TK-Talkie Control Glove Tutorial Tutorial

One of the options available for TK-Talkie is the ability to add up to 2 Control Gloves. We call them "control" gloves instead of the typical "sound" glove because you can do much more with them besides trigger pre-recorded sounds! For example:

In addition, you can program each button to do 2 things! For example, you could program a short press to trigger one sound and a long press to trigger a different sound. You can even setup buttons to trigger random sounds!

This section deals with creating the Control Glove itself for your TK-Talkie build.

Please also see:

If you decide you don't want to make one, you can always buy one from the TK-Talkie Store.

If you have any feedback regarding this tutorial, please contact us or join us on Facebook.

This tutorial is geared towards using micro-JST connectors between the main cable wires and the buttons. You can also wire your buttons direct and not use the JST connectors. However, it is recommended that you read through the sections regarding using JST connectors to see how to mark your button wires and use heat shrink to protect and reinforce connections.



***** NOTICE !!! *****

This tutorial does not cover wiring up the female jacks to the TK-Talkie. Please see the Adding Control Glove Connections tutorial.

Table of Contents

Parts List

Large buttons, 4-pole male jack, 4 conductor wire, various sizes of heat shrink tubing
Micro-switch buttons, micro-JST connectors (male/female)
Wire cutters, flush cutters (blue handles) and masking tape to help hold wires in place
Optional: Magnifier glasses, tweezers, x-acto knife and glue gun (to help keep wires in place)

Here are the parts needed to make a Control Glove. Some of them are optional depending upon how you wish to build your glove:

Not Shown:

Hey Look! Here's a real cheap multi-meter that works great! Go get it!!!

Optional:

And of course you'll need a soldering supplies (iron, solder, etc.) as well as wire strippers, cutters AND PATIENCE :)

Where to Buy

Here are some convenient links to the parts you'll need (some of these links may be my affiliate links):

A Note About Microswitch Buttons:

Microswitch buttons come in a lot of shapes and sizes. After a lot of experimentation, I have found the one linked to in this tutorial has the best overall characteristics:

  1. Extended (gull wing) solder lungs - It's a little more difficult (although not impossible) to solder the wires to the lugs if they are part of the button casing.
  2. Not too big, not little - It's tempting to try and use a really small button for this, but once it's all put together and inside a glove it's harder to press it that you might think. I have found that the roughly 6mm X 6mm X 3.5mm button is just about the perfect height and width.
  3. Button travel distance - Some microswitch buttons have a shorter button travel distance (the distance the button travels when you press it.) Although it would appear that a lower profile button would be more desirable, it's actually more difficult to tell when it's pressed once it's assembled and inside a glove.

Make sure that the buttons you get are surface mount buttons! If you get PCB mount buttons, you'll need to trim the legs to make them work.

Prep the Wire

Strip about 3/4" inch of the outside wire cover on both ends (shielding already removed in pic)

To begin, strip about 3/4" of the covering off of the 4-conductor wire on both ends.

Remove wire shielding (if present)

The wire I'm using has shielding, so I pull that from around the inside wires and trim it off.

Cover the ends with heat shrink to prevent shorting from the shield wires.

NOTE: It's a good idea to take a bit of heat shrink tube and place it over the end of the outside cover on each end. This prevents the remaining bits of shielding from touching anything and shorting a connection.

Tinning the ends

On one end of the 4-conductor wire, strip about 1/8" to 1/4" off of each wire and tin the exposed wire (tinning is just heating up the wire with your soldering iron and melting some solder on it.) Tinning will make it easier to solder the wire ends together throughout the tutorial.

Label the Wires

It's a good idea to label the wires!

It's a good idea to label your wires so you know which wire is for which button (1, 2, or 3.) The 4-conductor wire I'm using has 4 colors: red, white, yellow and black.

I have found that with using cable like this, because it's twisted inside the main cover, it's not always easy to designate a certain color wire to ALWAYS be for a certain button (like red for button 1, white for 2, etc.)

So instead, I mark them based on orientation to the black wire (which I always use for ground and which is soldered to the bottom of the male jack) and how they will be connected to the male jack.

In this case, the white wire will work best for button 1 since that's the one that is soldered to the center of the male jack, red for 2 since it's soldered on the left tab of the male jack and yellow for 3 since it's soldered to the right side of the male jack.

Write this down your wire color/number combinations on a piece of paper and keep it handy. Once you are done with this step, you won't be able to see what lead is connected to which wire and you're going to need to know where each wire needs to be soldered on the male jack!

Put some hot glue on the back of the button where the wires are inserted
Put some hot glue on the front of the button where the wires are connected

Prep the Buttons

In this section we'll get the buttons ready to be attached to either the micro-JST leads or directly to the main wires.

Large Buttons

For the large buttons, trim the lead wires about 3 inches from the bottom of the button.

Cut some pieces of 3/32" heat shrink tubing about 3/8" to 1/2" long and slide them over the button wires and apply heat to secure them. Place the top piece just near the bottom of the button.

Grab your hot glue gun and put some glue on both sides of the button where the wires are connected. This helps secure the wires in place and makes them a little more rugged.

Strip the ends of the wires and tin them, then put the buttons aside for now.

Small Buttons

If you are using micro-JST connectors, just set the buttons aside at this point.

If you plan on wiring the buttons directly, you'll need to cut a couple lead wires and solder them on opposite corners of the button. I would recommend at least 3" to 4" of lead wire as that would put the main cable somewhere in the palm of your hand when you wear the glove. If you want the cable to be down lower on your hand or wrist, use longer lead wires.

Micro-JST: Attaching the Female Leads

In this section we'll work on attaching the female ends of the micro-JST connectors to the main cable wires.

(Skip this section if you are non using the micro-JST leads and are wiring your buttons directly to the wire)

Twist and solder the ground leads together

Prep the Female Leads

Before attaching the leads to the main wire, cut some pieces of the 3/32" heat shrink tubing about 3/8" to 1/2" long. These will go over the lead wires to keep them in place.

I also like to use different color tubing to mark which lead goes to which "channel" (or button pin) so that I know by looking at the wire which button it's for (1, 2, or 3.) You can also use the TK-Talkie app to identify which button is being pressed as it will highlight the button in the app when you press it ;)

Common Ground

Next, take the black wires (ground wires) from the leads and solder them together. Since there are 4 wires in the main cable, we'll use one of them (in this case the black wire) as a common ground for all the buttons.

Cut a piece of the 3/32" heat shrink tubing about 3/8" to 1/2" inch long and place it over the three black wires. This will be used later to help secure the solder connection to the main ground wire.

Connect each lead wire and the common ground wires
Common ground and all lead wires connected

Connect the Female Leads

Cut 4 pieces of 3/64" (1mm) heat shrink tube about 3/8" in length. Place a piece over each wire (the 3 red wires on the leads and the black wire on the main cable.) Make sure they are away from the point you will solder or the heat will shrink it!

Now connect each red wire of a lead to a wire on the main cable and solder the ground wires together.

Be sure to note which lead is connected to which color wire! As noted earlier, I like to use different color for each lead to denote which button it's for, but you can also use a piece of tape or something to mark the wires. When you are connecting the other end of the cable to the male jack you'll need to know which lead is connected to which wire!

Note: I know the picture doesn't show the colored heat shrink tubing in this step...I had forgotten to put it on so had to go back and do a little surgery ;)

When you are done soldering, slide the heat shrink tubing on each wire over the solder point and heat it to secure the connection.

Lastly, slide the 3/32" piece you placed over the 3 ground wires over the solder joint and apply heat.

Completed female connections

Secure the Lead Connections

Cut a piece of 1/8" heat shrink tubing about 3" to 4" long and slide it from the other end of the main wire up to cover the wire up to just past all of the solder connections. Apply heat to shrink the tube.

This not only hides the individual solder joints, but strengthens and protects the wires.

When completed you are ready to attach the main wire to the male jack!

Micro-JST: Attaching the Male Leads

In this section we'll discuss attaching the male micro-JST leads to the buttons you prepped earlier.

(Skip this section if you are non using the micro-JST leads and are wiring your buttons directly to the wire)

Prepping the Male Leads

Just like with the female leads, cut some pieces of the 3/32" heat shrink tubing (color does not matter) and place it over the male lead wires and apply heat to help secure them.

Next, prepare the other end of the main cable by stripping 1/8" to 1/4" of the ends of the wires and tinning them, being sure to remove the shielding wire. Use some heatshrink at the end of the cable like you did with the female side to protect against unwanted contact by any remaining sheild wire with the male jack.

Attaching the Male Leads to Small Buttons

For the small buttons, you'll attach the male micro-JST leads be soldering one lead wire to a top corner and the other lead wire to the opposite bottom corner.

It does not matter which color wire is at the top or bottom corner.

Start by taping the button down and adding some solder to the two tabs you'll be using (remember, one top tab and the bottom tab on the opposite corner.)

Next with the button taped down, solder one of the leads as shown.

To solder the opposite lead, you'll need to bend the wire as shown. You could also trim the wire, but I find it easier to just bend it.

Cover the back of the button with hot glue to secure the wires and set aside for later.

Prep the male end of the main cable like you did for the female side.

Attach the Main Wires to the Male Jack

Prepare the other end of the main cable to be soldered to the male jack by stripping 1/8" to 1/4" of the ends of the wires and tinning them, being sure to remove the shielding wire. Use some heatshrink at the end of the cable like you did with the female side to protect against unwanted contact by any remaining sheild wire with the male jack.

Next, cut a piece of 1/4" heat shrink tube about an inch long and slide it over the end of the main cable. Unscrew the male jack and slide the case over the main cable so that everything is lined up in order as shown in the picture. Make sure that the heat shrink tube will go over the tail of the male jack casing.

Now it's time to grab the piece of paper where you wrote down your wire color combinations. For the jack I'm using in this tutorial, the center tab is for pin 1, the left tab is pin 2 and the right tab is pin 3. The long tab on the botton is for ground.

It's a good idea to do a test fit at this point so you can see how you need to trim the wires.

Strip the ground wire (black) just about to where it comes out of the main cable (and before the heat shrink barrier.) Make sure this wire is twisted well and then insert it through the hole of the ground tab (the long tab on the bottom) of the male jack and then press the main cable into the wire holder on the jack. Arrange the rest of the wires according to what you wrote down previously (wire 1 to center, wire 2 to left tab, wire 3 to right tab).

Also, grab a pair of pliers and squeeze the tabs on the wire holder to secure the main cable in place.

You'll note the center wire will be the shortest wire after cutting. Make sure when you solder it on that no solder or wire goes past the center post or it could short out.

On the jack used here, there is a black plastic band on the center post. Do not solder past this point or the signal for the first button may short out.

For the other two wires, bend the tabs out slightly to make it easier to insert the wires once cut. Trim the wires about 1/8" past the tabs and tin the wires.

Make sure they are twisted well and insert them in the holes in the tabs and solder.

BEWARE !!!

Make sure there are no stray wires as these can touch other connections, resulting in a short that will prevent 1 or more buttons from working. If you see this, remove the wire from the tab, make sure it is well twisted and try again.

Lastly, solder the ground wire and trim the excess.

Take a Break...Check Your Work!

Before going any further, you want to make sure that your connections are solid from one end of your Control Glove cable to the other. You don't want to button everything up only to find out 1 or more of your buttons are not working!

Here is a short video explaining how to use your multi-meter to check all your connections.

Finishing the Male Jack

Once you are satisified all of your connections are good, finish up by getting your glue gun and putting some glue around and through the wires of the male jack.

This will not only secure the wires in place, but make sure that nothing will touch during use.

Attach the casing for the male jack and then slide the 1/4" heat shrink tube to cover the tail of the cover and apply heat to secure in place.

Congratulations! You are done with the first part of your Control Glove!

Connecting the Buttons

To finish up your Control Glove, we'll go over attaching the buttons (both using micro-JST connectors and wiring direct.)

Attaching the Micro-JST Leads

Take the buttons you prepped and set aside earlier as well as the male micro-JST leads.

Cut a couple pieces of 3/64" heat shrink about 3/8" in length and place one on each wire of the male lead (be sure to not put them close to the solder point or the heat will shrink them!)

Cut a piece of 3/32" heat shrink tube 1/2" long and place over both wires of the button.

Solder the lead wires to the button wires (it does not matter which one goes to black or red.)

Slide the 3/64" heat shrink tubes over the solder joints and apply heat.

Now slide the 3/32" heat shrink tubes over the other heat shrink tubes and apply heat.

Your button should now look something like the picture.

Covering the Buttons

Cut a piece of 1/2" heat shrink tubing about 1 1/8" to 1 1/4" long and place over the button. Leave enough on each end so that you can seal the cover.

Heat the back of the heat shrink first, making sure it shrinks all the way down. I like to use a solid object to press the ends together after each heating.

Turn the button over and heat JUST the ends (one at a time.) Heat an end then press it, then heat the other end and press it.

BE CAREFUL not to shrink the top too much as it will end up keeping the button pressed down!

Test that the button has enough room to be pressed and released.

When you are done, each of your buttons should look like the picture.

For the small buttons, follow the same procedure using 1/4" heat shrink.

Attach the JST Connectors Together

The final step in assembling your control glove is to now attach the male JST connectors to the female connectors. Be careful not to force them if they do not go togeher. You may need to adjust the pins on the female connector and push them up slightly to get a better fit.

Direct Wiring

If you are direct wiring your buttons to the main cable, simply gather one wire from each button (3 total) and twist and solder them together for a common ground as explained with the JST connectors.

You can then wire the buttons directly to the main cable wire. Be sure to read through the JST connectors section to see how to mark your wires and cover them with heat shrink for protection.

Finished!

Congratulations! Your Control Glove is complete and ready to be tested in your TK-Talkie!

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