If you want to build a USB control panel, you can probably find all the electronics that you need in the Yoctopuce product range. For example, the Yocto-Knob for buttons and potentiometers, the Yocto-PWM-Rx for quadrature decoders, the Yocto-Color-V2 for light signaling, and the Yocto-Buzzer for sound signaling. However, it was pointed out to us that as soon as you want to build a somewhat substantial control panel, that's a lot of USB modules to install in the same enclosure...
And we have to admit that it was a real issue. To solve it, we now offer the Yocto-MaxiKnob.
The brand new Yocto-MaxiKnob
The Yocto-MaxiKnob is a double-width board of about 5x6cm. It provides all the functions of the modules which could be useful when designing a control panel.
Analog inputs / quadrature decoders
The Yocto-MaxiKnob has twelve anButton inputs to which you can connect buttons and potentiometers. You can convert each pair of analog inputs into a quadrature decoder input. This type of decoder is often used for free range rotary knobs. You can therefore choose to have 12 anbutton inputs or 6 decoders, or any intermediary combination, such as for example 6 anbutton inputs and 3 decoders.
For technical reasons, the configuration determining whether an input is assigned to an anButton or a quadratureDecoder is performed at the hardware level with a micro-switch on the board.
The configuration micro-switch
For these inputs, we decided to use a double-row angled header because it was the only type of widely available connector with a high enough density. You therefore need Dupont cables, it's the same type of cable as those that you can find in all computers to connect accessories to the motherboard. We have planned to offer this type of cables on our online shop, but their manufacturing has been somewhat delayed. In the mean time, if you have crimping pliers, you can make them yourself.
The Yocto-MaxiKnob has one RGB led, but also an output which can drive up to 150 additional smart leds, as long as they are compatible with models WS2812B, WS2812C, SK6812, WS2811, or even SK6812RGBW. You can find ready-made led panels from Adafruit. As with the Yocto-Color-V2, you can create autonomous light animations.
Note: if you are used to driving you RGB leds with the YColorLed function, you must know that this function is not available on the Yocto-MaxiKnob, you must therefore use the YColorLedCluster function instead.
The Yocto-MaxiKnob can drive additional leds
The Yocto-MaxiKnob also offers a Buzzer function which enables you to issue confirmation beeps, or even to play some very simple tunes.
In a Yocto-MaxiKnob, you have the equivalent of two Yocto-Knobs, a Yocto-Color-V2, and a Yocto-Buzzer, with the additional possibility to use quadratic decoders but without having to add a USB hub to connect everything to the control computer. We hope that you'll find it very useful if you want to build a control panel. To conclude, we prepared a small video which illustrates some of the uses of the Yocto-MaxiKnob.