New phi-panel face plates are on their ways

Recently I have been contacted by various individuals regarding using the phi-panel LCD back pack with rotary encoders and buttons instead of matrix keypad. So I thought about it, and made the firmware change to accommodate that. It was covered in a previous post. Now that I have these different firmwares that support different key layouts, I felt that I should complete the circle by adding these layouts to new face plates.

These two layouts are for 20X4 and 16X2 phi-panel LCD backpacks. I designed new PCBs to accommodate a rotary encoder with a switch on the shaft (press down) and up to 6 additional buttons. Now you can use a rotary encoder, and up to 5 buttons at any of the 6 locations.

Why having 6 locations but only allowing up to 5 buttons? There are 8 connections on the phi-panel. These are originally intended for the 4*4 matrix keypad. Now with the above new key layouts, these buttons are used as the following:

Encoder channel A, encoder channel B, encoder switch, button 1, button 2, button 3, button 4, button 5. After the encoder, there are only 5 connections left anyway. But to give you the freedom to arrange keys, I have 6 locations. For the locations that you don’t want a key, simply tape it. The laser cut face plate contains 6 discs each at a button hole. Just tape those discs in the back and that hole is covered! I like the layout to be symmetric so you can flip the face plate and use the other side, because one side is glossy, and the other side is matte! Didn’t I think of everything?! Of course I conveniently neglected all the screw holes in the above rendering but they are included on the actual panels. Use black screws if you want for the look.

At the moment, I looked up and down a few US suppliers and ebay for rotary encoder knobs but I can’t seem to find the single most attractive ones with no lines or marks on them so I will not include knobs and let you choose any size up to 1.25 inch diameter or 31.5mm in diameter. There are lots of them.

Next are two layouts with directional keys:

There are 4 holes arranged in u/d/l/r and there are 2 additional holes on the top and 2 on the bottom. You can do your u/d/l/r/ and pick any of the free holes for enter or use all 8 holes for 8 buttons. The key arrangement of the corresponding firmware will be:


Once I get these face plates, I will give a demonstration of each one of them, how to wire them up and how to flash different firmware to go between these configurations.

6 Responses to New phi-panel face plates are on their ways

  1. William says:


    I already have a 2004 Phi-2 and was just doing some more reading on the Phi Panell, and your Phi Pannel. I was wondering what all I would need to combine both of the kits together. I need the ability to off load all of the LCD and menu from the Arduino to the smart Phi Panel. Let me know your thoughts on combining the parts from the three kits. If possible could I purchase the kits from you? Also have you been able to locate an acptable knob for the rotorary encoder?

  2. liudr says:

    William, If by combining you mean keeping the phi-2 shield and its stuff such as buttons and RTC etc and using phi-panel for displaying menus, then you still need to connect buttons to the panel so the panel can do the menus. If you want to reuse the display on the phi-2 shield on phi-panel, that is totally fine. You can purchase a phi-panel kit without LCD. As for buttons, I would suggest my new directional buttons kit for phi-panel. Your plan b can be snipping off the 6 pins on phi-2 shield that are connected to its 6 buttons and wiring them to the phi-panel. This would be permanent change though.

    Phi-panel purchase page: just go for a kit without lcd. Email me you want 8 buttons firmware after purchase.—phi-panel/

    Directional keypad kit:×4-lcd/

  3. Duane says:

    Any faceplates for the 20X4 Phi-Panel-Serial V1.4 with 4 horizontal LEDs, 2×5 numeric, U/D/L/R, Exit/Esc keys? I have the panel operating and need to begin boxing.

  4. Steven says:

    hello, if I 3D printed a faceplate for my project, could I simply extend the buttons by soldering wires in the place where the connections are supposed to be? Also, if i wanted to add multiple LED’s and two Piezzo speakers how could I do that? By simply soldering wires and then connecting multiple LED’s and Piezzo speakers in series?

    • liudr says:

      There are finite pins on an arduino UNO so you need to count your pins first. 20 total -2 for code upload -6 for LCD -2 for DS1307 = 10 pins left for LEDs and buttons. If you use all 6 buttons, you only have 4 left, so 2 LEDs and 2 buzzers. You can certainly skip the ESC button to save a pin. But I think if you want many LEDs, you need MEGA2560.

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