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

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


    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

  2. #2
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    This is sweet little box for simple relay control! I had it up and working in just a couple of minutes, turning on and off some LED's here on the work bench. I plan to use it to control the power windows in my car, as they have heavier amp relays already, and just need the signal to put them up or down.

    I am using one of the inputs for the voice recognition trigger for my system.

    It's nice that everything is contained neatly in the box, and no external relays to have to hide somewhere
    Front End of Choice: Ride Runner (Is there anything else??? ) & Powered by the DFX5.1 Skin Available in the Mobile App Mart

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    Here's another little known fact about the MJS USB-IO-1. I designed the Centrafuse skin
    mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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  4. #4
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    yep, its true, and thanks SonicX
    -Thanks
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    does it work on linooks? Too bad about the lack of analog inputs .
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    it users generic usb input drivers so i dont see much of a problem converting it to linux
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  7. #7
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    What does that mean, exactly? I mean, what kind of HID does it show up as and what library do you use to address it?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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  8. #8
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    Can the icons on centrafuse be customized to say whatever we need it to? Windows, trunk open, for example.
    What is the difference from a digital input and an alalog one? What can you do with them.
    In a perfect world, I would like to have temperature sensors for the system.

  9. #9
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    Wow, cool, how about Centrafuse 3.5 support ?

    // Per.

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    Last edited by mitchjs; 04-04-2011 at 11:46 AM.
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