USB Button Help

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  SHoukes 3 years, 3 months ago.

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    We’ve got the sandbox setup in its entirety, but we’re having trouble with the USB button. We ordered one of the buttons from the user who posted their Etsy store. We’ve plugged it in and can see it light up, but we can’t seem to get Linux to detect any input from the button. The forum for the button says there should be no drivers needed and when we plug and unplug the button we can see the name of the device appear and disappear when utilizing the “lsusb” command. Any help that can be provided would be much appreciated.



    Oliver Kreylos

    Depends on the type of button. Some are set up to emulate keyboards, in which case you should see characters pop up when you press the button while you have a terminal or text editor open.

    Other buttons advertise themselves as HID controllers (which is actually the better way), in which case you’ll have to tell the sandbox software about them explicitly.

    Do an

    $ ls /dev/input

    before and after you plug in your button, and see if a new event device node appeared. If so, you have the second type of button. You can listen to incoming events via

    $ sudo cat /dev/input/event<X>

    where event<X> is the new event node. When you press the button, you will see some garbage-looking output, which are actually HID event reports in binary.



    I want to say its a button that emulates a keyboard key (space bar according to the description). We found the Etsy store through the forum when we purchased it. I’ve pasted the link below.

    Yellow Button



    I agree with Oliver, but I took the easy approach and used keyboard simulated USB buttons.
    when I have the terminal open, I can see the letters/numbers as I press the buttons.

    I have 6 USB buttons in one unit, and separate illuminated gaming buttons on another control box, for turning on and off LED’s, to making it rain or flood or dry, change shaders…etc. I use Linux mint so all I had to do was map a keyboard button in the GUI (has this feature by default), then used my usb button to simulate that key.
    6 button on ebay and it only cost $20
    you map the usb keys on a windows machine, then any other machine you plug it into, it uses those mapped keys.
    d = dry
    1 = flood
    2 = rain at cursor
    3 = shader 1 (snow)
    4 = shader 2 (lava)


    or you can do what I did, and used a keyboard controller to make my own button set for free !!!!
    I went on adafruit for just over $1 per button or $5 for the BIG buttons, the kids love the big ones, lol

    here is the one I made, you can see the terminal, when the wires touch, the letter shows.

    mapped to this big drain button, I have more now, this is an earlier pic for proof of concept.
    and the whole thing cost me under $10 for everything, and I can map the entire keyboard, since it is a keyboard controller after all.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  billberet.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  billberet.
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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  billberet.
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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  billberet.
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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  billberet.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  billberet.


    here’s my new usb buttons. I love it, so easy to configure the hot keys to do whatever you want.



    Hi Jhoskinson,
    I was reading through the forums and happened to notice your post. I own the Etsy store that you purchased the button from. I’ve had a number of people purchase the buttons and not have any issues. The buttons on my store can be used for a variety of uses. I can tell from your description that the button you purchased was programmed for a photobooth. This means there is a minimum 3 second delay required between button presses. That is likely why it is not working how you expect it to.
    I’m very sorry about this. Buttons on my site are generally programmed for a photobooth unless otherwise requested. I will update my store so that future customers do not have this issue.
    Please contact me through Etsy and we will reconcile this.

    best regards,



    Hi Bill – a question about this. You say that the whole package costs about 10 dollars, but is this including the keyboard controller? Did you purchase that from somewhere else, or did you break open a keyboard to do that? I would love to make a bunch of these for several installations.

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