The Soft Console Project


As a number of people who have tried this know, there are never enough buttons and knobs to go around when you're doing a project. This lead me to design the "soft console." The term soft here describes its programmability, not its manufacture :-)

The image above shows the drawing I did to represent what it would look like. The I/O devices are as follows:

Not shown is the power switch. Out the "back" of this console come the BurchEd I/O ports (VGA, Mouse, Keyboard, Serial) and they are useful for hooking up more advanced peripherals. The result is the "FPGA Playground" where I can finish up the rest of my FPGA journey without worrying about spilling my Diet Dr. Pepper into the works of the machine.

The down side is that this console is just a bit to big for any of the "standard" enclosures so I'm stuck building something on my own with probably wood sides.

Current Progress -

As of this week (Dec 22nd, 2002) I'm working out the fabrication of the LCD bezel. I've started with a piece of 3/16" aluminum that I am milling out to the correct size on a Sherline Mill. In particular, to do this sort of work I'm starting out by drilling some holes in the center of the piece to provide anchor points. Next the four corner holes are drilled in their correct positions. Next the piece is secured via the anchor holes and the outer edge trimmed to size. Next to last a groove is cut in the aluminum that will provide a place for a piece of clear 1/16" thick polycarbonate (to protect the LCD). Once that is cut the inner hole is cut out and the outside edge becomes the mounting bracket.



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