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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!

Step 1: What you'll need

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.

About This Instructable

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Bio: Developer at Electric Imp
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