Building a wireless footswitch

Thread Starter

MikeKulls

Joined Apr 4, 2016
60
Hi, for a few years I have been making up wireless footswitches for customers to use with an application. I've just been pulling apart power point presentation devices and using the circuit in them. These just trigger the page up and page down keys. The problem I have is the unit I have been using seems to be a bit rubbish now, somehow several died when I built the last footswitch and they have all started being coded the same. So I was looking for something new and was wondering if there is something around that is more designed for this or if there is something semi simple to use, eg arduino based. I have a fair bit of experience with arduino stuff but have never used wireless outside of wifi. Requirements are
- zero power usage when no buttons are being pressed (rules out bluetooth, wifi)
- wireless, not IR
- needs to work with an off the shelf usb dongle
- doesn't have to trigger key presses but something easy to pick up my application
- can run multiple footswitches at the one location
- small circuit, the footswitches have about 20x10x10mm of room in them

Thanks
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,659
Unfortunately, your list include mutually exclusive requirements.

The ”needs to work with an off the shelf dongle” pretty much excludes “zero power…” requirement.
If that was possible, the existing remotes would not requiring pairing or power switches, but they do.

If you can find a remote that doesn’t require pairing or a power switch then whatever they are doing is what you need to do.

I believe that, though it will require pairing, BLE HID providing a keyboard would be the best bet. BLE is not zero power, but it is very low power, and it requires no dongle in most cases, or an off-the-shelf Bluetooth dongle.

There are many very small MCU boards that include BLE and can be programmed in the Arduino IDE. The fact that it can act just like a keyboard means there will be no problem integrating it with an application. Because BLE is so low powered, battery life might not be that different from only using power when transmitting.

Alternatively, if you make your own dongle, you can use the ubiquitous 433MHz radio control boards. You will still need to ensure the dongle is installed so that it communicates with the OS. You could use serial communications with the dongle through the USB port using any of the readily available TTL -> RS232 chips or modules. Most of the little 433Mhz board sets include four control channels. They are usually not mutually exclusive.

This is my understanding of the situation. But, I might have missed a product that matches your description of non-Bluetooth, no power operation, so if someone else knows something I am missing I hope they speak up.
 

Thread Starter

MikeKulls

Joined Apr 4, 2016
60
The ”needs to work with an off the shelf dongle” pretty much excludes “zero power…” requirement.
If that was possible, the existing remotes would not requiring pairing or power switches, but they do.
This is quite doable, the current unit I use now only uses power when a switch is pressed. The battery life is crazy long, I've replaced a battery once or twice, there must be some batteries out there over 10 years old. All it would need is some prebuild USB receiver and then a circuit that sends a message on the correct freq when activated. I'm thinking there must be a USB receiver available and then I could use an arduino of some sort with a 433MHz circuit. Every time I click a button the arduino boots up and sends its message. Wireless non bluetooth keyboards might be an option here. I have a couple of MS keyboards that I could use but the circuit in them is on the large size (4x8cm)
 
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