Control The Volume

For anyone who has owned a boombox or an old(er) cassette player, the digital age volume controls feel incredibly awkward. Keep pressing buttons to get the volume just right can get tiresome real quick. The volume knob just makes sense and in a simple project, [Jeremy S Cook] brings us the Custom Computer Volume Control Knob.

The build employs an Adafruit Trinket board coupled with a rotary encoder and a push button as described by the designers themselves. We reached out to [Jeremy S Cook] to enquire about the build and it turns out his version uses an MDF enclosure as well as an MDF knob. A larger PCB has the encoder and button solder on with the Trinket board connecting to them via multi strand wires. An Acrylic sheet cut to the size serves as the top cover and completes the build.

The button serves as a play/pause button and can come in handy. Since the device enumerates as an HMI device, it should work with almost any OS. It could easily be extended to work with Android Tablets or even iPads. Check out the video below for a demonstration and if you like the idea of custom input devices, check out this DIY shortcut Keyboard.

24 thoughts on “Control The Volume

  1. The up and down buttons on a radio relay don’t cut it…

    I’ve noticed on car radios over the years they from knob to buttons and now back to a knob again.

    It would be neat to be able to adapt this device to my induction cook top. One for each “hot plate”

    The whole idea of having to select the hotpkate than adjust its level is terribly ineffective. Much easier to grab the right knob and just give it a twist.

    1. Wow, that’s an amazingly bad interface for a cook top – I assume that’s US for what we call a ‘hob’ in the UK.
      Some things just don’t need complicating – mine has 4 knobs which directly turn gas valves. It’s the best design.

      It’s interesting how so much consumer gear has ‘wow colour menus’ or now increasingly ‘wow phone app’ to control it, whereas industrial / pro gear tends towards one knob/switch per control, and less auto control.

      1. Knobs are the only working thing for gas hobs. But as soon as you go electric or even induction hobs, there’s a big trend towards pushbuttons or even captouch interface. The latter is a major pain in the bum especially if you happen to spill something, then the things go full bonkers.

  2. I don’t understand the designers of some of these devices, specifically the radios that default to either way too loud or way too quiet every time it’s powered on.
    Love the rotary knob.

  3. Proportional control!
    I have felt for years that the two buttons should not be allowed on car radios. One can instantly select the right volume in 20 to 50 milliseconds and get back to driving. TO HELL WITH THOSE TWO ELEVATOR BUTTONS, WAITING FOR THEN GETTING MORE THAN …NOW DOWN. Can you imagine if the steering or the accelerator worked that way!

    1. Indeed, whenever my father trades up his beater every few years I rip out the digital microcontroller radio and swap in a cheap two knob version that’s been in 5 cars now. It has as much to do with the simple ui as the irritating fact that the audio drops out on digital radios every few seconds to check a news channel as well as i’m not going to code a radio every time i need to replace a car battery.

    2. Exactly! Plus you have instant knowledge what the setting is by looking at the knob.
      If my memory serves me right, volume control in absolute terms is not possible in HID, you need something custom, so that is why everyone implements it with rotary or buttons.

  4. Usually keep my eye open at swap meets for the Dell TH836 keyboards with the multi-media controls. They feature a volume control knob just above the home key. Also has a 2 port USB hub.

  5. It’s not just volume – on radios, it’s TUNING. Pushing a search up/down button, followed by a “save to memory” button, is especially annoying on portable radios that need to be re-tuned thanks to a location change.

    The volume up/down buttons are usually available as a keyboard function, so copying them to a dedicated device isn’t too hard. Tuning, however, takes some more work. The fun comes when a “fast” twist of the knob invokes a large change, while a “slow” movement gives fine tuning.

  6. .
    It’s interesting how so much consumer geartrain has ‘wow colour menus’ or now increasingly ‘wow earpiece app’ to ascendency it, whereas industrial / pro geartrain tends towards one knob/substitution per ascendency, and less motorcar ascendency.

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