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How are computer games reading potentiometers now?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Gary Peek, Jan 9, 2009.

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  1. Gary Peek

    Gary Peek Guest

    Someone asked me about designing something to read two
    potentiometers to provide input to his custom program
    running on a Windows machine. But why re-invent the wheel?

    What is the state-of-the-art now for computer games and
    other things like flight simulators reading pots? Used
    to be you just insured that the user had a game port board

    Has this changed to USB interfaced devices now?
    If so, can you point me to something cheap to tell him to buy?
  2. Nobody

    Nobody Guest

    Two rotational controllers, connects to a computer ... it's called a
    "mouse" ;)

    Well, almost. The quadrature sensors used in mice only report relative
    movement; there's no defined "zero". But they cost almost nothing, will
    connect to just about any PC, and don't require additional drivers.

    Or you could use each pot to set the frequency of an oscillator and
    connect to the audio input. For two pots, use stereo.

    If you want the "state of the art", it's likely to be USB and a
    DirectInput/Xinput driver.

    [Console controllers are much worse; they often encrypt the communication
    as an anti-competition measure. If that doesn't help, they'll find some
    way to integrate the controllers into the copy-prevention mechanism, so
    that cloning will constitute "circumvention" under the DMCA.]

  3. No. It's called a JOYSTICK. Or even a GAMEPAD.

    'something to read two pots' is NOT the interface with which it is
  4. Guest

    google AVRUSB or Objective Development AVR

    Its not what I use for my devices, which need a blazing update rate,
    but it works well.

    microchip is now making a pic with usb and analog inputs , but I
    haven't used it yet

    you want to access HID , ie Human Interface Device, in windows.

    IE you plug in a usb joystick or other game controller, you get a
    HID, it "mounts" itself into windows, sends windows a text file
    telling windows what its controls are, your software associates
    itself with those controls, and off you go. It will show up as a
    hardware device in the device manager menu in windows as a " Sound,
    Video, and Game Controller" and there is sample code on the net on how
    to read them.

    If you only need 8 bits of analog, these are hackable and average 22
    dollars or so.

    "Logitech Dual Action Gamepad"

    The traces on the PCB are printed polymer conductive ink, but the
    actual switch contacts and potentiometer pads are solderable, as are
    the vias on the board. You can get on the pads with #22 stranded
    wire if your looking for a quick hack, and its fairly immune to 60 hz
    noise pickup when hacked, many of its competitors are not.

    It comes with excellent software that makes hacking its connections
    with a ohm meter and a jumper wire a breeze.

    Hope that gets you started.

    Steve Roberts
  5. Greegor

    Greegor Guest

    I see that while Microsoft has tried to abandon game ports
    in Vista, many sound cards still include them and
    drivers are being written, though some not written well.

    Yet another reason to avoid Vista.
  6. Guest

  7. Gary Peek

    Gary Peek Guest

    It does, thank you.
  8. IanM

    IanM Guest

    Google 'usb "game port" adaptor'
    plenty of choice and you'd be back to wiring 2 pots to a D connector.
  9. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    well, where did you think they were going to get that extra resource
    from for that eye candy on the screen?"
  10. Gary Peek

    Gary Peek Guest

    Another good idea.
    I keep forgetting-
    They have a USB adapter for damn near everything.
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