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RF/IR Remote Question Audio fx soundboard
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

RF/IR Remote Question Audio fx soundboard

by stozzawest123 on Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:51 pm

Hey,

This might be a really dumb question but I am still new to this kind of stuff, is there any reason why RF remotes always seem to be at most a 4 button fob arrangement? and not more like a IR remote layout with numbered buttons etc I am currently working on a project for my live performance involving the Adafruit Audio FX soundboard which will hopefully enable me to trigger sound effects and music whilst on stage as part of the act I was hoping to have the RF remote hidden in my pocket whilst performing so I can trigger these sounds at will, I would ideally like to use more than 4 sound FX, I realise you can have more than one sound effect assigned to each button but my worry is whilst performing having to double click buttons etc might get a bit confusing when I can't see the fob, I feel a remote with buttons 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc would more straight forward to navigate whilst concealed in my pocket much like a IR remote. can anyone recommend a alternative or a way of achieving this please.

Any suggestions of input would be gratefully received.

Regards

Matt

stozzawest123
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:12 am

Re: RF/IR Remote Question Audio fx soundboard

by Disciple on Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:26 pm

Hi Matt. I'm another customer using the same hardware, if you're referring to the simple RF fob and the momentary receiver. Some points I've observed are:
  • IR remotes are great, with fast response and plenty of button options, from simple on/off to nearly a full keyboard. They have to be pointed along a clear line of sight to the receiver, though, not always performance convenient.
  • RF remotes are great, small size and concealment friendly. The simple RF buttons are fewer, their trigger speed is noticeably slower (double-clicks are too fast), and antenna position affects the useful range significantly.
  • Adafruit has components for building specialized RF controllers with more capability, like RF-enabled Feathers and membrane keypads, if you're into circuit building.
My solution to the four-button limit was to add a small microcontroller between receiver and sound board, and write a small sketch to manage the sound effects using the sound board's serial control. The sketch included a playlist of all the sound effects I would need in order, and would wait for the RF receiver to trigger its GPIO pins. My four buttons were matched to four GPIOs to trigger these four functions.
  1. Play the sound from the playlist at a current counter and advance the counter.
  2. Play the sound but don't advance the counter.
  3. Advance the counter without playing the sound.
  4. Decrement the counter without playing the sound.
    The counter is zeroed when the microcontroller is reset.
    Buttons 3 and 4 do play a subtle cue sound, a tap or a puff with an LED blink to signal a successful press, essential because of the RF slowness/range uncertainty.
Using that system, I engaged in a dialogue with an invisible "voice from heaven" as a classroom performance. It also included LED lights and thunder crashes. The kids got a kick seeing how it was done. The plan works well when there's a scripted order to the sounds. If not... well, there's the build-your-own option. Hope this helps.

Hallelujah!
Disciple

Disciple
 
Posts: 828
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:13 pm

Re: RF/IR Remote Question Audio fx soundboard

by stozzawest123 on Thu Dec 02, 2021 5:50 pm

Hey,

Thanks very much for your reply its been very helpful, your idea of "Voice from Heaven" is along similar lines to what I'm driving towards in regards to a rehearsed sketch or in my case (stand up comedy routine) the premise is similar with having a script and a playlist to work from, it also sounds like with what you've come up with there's a certain amount of flexibility in case of mistakes or missing cues or wanting to repeat sounds it sounds ideal!, I've only just started looking into possibly making this myself through necessity as I couldn't find a off the shelf solution and I really know next to nothing about electronics such as these my current adafruit shopping list is..

16gb audio fx soundboard
RF receiver and 4 button RF remote
and this as a micro controller? https://www.adafruit.com/product/1501 or would you recommend another? ..

Thank you for taking the time to get back to me

Regards

Matt

stozzawest123
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:12 am

Re: RF/IR Remote Question Audio fx soundboard

by Disciple on Fri Dec 03, 2021 3:15 pm

stozzawest123 wrote:...my current adafruit shopping list is..

16gb audio fx soundboard
RF receiver and 4 button RF remote
and this as a micro controller? https://www.adafruit.com/product/1501 or would you recommend another?

The sound board is a good one.
Be sure the RF receiver is the momentary type.
The 5V Trinket will not do what you need. It does not offer enough connecting pins, and it lacks genuine USB. I used a larger version, the Adafruit Pro Trinket - 5V 16MHz, but it also lacks USB. It was designed to imitate USB just enough for older computers to upload code, older computers like mine. It can't connect to most modern computers.

An alternative is a more modern processor, like the Adafruit ItsyBitsy M0 Express. It has a healthy number of pins, reliable USB, and can run Arduino code or CircuitPython, but there is one issue. Its GPIO pins can accept signal voltages of 3.3V, but the 5V that the RF board produces could cause damage. One answer is to divide each RF pin's output between its GPIO pin and ground using resistors, or to add a level shifter between them. More wires, but better programmability. Hope that makes sense.

Hallelujah!
Disciple

Disciple
 
Posts: 828
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:13 pm

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