3D Connexion Devices Revisited

Amateur Radio Projects and Software Defined Radio

3D Connexion Devices Revisited

You know we are fond here at Ham Radio Science of the 3D Connexion controllers for controlling PowerSDR and other Amateur Radio software. The first article covered using the 3D Connexion Space Pilot to control the tuning function in PowerSDR. A small hack was discussed that would allow you to map the devices buttons to other functions of PowerSDR. Main tuning is accomplished by manipulating the knob on the 3D Connexion device. However, this only works because the developers of PowerSDR included a plugin that talks to the 3D connection device. As a matter of fact, any program that can use the 3D Connexion device has to have this plugin built in. Unfortunately, this makes the device only usable with very few programs. In the previous article, we could get the 3D Connexion device buttons to trigger keyboard commands in other programs, but the knob was useless in all other Amateur Radio Software but PowerSDR.

Settings Panel

Fortunately, 3D Connexion has recently released a new Beta 10 driver that will allow you to map the controller knob to any keyboard command you want. Those of you not familiar with 3D Connexion devices might find it helpful to know that the knob supports the following motions:
Push Knob Down
Pull Knob Up
Push Knob Left and Right
Push Knob Forward and Back
Twist Knob Left and Right
Plus hot-keys depending on model

The new drivers will now allow you to assign the knob motions to keyboard commands. For example you could map the Push Down command to PowerSDRs keyboard shortcut for the Mox button. This would allow you to transmit by pushing down on the knob. The driver lets you create a custom profile for each program you use so that the 3D Connexion device will send custom keyboard commands to the program that has focus. This would allow you to add controls to other programs like Ham Radio Deluxe, your PSK31 software, or about any other software that supports keyboard shortcuts. I could also see this a great hardware controller interface for antenna rotator control software. You use of this device could only be limited by your imagination and the limitations of the keyboard shortcuts of your Amateur Radio Software.

Right now the new Beta Driver 10.9 only supports the Space Navigator, Space Pilot Pro, Space Navigator for Notebooks, and the Space Explorer USB. If you own a now discontinued Space Pilot, due to popular demand, it will be supported in the next version of the Beta 10 software. You can download the new driver here.


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