I2C Knobs now in stock!
Escape Key Labs
Problem: Rotary encoders are cool but hard to wire into your projects.
Solution: Makernet Knob puts a rotary encoder with RGB backlighting into your project as intuitive daisy-chainable I2C device.
I'm now offering the option to buy the bare board for a reduced price. If you choose this option, you'll need to acquire an encoder yourself and solder it on. The easiest source for these knobs is Sparkfun (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10982)
Ever played with an "infinite" knobs on your car radio that keep spinning in either direction? These special knobs are a form of "rotary encoder", a device that translates the rotational movement of your fingers into a series of digital special pulses. Rotary encoders are super-cool and add a bit of pizzaz to any project. They make for a great tactile experience far better than up/down buttons or joysticks.
I think every project deserves a rotary encoder and I've used them in many of my own creations.
Sadly, rotary encoders are not simple to use. In fact, they can be downright complicated. You have to stick them on special interrupt pins and tweak and tune the libraries and capacitors just right to get good results. And adding more than one dial to a single project can be an complex chore that could potentially involve logic probes and interrupt remapping. Yuck!
Well, hackers of the world, suffer no longer! The Makernet Knob takes the infinite twirling goodness of a traditional rotary encoder (with its complex pulse train) and provides you with a dead-simple, daisy-chainable I2C interface. For those new to the scene, I2C is a simple and easy-to-use bus that you almost certainly already have on your maker boards. In fact, nearly every microprocessor from the Raspberry Pi, ESP8266, AVR/Arduino, and even the popular Teensy boards supports I2C. With the Makernet Knob, you just connect up four simple wires and suddenly a beautiful encoder with a controllable RGB LED and pressable-select button can join your project with a minimum of fuss.
Special features of the Makernet Encoder:
Some cool project ideas for a rotary encoder you might want to try:
The Makernet Encoder has only four pins: VIN (3.3-10V), GND, SDA and SCL. A tiny (and super inexpensive) microprocessor is integrated on the board and takes care of all of the rest. Be sure to install the Arduino IDE library and check out the various examples below for more details.
I love building cool interactive projects and have frequently suffered the royal pain of integrating rotary encoders. I've resolved from this day forward no one else should have to go through that pain again!
See the github repository for the Arduino Library, installation details and more!
Steven | Dec. 8, 2017
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I am a weekend maker with a passion for interactive projects. I am also a member of Cambridge Hackspace (https://www.cambridgehackspace.com/). Come join us Tuesday evenings for our public meetups!