Sighting: Making a QLab Go Button Box

December 17th, 2010 by Christopher  

Chris Mower writes to share this great homebrew trigger project:

Working the sound cues on the Mac in a darkened theatre was making me a bit uneasy as there were far too many opportunities to hit the wrong key or touch the mouse pad.

Having to take your eyes off the script to double check that your finger was in the correct place ready to trigger the cue meant that you then had to scramble to find your place ready for the cue to come up.

I decided that it would be nice to have a simple “GO” button like there is on the lighting dek. The result of this is given here for anyone else that has a spare USB keyboard of any kind and is moderately competent with a soldering iron.


Very cool!

12 Responses to “Sighting: Making a QLab Go Button Box”

  1. Sean Says:

    I know what I am doing this weekend!

  2. Niclet Says:

    Ho! Wow. I was looking for this. I thinks this will be my next DIY project !!!

    Thanks Chris for sharing.

  3. Brian Gwinner Says:

    Due you have a part list and where you bought them?

  4. chris Says:

    I don’t really have a parts list as almost everything except the switched came from the junk box. The keyboard was one that I had that was never used and the switches I bought from Maplins – here is the web page
    The box is just a plastic box that was left over from a previous project.

  5. RedBassett Says:

    I was thinking of more complex was to do this using an Arduino and codeā€¦ Never thought of using an actual keyboard. Project simplified!

  6. Sean Says:

    I really like this!

    I was looking at the XKeys by PI Engineering ( for this, but they are a little pricy. Maybe a trip to the dollar store this afternoon is in order to find a cheap keyboard to destroy!

  7. Tom Says:

    This is really cool – but why include the next button?!

  8. Anthony Says:

    Im making a similar, 12 button, version to this using the Hangstrom Electronics KCE-USB24 keyboard encoder pictures to come soon.

  9. Chris Says:

    Tom was asking about the ‘Next’ button. He probably never works with amateur performers. Sometimes they miss lines of dialog, sometimes whole pages, if there are que’s in the skipped parts I need to move over them quickly. Hopefully they are not vital, although we once had a gunshot missed leaving the ‘corpse’ standing centre stage wondering wether he should just lie down anyway.

  10. Dan Says:

    What type of wires did you use to connect the circuit board to the switches?

  11. Ido Says:

    Hey Guys! I know this is an old post, but hopefully someone’s still looking here.. :-)
    I got an LED push button to make this, but the button has 8 pins…

    Does anyone know how I would wire that??? attached is a link to the button i got (in korean) :-)

  12. Chris (author) Says:

    I don’t know if this is still relevant.

    I looked up the link and it does not give a technical schematic so I am guessing here. You only require four connections for most illuminated push buttons so it could be that there are four not used. However I think that you could work out what is needed with a multimeter and a volunteer from the audience. If you check every pin against every other pin you will have an 8×8 matrix showing the resistance between those pins.

    It will be two matrices because you will need to test each pin with the meter leads one way and again with them the other way since you are looking for the LED diode forward resistance and the switch open and closed. So the first set of tests you do with the button un-pressed and the second with it pressed.

    When you look at the results you should see that any two pins with zero ohms resistance are the switch closed and any with about 200 to 4K ohms are most likely the LED forward biased. It may be that you have more than one set of switch poles ans two throws. that would be three each for the two switches (one normally open and one normally closed) and two for the LED.

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