Mechanically raise and lower buttons.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by yo1dog, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    I am attempting to create a system in which a computer can raise or lower 24 standard push buttons about 1 - 2 inches individually. My programming and computer knowledge will allow me to create any needed output. However, my skills on the hardware end are a bit limited.

    Do any of you guys have a good idea for a setup?

    Edit:
    Sorry, I will try to explain more. The buttons only need to be at two heights: up or down. Let me make a picture... (2 minutes later):
    [​IMG]

    The objective is to have a MAME control panel that will configure itself for the game the user is playing. If the user is playing "Teken", all 6 buttons will be raised for the player. If they switch to "Metal Slug", only two buttons are requird so the other 4 should be hidden and out of the way. The player can also customize the layout for each game.

    Thanks,
    - Mike
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  2. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    Can you elaborate a little (or a lot) more on the mechanical layout of what you are trying to create? Is this something you've seen and are trying the replicate?

    Ken
     
  3. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
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    Air solenoids seem to be a bit overkill to raise those buttons, if you just need them to either be up or down, I would use push/pull type solenoids to raise and lower them, if you need varying height control, I would implement RC servos as a way to raise and lower the switches...

    My .02
     
  4. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    I agree. I like the push/pull solenoid idea. However, I don't know what kind or where to buy. Someone one through me a link or tell what to Google?
     
  5. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  6. Paulo540

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    Nov 23, 2009
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  7. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
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    can you imagine how much current would be zinging through that circuit if 24 push solenoids were being activated at once?

    it will be interesting to find out what yo1dog has planned for this! "Whack-a-Mole" ??
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  8. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    The objective is to have a MAME control panel that will configure itself for the game the user is playing. If the user is playing "Teken", all 6 buttons will be raised for the player. If they switch to "Metal Slug", only two buttons are requird so the other 4 should be hidden and out of the way. The player can also customize the layout for each game.

    ... Guess I should have included from the beginning, will add that in the first post.

    Yea 120 volts x 24 = 2880 volts... am I reading something wrong?
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#70155k61/=550lz3

    Hmm. Even at only $13 a piece, times that by 24 and its still $312.
    I am starting to think this is not a very plausible project.
     
  9. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    It's going to be mighty complex, awkward and expensive to move a bank of buttons up and down.

    Besides the complexity and expense, there is also the possibility of someone getting their finger(s) caught between the panel face and the button when the button is raised. To avoid that possibility, you'd have to have a series of cylinders for the switches to ride up and down in, rather than a series of holes.

    Physically moving the switch also means you'll need a flexible harness for wiring to the switch.

    Simply retracting a switch by an inch or so won't prevent someone from pressing a button; just make it less convenient to do so.

    It would be much more reliable and cost-effective to simply illuminate any switches that were eligible for human input. You can get such pushbuttons with internal LED illumination. Just write your program to ignore any buttons that aren't illuminated.
     
  10. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    Exactly what I have been working on sense my last post. Great minds...

    Although it would be so bad ass to watch the buttons raise and lower. Would look futuristic. Oh well.
     
  11. SIcam

    Active Member

    Aug 9, 2008
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    I would not totally give up on the button idea if that is your idea. However due to possible injury you might want to rethink the retracting of a standard off the shelf buttons that retract below the panel hole (this would leave a hole that someone could get their finger in). You might want to think about making your own buttons. Ones which only the center part retract to be flat on the panel with not possible operator injury. You can also ignore the buttons output once retracted. Also, using spring activated solenoids (Cheap ones) can allow you to retract the center of the button and not the button body, this will eliminate movement of the wiring.

    Air has some disadvantages. To control air you will need a solenoid activated valve and an air cylinder, so why not just use a solenoid to do the motion.
     
  12. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    Very good idea. Instead of moving the entire casing of the button. Simply move the inner part that the user actually presses. Hmm
     
  13. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
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    The Sgt has a very good idea.
    use illuminated switches and light only those used for a particular game illuminate.

    this way you can get the project rolling and completed, prototyped and debugged.
    You can always improve/modify at a later date.


    How many projects never get past stage one because we cant get past perfectionistism.



    here is a site with many types, shapes, sizes etc of illuminated switches:
    http://www.eao.com/global/en/home.asp?navid=0



    [​IMG]
     
  14. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    2,675
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    What about using a DC gear motor that can drive some kind of cam assembly to move the buttons up and down?? You could design a series of cams that if rotated to a certain position only certain buttons are up and certain ones are down, you could easily make your own "stealth" buttons, only retract them flush to the surface (this still wont stop a user from pressing them in, but you could always disable in software, so the flush ones dont work even when pressed), I would still light the ones that are in use......

    My .02
     
  15. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    Like I said, I working on this now.
    Haha all 42 buttons are not for a single player. Here is my control panel art to give you and idea:
    [​IMG]


    As far as the actual buttons, for the real arcade feel, I was going to go with these. I could not find any pricing on that site. How much would it be for a single round illuminated button? I set in a request for a quotation so I guess I will wait for that.
     
  16. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
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  17. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    This will actually be the second cabinet I have made, so I have experience in arcade components. I have looked at Happ controls before and here's the funny thing:

    I bought pushbuttons from them 3-4 years ago and they were $0.60 a pop. Now they are $2.35. I wonder if it is the ecconmy, but the fact is that I can get them cheaper elsewhere; like at Groovy Game Gear for $1.20. Plus, I really like the look of their Electric ICE pushbuttons. They are more expensive but combine that with their RGB-Drive and a LED-Wiz could make for some very cool lighting effects.

    Here is the tread for my cabinet.
     
  18. yo1dog

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    Very good point. I don't need a solenoid for every button for each player because all four players will have the same configuration.

    Actually, because the cabinet includes the functionality to have two games at the same time, Team 1 (player 1 and 2) and Team 2 (player 3 and 4) will have different configurations. Team 1 might be playing Galaga while Team 2 is playing Teken.

    The primary problem I face is the buttons feeling sturdy. When I am mashing on them I don't want them to be bouncing or moving around. They should feel like they are fixed in place.

    Also, in the best case scenario the buttons and the casing would recede completely into the control panel. The objective is to get the buttons out of the way so leaving the casing defeats the purpose.

    As long as there is no gap between the button and its hole, it should not pose a safety hazard.
     
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