Easy DIY USB Interface

[Hybrid] tipped me to the ‘CREATE USB’ interface project. In truth it’s nothing more or less than a nice, (fairly) simple project to provide hardware hackers with a handy USB interface. It’s based on the PIC 18F4550 processor. If you check out the project, you’ll note that not only do they have a nice board to put a SMD PIC onto, they provide everything you need to build a diy version using perfboard. The most expensive component is of course the $10 PIC, but if you’re on a budget, that can be mitigated with a request for samples. (don’t abuse it – I think they’ve already cut back on sample amounts due to over-use.)

Hey, don’t forget, the Design Challenge deadline is the 25th. (This wouldn’t make a bad entry with some adaptation…)

16 thoughts on “Easy DIY USB Interface

  1. Interesting…

    I would like someone to design a board that has some type of u-processor with an ethernet port and a usb port (or better yet a usb port that can recognise a standard usb hub and the normal usb->serial chips).

    If you have room (althogh we are talking at least a 4 layer board at this point) a bluetooth chip (that can be paired with a normal bluetooth serial port) would be sweet.

    Heck, even 802.11.b chips are frigging tiney these days… A completely wireless 802.11.b -> bluetooth device would the teh r0x0r!!

    Anyone REALLY good at hardware/software design? Maybe a really big team effort?

    thanks ;)

  2. Microchip has a chip that can handle ethernet and has a SPI interface. A usb PIC, http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1335&dDocName=en022889, and the bluetooth chips from sparkfun could be just about everything you need. If you want to get started on something like this, make a post in the hackedgadgets forum (http://forum.hackedgadgets.com/). I’m sure we could make a nice community project out of it.

  3. This is an awesome little project, I’ve been trying to hunt down a cheap USB I/O board just like this for quite some time…

    I enjoy reading about all the hacks here but it’s always great when one of the hacks fits perfectly with something I was already looking for.


  4. Just one question: assuming I use cascading transistors, can this thing drive a relay? I know it has digital outputs, but I want to make sure before I build it and accidently fry a pic.

  5. that usb missile toy is in really bad taste. america is involved in a crusade of biblical proportions against well armed terrorists, and we are promoting the idea of individuals being able to launch missiles from their computers?!? what if someone taped “strike anywhere” match heads to the tips of those missiles? this is just another 9/11 waiting to happen.

    just kidding.

    with this kit, i am gonna make myself a USB triggered trebuchet for launching flaming pianos.

  6. Hah, you guys all have a lot of really great ideas, i cant wait to see what i can make out of this device, i just happened to find it the other night and submitted it, Its good to finally have one thing i submitted make it to the front page. =)

    Also, ive been thinking about submitting a pic of the hackaday shirt i got at DEFCON, interested?


  7. Re: #6
    Whenever you interface digital circuits with mechanical devices such as relays and motors, you need to place a buffer of some sort between the two because relays and motors tend to generate voltage spikes. You can use buffer chips to lower the output impedance of the digital signal, and then use bypass capacitors to ground on your outputs, to help absorb transient voltage spikes (usually a low-value cap — ceramics for high frequencies, electrolytics for lower frequencies). Keep your digital ground and power ground (as well as your digital supply and power supply) lines separated except at the source — this will help reduce noise.

    As far as the transistor arrangement, IIRC the transistor you describe is called a Darlington.

  8. I found this board a while ago and have been trying to build the dip version of it.
    I’m programming it with a wisp628 programmer so I needed a different bootloader that contains the config bits in the hex file ( http://www.mat.ucsb.edu/CUI/viewtopic.php?t=15 ) but when I connect it I get an unknown device in windows so something is still not working. If anyone can get this to work, I would appreciate some help :)

  9. Hi. I’d like to know who to make strike anywhere matches to take camping and fishing. Lighters are good but have been known to lose all there gas at times so the old match is preferred. Cheers Steve

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