Advice/ help needed with simracing rig

Hello all, I'm quite new to the world of Arduino and could use some advice on how best to start out. I've recently been expanding my simracing rig with some custom peripherals and I decided to add a button box and rev counter/ HUD. I figured an Arduino system would be ideal for this, but I'm a little unsure what the best approach for this would be.

I've come across the following videos that I want to base my build on (linked below), but I can't seem to really find out if it would be better to use an Arduino Nano for the rev counter/ HUD and connect that to a larger board or to simply wire it all into a large board from the start.

Does anyone have any experience with a similar build or idea? I'm mainly looking for a model recommendation (or models) to start me off.

Have a look at the following two options:

The Arduino Nano Every is a powerful 8-bit Arduino at the lowest price of any original Arduino.

https://store.arduino.cc/arduino-nano-every

For a few bugs more you can also look into the Arduino Nano 33 IoT. It has a powerful 32-bit ARM Cortex-M processor and even WiFi and Bluetooth LE support. Just in case you want to display the data on a smartphone/tablet, send it to your PC or even the cloud. :slight_smile: Its easier than you think.

https://store.arduino.cc/arduino-nano-33-iot

Both board are cheaper than the classical Arduino’s because they use newer manufacturing processes for the chips.

Klaus_K:
Have a look at the following two options:

The Arduino Nano Every is a powerful 8-bit Arduino at the lowest price of any original Arduino.

Arduino Nano Every | Arduino Official Store

For a few bugs more you can also look into the Arduino Nano 33 IoT. It has a powerful 32-bit ARM Cortex-M processor and even WiFi and Bluetooth LE support. Just in case you want to display the data on a smartphone/tablet, send it to your PC or even the cloud. :slight_smile: Its easier than you think.

Arduino Nano 33 IoT | Arduino Official Store

Both board are cheaper than the classical Arduino's because they use newer manufacturing processes for the chips.

Thank you for the tip, I've been looking at the Nano as well, but was concerned I might not have enough space on the Nano to hook up all buttons. If the Nano Every can easily circumvent this by allowing me to connect a few together, this should solve that particular issue.

pessimismus91:
but was concerned I might not have enough space on the Nano to hook up all buttons.

There are multiple ways of saving I/O pins for buttons. The simplest hardware is a matrix. Just google "Arduino button matrix" for a picture. The principle is used in keyboards and works better the more buttons you have. :slight_smile:

Klaus_K:
There are multiple ways of saving I/O pins for buttons. The simplest hardware is a matrix. Just google "Arduino button matrix" for a picture. The principle is used in keyboards and works better the more buttons you have. :slight_smile:

Would I be able to use a similar solution for encoders? My plan is to combine a mix of toggles, buttons and 3 or 4 encoder knobs.

The general principle should apply to encoders as well. As long as you can sample the signals often enough you should be fine. This depends on the resolution of the encoder and how fast you can spin it. It will definitively teach you good programming practices. No delay function. :slight_smile:

Got some homework to do it seems, looking forward to solving this puzzle. Thanks for the help and suggestions, everyone!

You can wire buttons as a matrix to save pins. With a diode per button you can detect many buttons pressed at once.

You can use shift registers as "pin multipliers", or use more expensive port expanders.

As far as encoders.... AVR's have 1 core to give attention to pins. ATtiny AVR's have a core with very small RAM and few pins, an ATtiny45 has 6 pins, 4K flash and 256 bytes of RAM which is enough to read an encoder as a dedicated chip/core and costs about $1.