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January 16, 2018, 06:05:55 AM
The Stribe Project - ForumGeneral CategoryinfohardwareTopic: Softpot alternative: Endless Belt Digital Controller ?
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XNDR
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« on: January 15, 2008, 11:42:04 AM »

I recently came across an alternative controller that was used in a Martin Case I DMX controller. After some digging I found out that these controllers are called Endless Belt Digital Controllers.



The controller has 20 built in leds and the internal encoders output 256 counts per 100 mm of travel.

Product page: http://www.pennyandgiles.com/products/products.asp?strAreaNo=402_6&intElement=1174

Datasheet: http://www.pennyandgiles.com/docGallery/85.PDF

I requested a quote. I'll let you know when prices come through.
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ultrajosh
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2008, 12:05:23 PM »

Wow, I looked all over for something like that!  I'm curious how much it will be.  The nice thing about the softpots though is they use the Arduino's 10-bit ADCs, so tons of resolution (1024 points over 170mm).
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janijanietc
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2008, 12:13:24 PM »

Wow, those are really awesome.  would love to hear the quote and a possible group buy (provided my finances improve, ha Smiley
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ultrajosh
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2008, 12:36:23 PM »

I just realized that's a belt!  Duh.  For some reason I thought it was a translucent touchstrip.  That's a cool idea - the belt is translucent and backlit, and moves the encoders.  Very clever design.  Resolution would just depend on the encoders.
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XNDR
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2008, 10:07:56 AM »

Yeah I like this design too, it's mechanical, so you have your tactile feedback and it's endless. I discovered these when I was VJ'ing in a club, the lightjockey had a really big Martin DMX controller with a load of these sliders mounted. See attached file  Wink

I still haven't heard anything from those guys. The sales rep mailed me yesterday that he'd send me an offer by the end of the day.. Still nothing.. I'll keep you informed.

I'm curious if the controller design allows some modification, such as fitting more leds inside, or possibly even those led bars  Cheesy
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janijanietc
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2008, 12:54:02 PM »

is the action on these smooth?  Since i've never had my hands on them, maybe you could describe how they feel...

since they are 'segmented', i'm guessing that there is an indented feel, like how some rotary encoders are...
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XNDR
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2008, 01:41:38 PM »

From what I can remember they're pretty smooth.. I've got a meeting in that club later tonight, I'll try to make some movies and more pictures.

In the meanwhile the Penny & Giles sales rep sent me an update on pricing:

D460377 PGF7000 series Red LED
1 off £35.00 each (46.9984 EUR / 69.0307 USD)
10 off £31.50 each (42.3017 EUR / 62.1285 USD)
100 off £24.50 each (32.9013 EUR / 48.3222 USD)

Other options are Green or Blue LED's.  I am sorry but we only have the translucent grey belt.  They are all the same price.

I bet they'll look pretty slick when used with blue leds, only the prices are totally not o.k. since s+h costs will also drive the price up further...

See datasheet for more details: www.xndr.com/files/beltslider.pdf
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janijanietc
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2008, 02:27:44 PM »

wow..... wasn't expecting that price.

oh well...
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XNDR
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2008, 03:43:50 PM »

Thinking about making these myself.. some kind of track/belt from a toy tank or something.. one encoder with a wheel, a bearing/guide at the other side.. and a row of leds underneath the belt.. shouldn't be too hard to build and probably a whole lot cheaper!
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ultrajosh
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2008, 05:38:55 PM »

I figured they would be expensive given all the parts involved.

And I agree you could make these yourself.  You would just need an encoder with a grooved wheel on the shaft, a matching grooved free-wheel (maybe tension-adjustable), and a translucent rubberband to fit. 

This would be a great Arduino project!

Or you could add 2 of these to a monome 40h - their logic board has inputs for 2 digital encoders...
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2008, 08:00:49 PM »

Allright.. just came back from the club.. I made a crappy phone movie, I forgot to bring my Sony cam.. but it gives you an idea.. Wink

files.xndr.com/beltsliders.zip (3gp file inside, plays with quicktime)

I was also thinking of hooking it up to a logic kit, but then you wouldn't have the backlit belts.. which could be solved by integrating a small LED controller.. So many ideas.. so little time  Shocked
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ultrajosh
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2008, 08:16:48 PM »

Cool movie - gives me some ideas for programming the stribe.  Like how you don't have to touch the exact top of the leds to move the fader up and down...
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2008, 01:11:15 AM »

That's an interesting idea  Cool

While moving the belt up and down you can't really see which leds are burning (and if they are exactly underneath your finger) until you move your finger more to the side. That's a definite plus for the stribe design, 2 rows of leds next to your finger in stead of underneath it. I guess the belt controllers work as indicators until you start moving it, then you will also have feedback from the changing lights or whatever you are controlling with it.

I got a basic belt controller thought out, but now I only need to find suitable belts:
Lego's got them, but not translucent:


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XNDR
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2008, 09:30:37 PM »

I found a couple of different belts suppliers, but I'm still looking for an ideal out of the box solution for a quick prototype..

http://www.brecoflex.com/?CATID=1&SCATID=4

http://www.globalspec.com/FeaturedProducts/Detail/FennerDrives/FHT_1mm_Pitch_Curvilinear_Timing_Belt/17025/0?fromSpotlight=1

Hmm... after writing the above I was looking for another browser window to copy the URL from, but these guys seem to have what I was looking for...

http://www.econobelt.com/Timing_Belts.htm
Suitable belts are priced between $6 and $12. I think a minimum width of ~20mm (.787) is required.

They also have belt pulleys with a 6mm bore (fits about all standard pots and encoders.
http://www.econobelt.com/Q460/RFQ/default.asp?Page=Pg_1-203_1.html
QPMT5A16014F06 looks suitable... but at ~ $7.50 each a bit pricey and probably overkill for the light usage.

Unfortunately the belts are not translucent, but a stribe-like solution with the leds next to the belt could work.
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ultrajosh
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2008, 08:15:09 AM »

I think if you keep looking you'll find a translucent (or even clear) flexible band - that would look so cool.
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