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Looking for a simple cheap way to turn on and off multiple usb devices power via a computer program. How can i do this? Answered

I am looking to use my computer to turn on and off   usb devices (like a LED light) via a computer program.  I know that USB devices have a constant five volts of power to their ports, and that the normal way to turn on or off a device is using a microcontroller board.  I've looked into buying such a board, but they are prohibitively expensive for my project (over $30) and require high level programming skills. I know a little Visual Basic programming and that is about it.  With usb devices so numerous and cheap, i am sure there must be a very cheap usb device that can be hacked.  Ideally, I'd like to be able to have the computer run timed on-off events and remotely control these over the web.  Any help would be great.

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DarkRubyMoon (author)2010-01-26

I ended up ordering a circuit board called Motor-Bee from http://www.pc-control.co.uk/motorbee_info.htm .  It cost a little more than I wanted to pay, but it was much cheaper than any other circuit board I could find for USB control and it had the source code for modifying the program.  I really wanted to keep the control as a USB interface as my netbook does not have a serial port.

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binaryhellstorm (author)2009-12-06

Honestly I would recomend using a print port relay board, chances are you are not using the printer port and it is cheap and easy to interface to it. 

http://www.epanorama.net/circuits/parallel_output.html
http://www.electronickits.com/kit/complete/elec/ck1601.htm

If you look around you can find a lot of printer port software that will let you control the on/off via a schedule, directly through a GUI or even remotely through a web interface.

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gmxx (author)2009-12-06

i would say that the best way is one of the breadboardable versions of the arduino.

if you are really good, an ftdi chip and a mcu

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lemonie (author)2009-12-06

I'm not sure you can cut the 5V supply, data maybe. How about trying the serial port (search for it, including your preferred method of control, e.g. vbs / DOS)

L

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