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Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: October 20 2013, 20:30 PM
by vputz

Thanks! I'm well, just busy with a lot of other projects (among other things, an arduino-controlled preamp for no reason and a "refurb" kit for the old Thrustmaster FLCS/TQS after the FCS/WCS worked and I realized I still needed more buttons if I was going to try out some of the Freespace 2 mods) and this seemed fairly stable for the moment so it's been quiet (also trying to decide if I should bother with additional firmware for supporting more devices). But...

[quote]How do i make windows sww the orbotron as a joystick? Right now it is seeing the orbotron as a keyboard.[/quote]

Hmm, that's really peculiar. With the stock firmware it should show up as a keyboard and a joystick and a mouse, three entries in Device Manager. If you open up the game controllers applet it should appear there and if you check properties it should show as a six-axis sixteen-button joystick. Individual GAMES may have issues because most modern games are looking for an X-box compatible controller, so first check the game controllers applet and let me know if it at least shows up there (if it doesn't and you have the opportunity, try another computer).

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: October 24 2013, 1:19 AM
by rayz007
Thanks for the suggestions. Will report back with outcome.


Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: November 18 2015, 17:35 PM
by ZooBaAr
Hi, is the Orbotron still a going concern?



Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 08 2015, 18:31 PM
by vputz
Yes it is! I have a few more of the latest run and am actually considering an update (to support more controllers, really; it wouldn't add much for orb users). The shop is still online at though I just moved it so I haven't tested the ordering yet. It still works (have just tested it with Sublevel 0, and am going to have a go with Descent Underground).

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 10 2015, 3:13 AM
by jclifton
Just getting my feet wet in this whole thing and am sad that they are no longer available. :( Trying to figure out what the difference between the orbshield and the orbotron is and who I have to give my money to. :)

BTW that site doesn't have SSL and all the links use hard coded IP addresses. Doesn't seem the safest. :)

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 11 2015, 2:33 AM
by vputz
Well, some answers there:

1. They are still available!

2. OrbSHIELD was the first run; it was a device which did an "okay" job but used a "bit-banging" hack to sort of manually simulate a proper USB connection. As a result it was pretty finicky and some USB ports just wouldn't work well. As a result, I recoded the whole thing to use an AtMega32u4 flashed with a slightly custom firmware (you can actually get the same effect by reflashing an Arduino Leonardo and making a shield for it, but it was nicer to have a small board and just make the whole thing in one device). As a result, the new device ("Orbotron") has native USB and is much more reliable.

3. I have about 15 more on the current run. As you can imagine it's a bit of a specialty item; they don't exactly go flying out the door... but I am the designer and manufacturer of the silly things, so feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

4. I could actually use your help with the darn store. Because they're a low-volume item and pretty much the only thing on there (I have a sort of sous vide controller that's not quite ready to go...) it's not worth it to pay for "proper" store hosting and support, so unfortunately that means it's manual everything for me. I *just* moved over to a virtual private server last week, and that's why there are growing pains (the hardcoded IPs came from the bridge move from the other hosts; I was redirecting for a while but ran into issues). I'm sorry it's problematic; this is what I get for trying to do something I don't know how to do... but then that's the same foolishness which made me say "I don't know anything about making electronics, but I'll bet we could get the orb working again..." :D Please have patience with the store; I'll try to fix any problems with it but please let me know when you see them!

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 12 2015, 1:21 AM
by jclifton
:) Thank you for taking the time to reply, and in awesome detail! I'd be more than happy to take a look at your site for you etc. if you'd like. I've been an IT systems engineer for 15+ years so I might have some insights -- or I might have no clue and everyone will figure out I have no idea what I'm doing tomorrow ha!

Also: TAKE MY MONEY! :) -- no seriously. Take it. I want my orb working! Hopefully Windows 10 doesn't complain too much. Does the Orbotron allow for emulation of KB/M as well as a joystick? I'd be interested to play Fallout 4 using the Orb!

Thanks again!

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 12 2015, 4:38 AM
by vputz

Since I based the based the Orbotron on the Arduino Leonardo firmware (it's pretty much just that with a new HID report and descriptors, and is all open-source too) it's fully programmable by an (older) version of the Arduino environment. And that means you can do all sorts of stuff... including, yes, KB/mouse emulation or just about anything! Check out [url][/url], and some of the sketch demos at [url][/url].

Also with a quick reprogramming it works with the "desk" orbs like the Spaceball 4000flx and 5000 and Magellan Spacemouse, so it's quite possible to have a desk-mounted spaceball in your left hand and a mouse in your right for fine aiming (I find the spaceorb to still be a bit coarse for good aiming and haven't had much luck fixing that; the closest I came was a mode which "damped" the axis response when you pushed a button).

Gimme tomorrow to faff with the site and then tell me if it won't let you order one; I'd appreciate the insights for the site too. I've got a holiday event much of today so I probably won't get to look at it until tonight or tomorrow...

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 12 2015, 4:50 AM
by vputz
Oh, and I should admit that one thing it DOESN'T do is Xbox360 controller emulation, which actually can be a frustration since a fair number of modern games don't allow generic HID controllers now that the "master console gamepad race" has mostly taken over. Most 6dof games DO look for generic HID devices because they focus on controllability, and with keyboard/mouse emulation I haven't had this be a real problem (and I think there are some third-party programs which will read generic joysticks and represent them as X360 controllers) but I wanted to call it out.

Also I still have trouble where OSX computers don't seem to see it (but Windows and Linux seem to see it fine); not sure what the problem is there as I don't have a Mac, but I borrowed one for a while and couldn't work out what the problem was.

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 14 2015, 16:24 PM
by vputz
OK, got a certificate from StartSSL, installed it, redirected the server to not use those scary raw IP addresses, and it seems to be doing https just fine once you get to viewing a cart and checking out. Also verified the "contact us" page seems to send a mail to me. Whew! May be back in business; I didn't try as far as fulfilling an order, but hopefully that works.


Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: December 20 2015, 22:39 PM
by Das
Recently placed an order for the Orb9k SMD, quite happy to hear of another run of these interfaces. Missed out on getting one last round =)

Hey vputz, if you're still lurking these forums shoot me a message, I've got an interesting idea/application I'd like to run by you for the orb9k...

Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: January 11 2016, 11:18 AM
by PFunk
Thank you vputz,

I order at and they come assembled?

Can't wait to see if I can get my Spaceorb 360 operational again!!!!!


Re: New run of orbshields

Posted: January 11 2016, 16:25 PM
by vputz
PFunk--yes, fully assembled and ready to go (further customisation can be done afterward with some effort). I'm traveling until the 17th or so, but I can start mailing them out again next week.