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USB Relay Controller

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  • USB Relay Controller

    This thread will contain updates on the development of my USB Relay Controller. This post will be updated whenever to provide updated info to anyone just checking this thead.

    First off I'll say that there's no ETA on this project. All work on this is done in my free time and as a learning experience (when starting this project I had never touched a PIC before and only knew enough c++ to output text to the console.) I just figured that if I was going to make this for myself and actually do it to a "finished product" level I might as well offer it to others if it comes out as well as I hope.

    Price and way of getting it so far is unknown - I'm trying to keep it cheap enough though.


    • 7 25A relays that have connectors on top. (Still undecided on that part. Cheaper and saves space but I'm worried it may break the relay off the board.)
    • Plans for pins/plug/etc for adding additional relays
    • NO plans for input pins. This is strictly a relay controller.
    • Easy to configure software. Specificy window size, background, buttons all in a simple to undertand and edit xml file.

    Recent Progress:
    • 7/16:
      • Edited first post so yall don't have to read through the whole thing to find usefull info.
      • Software side the gui now loads button information from XML file correctly. I will be testing embedding in most of the frontends avail to make sure there are no ovbious problems. There is no error checking yet on buttons in the config file yet but will be implemented as the control software progresses.
      • Hardware side has been on the backburner for awhile but I finally have some extra cash to throw some sample boards sparkfun's way just have to redesign em real quick.
    • 7/16:
      • Last update for tonight (>4am ) - Implemented timed buttons and toggle buttons. Timed buttons last until the timer runs up or until you click it again (cancelling the timer and turning the button off.) Toggle of course is just click on, click off. ...I must say the timer control was MUCH easier than I expected - I was afraid of this part of the project but it turned out nice and easy.
    • 7/21:
      • Software is VERY close to being completed. Throw in requests! Added following features: Userdefined text on top of button image so you can reuse button images. Selectable font, size, attribs (bold/etc), centered or not, default and active colors and text for each.
      • Finally combined it with the USB code so it actually does something more than look pretty. It works perfectly so far. Now it's just bug hunting and then I have to have the boards made (I've been slacking on that part.)
      • Software is ready for testing - see here for download: (clickie!). It requires .NET. You'll get an error box for not having the USB device but it'll keep running from there.
    • 7/2?:
      • The relays I planned on using are now out of stock so I've changed to a different one. Drew up a small test board to make sure I placed the relay holes correctly with Eagle and sent it off to get fabricated.
    • 3/15?:
      • Told you guys there was no ETA First board finished and works well pics on page 7

  • #2
    Can this card do any other things apart from controlling relays? I think alot of poeple would be interested if its much cheaper than the phidget USB relay card.


    • #3
      My first response was "yeah, I want one!". Then I though "I don't need it". But now I've started thinking of all the possibilities. Now I still want one


      • #4
        I agree with Chris about this. Does it have analog inputs? Does it have digital intputs? And why haven't you piped in about the other relay controller projects under development?

        (And now I have to consider adding a whole different set of command set to the program... )
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        • #5
          And also is the project plan to be made public?


          • #6
            I am interested.
            -Jesus- King of Kings Lord of Lords


            • #7
              Digitial In will be easy - the analog in will be interesting (altho it should be fairly trivial...there's plenty of sample code) I would end up being paranoid and add optoisolators for dig and any random stuff I could think of...

              Currently (meaning "when I'm at home instead of the appt and when I'm really bored") I'm working on controlling the volume and x-over controlls for my bazooka amps and the gain for the jbl amp...Which I think would be effing awesome (I'm far too lazy to ever finish that though )

              And I really want to make this project public...but at the same time I'd like to sell it (again, for as cheap as I can get it+a few bucks for my VERY poor self atm)....I'll def give it some thought (I mean it's all based off of the sample code anyway so it's not like it was hard to whip up.) I could at least give anyone with questions pointers :P


              • #8
                The other thread for the serial controlled relay controller has been going on forever...I didn't suggest anything because from what I could see he already had it completed.

                The software I hacked up just for temporary use is quite ghetto if I may say so myself "relay1_on.exe" got thrown into my startup folder and of course on shutdown USB power goes out and the relays turn off...hey no more POP from the subs AND no more dead batteries because I forgot to switch off the amps (happened ONCE and then I got the routine down)
                Next part will be decent software. This will of course take time (I don't know Visual C++....especially gfx...I'll whip out some SDL gfx code from linux and need like 20gigs of DLL files :-P) but I'm going to integrate it into Centrafuse and replace a current tab (basically same as the mod to put in netstumbler or some other wardriving prog that's in the forums.)

                So keep the suggestions/ideas rolling.

                And of course free boards to you kickass frontend devs! (*evil grin* gotta get it supported =D)


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Zac
                  And of course free boards to you kickass frontend devs! (*evil grin* gotta get it supported =D)
                  sounds good ;-)
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                  • #10
                    I wanted to get something similar to this going for controlling my amps etc in my setup but im stuck on how to control an amp volume when it has one of those little holes for a screwdriver so you can turn it up and down.

                    then i got thinking.

                    is it possible to have a relay board etc to control a motor which will turn the volume up and down mechanically i could put a thread in the small hole that gives access to the volume control so i can fix a screwdriver bit into place and use a cog setup to change the volume remotely. this means i could also change the x-over frequency from the front of the car aswell.

                    then it got me thinking again.

                    if that is possible to control from the front of the car then could i have some way of integrating a id3 tag reader/writer for mp3 files that reads an eq setting for each song that is playing and changes my amp setup according to style of music im listening to.(i listen to a lot of rock and metal but also i love street bass and now and then a bit of 60's) because each different style of music could do with slight tweaks to make it sound better.

                    then i had another idea

                    if its possible to control mechanical devices somehow from the front of the car then can i use this to control my heater/ac system as two of the controls for changing where the air is coming from and the hot/cold dial are mechanical where as the fan speed controller is just a switch that i should be able to wire a seperate control for pretty easy.

                    and and there ive done it now so dont bother

                    any suggestions


                    • #11
                      I would assume that the screw in the amp is a potentiameter. So you could probably design a circuit to replace the mechanical device and replace it with and electronic device that woulddo the same thing. Sort of like the volume on a TV is just controled by a button and not a knob anymore. Im not good at design but this is just an idea



                      • #12
                        very good idea though

                        im not adverse to taking my amps apart and removing components anyways

                        i could then simply wire them up and have the controls at the front of the car or use a regular relay board to control everything.

                        any ideas for the aircon heater bits though because they are just mechanical


                        • #13
                          Mount a servo into the pot. That would look a bit odd for sure.

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                          • #14
                            I would be interested in one of these for sure. As long as there is some sort of code that I could enable that shuts off all of the relays when the computer goes off or looses communication. I was talking about this on another thread and this is basically the same thing. I need SOMETHING to be controlled by the touchscreen that will turn on and off certain lights. But for obvious reasons, when the computer goes off either due to me turning off the key or because it froze or whatever, the lights need to go off too...

                            How much were you thinking for one of these in kit form? I'd personally like a TON of outputs, then I can play (7 is not enough).


                            • #15
                              Digitial In will be easy - the analog in will be interesting (altho it should be fairly trivial...there's plenty of sample code) I would end up being paranoid and add optoisolators for dig and any random stuff I could think of...
                              Alot of the PICs have built in ADC.