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Old 10-09-2011, 06:18 PM   #1
brydling
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Default Joystick Controller B256A13

Hi,

I developed a joystick controller for myself and the community in Sweden that are building simulators out of real cockpits. When I made the second revision it struck me that there must be more people out there that would benefit from a joystick board like this, so I decided to order a few extra and sell them. This is how it looks:



The B256A13 is a high input count USB joystick controller with 256 digital inputs and 13 analog inputs. It is intended for those building a full simulator cockpit or those building panels with many switches.

It uses standard HID drivers which means that drivers will automatically be installed the first time you plug it in. The DCS series has support for joysticks with 128 buttons, 4 POV hats and 8 axes. To allow for 256 buttons and 13 axes, this board shows up as two joysticks at the computer. The first joystick has 124 buttons, one POV hat and 8 axes, while the second joystick has 124 buttons, one POV hat and 5 axes.

If you want to know more, read the User Manual or send an e-mail as stated under Questions.

Summary of features:
  • USB 2.0, type B connector
  • Firmware upgrade over USB
  • Uses standard HID drivers included with most PC operating systems. No software installation required.
  • Button matrix with 256 digital inputs allows for connection of up to 248 switches and two 8- way POV hats.
  • 13 analog inputs with 10-bit resolution and advanced digital filtering allow for connection of 13 potentiometers or other devices with a 0-5 V analog output.
  • Seen as two HID Joysticks in Windows allows for direct support in games that handle 128 buttons and 8 axes per joystick.
  • One separate pin for each input allows for much easier connections than most matrix-based input boards while still maintaining the great wiring advantages that a matrix brings. All 256 inputs can be used with only 32 wires going to the board.
  • 40-pin connectors keep the number of connectors to a minimum which let you unplug the whole joystick controller in just a few seconds and minimize the risk of putting it back in the wrong way.

Pricing:

B256A13 as a DIY-kit: 550 SEK

B256A13 assembled and tested: 820 SEK

Eight 40-way connectors and 80 cm of flat cable: 90 SEK
You will need to press these yourself. A vise can be used for this.
This is only for the switches. The axis connectors are regular 3 way pin headers (2.54 mm pitch) used for RC-servos.


Eight 40-way connectors with 10 cm of flat cable attached to each one of them: 160 SEK

100 diodes, 1N4148: 20 SEK

USB cable, varying length, min 1.5 m, max 1.9 m: 40 SEK

Shipping: Depends on weight and location. Typically between 130 SEK and 180 SEK.

Note:
The quantities given above for connectors, flat cable and diodes are just my guess of what people want. If you would like 150 diodes or four 40-way connectors with 30 cm of flat cable attached to each one of them, just send a request. I think 10 cm of flat cable for each connector is good though, because you will want different lengths on each individual cable anyway, and 10 cm is enough for joining them together with other cables. If you would buy 200 cm of flat cable to one connector just because the longest cable you need to that connector is 200 cm, while 80% of the other cables to that connector is just 100 cm, it will be a waste of money.

Payment:
Advance payment.
Sweden: Bank transfer
Others: PayPal

Ordering:
Send an e-mail to farbror_brydling@hotmail.com with the subject "B256A13 order". The e-mail should contain the desired products and quantities, the full name and the full shipping address. I will respond with the total price and payment details.

Questions:
Send an e-mail to farbror_brydling@hotmail.com with the subject "B256A13 info".

Firmware updating:
Attached to this post is a zip-file called B256A13_firmware_updating_suite.zip that contains all the programs and instructions needed to make a firmware upgrade. The firmware images themselves are attached as separate zip-files called B256A13_fw_xx.zip where xx is the version number. The real image is found inside the zip.


News:


The following applies to boards with a serial number from A0001 to A0036. Due to a software bug in the bootloader of the B256A13, the 4:th row from the top in each connector (I13, I29, I45, I61, etc.) should only be used for pushbuttons and other momentary switches! The bootloader starts when one of these inputs are active while the board is starting up (computer restart or USB plugged in). If you use toggle switches or rotary switches on one of these inputs, you must make sure they are in a state that doesn't activate one of these inputs while the board is restarting! The best way to make sure this never happens is to only connect pushbuttons to these inputs, since you probably won't hold cockpit pushbuttons pressed while the board restarts.


The following applies to boards with a serial number from A0001 to A0041. Due to a software bug in firmware versions 1 to 3, inputs can be reported as PRESSED even though they are not. This mostly happens with long cabling to the switches and has been addressed in firmware version 5 (version 4 was never released). I would recommend that all boards with a serial number of A0001-A0041 be updated to this new version. Instructions are in this post.

The following applies to all boards sold by me. Two users have reported corrupted serial numbers, Vendor ID or Product ID in their boards. This may make you lose your calibration settings and game mappings, but it may also cause the board to not show up anymore. Firmware version 6 tries to make this problem less likely to occur, but it is only with a bootloader-upgrade that it can be completely removed. It seems that it is more likely to occur with certain USB-supplies that enable the +5V too slowly.

If the error has already occured, this firmware will not get the serial number/VID/PID back to normal. The firmware is a preventive measure only. Contact me for support if your serial number is corrupted or your board doesn't show up in Windows anymore.
Attached Files
File Type: zip B256A13_firmware_updating_suite.zip (5.10 MB, 446 views)
File Type: zip B256A13_fw_2.zip (13.7 KB, 291 views)
File Type: zip B256A13_fw_3.zip (13.8 KB, 275 views)
File Type: zip B256A13_fw_5.zip (9.3 KB, 305 views)
File Type: pdf User Manual.pdf (765.5 KB, 752 views)
File Type: zip B256A13_fw_6.zip (13.5 KB, 161 views)

Last edited by brydling; 07-10-2014 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:32 AM   #2
gcompc
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This looks great, might need one in the future. If I hadn't stumbled on some previous posts I never would of found this thread. I think Controllers or Hardware is where it should be. I rarely look here I think a lot of people are not aware of this great controller. Although it's for sale it's but it's a current on-going topic as well. Just my thoughts, thanks.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:44 AM   #3
=4c= Hajduk Veljko+
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Good looking product indeed. How much is shipping to USA?
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcompc View Post
This looks great, might need one in the future. If I hadn't stumbled on some previous posts I never would of found this thread. I think Controllers or Hardware is where it should be. I rarely look here I think a lot of people are not aware of this great controller. Although it's for sale it's but it's a current on-going topic as well. Just my thoughts, thanks.
Thank you!

Yes, unfortunately I don't think this is the best place of showing this either, but the forum rules are against advertising in other parts of the forum. Maybe when the first few people has bought one the word will spread automatically
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by =4c= Hajduk Veljko View Post
Good looking product indeed. How much is shipping to USA?
The cheapest shipping method is $15. If you want an insured package that is traceable (in some countries, otherwise it's only traceable until it gets to the Swedish border), the price is $24. This is based on my estimate of the weight, where I have used a large estimate to get a "it's definitely not more expensive than this"-price. I can weight the parts when I get home.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:46 PM   #6
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This would be a perfect replacement for my two Bodnar BU0836X boards if I came across any issues using them in the future.

As far as advertising, you should find a volunteer who would be willing to use your product in their build and post the build thread on here, Viper-pits.org, Simhq, and a couple of the other commercial flight Sim sites. That would certainly get the word out. Wish I had known about these a long time ago. I only needed 10 of the 16 axis that I have, hence buying two Bodnar boards.

Quick question though, you mention that Windows sees these boards as two separate joysticks? Are there unique IDs for each or do they use the same ID (like the BU0836X does)? This has caused issues for me in the past with certain games.
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Propnut View Post
This would be a perfect replacement for my two Bodnar BU0836X boards if I came across any issues using them in the future.

As far as advertising, you should find a volunteer who would be willing to use your product in their build and post the build thread on here, Viper-pits.org, Simhq, and a couple of the other commercial flight Sim sites. That would certainly get the word out. Wish I had known about these a long time ago. I only needed 10 of the 16 axis that I have, hence buying two Bodnar boards.

Quick question though, you mention that Windows sees these boards as two separate joysticks? Are there unique IDs for each or do they use the same ID (like the BU0836X does)? This has caused issues for me in the past with certain games.
I hope someone of all the enlisted buyers will start a thread sometime Otherwise I will do it myself when I finish the first panel, in about 20 years

That depends on what you mean by unique ID's. They all have the same VID and PID like all USB products, but they have a unique serial number. That serial number is visible in the game. However, the two joysticks that are on the SAME board will show up with the same name due to some bug in Windows. They have unique GUID's however, so that is no problem. The only issue with it is that it causes slight discomfort, since in for example DCS you can't see which one is which without testing. Takes about two extra seconds of your time

Last edited by brydling; 10-14-2011 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:13 PM   #8
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Some games, IL-2 1946...even with UP3 installed, will only see one of two joysticks if they have the same identifier in windows. So I can only use one of my two BU0836X boards with that game. Yes, it is an old game, but still heavily followed. Hopefully no new games do this but you never know. It would be nice if there was a way for the program to see unique names rather than the order in which the joysticks are plugged in (joy1, joy2, etc).
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:27 PM   #9
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Interesting. I can try it out. Tell me exactly the name of the products I need to install please.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:32 PM   #10
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I am not sure what you mean by products unless you are asking about IL-2 1946 and the subsequent mod packs such as UP3?
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