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Phil has a load of old radio dispatchers consoles lying around, they look like an interesting basis for a number of projects.

whats in the box

  • A sloping front solidly constructed box in an attractive institution green colour.
  • 30 buttons, in a group of 8, one of 9, a big red button and the rest in a numeric keypad with * and #.
  • 32 leds between the buttons.
  • a speaker.
  • 3 x potentiometers.
  • a 2x16 lcd screen with standard HD47780 controller (not 100% sure it's 2x16, i've not tried it yet).

possible uses

  • cnc machine interface.
  • electronic music sequencer/drum machine, or other musical device.
  • pretty much anything that needs a good solid control desk.



half_IMG_3136.JPG half_IMG_3133.JPG

(we can fairly eaisly make new labels using the laser cutter).

example code

(for an mbed, but it's plain C).


The Key/led board is connected by an 8 pin connector, using the colors of the cable as a guide the pinout is:

orn     common led anode (i.e. +5V)
blk     Ground
prp     2a              buttons pl
blu     4a              common clock               
red     +5V      
grn     3a              serial data for the leds     
wht     1a              led strobe              
yel     5y              from buttons data (output from the board)

NOTE: the colours are NOT CONSISTENT across boards. I've found some with flipped orange/black - tomw

There are 32 leds, the bits are:

0-15 :  first 4 colums, botton to top, left to right
16:     single to right of the brb
17:     single, botton left.
18,19:  pair on right, 18 is top
20-31:  3 blocks of 4 in the middle, starting at the right, top down.

The buttons are:

#define      CH7 0x00000001
#define KEY_HASH 0x00000002
#define      CH6 0x00000004
#define      CH5 0x00000008
#define      CH4 0x00000010
#define      CH3 0x00000020
#define      CH2 0x00000040
#define      CH1 0x00000080
#define     TAPE 0x00000100
#define   B_CAST 0x00000200
#define     CONN 0x00000400
#define      T_T 0x00000800
#define      MON 0x00001000
#define      SEL 0x00002000
#define       LS 0x00004000
#define      TEL 0x00008000
#define    KEY_5 0x00010000
#define    KEY_4 0x00020000
#define    KEY_3 0x00040000
#define    KEY_2 0x00080000
#define    KEY_1 0x00100000
#define      BRB 0x00200000 /* actually PTT, but i prefer Big Red Button */
#define     FUNC 0x00400000
#define    CTCSS 0x00800000
#define    KEY_6 0x01000000
#define    KEY_0 0x02000000
#define KEY_STAR 0x04000000
#define    KEY_9 0x08000000
#define    KEY_8 0x10000000
#define    KEY_7 0x20000000

When you read in the button bits and the result with 0x3fffffff to ignore the unused bits.

Also if you use Arduinos make sure you cast things to longs before bit shifting, otherwise 1<< 31 doesnt work

LCD boards

Pinout appears to be here