Instructables
Picture of Internet-connected joystick
Last week, I posted a demo on building impBot, a simple pan/tilt servo "robot" controlled via the internet with the electric imp. At the time, all I had for controlling said robot was a potentiometer in a box, which made the overall usefulness a little underwhelming. This week, I've got a demo on how to build a better way to control the impBot (or just about anything else, for that matter) by creating an internet-connected joystick using one of Sparkfun's thumb joysticks

These thumb joysticks are wonderfully simple, and have a select button along with the X and Y axis outputs; they're just like the analog controls on your playstation controller (quite possibly the exact same part, actually). Fully interfacing to one with the imp takes just three signal wires (X, Y, Button), 3.3V from the Electric Imp Breakout Board's regulator, and ground: 5 wires. The hardest part about the whole thing is just getting the whole apparatus packed up attractively in a box. 

Once you've got this project all set up, you've got an internet-connected X-Y control with a select button - twice as powerful as the controlBox + a button!
 
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Step 1: What you'll need

Picture of What you'll need
joystick-sch.png
Most of the work here is mechanical! Here's the parts list:
  1. Electric Imp
  2. Electric Imp breakout board
  3. Enclosure: I used a Hammond 1593PBK hand-held instrument enclosure with battery holder
  4. A bit of perfboard. Plated is easier to solder. 
  5. A SPDT switch (for power)
  6. Some 4-40 screws (4 of them, actually)
  7. Some foam tape
  8. A bit of heat shrink tubing
And here's the tools you'll need:
  1. A drill. You'll need a few important bits:
    1. A center punch and a small hammer for marking and starting holes
    2. A 1/8" drill for starting holes and drilling mounting holes in your perfboard
    3. A drill sized for your SPDT switch. Mine was 3/16"
    4. A hole cutter, 1" , to make a hole for the joystick
  2. A 4-40 tap and tap handle for threading the mounting holes for the joystick.
  3. A dremel or similar for cutting a slot for the imp and cutting down your perfboard
  4. A respirator or mask - don't cut FR4 (the material your perfboard is made of) without one! If you're not cutting FR4, you won't need this.
  5. Soldering iron and solder
  6. A heat gun for shrinking heat shrink. A hair dryer will do in a pinch
  7. Angle cutters and wire strippers
  8. Adjustable wrench
  9. Philips-head screwdriver
To interact with the imp, you need a few important pieces:
  1. A smartphone running the free electric imp app to "blink up" your imp onto your network
  2. A computer to access the electric imp planner (http://plan.electricimp.com)
  3. A free electric imp developer account for planner access (just sign up and you're good to go)
When you've got your requisite parts, take a look at the schematic and get a quick idea of what we're going to do. We'll start by putting some leads on your electric imp breakout board.

Okapi101 year ago
The Github 404 doesn't load
tombrew (author)  Okapi101 year ago
Fixed now. Do take note: this project uses the old Blueprint environment, but this has now been deprecated in favor of the shiny new API and the powerful new "Agents" feature. Check out the blog post on both here: http://blog.electricimp.com/post/64145825282/electric-imp-rolls-out-agents-to-expand-your-devices
Bob Bowie1 year ago
Hopefully, you can show me how to let my PC control this remote controlled lawnmower: http://www.instructables.com/id/Remote-Controlled-Lawnmower/

The above web site has a video of my remote controlled lawnmower.

Currently, the mower is controlled by a Futaba 4YF transmitter. I want my Windows 7 PC to control the mower either with an interface to the Futaba transmitter or by a PC based joystick and transmitter that replaces the Futaba transmitter. The interface needs to allow the following 2 steps:

Step #1-Learn Mode Control the mower via the transmitter and record the sequence of joystick commands to the PC

Step #2-Playback Mode Transmit commands recorded on the PC in Step #1 tothe mower.

What is the easiest way to accomplish these 2 steps?
condorxan2 years ago
Thank you for the simple but great project...