Step 9: Adding components

The USBmicro U421 USB interface can drive one or two low-current LEDs directly. But several of the LEDs I chose are not low current, and using a driver to pump a little more current through the LEDs will make the bright ones very visible from way over in my lab. The U421 provides 5V from the USB port. In the photo below the U421 was mounted on the PCB along with the ULN2803. Resistors will be mounted and connections will be made on the bottom of the board.
Can someone make this for me where it would check my webmail and alert me of new mail in a certain folder? How much $?
wget the page. grep for the folder. wget the folder. grep for the email. wget the email. make computer go "bing".
That would require a Linux based controller... Perhaps a Raspberry Pi model A? <br> <br>If you insist on using Arduino, you could use the Ethernet libs and use raw socket writes to fetch the file off the server and chop through substrings to parse the desired info out...
you don't need a linux based controller. just install wget &amp; grep on the windows computer.
I'm talking about those who want to make a standalone piece without a host computer... If you want to go with the simple indicator hooked up to another machine that must be running in order to get notifications there are a hundred ways you can scrape the proper info off the web to do that...
When I try to run the maillights.exe, a window pops and says there is a runtime error. how do i fix this.
Do you have the USBm.dll in the same directory as the maillights.exe?
I got it working, but it isn't able to connect to my gmail account.
Is gmail accessible with pop3?
Yes, gmail says it is.
Gmail says this:<br> <br> Enabling POP<br> <br> You can retrieve your Gmail messages with a client or device that supports POP, like Microsoft Outlook or Netscape Mail.<br> <br> To enable POP in Gmail:<br> <br> 1. Sign in to Gmail.<br> <br> 2. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page.<br> <br> 3. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.<br> <br> 4. Select Enable POP for all mail or Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on.<br> <br> 5. Choose what to do with your messages after they're accessed with your POP client or device.<br> <br> 6. Configure your POP client* and click Save Changes.<br> <br>
I already made sure to enable it. When I click connect on the main email lights window, it says &quot;connected&quot; in the first text box, but it stays there instead of disappearing. And the text box with the number of messages doesn't display &quot;0&quot; like it does when it connects to my comcast account.
I am having trouble connecting to Gmail, too, but also with a regular mail client as well (Thunderbird)...
I have my led's with (680ohm resisters) hooked directly to the parallel port.
The nte2013 can be substituted for the uln2803.
Great minds think alike! Lol. I was going to enter this contest with a project of mine that does the same thing, although I'm using a basic stamp and a c# program that I wrote to poll from the system tray. Mine also uses two 7 segment displays to tell you exactly how many unread emails you have. Summer has been too busy and I haven't had time to document it so I missed the deadline. Oh well. Congrats on your entry being selected as a finalist! John
Hey, thanks!<br> <br> The U421 will easily drive a character-based LCD display and <em>that </em>was <em>my</em> first choice.&nbsp; But the LCD can't be read from across the room.<br>
Great idea, I would also like to do something similar, however I use the Linux operating system, would this project work with Linux? And would it be possible to find the equipment in a shop rather than on the internet?
The software is compiled for Win, but all of the hardware will work with Linux (and OSX). There are examples for Linux in the Circuitgizmos.com blog, and some Linux turn-on-an-LED examples from USBmicro.com. Build one device and it can move from Win to OSX to Linux. But the application software would have to be made for Linux. For Linux it might be some command-line and shell-script work.
Great. I am not so expert in electronics but the circuit seems rather easy. If I could only have the parts I might just make it (if the total cost is not too high). I will first want to find the examples you mentioned above before, anyhow. By the way, how much was the total cost? And is it only possible to find the equipment on the internet (never bought anything on the internet yet!) ?
The circuits are pretty straight-forward. The U421 is on sale at circuitgizmos where you can also get LEDs, resistors, the PCB, and the ULN2803. $28.55 for that.<br /> <br /> The slim case was found at RadioShack for a couple bucks. Other cases can be used. You can be pretty creative there.<br /> <br /> Circuitgizmos accepts PayPal transfers, and accepts credit cards, too. Don't be worried about purchasing through CG.<br /> <br /> Feel free to ask any questions about getting the hardware to work for you.<br />
okay, I might as well ask you, if I do decide to do something similar, what do you think is better for me, the U421 or the U451 relay board? One of the things I am planning to do with the board is control electrical devices with it. However, I heard that the U4x1 can be used also to send data to the computer, and this also sounds interesting. And the outputs, you said, can drive also transistors, and thus, relays instead of the ULN2803? Also how do I send data to the computer from an electronic circuit? I'd have to connect one of the U4x1 pins to 5V? And also, I couldn't find many examples for Linux on the circuitgizmos.com site or usbmicro.com, where are they hidden? :) Finally, I live outside of the US (most of the time in Asia), and CircuitGizmos gives HUGE prices for shipping there (5,000 USD), right now I am in Europe and the shipping price is around 14 USD, but I am leaving here in about 1 month, how much does the shipping take? Thanks a lot for your help till now anyway!
CircuitGizmos lists the countries that it will ship to. If yours is not listed you can get the U401, U421, U451 devices through Dontronics.com, too. Perhaps some of the other stuff, too. Or order while you are in a listed country.<br /> <br /> The U451 has the ULN2803 built in PLUS two relays. It is <em>very </em>easy to just add LEDs and a series resistor between +5V and the outputs. The U541 could then give you two relays that switch higher (mains) voltages, six outputs that pull to ground (drive LEDs, more relays) and 8 lines that can be used as input/output.<br /> <br /> The circuitgizmos.com site has an email address to ask about Linux examples.<br /> <br /> Shipping to Europe is <em>typically </em>about two weeks.<br />
I think I will buy the u451. Now this question might sound a bit weird, but I want to clear a doubt, I sent an e-mail to robert@usbmicro.com to inquire about Linux and they sent me an application for output control in Linux, but before I make the purchase, do you have any idea if they are really honest?, I mean is that application probably REAL or could it be just something that shows &quot;Couldn't find u4xx!&quot; ? I am also running out of time and need to make the purchase tomorrow in case, so I'd have to decide a bit quickly. Sorry for bothering.
The source code is on line and available for the asking.
Okay, so most probably that code in C on the usbmicro.com site is most probably the source of that application. Thanks for the answer. I ordered the U451 and I hope it will reach on time, I am leaving in about two weeks, so the arrival time is a bit tight.
real basic can make windows, Linux and OSX binaries
I once built something similar to one of these using an arduino and a uber simple python script. Your setup is much more professional. Great job!
In step 4 you say<em> &quot;I removed the extra plastic with the same tool I use to flush-cut component leads on a soldered board.&quot; </em>What is this tool? In step 8 how did you cut the board to size? Can you please add a supply list of everything you will need to do this 'ible. Great idea of course - we all spend too much time wiggling that mouse.
The tool? That one over there. *points* See?<br /> <br /> I use a flush-cut tool. I think the Make blog had posted a picture of the things and asked &quot;what do you call this&quot; and there were a lot of different names for it.<br /> <br /> After using that tool, I used a knife to trim the bits of remaining plastic.<br /> <br /> The board was cut to size by scoring the board and snapping along that score. I commonly use a metal straight edge to guide my cut, and an ordinary &quot;box cutter&quot; as the knife.<br /> <br /> Step 1 does have the parts list:<br /> <br /> USBmicro U421 USB interface<br /> ULN2803 driver<br /> circuit board<br /> 8 LEDs<br /> 8 330 ohm resistors<br /> <br /> (Obtained from <a href="http://www.circuitgizmos.com" rel="nofollow">http://www.circuitgizmos.com</a>)<br /> <br /> 8 LED mounting rings<br /> a small plastic box<br /> wire-wrap wire for point-to-point circuit connections<br /> <br /> Not listed was the aluminum bar and screw from a hardware store.<br /> <br /> I don't recall where I got the LED mounting rings, but the holes in the box could be drilled out the same size as the LEDs and the rings would not be needed. The box I believe I had picked up at RadioShack - they may or may not still carry them.<br />
I have those, thanks. I had no idea you could just score the plastic and snap it, again thanks.
Thanks for your good suggestions. I changed the list of parts to be a bullet list and also listed suggested tools.<br />
Can you like edit it to blink if you have a new post in facebook or only check email? Anyway great instructables, you have my vote :)
Thanks, Blastboy!<br /> <br /> Well, Facebook posts. Interesting idea. I personally have a specific account for my Facebook stuff, so even the default free software would work for that. Just set up one of the accounts and associated LEDs for your facebook email account, if that is the case.<br /> <br /> Otherwise the default software doesn't do anything too specific. But it is within the capability of programming (in REALbacic in this example, or VB, VC, Java, etc) to look for a specific &quot;from&quot; address to blink the lights.<br />
-poke- how much did this cost to make?
$25 for the USBmicro U421 (on sale) at CircuitGizmos.com Under $10 for the rest of the parts. There can be variations on a theme. The software and U421 can drive transistors as easily as the ULN2803, the LEDs can be encased in anything. If you want a BIG light, a U451 relay board can be substituted for the U421 and drive a good old hot 100 watt light bulb.
Enjoy this! I know every time I have email by the blinkenlights :-) I can see them from across the room. Funny, too, in the morning walking in and seeing all 4 flash in unison. Poke me if you have any questions.

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