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Thruster Commander Button Instead of Potentiometer

Hey BlueRobotics,

I would like to use Thruster commander on my project but I would like to use 4 +,- buttons to control speed and steering instead of potentiometers. Is it possilbe? If so how would I manage to connect them?

Best regards,


Something like this might work

Thanks Philip for the reply. I don’t know how these things work but I will search it.


The Dallas Semiconductor DS1668 and DS1669 that are detailed in my first reply are very hard to find and there is not a lot of technical info that is easy to find.

Dallas Semiconductor is now Maximum Integrated and their DS1804
Nonvolatile Trimmer Potentiometer seems to be about the same as the DS1668/1669 series.

Here is a bunch of links from the Maximum Integrated website that should help.

Digital Potentiometers

Application Ideas


DS1804 - Nonvolatile Trimmer Potentiometer

Maximin Integrated Digital Potentiometers Family

Mouser sells the DS1804 for about $2.80

I am going to look over the entire family of Maximin Integrated’s Digital Potentiometers and try out a few different ones.

I am hoping that I can pre-set the mid-point for these devices. When using mechanical potentiometers, if you kill the power to the Thruster Commander you need to set the potentiometers back to “center zero” before the ESCs will operate the thrusters. This is easy with mechanical potentiometers that have a center detent.

After reading the datasheet, it appears that one can store a “pre-set” value on these chips but I wasn’t 100% sure so I called Maximin Integrated’s technical support and indeed one can set the power off/on resistance value.

Thanks for posting the original question. You have given me a new project to consider and hopefully, I will get this all to work and apply it to my “skid-steer” setup on my kayak.


Hi Alkun,

The Thruster Commander can only accept analog potentiometer inputs for speed and it has a switch input so that you can turn the thrusters on and off at that speed. If you want to use +/- buttons then it’s probably better to build something from scratch with a microcontroller like an Arduino. Do you have a particular +/- button in mind that you’d like to use?


Hi Rusty sory for the late reply. I am planning to use TE Connectity IP68 buttons. Which I want them to be waterproof. (https://www.mouser.com.tr/ProductDetail/TE-Connectivity-Alcoswitch/PB6B2FM2M1CAL01?qs=55YtniHzbhD8sCHUr41Q3Q==)

I’ve found a IP68 class potentiometer (https://www.mouser.com.tr/ProductDetail/Vishay-Sfernice/PA16NP103MAB15?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvlOED0T0kTWqp3JVsX0q7z) also but I will try to implement buttons with a microcontroller instead of thruster commander. But I will keep this items in mind for backup plan :slight_smile:

Great! Also check out this potentiometer. It’s a bit more expensive but rated to 30m depth if you need that.

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