I’ve had working prototypes of the Redshiftt knob remote controller for a couple years now, but in the process of development it has taken on more capacity and features. The two biggest changes were adding a live position sensing so the App can display the present selector position on-screen in addition to finding the positions by feel, even though that’s quickly learned once a driver starts using it. The second big change was expanding from four to six channels. Consequently, the device has undergone many revisions and tweaks, which is just a normal part of product development and productionising. Now I have the final production design, and parts manufacturing is starting up. The electronics and software development has been on a parallel track for several months. Some time in January I expect to have the first run of parts and test copies of the circuit boards in hand, then I can test-assemble, work out any bugs, and proceed to building market copies.
Meantime, since the parts designs are finalised, I can at last show you what the real thing will look like, so here’s a solid model depiction of the assembled knob controller.
The black sections are milled Delrin, a durable, machinable plastic on which we can get a smooth hard finish that looks like an 8-ball (without the 8). The red parts are anodised aluminum. On top is a clear silicone lens, under which is a 1″ round disc for your chosen graphic, such as your gear pattern, a picture of your kid, whatever, and under that is access to change the coin cell battery.
Here’s how it works: The upper black section is fixed so you can always work your gearshift with your palm even while using one or two fingers to work the controller. The lower black section is the rotary channel selector. The bottom red cylinder plunges upward into the lower black section both to unlock the rotary selector and to control the selected channel. So first you reach down with your fingers, pull the plunger up a bit and rotate the selector either way to escape the lock-out position, then rotate the selector to choose which relay channel to control. There are four channel positions clockwise from lock-out, and two more counterclockwise, with solid-feeling detents for each position. If you’re running the App on your smartphone, the on-screen buttons will indicate which position the selector is in as you move it. The screen buttons will display text you can choose to label your channels. You rotate the selector to the channel you want to control, and pull up on the plunger to send a signal to the receiver/relay controller, which changes the state of the relay assigned to that channel, meaning if it’s off, it turns on, if it’s on, it turns off, otherwise known as a “toggle” function. The App screen buttons will change color to show at a glance which relays are on or off, and you can also touch the screen buttons to control the relays instead. You will also be able to program channels to act as momentary rather than toggle switches, for control of equipment like an onboard winch; that’s why there are two positions by themselves counterclockwise from lock. When you rotate the selector back to the lock position, the plunger drops to lock the selector so it can’t be rotated, and the electronics inside the knob are switched off to save battery.
Soon I’ll also have some renderings of the receiver/relay boxes, so check in again!