Here I’ll repost image just in case the second one didn’t show up here.
      http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/692/smallbb01.jpg/

      • frapster says:

        Thanks!

        Yeah, gonna keep it “brushed”. But do need to label all plus wanted some “decals”, like ones you mentioned/we can see on Marcus’ box , but with sucky English I can’t figure out correct searching terms for them. Tried all i could think of but so far came up with 0 results. Would love if someone (maybe Marcus himself, as yours are well nice :)) could point me to either ebay search terms or a site with them.

      • r0gu3 says:

        Hi Frapster,, those rotary decals are not sold anywhere in ebay. I’ve tried the search term” Rotary Decals” comes out with Zero as well, I wish I can help you with that, but I myself got them from someone else. .

      • frapster says:

        No problem man, they are very nice but can live without, unless someone else here would know.

      • r0gu3 says:

        If I found out anything about these decals, I’;ll post you a message, btw I am Marcus , R0gu3 is just my user name here :). sorry only realised that from your last message that I always post with r0gu3.

      • frapster says:

        Haha, I did realise that, I just meant if any visitors “here” might have links πŸ™‚
        Thanks Marcus.

        I have found a set posted by Derek Spears at nogrip http://www.nogripracing.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1354037&postcount=1 so I bought a printer last night and adhesive paper, so I should be sorted πŸ˜€ Was cheaper than buying one of them hand held labellers

        Btw, here is my finished load cell mod that is hooked up to the button box

      • r0gu3 says:

        Wow , Love the looks of those pedals, Did you cut the red body yourself ? of the pedal I mean, they look incredible. congratulations mate. That pedal looks familiar for some reason , is it in TWIP ?

      • frapster says:

        Haha, no, I wish! I am a very small scale DYI enthusiast, normally keep all bits and bobs that come useful years later, like that rubber ball you can see that also briefly served me as temp gear knob replacement 10 years ago πŸ™‚

        Also all the bits and bobs I constructed the load cell mod from were parts of my old frex pedals system which is still functional but i took off some bits off it, which put together differently made up the perfect frame for the whole thing. Worked 1st time perfectly, w/o much calibration or else, very happy with that :D. Got a slightly heavier load ell on order though, 30kg seems to be a bit lightweight for me πŸ™‚

        Those are very old but still very good BRD Speed7 pedals. Pots started to go bad, so it needed refurbishment and since I was getting Leo’s board with analog inputs and load cell amplifier, it made sense to throw away its original and not exactly user friendly wiring plus pcb/pots and hook it all up together with added load cell to the button box via that D15 female cables i wired to the box and the pedals to be connectible with an old D15 monitor cable

      • r0gu3 says:

        WOW That’s what I love about DIY, you can be creative about older bits and equipments and create something very cool like that. Kudos man.

        another thing also the 30KG loadcell is light weight? I was still worrying about my order with john boding(bodin loadcell mod for T500 pedal), I guess, I shouldn’t worry about it now. see how we go when I got it. I’ll do a quick review on them .
        Thanks for posting that pedal and your button box mate.
        Marcus

      • frapster says:

        No problem at all. Most of my stuff is the reused bits and bobs, here’s another side of my setup with modded frex shifter and a handbrake mods. Just extended the leavers on both and added tougher springs/shortened the throw, while waiting for Fanatec’s clubsport one πŸ™‚ lamost literally shoe-string budget things, alu tube from a broken folding chair etc etc :). Handbrake ain’t pretty w/o having removed its original handle/knob, but it’s practically not seen and works well when i need a rally fix

        regarding load cell – I researched a little bit on the web what people would be saying and at planning stages thought 30kg will probably be too much/tough as guys at simracing.tv said about Bodin’s mod, and they were waiting on his 15kg version, so that got me concerned, but 30kg that’s what I ordered al;ready then. it’s very good, but I do seem to reach its max fairly quickly, so I ordered 60kg to see how it will compare. if it’s too much i can still calibrate it for a lesser range, so it’s not a problem. I also will be able to reuse 30kg one with a planned handbrake mod :D, if I can’t work out how to connect a small fanatec load cell i have in possession with only 3 wires, as opposed to normal 4 for load cells. perhaps it bypasses any need for amplifier and outputs directly to axis, gotta try that later

  8. frapster says:

    Here is another attempt to link the image πŸ™‚

    • frapster says:

      Last pics as I am now finally finished working on my rig and have to find some other HW modding subject πŸ˜€

      All components in place, finally labelled most (aside from my old DSD box to be used for chat macros), re-modded the pedals with 60kg LC (feels perfect!) and changed HandBrake’s switch to now redundant 30kg LC.

      Haven’t yet raced with that HB to see if it was a worthwhile effort, but since it couldn’t be any worse, i decided to change it to LC and it seems fine
      Updated the bushing on the 60kg pedal with something less colourful and more solid, but those are small details πŸ™‚

      Unbelievable but making all the labels (including buying a printer, replacing a printer, designing/redesigning and making the labels for 3 days non-stop) took me longer than physically building the box, hehe

      Looking forward to your Bodin LCmod review, to see if you think any different to SRT guys

      Cheers

      • r0gu3 says:

        Whoa, don’t let me stop you, those pictures are awesome, those labels are worth every effort, I know tell me about it, took me about the same time deciding which button to do what and then after I drive for couple of laps, I change them. lo.
        love that handbrake. maybe I’ll do the same one day… after I finish with my triple mount. at the moment, im deciding to use 8020 but still in the process of learning and getting quotes from the australian counterparts. hey your whole rig is made from 8020. and you drive left H-Shifter, if you don’t mind me asking which continent are you in?
        I have yet to receive the LCmod, he is still making them… I know right 😦 ,
        Thank you for sharing those pictures man, really appreciate you posting them here. please don’t let this stop you feel free to post them, I can learn a lot from you,

        Regards,
        Marcus

  9. frapster says:

    Very nice of you Marcus, thank you, very generous compliments. My simple geeky modifications are not on the same level as most of yours are, the most ambitious thing I’ve ever done was that button box I guess (having been inspired by yours), since I am not really an electronics guy at all and I can’t solder for s**t, so all wires on the buttons and encoders are held in place by 3.2mm female crimps tightened before attaching with a pair of pliers to hold tight onto contacts, Surprisingly good solution if one hates soldering and is extremely easy to connect/reconnect if changes or repairs/replacements are needed

    the frame itself I bought about 9 years ago from FREX, yeah it uses slotted aluminium profile (didn’t know its name was 8020) and a very simple design, yet functional and for DIY types rather easy to change and adapt to your heart’s content. I’ll be looking at triple mon setup at some point in future when I have enough spare cash to get 3 relatively large screens, nothing under 30″ would do I’m afraid, atm I can’t really spare any money for a good 42″+ LCD TV with high enough refresh

    I live in UK now (I’m from eastern-europe originally, possibly could explain the “wasteless/reusing/recycling” policy of mine :)), but I don’t drive in real life, so for me it doesn’t really matter which side of a virtual car I am in and where the gadgets are. Well, maybe a preference of 60/40 towards left side with shifters on the right, but I simply ran out of room to place another gadget on the right and am quite happy to do it on the left instead, when I get to drive anything requiring an H-pattern πŸ™‚

    Here’s one of the early stages when I was making the box – the “strip board” made from a cigar box lid πŸ˜€

    As you can see inside the box, it’s bloody messy once all is wired in and would be a total nightmare to put back together, if I had to undo it for some reason (well, ok, I’ve done it once already :)), but luckily I am not planning to open it up often or at all, now that all my pedals and the HB are connected to it and it can’t host much more in it aside from 3 remaining free analogue inputs

    Here’s a better pic of the HB – fairly small amount of modifications – cutting out back panel to attach the load cell and since it was the easiest way to solve pressing point of the ball onto load cell being slightly too low, I had to attach that bit of the cut out back panel to allow distribution of pressure to the LC top bit. Looks ugly as you can see (it was a fairly rough cut piece and ofc I kept and used it for some purpose, as well as that same rubber ball that served me well for over 12 years, hahaha), but since it’s under the unit next to the floor…

    I gotta admit – I now caught a DIYing bug and feel bored having finished this project πŸ˜€

    Cheers

  10. Brian says:

    Any chance you can help me with wiring this toggle switch please? Here’s my post.

    http://insidesimracing.tv/forums/topic/11715-diy-button-box-help/

    Thanks.

  11. Joseph Ronie says:

    Can you give me a link to those rotary knob/button things. They are awesome!

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