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Switches and buttons and dials, oh my!
August 18, 2013 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Mega Dashboards and Instrument Panels is part two of a collection of interesting and mind-boggling arrays of dials and switches. Part one, previously.
posted by Room 641-A (33 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hmm,both links are busted on an iPhone, redirects to a mobile site with no apparent option for a full site view
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:02 PM on August 18, 2013


This is pretty interesting and all but the real question is what does that one do? And that one? What about that one? What does this button do? What about this one? What does that button do? What happens if I press this one? What about that one? Ooh, what does that one do?
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:04 PM on August 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid I dreamed of having a panel like the "vintage flight simulator " to play with in my "blanket over a table" rocket ship. It didn't have to do anything, it's just that metal toggle switches are cool.
posted by cccorlew at 9:14 PM on August 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Needs more CNC.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:22 PM on August 18, 2013


What's that thing we've discussed recently where certain people can't stand looking at intricate/repeating patterns? I can easily imagine how this site might trigger that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:27 PM on August 18, 2013


If you like this kind of stuff, I just came across some amazing videos of home flight sim setups. Check out this one, where the guy actually has a full 737 cockpit cut from a real plane with working gauges and switches.
posted by sophist at 9:44 PM on August 18, 2013


Yes. Nothing feels as good as the action of a proper heavy-duty metal toggle. There's a reason both the Cold War and rock-and-roll relied on these.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:45 PM on August 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


They're all so clean! How do they keep them all so clean? Where are the corresponding pictures of crates of cotton swabs and gallon jugs of denatured alcohol?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:59 PM on August 18, 2013


One of the more fascinating games that's come out in recent years is the Digital Combat Simulator series, where it simulates the startup sequence to many of the planes in it. As in, you have to toggle dozens of switches in order to get the plane off the ground. The Giant Bomb quicklooks of these are really fun to watch, because you actually start to learn what all the switches do.
posted by hellojed at 10:14 PM on August 18, 2013


I don't get it. These are all pictures of my coffee maker first thing in the morning.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:28 PM on August 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Don't touch that button.

Don't touch THAT button.

Leave that button alone.

No, get away from the buttons.




ARRRRAGH, you touched the button!
*runs for cover*
posted by BlueHorse at 10:41 PM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't touch THAT button.

How can he resist THE JOLLY CANDY-LIKE BUTTON?!
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:48 PM on August 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


ARRRRAGH, you touched the button!

"Oh no, not again..."
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:54 PM on August 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone who doesn't love overhead toggle switches never wanted to go into hyperdrive.
posted by flaterik at 11:36 PM on August 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's got to be some kind paraphilia associated with this...
posted by chasing at 11:41 PM on August 18, 2013


"Baby, I'm going to flip all your switches and turn all your knobs. Then I'm going to unscrew your backing panel and get all up inside of you with a pen light to figure out why that one panel light stopped working, and maybe while I'm at it get out my can of compressed air and get some of that nasty dust out of those hard-to-reach spots. Oh, yeah. Right there."
posted by chasing at 11:46 PM on August 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oddly enough, I'm at work right now, and could just swivel my office chair around and see this same kind of thing.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:21 AM on August 19, 2013


Related: the Redditor who built a spaceship control room for his kid. I remember about 10 years ago trying to find panels like these on eBay for a similar purpose, but even the most basic scrap panels were listed at many hundreds of dollars, so I gave up.
posted by crapmatic at 1:47 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Crapmatic, you should see the thing that a guy in my city built for his kid! I think it's the most extreme example of this kind of thing I've seen. yes I want to ride in it
posted by hattifattener at 2:27 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid I dreamed of having a panel like the "vintage flight simulator " to play with in my "blanket over a table" rocket ship. It didn't have to do anything, it's just that metal toggle switches are cool.

I ruined a Heathkit Decade Resistance Box while trying to build such a panel. It was metal and it had nice rotary toggles which in my mind were a crucial component for realizing the design goal of allowing everything to be re-routed to anything, as per Star Trek*. To be fair though, I did place all of the resistors that I had diligently snipped out into a plastic ziplock bag in case anyone ever wanted to return the device to it's original purpose.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:00 AM on August 19, 2013


"...you should see the thing that a guy in my city built for his kid! I think it's the most extreme example of this kind of thing I've seen. yes I want to ride in it"
posted by hattifattener

RULAV - Ravenna Ultra Low Altitude Vehicle - I like his sense of humour.
posted by marienbad at 4:08 AM on August 19, 2013


so i dated this guy for a while that was into vintage synths. SO MANY KNOBS AND DIALS AND BUTTON AND SLIDERS.

i loved to just watch him fiddle with them. he mistook my interest as being for making weird music as opposed to the equipment and for a gift got me some kind of Korg gameboy thing. it was pretty neat, but not what i was after.
posted by sio42 at 4:38 AM on August 19, 2013


I used to work at Eli Lilly. I wish I had pictures of the control rooms in the plants where they make insulin.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:38 AM on August 19, 2013


When I was a kid, my dad found a vintage tube tester -- a suitcase-sized monstrosity with a zillion knobs, switches, dials, sockets, and a chart on a scroll with info on how to test different models of tubes. It was the greatest thing ever.

As a reward for getting second place in the school science fair with an attempt to build a computer interface for a Radio Shack talking clock chip, a science teacher gave me a working oscilloscope. It must have been from the early 60s at the latest. I never actually used it for diagnostic purposes, but it was pretty cool hooked up to my stereo for the next couple of years until it died.
posted by Foosnark at 5:04 AM on August 19, 2013


As always: Every time you try and operate these weird black controls that are labeled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up in black to let you know you've done it.
posted by petrilli at 5:07 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Not the wed one! Don't ever push the wed one!"
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:24 AM on August 19, 2013


There's a smell I associate with olde-tymey electronics like this, a subtle metallic smell that's hard to describe. It's the smell of old AV equipment that my father would use in the seventies and eighties. Right now I can't stop imagining it. Jeebus. I haven't smelled it in decades. Anybody else know that smell?
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 6:29 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to imagine that this one has a button, toggle, or switch that either makes people fall down or fires a person out of torpedo tube.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:07 AM on August 19, 2013


I can't believe no-one has posted this old chestnut.
posted by cyclotronboy at 9:48 AM on August 19, 2013


Is the giant double-steering wheel on the "1950 imagines the computers of 2004" photo just a joke? Or is that some actual function they were imagining?
posted by straight at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2013


Maybe it was an attempt to steer the Internet away from the dangerous Shoals of Porn?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:33 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I highly recommend the new Dave Grohl doc Sound City (deserving of its own FPP) which is essentially a love letter to the Neve 8028 analog mixing console.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:54 AM on August 19, 2013


That "computer of 2004" is actually the maneuvering area (where you control the reactor plant) of an old nuclear submarine. Those double steering wheels are the throttles, controlling how much steam is admitted to the main engines. The TV and giant teletype are photoshopped in.

On newer boats, the gauges and dials have been replaced by flat-panel displays, but there are plenty of submarines at sea right now where some 24-year-old officer is standing behind three 22-year-old sailors as they operate panels that look almost exactly like those.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 2:31 PM on August 19, 2013


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