Dongle makers: How about...

…using telephone wire to connect the dongle et. al. to the controller?

It seems like you could use that wire quite well for connections, going something like this:

Competition port -> DB15 Connector -> Phone Jack -> Phone wire -> Phone Jack -> Switches

I can see a couple of advantages to this scheme…first is adaptability. If you want to be able to stand back and spot from the side, you get a really long wire. If you want to have the dongle on your control board, you get a really short wire.

The second advantage is the reduced chance of fouling things up. If you trip on the wire or knock something off or some other Billfredesque act, the wire (or phone jack, worst case scenario) will break first. No OIs can be harmed in the making of that moment.


I have the design made for using Cat5 cable with a db 45 connector. I was thinking about using it and am going to make the dongle after IRI. Maybe ill take a look at some phone cord and a db15 connector to see if that could be used, i dont know how thick each individual wire is. Also maybe if i can use some phone cord, maybe ill look at rewireing an older phone i have laying around so the phone itself is the dongle…lol

Phone cord and a DB15 connector is perfect. Mating up the connectors might be ugly, but the wire itself will be fine.

As for the phone for a dongle, you’ve got one problem: they’re all momentary switches. If you want to disable/enable, you’ve got to mash the button with your thumb. If you want autonomous, you’ve got to mash the button with your thumb. If that can get resolved, though, you’re set.

yeah i was thinking of that then i noticed there is a high/low switch thats not momentary and would work perfectly for the disable then for auton theres a momentary “R” button used for cutting the line and resetting the phone. Well thats connected to a light that when pushed it turns the light on, i was thinking it could be light during the auton use. But since its momentary, if it gets bumped and the 'bots connected, theres a problem. So yeah a simple 2 switch box would work good.

We used something like this last year to control our arena for our mini competition. We used DB15 to RJ45 adapters (a standard product, should be able to find them at Digikey), and then used flat 8-conductor telephone wire to bring each operator position back to one control box that had individual enable/disable, disable/enable all, and auto enable controls. It worked really well.

This year we designed a more complicated system which was computer controlled and allowed for a nice GUI interface to control the field. It was similar to the setup on the practice field in the pits at Atlanta.

Anyway, just thought I’d let you know that what you’re talking about is pretty easy and works well.

OK cool, i just checked and i have 8 or so female DB9 to female RJ45 connectors here. Ill take one with me to iri and im gunna be looking for you dave to talk about this dongle and see if we can come up with a schematic for it. If i can get a schematic drawn up, ill pos it here and also i will direct link you all to the connector at digikey so you can make the dongle/controller if you would like to.

I’ll try to remember to take the controller box we built last year so you can take a look at it if you want. I do have a tendency to forget stuff like that though

LOL i know what you mean…yeah well im not the greatest at remembering items either. Well it would be a great item to take a look at and get some ideas from. Thanks alot Dave, and hopefully i will bring what i need to…