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DIY Control Surface for Wirecast and XSplit

Author: Ken Addison
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer:

PCB Design

Here we can see my initial breadboard concept using two of the MCP23017 I2C Port expanders.

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Naturally, after I got the code and basic schematic sorted out using a breadboard, I wanted to move onto etching a PCB with my design.

With my only real experience in electronics being a year as a Computer Engineering major before switching majors (to Political Science, don't ask) the idea of designing a PCB both excited and intimidated me. After opening CadSoft EAGLE and deciding it was way too complex, I ended up settling on designing in Fritzing. While I certainly don't recommend this due to the lack of portability of the Fritzing file format, and it's general lack of use in the industry, I was easily able to export the board to Gerber format to get it manufactured. I am currently paying for it now as I attempt to learn to design in Eagle.

Here we have the first revision of this board that I sent off to the OSHPark, who I used as my fabricator. As a side note, OSHPark was great, with about a 2 week turnaround from submission to receipt, a great web interface, and reasonable pricing. Also, there is the added perk that they etch on purple PCBs exclusively, so the end product looked cool.

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If you start to study this PCB, you can see that I made a lot of design errors. First, the most egregious error is the switching of SDA and SCL channels on the silkscreen. SDA and SCL are the two ports used for communication for the I2C controller, and the integrated part in Fritzing for the Leonardo had these reversed on the silkscreen. Since I did not check this against the actual Arduino, I wired it incorrectly.

Secondly, the buttons are rotated incorrectly on the board for how I have them wired. In this version, I was assuming a horizontal orientation for the buttons in my wiring, but the way the holes are physically drilled meant they could only be placed and soldered in an incorrect configuration.

Beyond that I had some small errors, including the header spacing on the bottom left being incorrect, and the shield not having a cut out for the power plug on the Arduino. I worked around the last one by doubling the headers to connect to the board, making the unit a bit taller, but functional.

September 19, 2013 | 02:57 PM - Posted by rodgersk24

Very nice, that looks really cool!

Just out of curiosity, how did you get involved in this, or gain the knowledge to be able to figure this out? Did you study this in school, or is it more of a hobby thing you picked up? I've always wanted to work with Arduinos and circuits, but don't know where to start.

Can't wait to see future updates!

September 19, 2013 | 03:54 PM - Posted by Ken Addison

I learned some basic stuff about electronics in school, but just about everything in this build is self-taught. The nice thing about Arduino as a development platform is that there are tons of guides and help available, and easy to find through google. The Arduino forums themselves are pretty awesome as well.

September 19, 2013 | 03:46 PM - Posted by Andrew (not verified)

I have been attemting to setup a live broadcast system that inputs to the broacast system over an analog signal that i had hoped to put through an s-video output on a geforce 6200, but i have had no luck getting it to cooperate with the geforce gtx 660 in the system (for adobe premier) and put the digital signal to the monitors through the 660 along with the analog through the 6200 for the broadcast system, i am using wirecast, any suggestions?

September 19, 2013 | 03:49 PM - Posted by Branthog

I just wanted to say that after many months of PC Perspective not showing up in my news feed (on multiple readers), this showed up in my feed today. WELCOME BACK YOU DELIGHTFUL BASTARDS! My RSS reader is looking forward to relaying more of your goodness to my eyeballs!

September 19, 2013 | 05:40 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Good to be home! : D

September 19, 2013 | 04:13 PM - Posted by Kusanagi (not verified)

Man, this looks really awesome. I could use this myself.

September 20, 2013 | 06:55 AM - Posted by JustWondering (not verified)

Why not instead create an app for touch surface like surface pro or ipad or android?

This is what's being done in the music industry to replace audio mixers and then you can make money selling the app...

September 22, 2013 | 09:19 AM - Posted by DaVolfman (not verified)

Personally I would have mixed output with input to multiplex things. Basically you use an output to address a row and then read out a column on inputs. It only gains you about 3 pins on the buttons but that's still 3 pins freed up. The LED's being diodes are open to charlieplexing using 4 outputs to drive 12 LEDs. That gets you all your IO done with up to 3 pins to spare, though it does sacrifice a bit of brightness on the LEDs.

September 22, 2013 | 09:22 AM - Posted by HeavyG (not verified)

Very impressive, Ken! For a work in progress, it sure is making some good progress.

October 16, 2013 | 08:48 AM - Posted by gratv (not verified)

Hello, we are a small tv station from Athens Greece. Can we bay this control for wirecast? Thank you. info@gra.gr

January 28, 2014 | 10:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Love what your doing with this. I have worked in TV Production for a long time using Tricaster boards but they are big and as you mentioned really expensive. This looks like a great alternative.

Recently I was considering getting a HDMi video Switcher to work in line with my current setup (between the camera HDMI output and the intensity HDMI input) just to give us more camera angles, but i dont know if this would work.
example:
http://www.iogear.com/hdmi-switch.htm

Our Setup : Wirecast, 2 Intensity shuttles, iMac, and 1 Sony hdr-cx380, much smaller inexpensive setup. Do you know if this would work?

Also are you selling your switcher?

January 31, 2014 | 11:40 AM - Posted by Eric Wroldsen (not verified)

Ken,
Your Concept looks really cool. It would be great to see an updated video on this project. are you going to be selling this any time soon? I could really use one!

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