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  1. Hardware Review: MJS Gadgets USB-IO-1 Relay/Input Device

    by , 01-19-2011 at 01:07 PM

    What is it?

    The MJS USB-IO-1 is a input/output device which allows users to control 4 relays and read 4 digital inputs.

    The Verdict:

    The MJS USB-IO-1 is the absolute perfect device for a user looking for clean and simple control of relays from a car PC. A beginner can easily install the device and control it from their favorite front end in a matter of minutes. It's second duty as a digital input sensor will also become extremely useful once users find more ways to implement it into their setup. The device lacks the quantity of connections and some of the bells and whistles of competing devices, but the trade-off may certainly be worth it.

    The MJS USB-IO-1 is available at the mp3Car store



    What's in the box?

    The MJS USB-IO-1 comes with the device, a usb to mini-usb cable, and driver CD.


    Description:

    The MJS USB-IO-1 is the latest of devices which allow users to read and control inputs and outputs from a PC. There are other devices on the market which have this same ability, but the USB-IO-1 has some clear cut benefits. The primary benefit is the fact that the device is controlled and powered via USB. This allows simplicity in wiring and increases installation options on car computing platforms. It's also the only I/O device that comes in its own casing. Each connection made to the USB-IO-1 is done with a phoenix-style crimp connector, assuring a clean and solid connection. The terminals on the MJS USB-IO-1 are also removable, again, aiding in the ease of product installation. When dealing with the small screws which the product uses to secure wiring it comes in handy to be able to remove the connector from the unit base.


    Yet another improvement over other computer-controlled output modules is the fact the MJS USB-IO-1 features four on-board 1-amp relays. To use one of the relays you simply plug the device into a USB port (it uses standard windows HID drivers), connect your 12v source wire to one port and the 12v output wire to the adjacent port. Very simple when compared to the need to purchase seperate automotive-style relays. You can even adjust the individual relays from NO (normally opened) to NC (normally closed) with a quick change of a jumper setting. It's very clear that ease of installation and control were key facets to the design of this device.


    The other core feature of the MJS USB-IO-1 is the ability to read voltages from 4 independent digital inputs. These inputs allow users to detect signals between 5-30 volts and automate actions based of their status. The device currently has a standalone software control option, as well as extension plug ins for the front ends RideRunner and Centrafuse. While the interfaces for the software options vary, the end result is control and automation which is mastered within a touch-friendly interface. The creator has even been kind enough to create a separate software utility which will easily assign actions to the on/off states of each digital input.


    The one drawback of the MJS USB-IO-1 device is directly attributed to its charming quality. Because of its size (the case measures a mere 10.5 x 4.5 x 2.5cm) and simplicity the device is limited to 4 outputs and 4 inputs. Users which need more than the included options can purchase additional units and integrate them seamlessly into the software options, but at a price point that would surely exceed other options. There are also no analog input options for handling things like temperature and photo-sensors.

    The Positive:

    USB powered removes the need for a 5 or 12v source
    Small form factor
    On-board relays for ease of installation
    Standalone and front end software options available
    Com Object control class available
    Device comes encased

    The Negative:

    Limited input/output options when compared to competitors
    No offline (PC shutdown) control
    Lacks analog inputs

    The Verdict:

    The MJS USB-IO-1 is the absolute perfect device for a user looking for clean and simple control of relays from a car PC. A beginner can easily install the device and control it from their favorite front end in a matter of minutes. It's second duty as a digital input sensor will also become extremely useful once users find more ways to implement it into their setup. The device lacks the quantity of connections and some of the bells and whistles of competing devices, but the trade-off may certainly be worth it.

    The MJS USB-IO-1 is available at the mp3Car store

    Updated 01-19-2011 at 01:20 PM by Sonicxtacy02

    Categories
    Product Reviews
  2. Nokia QML Rapid Development - CES 2011

    by , 01-14-2011 at 04:02 PM

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    Sean Clark from mp3Car speaks with Justin from ICS, who has made a demo piece of software to highlight how easy it can be to develop QT apps. These apps are built using QML, which is specifically designed for creating user interfaces.

    Some of the really attractive features of this new QML is that it has great animated transitions and state changes built into the language. It can even give you that "flick to scroll - bounce at the end" feeling.

    Now, photoshop can be utilized to design these interfaces. This creates a method for rapid development where the designer creates the interface in photoshop and the programmer can then work with each photoshop object as a QML item.

    check out http://qt.nokia.com and http://www.ics.com/ for more details

    Updated 01-16-2011 at 05:34 PM by Fiberoptic

    Categories
    Technology Events
  3. NuVation Electric Cooled X Prize Motorcycle - CES 2011

    by , 01-13-2011 at 04:22 PM

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    Rob Wray, from mp3Car, shows us the first electric cooled 3-wheeled motorcycle. It's an entry into this year's Xprize competition. With 170HP, 0-60 in 5 seconds, a 150MPH top speed, and weighing in at only 1800 pounds, it's surprisingly performance oriented. It goes roughly 200 miles on single charge at slower speeds or about 100 miles at 60 miles per hour. The car can be charged to about 80 percent in about 20 minutes at a charging station.

    Updated 01-13-2011 at 04:29 PM by Jensen2000

    Categories
    Technology Events
  4. Ford Product Design Manager Chris Demeniuk - CES 2011

    by , 01-09-2011 at 01:08 PM

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    Sean Clark, from mp3Car, interviews Chris Demeniuk from Ford about the application design process for the vehicle. Simplicity, usability, and engineering with the end user in mind are all important themes.

    Updated 01-09-2011 at 01:14 PM by Jensen2000

    Categories
    Technology Events
  5. Parrot OEM Chip With Android Community- CES 2011

    by , 01-09-2011 at 12:47 PM

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    Parrot engineered this chip specifically for the OEM market. It will go on sale to OEMs in quarter 1 of 2011 and leverages the power of the Android community for app development.

    Updated 01-09-2011 at 01:07 PM by Jensen2000

    Categories
    Technology Events