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...... Chest Buttons ......

Found these illuminated switches at Altronics, they happened to come in the right colours but used a small globe to light them, which i replaced with a LED. They were a bit expensive but they also had multiple poles which i thought might come in handy.

They are a similar shape rectangle to the chest buttons but a bit smaller, the diffuser will take care of that, and maybe give that look of being darker at the edges which i like.

Afterwards i found these cheaper single pole switches on Banggood.com that had a built in LED, but i'd already bought the others so stuck with them.

They have a circular mounting hole, but also a pin to stop them rotating.

They also had black plastic at the sides which would have prevented the larger button face from operating them, seen here on the left, and removed on the right.

To remove the edges i simply used a pair a scissors to cut them off.

you can see the before on the left, and after on the right. Opted for the momentary switches instead of toggle switches because with the toggle ones the button face would sit in a slightly different position depending on whether the switch was on or off, whereas the momentary ones always sprang back to the same place. This was important so that the button faces didn't rattle around since they wouldn't be glued to the switch but would rely on the pressure of the spring to hold them in place.

The button backing plate can be made of acrylic or any plastic that is easily bent when heated.

Buttons mounted in the backing plate, the 3 holes at the top and bottom are for fixing to the torso.

Showing the relative size of the illuminated area of the switches to the button face, and hence the need for a diffuser.

Not quite finished - notice these photos were taken before cutting the sides off the switches.

Button Faces

Purchased the button faces with the correct writing on from Craig R and am very happy with them. They came with diffusers that would work well with a "light box" but with the different size button pressing against them you could see the outline of the button. Replaced the smoky acrylic diffuser with a more opaque acrylic (i think it was called Opal) and it gave the more even look you can see above (original at the top, opal at the bottom).

The button face has the lettering engraved into it by the laser cutter, this groove can then then be filled in with black paint. The diffuser is slightly bigger than the button, though not much or else it would hit the button next to it, and is glued to the back of the button.

When placed in the bezel, the larger diffuser stops the button face from falling out the front, and the push button switch behind it stops it from falling inwards.

There is no need to glue the diffuser to the push button switch, it doesn't go in far enough to fall out, and it makes it easier if you ever have to disassemble it.


Originally had intended to make a latching circuit for the buttons because they are only momentary, but since everything is controlled by Arduino there is no need, it is all taken care of in the software.

To keep everything easily compatible with the Arduinos the chest buttons are wired up with 5v. Used a 180 ohm resistor soldered directly on each switch to power the LEDs, and since there was an extra pole i used it to momentarily turn the LED off when the switch is pushed, just to add some visual feed back. Will probably re-wire the LEDs so that all the buttons start with the LEDs off, then when you press each of them for the first time the light turns on - as we saw Dr Smith do in the 1st or 2nd episode :-)


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