Many of you have probably seen the Awesome button done by Matt Richardson of Make Magazine. If not here is his video which was very well done and was the inspiration of my project.
I liked the idea of having a button to press for a certain function on the computer, however i wasnt such a fan of having a $5 button, and a $16 microcontroller operating only one function.
So my project differes in a few ways.
I added a RGB LED on top of the button, I also added a rotary encoder on the side of the button.
The idea being this:
the encoder switches the function the button preforms, and the LED gives you feedback telling you what mode it is in now so you know what function will be preformed by pressing the easy button.
Staples earlier this year changed the circuit board in the teensy which made it alot tougher to hack. The change removed the thru hole resistors and replaced them with surface mount resistors. This means there is no longer a 'easy' place to solder to to have access to the button.
But not all hope is lost. if you look though my pictures you will see you need to drill a hole in the PCB and then solder to it. Becareful that when your scraping away the coating you only scrape whats in between those two narrow lines.
This was the scariest part for me, because once you've done it you've done it.
There will need to be 3 holes, one for the USB cable, one for the LED and one for the encoder.
I drilled the LED one dead center above the A and S in EASY. Make sure you start with a small hole and slowly work up to fit the LED holder.
The other two holes are a bit more tricky, You need to look at your encoder's size and figure out where to put it, mine is where those metal bars are originally. This step will vary depending on what encoder you have and where you want to place it.
You are going to need to cut away almost all of the battery compartment as well as the two screw pillars right next to the battery compartment in order to get everything to fit, even with these changes though its quite strong.
As you can see in the picture there's not much room in here at all. You will need to cut the USB cable thread it though, and then resolder it. At this point you should have everything attached now the fun part...putting it all together. It took me about 30min to figure a way to get everything in there and having the button still operate. One tip is the screws you took out from the inside, they dont get put back in. The only screws i used were the 4 on the bottom, the rest is so tight though theres no need for them.
Make sure you have the reset button accessible from the battery door so that you can program the button after its together.
Attached is some simple code i wrote for this button(same code as shown in the demo video i made) There are many more functions you can easily add. I have posted version two which also includes a python script to run on your computer to use one of the functions as a email checker.
I hope you have gotten some ideas from my project and look forward to seeing what you make.
Feel free to post any questions you might have, i check this site daily so i should be able to get back to you pretty quickly.